'Lucknow' is a long voyage and not just a destination. From being laid out by Lord Lakshmana to being governed by Mughal rulers to serving as the administrative capital at the time of the British Raj to being the capital of Uttar Pradesh, the city has seen it all. It has proudly maintained its reputation as a city of culture, gracious living, rich cuisine, and beauty throughout.
Lucknow appears to be a straightforward and uncomplicated city.
Since the dawn of time, Lucknow's "Chikankaari" has been an inseparable part of Indian culture. The perfume of Lucknow's rich culture and refinement is carried by the natural "Itra." When in Lucknow, both of these are a must-have.
The city will gladly take your hand and show you its past and present. The city is dotted with Mughal and British Raj-era structures and tombs like the Residency, Bara Imambara, Rumi Darwaza, and Jama Masjid, to mention a few. Visiting Bhool Bhullaiya is a must-do when in Lucknow. It's a maze of hundreds of small stairwell passageways, some of which lead to dead ends that were built to throw invaders off. It's one of the most enigmatic sites. From here, one may take a "Tanga ride" to Chhota Imambara.
#Trivia: Lucknowites would frequently exclaim, "Yahan par sab nawab hain!" and there is no better way to convey the soul of the city than this. It denotes that every Lucknowite is a nawab, and visitors to the city will undoubtedly be greeted and treated as Nawaabs too.
Top Places to Visit in Lucknow
01. Rumi Darwaza
You don't even need to get out of your Rickshaw to see one of Lucknow's most popular attractions. The Rumi Darwaza is a colossal entry gate to the city, and it's a much-loved and fascinating monument in the heart of Lucknow. Vehicles pass through it as they navigate through the bustle of the large lanes in the old city.
The Lucknow Rumi Darwaza is one of India's most spectacular buildings. It was established in 1784 by Nawab Asaf-ud-daula as part of his 'Food for Work' initiative to aid the city's people in surviving a devastating drought.
The gateway, which rises 60 feet tall and is covered with artistically carved flowers and motifs, was completed in the same year. It was modelled after richly artistic gateway styles prevalent in Constantinople (now Istanbul).
Like the Bara Imambara's arch (to the west of Rumi Darwaza), this construction lacks any additional wood or iron fittings to support it from the exterior, but it still stands. A tower area on top of the structure previously housed a large lantern used to illuminate the tower at night. This is a magnificent specimen of Awadhi architecture that is definitely worth seeing.
02. Bara Imambara
The Bara Imambara, a massive and expansive edifice famed for its labyrinth and elaborate features, was the most stunning and striking building in Lucknow. In 1784, Asaf-ud-Daula built this as a part of a famine relief effort and was known to be one of Lucknow's earliest attempts to recreate the form of Mughal grandeur. This is one of Lucknow's rare structures without any European influences.
The Imambara is built in a unique way, and there was no use of wood or metal in the construction of this mosque. It is a significant place of devotion for Muslims, who visit each year to commemorate the holy festival of Muharram. Bara Imambara is a wonder of engineering and a remarkable example of Mughal architecture. It is said to be the world's biggest building that is not supported by any beams.
The burial of Nawab Asaf-Ud-Dowlah and his crown is also on display in the centre hall, which is claimed to be the world's biggest vaulted room. The Imambara is well renowned for its marvellous maze, called Bhul Bhulaiya, situated on the upper floor of the monument.
#Trivia: Legend has it that there are 1024 ways to enter the maze but only two ways out. If you make it to the top, you'll be rewarded with a breathtaking panoramic view of the city.
Opening hours: 9:00 AM-5:00 PM
Entry Fees: Rs. 50 for Indians, Rs. 500 for Foreigners
03. Chota Imambara
Muhammad Ali Shah was the third Nawab of Awadh, who erected the grand historical edifice of Chota Imambara in 1838. It was initially intended to serve as a gathering place for Shia Muslims. However, the site subsequently became the mausoleum for both the Nawab and his mother. Chota Imambara is a realm of luxury, with European chandeliers, a really amazing Hammam, and miniature Taj Mahals. The exteriors include exquisite Islamic calligraphy, which adds to the aesthetic attractiveness.
