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Clockwise from top: Bada Imambara, Charbagh Railway Station, Rumi Darwaza, Hazratganj, La Martiniere School, Ambedkar Memorial Park.
Nickname(s): The City of Nawabs, The Golden City of India, Constantinople of East, Shiraz-e-Hind
Lucknow is located in Uttar Pradesh
Location of Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh
Country  India
State Uttar Pradesh
District Lucknow
Named for Lakshmana(Brother of God Rama)
 • Type Mayor–Council
 • Body Lucknow Municipal Corporation
 • Mayor Dr. Dinesh Sharma (BJP)
 • Municipal Commissioner R.K. Singh
 • MP Rajnath Singh (BJP)
 • Metropolitan 2,528 km2 (976 sq mi)
Elevation 123 m (404 ft)
Population (2014)[2] 2,901,475
 • Rank 11th
 • Metro[3] 2,901,474
Demonym(s) Lakhnawi, Lucknowite
Time zone IST (UTC+5:30)
PIN 2260xx / 2270xx
Telephone code +91-522
Vehicle registration UP 32
GDP Increase $22 billion[4]
Sex ratio 915 /
Website .in.niclucknow

Lucknow (Listen Lakhna'ū) is the capital city of the state of Uttar Pradesh, India.[5] A major metropolitan city of India, Lucknow is the administrative headquarters of the eponymous District and Division.[6] It is the second largest city in north, east and central India after Delhi.[7] Lucknow has always been known as a multicultural city that flourished as a North Indian cultural and artistic hub and seat of Nawab power in the 18th and 19th centuries.[7] It continues to be an important centre of government, education, commerce, aerospace, finance, pharmaceuticals, technology, design, culture, tourism, music and poetry.[8]

The city stands at an elevation of approximately 123 metres (404 ft) above sea level and covers an area of 2,528 square kilometres (976 sq mi).[9][10] Bounded on the east by the Barabanki District, on the west by Unnao District, on the south by Raebareli and in the north by Sitapur and Hardoi, Lucknow sits on the northwestern shore of the Gomti River. Hindi is the main language of the city and Urdu is also widely spoken. Lucknow is the centre of Shia Islam in India with highest Shia Muslims population in India. It is accessible from every part of India by air, rail and road.

Historically the capital of Awadh was controlled by the Delhi Sultanate under Mughal rule, it was later transferred to the Nawabs of Awadh. After Lord Clive's defeat of the Bengal, Awadh and Mughal Nawabs it fell under the rule of the East India Company with control transferred to the British Raj in 1857.[11] Along with the rest of India, Lucknow became independent from Britain on 15 August 1947. It is the world's 74th fastest growing city.[12]

Lucknow, along with Agra and Varanasi, is one of the 3 cities in the Uttar Pradesh Heritage Arc which is a chain of survey triangulations created by the Government Of Uttar Pradesh to boost tourism in the state.


  • Origin of name 1
  • History 2
  • Geography and climate 3
  • Flora and fauna 4
  • Economy 5
  • Government and politics 6
  • Transport 7
    • Roads 7.1
      • City buses 7.1.1
      • Inter-state buses 7.1.2
    • Railways 7.2
    • Air transport 7.3
    • Metro 7.4
    • Cycling 7.5
  • Demographics 8
  • Architecture 9
  • Culture 10
    • Language and poetry 10.1
    • Cuisine 10.2
    • Festivals 10.3
    • Dance, drama and music 10.4
    • Lucknow Chikan 10.5
    • Quality of Life 10.6
  • Education 11
  • Media 12
    • Entertainment and films 12.1
    • Press 12.2
    • Radio 12.3
    • Internet 12.4
  • Sports 13
    • City-based clubs 13.1
  • Parks and recreation 14
  • Shopping and shopping-centres 15
  • Notable individuals 16
  • List of historical places 17
  • Sister cities of Lucknow 18
  • See also 19
  • External links 20
  • Further reading 21
  • References 22

Origin of name

"Lucknow" is the anglicized spelling of the local pronunciation "lakhnau"(Also known as city of nawabs). According to one legend, the city is named after Lakshmana, a hero of the ancient Hindu epic Ramayana. The legend states that Lakshman had a palace or an estate in the area, which was called Lakshmanapuri ("Lakshmana's city"). The settlement came to be known as Lakhanpur (or Lachhmanpur) by the 11th century, and later, Lucknow.[13][14] A similar theory states that the city was known as "Lakshmanavati" after Lakshmana. The name changed to Lakhanavati, then Lakhnauti and finally Lakhnau.[15] Yet another theory states that the city's name is connected with Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth. It was originally known as Lakshmanavati ("fortunate"). Over time, the name changed as follows: Laksmanauti -> Laksmnaut -> Laksnaut - > Laksnau -> Laknau.[16]


Panorama of Lucknow taken from Roshan-ud Daula Kothi Qaiserbagh in 1858
Nawab Asaf-Ud-Dowlah (1775–1797)[17]
Nawab Saadat Khan II (b. bf. 1752 – d. c. 11 July 1814)
Lucknow towards Cawnpore c1860

