Architecture Of Lucknow

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Majority of the buildings in Lucknow were built during the British or Mughal period, and the architectural styles of the buildings portray different shades.  Most of them are found in the olden parts of Lucknow.  “Heritage Walk” a very popular program run by the Uttar Pradesh Tourism Department for tourists covers famous monuments of the city. Religious buildings like Imambaras, mosques, some Islamic shrines and other secular structures like enclosed gardens, baradaris and palace complexes are among the few surviving architectural wonders.

A gigantic structure, Bara Imambara in Hussainabad, built in 1784 by, Asaf-ud-Daula, is an architectural marvel. The same year when it was built Uttar Pradesh was struck by a deadly famine, this was built to provide assistance to the affected people.  Without any external support provided be it of wood, iron or stone beams this is the largest hall in Asia. It took approximately 22,000 labourers to complete the construction of this monument.

The Rumi Darwaza, 18m (60  feet) tall, served as the gateway to the Lucknow city, was built by Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula in 1784 (r. 1775-1797).  It was believed to be identical to the gateway at Constantinople in error hence it is also known as the Turkish Gateway. The massive structure provides way to great Imambara on the west and is decorated and ornamented amply. 

The historic places of Lucknow have a lot to offer with regards to architectural styles from different cultures. Uttar Pradesh Vidhan Sabha building and Charbagh Railway station significantly portray Indo-Saracenic Revival architecture, while architecture from the European style is found in The University of Lucknow. An amazing example of English Baroque architecture can be seen in the remains of Dilkusha Kothi, it was a palace constructed by the British resident Major Gore Ouseley around 1800 which served as a summer resort and hunting cottage for the Awadh’s  Nawabs.

Chattar Manzil, once the palace of the rulers of Awadh and their wives, has a dome like an umbrella on top of it; chattar comes from Hindi, which means Umbrella.  ‘Lala Baradari’ built by Nawab Saadat Ali Khan I between 1789 and 1814 stands opposite to the Chattar Manzil. It was used as a throne room for the crowning ceremonies of the royal courts. Now a day it is being converted into a museum with exquisitely made portraits of men who contributed to the administration of the Oudh’s kingdom.

La Martiniere College, built by Major General Claude Martin born in Lyon and died on 13 September 1800 in Lucknow, is an example of mixed ideas from India and Europe and portrays a great fusion of architectural styles.  Without any beams used for construction the ceilings of the building are domed and were originally called “Contantia”.  College building also showcases Gothic architecture.

Asafi Imambara of Lucknow displays its architectural speciality in the form of the vaulted halls. Witness the Nawabi mixture of Turkish and Mughlai architectural style in the form of Rumi Darwaza, The Bara Imambara and Chota Imambara while La Martiniere College is an evidence of Indo-European style. The newl buildings also bear domes and pillars of the kinds and these well lit monuments make the city very beautiful and attractive in the night.

The fusion of old and modern architecture could be seen around Hazratganj, the city’s main market. On both sides of the street you get to see well aligned pebbled pathways, decorated with piazzas, green areas and wrought-iron tall, beautifully crafted lamp-posts of cast-iron, reminiscent of the Victorian era. In place of an old and broken down police station it has a multi-level parking lot making way for extending the corridors.