It's a lovely fusion of Charbagh, Indo-Islamic, and Persian design and construction styles. The monument's façade is adorned with Quranic texts etched in Islamic calligraphy on the walls. However, the Imambara's façade is not the only thing that attracts eager tourists. The monument's interiors are also created and maintained with meticulous attention to detail and care.
While the Bara Imambara will pique your curiosity with its ingenious construction and complex patterns, the Chota Imambara will take your breath away with its overwhelming splendour. This ancient landmark in Lucknow is best viewed in the evening, when its lights live up to its namesake, "Nawabi Palace of Lights."
Timings: 6:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Entry Fee: Rs 25 for Indians, Rs 300 for foreigners
04. Lucknow Residency
The Residency is a residential complex from the Nawab era that consists of various buildings. The Residency was built during the reign of Nawab Saadat Ali Khan II and was destroyed in 1857 during the siege of Lucknow. The cannon shots and splintered walls tell the tale of conflict, despite the fact that it is currently in ruins. The damaged buildings are now surrounded by flower gardens and lawns, making it one of Lucknow's most popular tourist destinations.
During the insurrection of 1857 (India's first revolt against the British for independence), the British Residency acted as a sanctuary for roughly 3000 British residents. The compound has been preserved in the same condition as it was at the time of the final relief, with bullets and cannonballs still grazing the walls. The main Residency building has a must-see museum for anyone visiting this historically significant place.
#Trivia: Around 2000 British soldiers who perished during the conflict are buried on the grounds of the Residency.
Timings: 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM
05. Husainabad Clock Tower
The Husainabad Clock Tower, which stands near the Rumi Darwaza and was completed in 1881, is India's tallest clock tower. It stands 67 metres tall, with a 14-foot-long pendulum and a dial in the shape of a 12-petalled flower, reflecting Victorian-Gothic splendour. This manually driven clock was updated to an electric clock in 2010. After 27 years, this clock began to make the towering clock tower metal sounds near the end of 2011.
It features Gothic and Victorian architectural styles. The four-faced structure of the clock is thought to have been modelled after England's famed Big Ben clock tower. Vendors of vegetables and fruits, as well as local food kiosks, surround this tower. A Husainabad reservoir is also close. The clock tower is surrounded by magnificent green grounds with numerous children's rides where you can enjoy a pleasant picnic while admiring the past's work.
Entry Fee: Free
06. Hussainabad Picture Gallery
Hussainabad Picture Gallery is a prominent tourist destination in Lucknow, located near Chhota Imambara and the Hussainabad Clock Tower. Awadh's third Nawab in 1838, Mohammed Ali Shah, established this gallery. This gallery is housed in a lovely structure. Life-size pictures of various Nawabs of Awadh are on display in the Hussainabad gallery. Nawabs' photographs depict the prevailing dresses and jewellery in use at those times.
The Barderie style of architecture was used to construct this gallery. As a result, twelve doors were created, and the structure was used as a summer residence at the time. There's also a mosque there and plenty of greenery, grass, and even a pond. The majority of the exquisite paintings on display here have an apparent optical illusion, making them all the more valuable. This location can be added to your list of places to visit in Lucknow.
Timing: 10 AM-4 PM; Closed on Friday.
Entry Fee: Rs.20 for Indians, Rs.200 for Foreigners
A half-finished building known as Satkhanda can be found just ahead of the clock tower. Satkhanda is a seven-story building. It is a famous watchtower in Lucknow, and it is an incomplete four-story construction dating from the 1800s. King Mohammed Ali Shah constructed the edifice to be a seven-story watchtower. Still, only four stories were completed due to his unexpected death. It was supposed to be able to see the entire city of Lucknow, as well as the moon, on the momentous occasion of Eid.