From 1350 onwards, Lucknow and parts of the Awadh region were ruled by the Delhi Sultanate, Sharqi Sultanate, Mughal Empire, Nawabs of Awadh, the British East India Company (EIC) and the British Raj. Lucknow was one of the major centres of the Indian Rebellion of 1857 and actively participated in India's independence movement, emerging as a strategically important North Indian city. Until 1719, the subah of Awadh was a province of the Mughal Empire administered by a Governor appointed by the Emperor. Persian adventurer Saadat Khan, also known as Burhan-ul-Mulk, was appointed nizam of Awadh in 1722 and established his court in Faizabad, near Lucknow.[18]

For about eighty-four years (from 1394 to 1478), Awadh was part of the Sharqi Sultanate of Jaunpur. Emperor Humayun made it a part of the Mughal Empire around 1555. Emperor Jahangir (1569–1627) granted an estate in Awadh to a favoured nobleman, Sheikh Abdul Rahim, who later built Machchi Bhawan on this estate. It later became the seat of power from where his descendants, the Sheikhzadas, controlled the region.[19]

The Nawabs of Lucknow, in reality the Nawabs of Awadh, acquired the name after the reign of the third Nawab when Lucknow became their capital. The city became North India's cultural capital, and its nawabs, best remembered for their refined and extravagant lifestyles, were patrons of the arts. Under their dominion, music and dance flourished, and construction of numerous monuments took place.[20] Of the monuments standing today, the Bara Imambara, the Chota Imambara, and the Rumi Darwaza are notable examples. One of the Nawab's enduring legacies is the region's syncretic Hindu–Muslim culture that has come to be known as the Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb.[21]

Gates of the Palace at Lucknow by W. Daniell, 1801

Many independent kingdoms, such as Awadh, were established as the Mughal Empire disintegrated. The third Nawab, Shuja-ud-Daula (r. 1753–1775), fell out with the British after aiding the fugitive Nawab of Bengal, Mir Qasim. Roundly defeated at the Battle of Buxar by the EIC, he was forced to pay heavy penalties and surrender parts of his territory.[22] Awadh's capital, Lucknow rose to prominence when Asaf-ud-Daula, the fourth nawab, shifted his court to the city from Faizabad in 1775.[23] The British appointed a resident in 1773 and over time gained control of more territory and authority in the state. They were, however, disinclined to capture Awadh outright and come face to face with the Maratha Empire and the remnants of the Mughal Empire. In 1798, the fifth Nawab Wazir Ali Khan alienated both his people and the British, and was forced to abdicate. The British then helped Saadat Ali Khan take the throne.[24] He became a puppet king, and in a treaty of 1801, yielded half of Awadh to the EIC while also agreeing to disband his own troops in favor of a hugely expensive, British-controlled army. This treaty effectively made the state of Awadh a vassal of the EIC, although it continued to be part of the Mughal Empire in name until 1819. The treaty of 1801 proved a beneficial arrangement for the EIC as they gained access to Awadh's vast treasuries, repeatedly digging into them for loans at reduced rates. In addition, the revenues from running Awadh's armed forces brought them useful returns while the territory acted as a buffer state. The Nawabs were ceremonial kings, busy with pomp and show but with little influence over matters of state. By the mid-nineteenth century, however, the British had grown impatient with the arrangement and demanded direct control over Awadh.[25]

The ruins of Residency at Lucknow shows the gunfire it took during the rebellion

In 1856 the EIC first moved its troops to the border, then annexed the state under the Doctrine of lapse. Awadh was placed under a chief commissioner – Sir Henry Lawrence. Wajid Ali Shah, the then Nawab, was imprisoned then exiled by the EIC to Calcutta.[26] In the subsequent Indian Rebellion of 1857, his 14-year-old son Birjis Qadra, whose mother was Begum Hazrat Mahal, was crowned ruler but later killed by Sir Henry Lawrence. Following the rebellion's defeat, Begum Hazrat Mahal and other rebel leaders sought asylum in Nepal.[27]

During the Rebellion (also known as the First War of Indian Independence and the Indian Mutiny), the majority of the EIC's troops were recruited from both the people and nobility of Awadh. The rebels seized control of the state, and it took the British 18 months to reconquer the region. During that period, the garrison based at the Residency in Lucknow was besieged by rebel forces during the Siege of Lucknow. The siege was relieved first by forces under the command of Sir Henry Havelock and Sir James Outram, followed by a stronger force under Sir Colin Campbell. Today, the ruins of the Residency and the Shaheed Smarak offer an insight into Lucknow's role in the events of 1857.[28]

With the rebellion over, Oudh returned to British governance under a chief commissioner. In 1877 the offices of lieutenant-governor of the North-Western Provinces and chief commissioner of Oudh were combined; then in 1902, the title of chief commissioner was dropped with the formation of the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, although Oudh still retained some marks of its former independence.[29]


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Further reading

  • Media related to at Wikimedia Commons
  • Lucknow travel guide from Wikivoyage
  • Lucknow at DMOZ
  • Official Site of Lucknow
  • The India of the Nawabs, The New York Times, Published: 25 February 1990

External links

See also

Sister cities of Lucknow

List of historical places

Notable individuals

Two more Shopping Malls, Singapore Mall and Lucknow Central are under construction and will open in 2016 and 2017 respectively.

