I had never explored much of Uttar Pradesh. And Lucknow had always been in my bucket list. I had always known people who hailed from Lucknow and I had heard so much about the city and the food. So last year, I decided to visit this city for just one day and explore as much as I can.
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Lucknow is the capital and large city in Uttar Pradesh state of Northern India. The city is famous for its beautiful history and architecture. Historically, Lucknow was the capital of the Awadh region. It was initially controlled by the Delhi Sultanate and then later by the Mughal Empire. The city is adorably known as the City of Nawabs and the City of Kebabs.
The best time to visit Lucknow are between the months of October and March (inclusive). These months are pleasant and are not too hot.
There are multiple legends and theories behind how the name Lucknow came into existence.
According to legend, the name ‘Lucknow’ is named after Lakshmana, the brother of Rama in the mythological story of Ramayana. The legend states that Lakshmana had a palace called Lakshmanapuri in the area and the settlement was called the Lakhanpur by the 11th century and then later was Lucknow.
Another theory suggests that the name Lucknow was derived from its initial and former names – Lakshmanavati, then to Lakhanavati, followed by Lakhnauti and then finally Lakhnau.
A third theory suggests that the name is related to the Goddess of wealth and money Lakshmi.
How to get there?
Flights – There are frequent flights between any capital city and Lucknow. This is the quickest and expensive way to get to Lucknow. I traveled by Indigo Airlines and the return flight tickets from Bangalore cost INR 7889.
Local transportation in Lucknow
Transportation from the airport – There are Uber and Ola taxis that run in Lucknow. So, one can book an Uber/Ola to get to the city. This is the quickest and easiest way to get to the city. Also, there are local taxis that can be hailed at the airport.
Note: The taxi drivers cancel the bookings in spite of confirming the pick-up. If the taxi does not move on the Uber/Ola apps, cancel that ride and report it to the company so you are not charged the cancellation fee.
There are auto rickshaws, cabs and cycle rickshaws. So, depending on the distance one can choose the mode of local transport.
Tip: Ensure to haggle on whatever the money is quoted.
Things to do in Lucknow
There are plenty of things to do in Lucknow and one day is too less to explore this city. But I still haven’t got terms to traveling alone for multiple days in the northern part of India especially Uttar Pradesh. And hence, I traveled to the city only for one day.
As I mentioned earlier, the city is famous for its architecture. The main reason why I wanted to visit was Rumi Darwaaza. It is believed that the Rumi Darwazaa (gate) is named after the 13th century Muslim Sufi mystic, Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi. And the Darwazaa/gate was built in 1784 and is about 60 feet (18 metres) high.
A definitely must visit place in Lucknow is Bara Imambara. The complex is massive and hosts a mosque, Bowli (well), and Bul Bulaiya (maze). The entrance fee for Indians is INR 50 per person and the guide fee is INR 100 per person. One needs around 1.5 to 2 hours to completely view this complex.
This place is my most favourite place in Lucknow as I had a great time exploring this huge complex, especially the Bul Bulaiya.
Walk around the old city
I have always found that the best way to explore any city is by walking around so I decided to walk around the main old city and just soak in the local culture. I spoke to a few locals and explored some of the architectural buildings that I came across while walking. It was very interesting to see a complete different culture when compared to Bangalore.
Note: Some of the streets are dirty and you need to be careful as to where you step.
P.S. Do not forget to take the Buggi Ride.
Food in Lucknow
Lucknow is famous for its biryani and kebabs. And as everyone says, visiting Lucknow is incomplete without trying the delicious kebabs. Unfortunately, I did not try the kebabs but I definitely had the Chicken biryani and it was absolutely delicious and tasty.
Lucknow is also famous for its handicrafts and Chikankari work. Chikankari work is a type of Indian embroidery. The work is very delicate and looks stunning. I bought many kurtas and dress pieces for my mother and myself.
Other products to buy when in Lucknow are the Ittars/perfumes and Kivam (tobacco product).
Ask any taxi driver or an auto-rickshaw puller to help you with the best and cheapest shop to buy the Chikankari work.
Is it safe for solo female travelers?
Even though I have heard so many bad things about Uttar Pradesh, I honestly did not feel Lucknow was unsafe. I faced no issues as such. Everyone I interacted with including the taxi drivers and the auto-rickshaw wallas/pullers were very friendly and nice to me. I would say the city is relatively safe. However, like any other place, it is advisable to be cautious especially while traveling at nights and trust your instinct.
I liked Lucknow and I would definitely want to visit this place again. It is truly a city of architecture. There are so many landmarks to explore and see. And each of these landmarks has a huge historical significance.
If you are aware of any more places of interest in Lucknow, then I would love to hear about it. Please leave a comment or write to me on Solopassport@gmail.com.
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