This red-brick tower's style is influenced by the Leaning Tower of Pisa, making it one of Lucknow's most exciting landmarks to see. The architecture of this tower is a mix of Greek and Islamic styles. Satkhanda's levels were created with decreasing heights in mind, making it distinctive. Magnificent green parks and playgrounds surround both Satkhanda and Clock Tower with numerous children's rides and outdoor games to play.
Entry Fee: Free
08. Indira Gandhi Planetarium
If you are a science enthusiast, a visit to the Indira Gandhi Planetarium is a must. The planetarium is built to look like the planet Saturn, which distinguishes it from all other planetariums in the country. It is located on the banks of the River Gomti in Lucknow's Surajkund Park neighbourhood.
Taramandal Show is another name for the Indira Gandhi Planetarium. The late Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Veer Bahadur Singh, laid the foundation stone for the Indira Gandhi Planetarium in 1988. The planetarium was officially opened to the public in 2003 when it was inaugurated by Ms Mayawati, the then Chief Minister.
The science and astronomy display, as well as 3D models and exhibitions, are the main highlights. There are also different models of Indian satellites available and information about prominent Indian scientists such as Aryabhatt and Varahamihira. Also, through 3D space presentations, one can enjoy a virtual voyage to space and float amidst the stars and beautiful galaxies. The structure has a stunning architecture that represents the solar system. A water pool surrounds the lovely structure.
Timings: 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM; closed on Mondays
Entry Fee: Rs. 25 per person
09. Lucknow Zoo
The Lucknow Zoo is visited by both locals and visitors and has played an important role in educating the people of Lucknow about the significance of the environment and wildlife preservation. The Lucknow Zoo, located in the River Bank Colony, was formerly known as The Prince of Wales Zoological Gardens.
The Zoo is home to a variety of mammals, birds, and reptiles, as well as endangered species such as Royal Bengal Tigers, Himalayan Black Bears, Hoolock Gibbons, and Indian Rhinoceros, among others. Those interested in the Zoo's wildlife may see golden pheasants and silver pheasants coexisting or see the Great Pied Hornbill.
It also offers a few attractions, such as a toy train trip through the Zoo. It also has a separate section where there are children's rides and food stalls. This 71.6-acre Zoo was founded in 1921 by Nawab Nasiruddin Haider. The Lucknow Zoo also has Awadh artefacts on display from the State Museum. Wildlife Week & Children's Day is among the few prominent events held here.
Opening hours: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
10. Dilkusha Kothi
Even though it is in ruins, this 18th-century mansion will give you a look into the royal times of the Nawabs of Awadh. The Dilkusha Kothi was previously a hunting lodge converted into a royal summer residence. Originally the home of Major Gore Ouseley, an English general, this structure was later renovated by Nawab Nasir-Ud-Din-Haider.
This Baroque-style structure, located on the banks of the River Gomti, was severely damaged during the 1857 Indian Independence War. As a result, the current state of this edifice is ruined with a few towers and walls remaining. However, visitors may still marvel at the walls and towers, meander through the gardens, and absorb the serene environment.
Furthermore, the Dilkusha Kothi is located in a well-kept garden, making it an excellent picnic site. A lot of elderly people come here in the morning for walks and exercise. However, the monument's region is fairly isolated from the centre of town, and thus accessing transportation could be a challenge.
Timings: 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Entry Fee: Rs.5 for Indians, Rs.100 for Foreigners.
11. Marine Drive
Did you know that Lucknow has its own Marine Drive? It was named after its Mumbai equivalent. It is a lovely stretch of road in Gomti Nagar, Lucknow, that runs alongside the River Gomti. The location is well-known among the young generation as a hangout spot. People also use it for jogging, cycling, and other similar sports. The walkway is littered with benches where you may sit and relax.