Name Location Year Size (Gross Leasable Area) Source
Walmart Best Price Store Sushant Golf City, Amar Shaheed Path 600,000 sq ft (56,000 m2) [185]
Phoenix United Mall NH 25, LDA Colony 2010 600,000 sq ft (56,000 m2) [186]
Fun Republic Gomti Nagar 2007 970,000 sq ft (90,000 m2) [187]
Wave Mall Gomti Nagar 2004 314,500 sq ft (29,220 m2) [188]
Riverside Mall Gomti Nagar 2008 300,000 sq ft (28,000 m2) [189]
Sahara Ganj Mall Hazratganj 2005 900,000 sq ft (84,000 m2) [190]
Gardens Galleria Mall Rae Bareli Road, South City 2012 500,000 sq ft (46,000 m2) [191]
Ratan Square LalBagh 2011 200,000 sq ft (19,000 m2) [192]
Shopping Square Sushant Golf City 2012 [193]
Essar Mall Rajajipuram 2011 [194]
City Mall Gomti Nagar [195]
Shopping malls in the city include:

Lucknow features a large number of shopping-centres and markets/bazaars. Hazratganj is a major shopping area situated in the heart of the city,[104] which is home to bazaars, retail complexes, restaurants, hotels, theatres and offices.[183]
Major shopping markets are also found in Yahiyaganj, Aminabad, Kapoorthala, Janpath, Chowk, Bhootnath, and Gomti Nagar.[184]

Sahara Ganj Mall in Lucknow
Janpath Market Street in the city
Hazratganj is an upmarket shopping area in Lucknow city.

Shopping and shopping-centres

  • Hazratganj, a posh shopping area in the heart of Lucknow is very popular among the locals. It houses a number of national and international brands. The Lucknowites refer to strolling in this area as 'Ganjing', a term which has been made very popular among the locals now. The Victorian-style street-lamps, benches on the footpath, numerous eating joints and generous landscaping attracts a lot of crowd during evenings. Lucknow Development Authority (LDA) together with city's administration organizes monthly carnival on the second Sunday of each month in Hazratganj market. On this night, the market becomes a no-parking zone with barricades and security services. Cultural and entertainment programmes are held for the general public. Lucknow Police watches the crowd with the help of drone cameras.[180][181][182]

Besides these major parks, there are a number of small parks, water fountains and recreational areas, majority of them falling in the new Lucknow area.

  • Ambedkar Memorial is a park in the Gomti Nagar area and a memorial to Jyotiba Phule, Narayan Guru, Shahuji Maharaj, Bhimrao Ambedkar, and Kanshi Ram. It was constructed by Mayawati, the former Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh during the regime of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). The entire memorial was built using red sandstone brought from Rajasthan at an estimated cost of seven billion rupees. It is located in Gomti Nagar.
  • Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Park is a jogging park and recreational spot in Gomti Nagar. The park has a long track for jogging and a boating facility on its artificial lake. Between six and seven in the morning, recitals of vocal and instrumental music take place in the park,[177] which also offers a free fitness zone covering an area of over 300 square metres (3,200 sq ft) for daily joggers.[178]
  • Swarn Jayanti Smriti Vihar Park is a jogging and recreational park located in Indira Nagar near the Khurram Nagar intersection on the Ring Road. The park houses a jogging track more than 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) in length as well as swings for children.[179]
  • Janeshwar Mishra Park in Gomti Nagar is under rapid construction. A part of it was inaugurated and made open to the public by the Chief Minister of the State in 2014. Upon completion, this would be the largest park in Asia. It boasts of lush greenery, a man-made lake, India's longest cycling and jogging track and a variety of flora. Plan is also to set up a giant Ferris wheel inside the park on the lines of London Eye, which would provide a panoramic view of the city.

The city has parks and recreation areas managed by the Lucknow Development Authority. These[175] include Kukrail Reserve Forest and the surrounding picnic area, Begum Hazrat Mahal Park, Gautam Buddha Park, Qaisar Bagh, Rumi Park, Nimbu Park, Sardar Ballabh Bhai Patel Park, Dream Valley Resort, Swarn Jayanti Smriti Vihar Park, Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Park, the Ambedkar Memorial and Janeshwar Mishra park.[176]

Man made lake in Janeshwar Mishra Park
Ambedkar park, Lucknow 1
Lohia Park in Gomti Nagar features sprawling green lawns, lakes and jogging tracks.

