Saturday, June 16, 2012

Lucknow heritage walk

Lucknow heritage walk is an initiative of UP tourism to let the people have a peep into the bygone times of the old city. While keeping pace with the time every city has lost it’s original flavour but perhaps each of these possesses certain pockets tucked somewhere in the alleys of old parts, lost in the maze of ever increasing circumference  where the soul of place still talks in whispering tones taking us back into the history.

We took this walk on 31st of May. Though hot summers are not exactly the best time to enjoy this walk but I felt that certain facets of the ancient times were highlighted and much appreciated by us just because we took the walk during such scorching weather. The natural cool in the narrow bylanes in the older part of city, the whiff of cool air touching us suddenly as we took turns in the lanes, the fragrance of itra, cool water offered by shop keepers with a smile and courtsey despite knowing it very well that we are not their potential customers, these things were valued and filled the heart with inexplicable pleasure just because the city out of those narrow lanes was heaving breathlessly under the scorching sun.
The walk started at 7 A.M. from Teele wali Masjid and was scheduled to end by Akbari gate but our companions from tourist department had so much to inform us and that too in such brilliant way that we completed our tour by 12.30 P.M. The tour was a kind of eye opener. We might spend our whole life in a place but how little do we know about it. We might pass through a monument, a building for number of times but how much attention do we pay to it. How interested are we in the things around us?

Lack of interest in our culture, history, past,. not taking pride in our roots,. not sparing thoughts for the people who paved the way to our present…..,these trends/behavioral patters,.do they not make us a little less humane.

Our walk started from Teele wali masjid. We have been to bara imambara a number of times but this mosque in front of it, frankly never gave a thought to it. What a wonderful surprise it had in store for us. It is a very important part of our history. The construction of the mosque started at the time of Shahjahan but it was completed during Aurangzeb’s reign. The colourful interiors is so intrinsically designed that it left us spellbound. The quiet and peaceful aura is overpowering. One automatically feels like bowing one’s head on the alter of 

interior of Teele wali Masjid
The compound of mosque houses mazar(tomb) of…Shah peer vali He was a very popular scholar of the ancient times and was known for his kind and helping deeds towards the needy

                                                    Majar of Shah Peer Vali

From the platform of masjid we enjoyed a lovely view of Harding bridge. The Harding bridge is the lal pul from daliganj side to Imambara side. We have crossed this bridge so many times but never thought that gomti flowing under the bridge can look so wonderful. As the morning rays of sun filtered through the leaves of big shady trees and fell on the rippling waves of river to cast a mesmerizing spell, the lone boat rover passing under the archs of bridge, the trees on the bank trying to tickle the waters with their teasing touch, the birds circling around filling the surrounding with their melodious chirping made a blissful start of the day.

                                                 River Gomti under Harding Bridge

From Teele wali masjid we proceeded towards Rumi Darwaja. Rumi darwaja is a magnificent gateway. It was constructed during the time of Nawab Asafuddaulah, sometime around 1784. We came know about a fact which was hitherto unknown to us. We were told that there was one more gate similar to Rumi Darwaja on the other side of walled area of city, which was erased completely long back. Though I never heard about it’s existence earlier but seems quite logical as in  any walled section we always find two or four corresponding gates.

An abandoned  body of  a Tanga and Rumi Darwaja in background

From Rumi Darwaja we retraced our steps and entered the gates of Bara Imambara. We did not enter the Imambara hall, Bhool bhulaiya area or Bawali but watched the beautiful side view of Rumi Darwaja from the steps of the mosque [shahi masjid] in Bara Imambara premises. Bara Imambara also known as Asafi Imambara was also constructed during reign of Nawab Asufddaula. It is said that during 1784, Awadh was hit by a famine. What we gathered was that people were not ready to accept food as alms as that hurt their self respect hence Nawab started getting this Imambara constructed and people had food for work. How lofty were the morals and how considerate were the rulers towards the dignity of people

View of Rumi Darwaja from Bara Imambara

                                                     Shahi Masjid in the compound of bara imambara

After looking at the wonderful rain water harvesting system in Imambara we came towards flower market behind it.
                                                    back view of shahi masjid from flower market

 We reached the famous Thandai shop near the crossing in front of Gol Darwaja of chowk area. This was our first stop. we sipped the cool Thandai while days activities started unfolding in the vicinity.

 We entered the Gol Darwaja and saw the first police station of Lucknow  built during British regime in 1905. 