This stretch of road near the Gomti River attracts a hip throng of young people looking to hang out and have a good time. After nightfall, however, the entire scene changes, with colourful lights illuminating the riverfront, lovely water fountains, and a pleasant wind to enjoy. To enjoy boating on the Gomti River, there are numerous street-food joints, jogging lanes, and an air-conditioned river bus.
12. Moti Mahal
The Moti Mahal, or the Pearl Palace, was constructed under the rule of Nawab Saadat Ali Khan. This historical monument was built near Mubarak Manzil and Shah Manzil on the river Gomti. Moti Mahal was originally a part of the Qaisar Bagh complex. It was a prominent residence of the Nawabs of Lucknow during the time.
The palace's decaying immaculate white structure makes for excellent birdwatching, as the Nawabs of the time enjoyed watching birds and other animal encounters for pleasure. The adjacent gardens are now used for conferences, parties, and other special events. In addition, there is a flower market just outside the palace which sells beautiful plants and flowers all year long.
Timings- 10:00 am – 10:00 pm
13. Ambedkar Park
The contemporary architecture landmark is a tribute to Dr B.R. Ambedkar. The park spanning 107 acres of land is situated in Gomti Nagar, one of Lucknow's most affluent neighbourhoods. The well-kept lawns, several columns, and a canal that surrounds the area make it a popular tourist destination.
Dr Ambedkar Park, another marvel of architecture, was created to commemorate the lives of great Indian leaders who dedicated their lives to promoting equality, peace, and social justice.
Effigies of prominent leaders such as Bhimrao Ambedkar, Kanshi Ram, and others can be seen. The structure is composed of red sandstone brought in from Rajasthan and features planted lawns, columns, and different canals, creating a quiet and peaceful ambience. Ambedkar stupa, Pratibha sthal with 62 elephant statues, Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar samajik parivartan gallery, and museum are among the main attractions of this lovely location.
Timing: 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM
Entry Fee: Rs.15 per person.
14. Janeshwar Mishra Park
Janeshwar Mishra Park is a freshly built park in Lucknow's Gomti Nagar neighbourhood. It was established in tribute to the late Samajwadi Party politician Janeshwar Mishra and opened to the public in 2014.
These beautiful greens shimmered with floral gardens, one of the largest Asian parks, also offers a variety of activities. The area can be used for morning walks, jogs, or simply relaxing in the evening. Cycling routes, watersports, and a gondola are all available.
Aside from exercising, the park features a few souvenir shops and restaurants. Swings, slides, and other rides are among the many attractions available in the children's play area. The site has a 25-foot-tall statue of Janeshwar Mishra and is a never-ending expanse of plants, trees, and shrubs. It features many lakes, smaller bodies of water, a sports centre, and a playground.
Moreover, there's also a large display of MIG aircraft and a few tanks at the park's entrance. The garden is marked by a handful of fountains and well-kept seating areas. On the premises, there is a hoisted Indian flag.
Timings: 5:00 AM to 9:00 PM
Entry Fee: Rs. 10 per head
Gondola Ride: ₹ 100 for 20 minutes
15. Dr. Ram Manohar Lohiya Park
The Dr. Ram Manohar Lohiya Park, which spans 76 acres, is a prominent park in Gomti Nagar. The park, dedicated to communist Dr Ram Manohar Lohiya, is divided into four courtyards with distinct entrances. It also features beautiful lawns with seasonal flowers and shrubs. There are clean water and restroom facilities in addition to the seating arrangements. Along with the flower beds, there are also flood-lit walks.
A semi-circular route in the park features significant proverb engravings of some of India's most powerful leaders, including Dr Ram Manohar Lohiya, Mr Madhu Limye, and Mr Ram Sevak Yadav. The park also contains a lake with a backdrop of Dr Lohiya's statue, in addition to a fish and duck pond. There are four fountains strewn throughout the lake.
In addition to the clock tower, there is an amphitheatre nearby. There is also a large floral garden within the park's green space. A mechanised rainwater harvesting system has also been installed. There are swings and other exciting activities for youngsters in addition to a children's play area. Spring and winter are the best times to visit this park. This park is the best place to spend a serene and calm evening watching the beautiful surroundings.