Parks and recreation

Club Sport Team Homeground Founded
Awadhe Warriors Badminton Indian Badminton League Babu Banarasi Das U.P. Badminton Academy 2013
Uttar Pradesh Wizards Field hockey Hockey India League Dhyan Chand Astroturf Stadium 2012

City-based clubs

Lucknow Golf Club, on the sprawling greens of La Martinière College, is a well-known golf course while an international-level cricket stadium and academy project in the city is under construction in Gomti Nagar and is expected to host its first international match in 2017.[174]

The main sports hub is the K. D. Singh Babu Stadium, which also has a world-class swimming pool and indoor games complex. The other stadiums are Dhyan Chand Astroturf Stadium, Dr. Akhilesh Das Gupta Stadium at Northern India Engineering College,[173] Babu Banarsi Das UP Badminton Academy, Charbagh, Mahanagar, Chowk and the Sports College near the Integral University.

Lucknow Race Course in Lucknow Cantonment is spread over 70.22 acres (28.42 ha); the course's 3.2 kilometres (2.0 mi) long race track is the longest in India.[172]

With a good record in modern sports, the city has produced several national and world-class sporting personalities. Lucknow sports hostel has produced international-level cricketers such as Mohammad Kaif, Piyush Chawla, Anurag Singh, Suresh Raina, Gyanendra Pandey, Praveen Kumar and R. P. Singh. Other notable sports personalities include hockey Olympians K. D. Singh, Jaman Lal Sharma, Mohammed Shahid and Ghaus Mohammad, the tennis player who became the first Indian to reach the quarter finals at Wimbledon.[171]

For decades Lucknow hosted the prestigious Sheesh Mahal Cricket Tournament. Today cricket, association football, badminton, golf and hockey are among the most popular sports in the city. Syed Modi Grand Prix is an international Badminton competition held here.

Lucknow is the Headquarter for the Badminton Association of India. Located in Gomti Nagar, It was formed in 1934 and has been holding national-level tournaments in India since 1936. Junior level Badminton players receive their training in Lucknow after which they are sent to Bangalore.[169][170]


The city has broadband internet connectivity and video conferencing facilities. Major companies such as Sify, BSNL, Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications, Tata Communications, Aircel, Vodafone, uninor, Idea, Tikona, Hathway, and STPI have created a wide infrastructure to provide such services.[168]


FM radio transmission started in Lucknow in 2000. The city has the following FM radio stations:[167]

One of the earliest All India Radio stations has been operational in Lucknow since 1938.[166]


The Press Trust of India and United News of India have offices in the city and all major Indian newspapers have correspondents and stringers based locally.[165]

Prominent English language dailies are The Times of India, North India Times, Hindustan Times, The Pioneer and The Indian Express. Several newspapers in Hindi and Urdu are also published daily. Hindi papers include Dainik Jagran, Amar Ujala, Dainik Hindustan, Rashtriya Sahara, Jansatta, I Next and Swatantra Bharat while the main Urdu papers are The Inquilab, Rozanama Rashtriya Sahara, Sahafat, Avadhnama, Qaumi Khabrein, Aag, Roznama Urdu, and Subahnama Urdu.[164]

www.electronic newspaper, The Pioneer newspaper, headquartered in Lucknow and started in 1865, is the second oldest English language newspaper in India still in production.[162] The country's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru founded The National Herald in the city prior to World War II with Manikonda Chalapathi Rau as its editor.[163]


In Gadar: Ek Prem Katha Lucknow was used to depict Pakistan,[155] with locations including Lal Pul, the Taj Hotel and the Rumi Darwaza used in Tanu Weds Manu.[156] Some parts of Ladies vs Ricky Bahl, Bullett Raja,[157] Ishaqzaade[158] Ya Rab and Dabangg 2 were shot in Lucknow or at other sites nearby.[159] A major section of the Bollywood movie, Daawat-e-Ishq starring Aditya Roy Kapur and Parineeti Chopra was shot in the city[160] as was Baawre, an Indian TV drama, airing on the Life OK channel. The government has announced to develop two film city in Lucknow.[161]

Lucknow has had an influence on the Hindi film industry as the birthplace of poet, dialogue writer and script writer K. P. Saxena, Suresh Chandra Shukla born 10 February 1954[150] along with veteran Bollywood and Bengali film actor Pahari Sanyal, who came from the city's well known Sanyal family.[151][152] Several movies have used Lucknow as their backdrop including Shashi Kapoor's Junoon, Muzaffar Ali's Umrao Jaan and Gaman, Satyajit Ray's Shatranj ke khiladi. Ismail Merchant's Shakespeare Wallah, and PAA.[153][154]

Entertainment and films


The prestigious National P. G. College, affiliated to the University of Lucknow is ranked as the second best college imparting formal education in the country by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council.[149]

La Martiniere Lucknow, founded in 1845, is the only school in the world to have been awarded a battle honour.[146] It is one of the oldest and most reputed schools in India, often ranked among the top 10 schools in the country.[147][148]

City Montessori School, with over 20 branches spread throughout the city is the only school in the world to have been awarded a UNESCO Prize for Peace Education.[143] CMS also holds a Guinness World Record for being the largest school in the world with over 40000 pupil.[144] The school consistently ranks among the top ICSE schools of India.[145]