We had a wonderful view of the area from the first floor of a building at the gate. This view explained why Gol Darwaja was named so. Though certain alterations have taken place since then yet the circle formed by the buildings at the entrance could be quite clearly perceived.

In lanes of chowk we visited many temples built in the homes of residents but open to all. There was Kalli Ram ji temple about which we were told that the brass idol of Ram ji was found in the well in vicinity on the Ram Navami day. Then there was Banke Bihari temple where freedom fighters took shelter. The Nepali temple with it’s unique architecture. We never knew about it’s existence in the city.

Kalli Ram ji temple

                                        Shikhara of Nepali Mandir

 A Marium like carving on outer walls of Nepali temple.While on the walk we are not allowed to enter the premises of Nepali temple .This shot was clicked from the roof top of near by temple.

Carving on the shikhara of another temple in a lane of chowk

Kings Unani hospital  was established  by King Nassuriddin.  Nestled in a narrow lane this hospital might not display the glamour of modern nursing homes but as far as purity of medicines and herbs are concerned, it strictly adheres to the norms. Rs. 10 is the cost of first time registration of patients and very nominal amount is charged for the medicines.

The hall of King unani hospital .King Nasuriddin framed portrayed still adorns the rear end wall .The doctor on his desk and one patient.

The room in the hospital where medicines are prepared

                                                     Tehsini Masjid

A verandah of Firangi Mahal on the rear wall are displayed the documents and news paper cuttings from the time of freedom struggle

Seals of Akbar and Aurangzeb on the wall of verandah of Firangi Mahal
We were told that Gandhi ji once stayed in the now dilapidated house in the picture

                                        A workshop where Sherwanis are made, the princely dress of Awadh


                                       Famous  Kachauri shop  of Sewak Ram



         Havelis of Katari Tola look magnificent with their grand exterior ,unique designs                                                          

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                                                                     The main gate of house is the one with channel and the narrow one ,chor darwaja.We were told that even though it's very narrow people of all sizes can pass through it.
                                                              We were told that Actress Nargid dutt's    mother lived in this house once  

                                                          A person engaged in making silver foil used to cover the sweet pieces and even beetles .This is made by folding and hammering silver sheets by hand only.   

Tomb of famous Shayar Meer Anis.Though Meer Anees has woven poetry in many forms but his Marsias are considered to be his greatest contribution.
Residence of Shayar Meer Anees

We were told that this was once residence of famous music director Naushad Ali.It is said that the relatives occupying it got it demolished as they feared that government might takeover it as Heritage Monument


Our walk ended at Akbari Gate.Standing in the bustling market area this gate might  look ordinary at first glance but this has historical importance.During freedom struggle the heads of revolutionaries were cut and hung in line at this gate ,while headless  bodies were thrown in nearby nullah.That nullah is still known as sirkata nullah.

Various exhibits, local artifacts, anecdotes, delving into culture, lifestyle and architecture of Awadh, evidences otherwise overlooked, this  walk retrieved their significance. I felt like  coming across an old box lying hidden and forgotten at the far off corner of attic,unlocking which I found the treasure troves of  glorious legacy,the precious heirloom.


Incognito Thoughtless said...

वापस शहर की सैर....लखनउ मेरा लखनउ है ये....आप कब कर आयीं ये सब....बधाई..कभी हम भी साथ चलेंगे....।

Prateeksha Amitabh said...

That was a nice blog,but sad to see the dilapidated condition of such valuable buildings.Something should be done to preserve it.Prateeksha

Panchali said...

The city has its own world charm...beautiful blog!

namita said...

Panchali dear...thanks a lot.hope it will help us restoring our that old world charm of bonding.
we took this walk on our anniversary day.the old city has such a nostalgic was a learning experience too.

Shobha Verma said...

endless depth history..
i luv my city...

namita said...

Dear Shobha..I don't know how I missed acknowledging your comment .extremely sorry for the delay .but as it is said better late than never.
Thanks for being here.Ya ,we love our city.....history permeates it's every pore.

Unknown said...

Wonderful, heart-warming details. Are you on Facebook, Namita?

Unknown said...

Wonderful, heart-warming details. Are you on Facebook, Namita?

Shobha Verma said...

yes mam, r u in facebook?

namita said...

ya Shobha..I am on facebook.

Shobha Verma said...

ok mam, actually i have also started to write tarvel blog and created a page about travel with my page name "From A chick traveller's Diary" will happy to see ur suggestions and comments.. :)