Timings: 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM; every day
Entry Fee: Rs.10 per head
16. Phoenix Palassio Mall
The Phoenix Palassio Mall in Lucknow, which opened in 2020, is strategically placed in the main residential neighbourhood and IT hub of Gomti Nagar. With 900,000 square feet of leasable space, Phoenix Palassio Mall is Lucknow's largest mall. It covers 13.53 acres and has a 1 million square feet total built-up area. The mall has over 256 stores offering shopping, dining, entertainment, games, movies, three grand entrances, six atriums, towering arched ceilings with chandeliers, and more.
This mall includes some of the most interesting attractions as well as superb dining selections. There is a musical fountain show in the evenings, and some artists perform live within the mall on occasion. The attractions available at this mall will keep you entertained for hours. You and your friends or family could have a great time here.
Timings: 11:00 am - 9:30 pm
17. Jama Masjid
Jama Masjid is a well-known mosque and one of Lucknow's most popular tourist attractions. It is a spiritual centre for Muslim worshippers, like most other masjids in the country. Sultan Ahmed Shah, in 1423 had this monument built wholly using yellow sandstone. Famous for its intricate decorations and exquisite blend of Hindu and Muslim structures, many of its pillars have detailed carvings primarily inspired by Jain and Hindu traditions.
#Trivia: The Jama Masjid covers an incredible 4,950 square metres, with 260 pillars supporting just the western hall. The mausoleum of Sultan Ahmed Shah himself can be found on the eastern entrance.
Timings: 05:00 AM to 9:00 PM; every day
Entry Fee: Free
18. Nilansh Theme Park
Nilansh Theme Park, located in the suburbs of Lucknow, offers a variety of fun games, activities, and a water park. The venue can also accommodate events, parties, reunions, and overnight accommodations. Aside from that, the park is beautifully decorated with man-made lakes, beaches, and gardens. In addition, the theme park is home to Uttar Pradesh's single largest water park as well as Lucknow's biggest water slide. It's also UP's first day and night water park, so plan on spending the weekend here!
Body Slides, Family Slides, Rain Dance, Swan Boat Rides, Wave Zone, Swing Rides, boating, and adventure train are some of the most popular activities at Nilansh Theme Park. The theme park also has food kiosks, a souvenir shop, well-kept lockers, and changing facilities, in addition to water games. The water park offers a variety of packages, including holiday, picnic, corporate, and school packages.
Timing: 11 AM to 11 PM.
Monday To Friday:
Adult- Rs. 500.
Kids- Rs. 400.
Saturday To Sunday:
Adults- Rs. 600.
Kids- Rs. 500.
19. Regional Science City
If you're in Lucknow and want to learn more about science and how things work on our planet, this is the place to go. The Regional Science City will then provide you with all the answers. Anchalik Vigyan Kendra, or Regional Science City, is where daily school children gather in this group to learn the fundamentals of science in a hands-on environment with their professors.
The following are the prominent attractions of Lucknow Science City:
1. Scimax Movies: With a completely air-conditioned hall, the Scimax movie theatre boasts sophisticated world-class facilities for film projection. Every six months, the Scimax shows are rotated. As a result, you can go to its website to see what's new. The Scimax show is chock-full of spectacular moments.
Timings for different shows are 12:00 PM, 02:15 PM, and 04:45 PM.
2. 3D Show: The 3D Show is another Science City attraction. For seeing a brief 3D film, you will be given 3D viewing spectacles.
The shows start at 11:30 PM, 12:15 PM, and 1:00 PM.
3. Taramandal Show: This will be the most effective approach to learning about the Cosmos and other space-related topics.
11:00 PM, 01:30 PM, and 03:30 PM are the showtimes.
Science City timings- 09:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. Everyday
Ticket price- ₹ 105, including Science Centre, Scimax Show, 3-D Show, Taramandal Show.