Educational institutions in the city include seven Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants, Central Food Technological Research Institute, Central Glass and Ceramic Research Institute.[141][142] Some of Uttar Pradesh's major schools are located in Lucknow including Mount Carmel College, City Montessori School, Colvin Taluqdars' College, St. Francis' College, Loreto Convent Lucknow, Kendriya Vidyala, Lucknow Public School, Stella Maris Inter College,Seth M.R. Jaipuria School, Cathedral School, Modern School, Amity International School, St. Mary's Convent Inter College, St. Agnes, Army Public School, Karamat Husain Girls college,Study Hall, Amiruddaula Islamia Degree College,Christ Church College, Delhi Public School

[139] Lucknow is home to a number of prominent educational and research organisations including

Amity University Lucknow Campus, also known as Mango Orchard Campus.
La Martiniere College
Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow


Lucknow was ranked 'India's Second Happiest City' in a survey conducted by IMRB International and LG Corporation, after only Chandigarh. It fared better than other metropolitan cities in India including New Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai. Lucknow was found to be better than other cities in areas such as food, transit and overall citizen satisfaction.[137][138]

Quality of Life

As a sign of recognition, in December 2008, the Indian Geographical Indication Registry (GIR) accorded Geographical Indication (GI) status for chikankari, recognising Lucknow as the exclusive hub for its manufacture.[136]

The chikan industry, almost unknown under the Nawabs, has not only survived but is flourishing. About 2,500 entrepreneurs are engaged in manufacturing chikan for sale in local, national and international markets with Lucknow the largest exporter of chikan embroidered garments.[135]

Chikankari is a popular embroidery work well known all over India. This 400-year-old art in its present form was developed in Lucknow and it remains the only location where the skill is practised today. Chikankari constitutes 'shadow work' and is a very delicate and artistic hand embroidery done using white thread on fine white cotton cloth such as fine muslin or chiffon. Yellowish muga silk is sometimes used in addition to the white thread. The work is done on caps, kurtas, saris, scarfs, and other vestments.[134]

Lucknow is known for embroidery works including chikankari, zari, zardozi, kamdani, and gota making (goldlace weaving).[133]

Front view of chikan embroidery created over a temporary block printed pattern
Chikan embroidery from the back

Lucknow Chikan

Lucknow is also the birthplace of musicians including Naushad, Talat Mahmood, Anup Jalota, and Baba Sehgal as well as British pop celebrity Sir Cliff Richard.[132]

[131] Apart from government institutes, there are many private theatre groups including IPTA, Theatre Arts Workshop (TAW), Darpan, Manchkriti and the largest youth theatre group, Josh. This is a group for young people to experience theatre activities, workshops and training.[130] Lucknow is also the home city of the eminent

The classical Indian dance form Kathak took shape in Lucknow.[125] Wajid Ali Shah, the last Nawab of Awadh, was a great patron and a passionate champion of Kathak. Lachhu Maharaj, Acchchan Maharaj, Shambhu Maharaj, and Birju Maharaj have kept this tradition alive.[126][127]

A dancer posing during a kathak dance sequence. The dance has its origins in Northern India and especially Lucknow

Dance, drama and music

The Chup Tazia procession originated in Lucknow before spreading to other parts of South Asia. Dating back to the era of the Nawabs, it was started by Nawab Ahmed Ali Khan Sahukat Yar Jung a descendent of Bahu Begum. It has become one of the most important Azadari processions in Lucknow and one of the nine permitted by the government. This last mourning procession takes place on the morning of the 8th of Rabi' al-awwal, the third Muslim month and includes alam (flags), Zari and a ta'zieh (an imitation of the mausolems of Karbala). It originates at the Imambara Nazim Saheb in Victoria Street then moves in complete silence through Patanala until it terminates at the Karbala Kazmain, where the colossal black ta'zieh is buried.[124]

Processions such as Shahi Zarih, Jaloos-e-Mehndi, Alam-e-Ashura and Chup Tazia had special significance for the Shia community and were effected with great religious zeal and fervour until in 1977 the government of Uttar Pradesh banned public Azadari processions. For the following twenty years, processions and gatherings took place in private or community spaces including Talkatora karbala, Bara Imambara (Imambara Asifi), Chota Imambara (Imambara Husainabad), Dargah Hazrat Abbas, Shah Najaf and Imambara Ghufran Ma'ab. The ban was partially lifted in 1997 and Shias were successful in taking out the first Azadari procession in January 1998 on the 21st of Ramadan, the Muslim fasting month. The Shias are authorised to stage nine processions out of the nine hundred that are listed in the festival register of the Shias.[123]

Muharram processions in Lucknow have a special significance and began during the reign of the Awadh Nawabs.

Lucknow is known as a seat of Shia Islam and the epitome of Shia culture in India. Muslims observe Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar and on Ashura (the 10th day of the month) celebrate the memory of Imam Husain, grandson of the Islamic prophet, Muhammad.[122]

Lucknow Mahotsava (Lucknow Festival) is organised every year to showcase Uttar Pradesh art and culture and to promote tourism.[120] With 1975–76 designated South Asian Tourism Year, Lucknow took the opportunity to promote the city's art, culture and tourism to national and international tourists. The first Lucknow Festival was staged as a part of this promotion and ever since, with some exceptions, Lucknow Mahotsava has taken place annually.[121]

Muharram procession in Lucknow, January 2007

Common Indian Festivals such as Eid, Holi, Diwali, Durga Puja, Vijayadashami, Christmas are celebrated with great pomp and show in the city.[119] Some of the other festivals or processions are as follows:


Lucknow is also famous for its delicious chats, street food, kulfi, paan and sweets. Nahari, a dish prepared using mutton, is very popular among non-vegetarians. Sheermal is a type of sweet bread (paratha) prepared only in Lucknow. Some restaurants in the city are around 100 years old; there are also many high-end restaurants, bakeries, lounges and pubs which cater to the affluent class and foreign travelers.

The Awadh region has its own distinct "Nawabi"-style cuisine. The best-known dishes of this area consist of biryanis, kebabs and breads. Kebabs are served in a variety of styles; kakori, galawati , shami, boti, patili-ke, ghutwa and seekh are among the available varieties.[116] The Tunde ke kabab restaurant has operated for more than a century and is the most popular source of kebabs.[117] The reputation of Lucknow's kebabs is not limited to the local population and the dish attracts people not only from other cities but also from other countries.[118]

Tunday's Gelawati Kababs, Lucknow's specialty.


The revolutionary Ram Prasad Bismil, who was hanged by the British at Gorakhpur jail, was largely influenced by the culture of Lucknow and remembered its name in his poetry.[114] Surrounding towns such as Kakori, Daryabad, Fatehpur, Barabanki, Rudauli, and Malihabad produced many eminent Urdu poets and litterateurs including Mohsin Kakorvi, Majaz, Khumar Barabankvi and Josh Malihabadi.[115]

Historically, Lucknow was considered one of the great centres of Muslim culture.[111][112] Two poets, Mir Babar Ali Anis and Mirza Dabeer, became legendary exponents of a unique genre of Muslim elegiacal poetry called marsiya centred on Imam Husain's supreme sacrifice in the Battle of Karbala, which is commemorated during the annual observance of Muharram.[113]

Although the city's primary official language is Hindi, the most commonly spoken language is colloquial Hindustani.[108] Indian English is also well understood and is widely used for business and administrative purposes, as a result of India's British heritage and Commonwealth tradition, as well as globalisation. The Urdu language is also a part of Lucknowi culture and heritage. It is mostly used by wealthier families, the remaining members of the royal family as well as in Urdu poetry and on public signs. The government has taken many innovative steps to promote Urdu.[109] Awadhi, a dialect of the Hindi dialect continuum, has played an important role in Lucknow's history and is still used in the city's rural areas and by the urban population on the streets.[110]

Language and poetry

In common with other metropolitan cities across India, Lucknow is multicultural and home to people who use different dialects and languages.[105][106] Many of the cultural traits and customs peculiar to Lucknow have become living legends today. The credit for this goes to the secular and syncretic traditions of the Nawabs of Awadh, who took a keen interest in every walk of life, and encouraged these traditions to attain a rare degree of sophistication. Modern day Lucknowites are known for their polite and polished way of speaking which is noticed by visitors. The residents of Lucknow call themselves Lucknowites or Lakhnavi.[107]


Around Hazratganj, the city's main market, there is a fusion of old and modern architecture. It has a multi-level parking lot in place of an old and dilapidated police station making way for extending the corridors into well-aligned pebbled pathways, adorned with piazzas, green areas and wrought-iron Tall, beautifully crafted cast-iron lamp-posts, reminiscent of the Victorian era, flank both sides of the street.[104]

Lucknow's Asafi Imambara exhibits vaulted halls as its architectural speciality. The Bara Imambara, Chhota Imambara and Rumi Darwaza stand in testament to the city's Nawabi mixture of Mughlai and Turkish style of architecture while La Martiniere college bears witness to the Indo-European style. Even the new buildings are fashioned using characteristic domes and pillars, and at night these illuminated monuments become the city's main attractions.[103]

Another example of mixed architectural styles is La Martiniere College, which shows a fusion of Indian and European ideas. It was built by Major-General Claude Martin who was born in Lyon and died in Lucknow on 13 September 1800. Originally named "Constantia", the ceilings of the building are domed with no wooden beams used for construction.[101] Glimpses of Gothic architecture can also be seen in the college building.[102]

The Tile Wali Masjid, Alamgiri Mosque, Lucknow It contains the famous Alamgiri Mosque which was built by Sultan Ali who was Governor of the province of Avadh during the reign of Aurangzeb. The mosque is known for its outstanding symmetry of form and sobriety of decoration.