20. RiverFront Park
The Gomti Riverfront Park, which stretches for about 2 kilometres along the banks of the river Gomti, is a famous tourist destination and a great place to relax. The park's popularity stems from its beautiful setting and natural surroundings.
Spend quality time with your loved ones at the riverfront park or sit by the fountain and watch the park dazzle in gorgeous lights after sunset. The park, equipped with jogging tracks, cycling tracks, children's play areas, and other amenities, is a terrific place to spend time with your loved ones in the evenings.
Timings: 6:00 am - 10:00 pm; every day
Entry Fee: Rs. 15 per head
The Constantia, which is now known as La Martinère School, was built in 1845 and is housing the tomb of Claude Martin, the French Major-General at the time. It is one of Lucknow's historic colonial landmarks. A library, a chapel, and a well-preserved and elegant lobby room are also located within this European-styled house.
Major Claude Martin, the French general who began construction on the structure in 1785, is buried there. The Constantia House, the country's largest European funerary monument, features an unusual blend of architectural styles. This landmark building, which features carved arches and richly decorated balconies, is still one of the city's most prestigious educational institutions.
To give this prestigious edifice a royal look, French rugs, ornately decorated mirrors, antique paintings, and a plethora of other vintage décors were imported from abroad.
Timings: 08:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Entry Fee: Free
22. Chattar Manzil
Nawab Ghazi Uddin Haider established Chattar Manzil, also known as Umbrella Palace, which was afterwards utilised by the monarch of Awadh and his wives. The building, which stands on the banks of the Gomti River, is a shining example of Nawabi and European architectural style.
The Umbrella Palace is known for its octagonal towers that support its umbrella-shaped dome. Formerly separated between the bigger (bari) and smaller (chhoti) umbrella domes, the Chattar Manzil has preserved the gold-encrusted Bari Chattar Manzil. This palace is a five-story structure with two basement levels and a terrace with two telescopes originally installed during colonial times.
#Trivia: It has also made cameo appearances in Bollywood films such as Jolly LLB 2.
Claude Martin, a French Major General at the time, began construction on this palace in 1781. The structure is currently used as a government office. Yet, it is still frequented by tourists due to its architectural splendour.
Timings: 08:00 AM to 06:00 PM; (Saturdays and Sundays Closed)
Entry Fee: Free
23. Amrapali Water Park
Amrapali Water Park, which opened in 2002, is a popular destination for families and friends looking for an exciting day out. The park has the most rides of any park in the area. There are also cabins, restaurants, and a children's play area on the site.
Top slides such as the Aqua Trail, Crazy Cruise, Black Hole, and Float Side are also there, with an in-house DJ pumping in the ambience. Swimming and splash pools, merry-go-rounds, roller coaster rides, and water slides are just a few of the attractions. In addition, camel rides are a unique pastime available here. This water park has it all, from slides to thrilling rides, video game arcades to restaurants.
Timing: 10 AM To 6 PM.
24. Dream World Water Amusement Park
Dream World Water Amusement Park is a one-stop experience for a day of thrills, excitement, and fun. The park promises a variety of rides, activities, and fun games, being a popular choice to hang out for teenagers as well as adults.
A few food vendors and small eateries can be found here. The park also has an indoor water park, making it one of the first in the country.
In addition, there are boat excursions, land games, paintball, Jurassic Park, and indoor games. The park's banquet hall and adjacent gardens also include a separate place for special occasions such as parties and get-togethers.
Timing: 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM.
Rs. 600 (Above 120cms of Height).
Rs. 500 (Below 120cms of Height).
Visit Lucknow and no time will be enough for you to witness its truly mesmerising destinations! Traces of each age and era that the city has lived through can undoubtedly be seen and felt at all times, when you dive deeper into Lucknow’s cultural roots and heritage! The city is best explored by booking a Lucknow Tour package with Lucknow Tourism, a division of Holidays DNA which makes sure you have a memorable holiday experience in this lively city.