The Chattar Manzil, which served as the palace for the rulers of Awadh and their wives is topped by an umbrella-like dome and so named on account of Chattar being the Hindi word for "umbrella". Opposite Chattar Manzil stands the 'Lal Baradari' built by Nawab Saadat Ali Khan I between 1789 and 1814. It functioned as a throne room at coronations for the royal courts. The building is now used as a museum and contains delicately executed portraits of men who played major roles in the administration of the kingdom of Oudh.[100]

Styles of architectures from various cultures can be seen in the historical places of Lucknow. The University of Lucknow shows a huge inspiration from the European style while Indo-Saracenic Revival architecture is prominently present in the Uttar Pradesh Vidhan Sabha building and Charbagh Railway station. Dilkusha Kothi is the remains of a palace constructed by the British resident Major Gore Ouseley around 1800 and showcases an example of English Baroque architecture. It served as a hunting lodge for the Nawab of Awadhs and as a summer resort.[99]

The 60 feet (18 m) tall Rumi Darwaza, built by Nawab Asaf-ud-daula (r. 1775-1797) in 1784, served as the entrance to the city of Lucknow. It is also known as the Turkish Gateway, as it was erroneously thought to be identical to the gateway at Constantinople. The edifice provides the west entrance to the Great Imambara and is embellished with lavish decorations.[98]

Bara Imambara in Hussainabad is a colossal edifice built in 1784 by the then Nawab of Lucknow, Asaf-ud-Daula. It was originally built to provide assistance to people affected by the deadly famine, which struck the whole of Uttar Pradesh in the same year.[95] It is the largest hall in Asia without any external support from wood, iron or stone beams.[96] The monument required approximately 22,000 labourers during construction.[97]

Lucknow's buildings show different styles of architecture with the majority built during British or Mughal rule. More than half of these buildings lie in the old part of the city. The Uttar Pradesh Tourism Department organizes a "Heritage Walk" for tourists covering the popular monuments.[93] Among the extant architecture there are religious buildings such as Imambaras, mosques, and other Islamic shrines as well as secular structures such as enclosed gardens, baradaris, and palace complexes.[94]

Hazratganj market, one of the most upmarket and beautiful markets of the city
The Cathedral, Hazratganj
La Martiniere School, one of the oldest and most reputed schools of India
Bada Imambada, Old Lucknow
Multi-storey apartments
Ghanta Ghar, the tallest clock tower in India
Skyline of Lucknow as seen from Gomti Nagar.


The city also boasts a total literacy level of 84.72% compared to 56.3% for Uttar Pradesh as a whole.[84] Average literacy rate for the Lucknow district in 2011 was 77.29% compared to 68.71% in 2001 with male and female rates at 87.81% and 81.36% respectively. For the district as a whole, the rate was 82.56% for males and 71.54% for females. The same figures stood at 75.98% and 60.47% in 2001. In Lucknow city the total literate population totalled 2,147,564 people of which 1,161,250 were male and 986,314 female.[84] There has been a marked improvement in the literacy rate in the district as compared to 1991.[90] Despite the fact that the overall work participation rate in the district (32.24%) is higher than the state average (23.7%), the rate among females in Lucknow is very low at only 5.6 percent and shows a decline from the 1991 figure of 5.9 percent.[91][92]

Over 36.37 percent of the total population reside in rural areas leaving barely around 63.3 percent composed of urbanites.[88] These were, however, high figures when compared to the state as whole, where urban population only constituted around 21% of the total population.[89] The sex ratio in Lucknow city stood at 915 females per 1000 males in 2011 compared to 2001 census figure of 888. The average national sex ratio in India is 940 according to the Census 2011 Directorate.[84]

Between 1991 and 2001 the district population registered growth of 32.03 percent, significantly lower than the 37.14 percent which was registered between 1981 and 1991.[85] The initial provisional data for the district suggests a population density of 1,815 per km2 in 2011 compared to 1,443 in 2001.[85] Although the total area covered by the Lucknow district is only about 2,528 square kilometres (976 sq mi), the population density was much above that of the 690 persons per  km2 recorded at state level. The Scheduled Caste population of the state represented 21.3 percent of the total population, a figure higher that the state average of 21.15 percent.[86][87]

As reported by the Census of India 2011 Lucknow city had a population of 2,815,601 of which 1,470,133 were men and 1,345,468 women[84] This was an increase of 25.36 percent compared to the 2001 figures.

The population of Lucknow Urban Agglomeration (LUA) rose above one million in 1981 while the 2001 census estimated it had risen to 2.24 million. This included about 60,000 people in the Lucknow Cantonment and the 2.18 million in Lucknow city and represented an increase of 34.53 percent over the 1991 figure.[83]

Population growth 
Census Pop.
1871 284,800
1881 261,300 -8.3%
1891 273,000 4.5%
1901 264,000 -3.3%
1911 259,800 -1.6%
1921 240,600 -7.4%
1931 274,700 14.2%
1941 387,177 40.9%
1951 496,900 28.3%
1961 595,400 19.8%
1971 814,000 36.7%
1981 1,007,604 23.8%
1991 1,669,204 65.7%
2001 2,245,509 34.5%
2011 2,902,601 29.3%


Lucknow is among the most bicycle-friendly cities in Uttar Pradesh. Bike-friendly tracks have been established near the Chief Minister's residence in the city. The four-and-a-half-kilometre track encompasses La-Martiniere College Road next to Golf Club on Kalidas Marg, where the Chief Minister resides, and Vikramaditya Marg, which houses the office of the ruling party. The dedicated four-metre-wide lane for cyclists is separate from the footpath and the main road. With Amsterdam as the inspiration, new cycle tracks are to be constructed in the city to make it more cycle-friendly, with facilities like bike rental also in the works.[79][80] In the year 2015, Lucknow also hosted a national level cycling event called 'The Lucknow Cyclothon' in which professional and amateur cyclists took part.[81]


Construction plans for a mass rapid transit system, the Lucknow Metro and Monorail Service were finalised in December 2013 by Delhi Metro Rail (DMRC).[77] Collection of soil samples for metro construction began on 5 August 2009 and was completed in September the same year. The report concluded that the soil condition was feasible for metro rail. The decision to go ahead with the project was taken in the Uttar Pradesh state budget debate for 2013–14. In February, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav gave approval to set up a metro rail system for the state capital. It is divided into two corridors with the North-South corridor connecting Munshipulia to CCS International Airport and the East-West corridor connecting Charbagh Railway Station to Vasant Kunj. This will be the most expensive public transport system in the state, but will provide a rapid means of mass transport to decongest traffic on city roads. Construction of the first phase will be completed by 2016–17.[78]


Direct air connections are available in Lucknow to New Delhi, Patna, Kolkata, Mumbai, Bangalore, Thiruvananthapuram, Hyderabad, Dehradun and other major cities via Chaudhary Charan Singh International Airport. The airport is suitable for all-weather operations and provides parking facilities for up to 50 aircraft. At present, Air India, Air India Express, Jetlite, Jet Air, GoAir, IndiGo, Saudi Airlines, Flydubai, Oman Air and Air Vistara operate domestic and international flights to and from Lucknow. Covering 1,187 acres (480 ha), with Terminal 1 for international flights and Terminal 2 for domestic flights, the airport can handle Boeing 767 to Boeing 747-400 aircraft allowing significant passenger and cargo traffic.[74][75] International destinations include Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Muscat, Sharjah, Dammam, and Jeddah.[76] Planned expansion of the airport will allow Airbus A380 jumbo jets to land at the airport; the Airport Authority of India is also planning to expand the international terminal to increase passenger traffic capacity. There is also a plan for runway expansion. It is the 10th-busiest airport in India, busiest in Uttar Pradesh, and second-busiest in North India.

Terminal-2, CCS International Airport
Terminal-2, CCS International Airport

Air transport

Lucknow is served by several railway stations in different parts of the city. The main long-distance railway station is Lucknow Railway Station located at Charbagh. It has an imposing structure built in 1923 and acts as the divisional headquarters of the Northern Railway division. Its neighbouring and second major long-distance railway station is Lucknow Junction railway station operated by the North Eastern Railway. The city is an important junction with links to all major cities of the state and country such as New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chandigarh, Amritsar, Jammu, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Pune, Indore, Bhopal, Gwalior, Jabalpur, Jaipur and Siwan. The city has a total of fourteen railway stations[72] with meter gauge services originating at Aishbagh and connecting to Lucknow city, Daliganj and Mohibullapur. Except for Mohibullapur, all stations are connected to broad gauge and metre gauge railways. All stations lie within the city limits and are well interconnected by bus services and other public road transport. Suburban stations include Bakshi Ka Talab and Kakori. The Lucknow–Kanpur Suburban Railway was started in 1867 to cater for the needs of commuters travelling between Lucknow and Kanpur. Trains running on this service also stop at numerous stations at different locations in the city forming a suburban rail network.[73]

Charbagh Railway Station, Lucknow


The major Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar Inter-state Bus Terminal (ISBT) in Alambagh provides the main inter and intrastate bus lines in Lucknow. Located on National Highway 25, it provides adequate services to ongoing and incoming customers. There is a smaller bus station at Qaiserbagh. The bus terminal formally operated at Charbagh, in front of the main railway station, has now been re-established as a city bus depot. This decision was taken by the state government and UPSRTC to decongest traffic in the railway station area. Kanpur Lucknow Roadways Service is a key service for daily commuters who travel back and forth to the city for business and educational purposes. Air conditioned "Royal Cruiser" buses manufactured by Volvo are operated by UPSRTC for inter state bus services. Main cities served by the UPSRTC intrastate bus service are Allahabad, Varanasi, Jaipur, Agra, Delhi, Gorakhpur. The cities outside Uttar Pradesh that are covered by inter-state bus services are Jaipur, New Delhi, Gwalior, Bharatpur, Singrauli, Faridabad, Gurgaon, Dausa, Ajmer, Dehradun, and Haridwar.[71]

Inter-state buses

Lucknow city's bus service is operated by Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (UPSRTC), a public sector passenger road transport corporation headquartered in MG road. It has 300 CNG buses operating in the city out of an overall fleet of 9,500. There are around 35 routes in the city.[69] Terminals for city buses are located in Gudamba, Virajkhand, Alambagh, Scooter India, Institute of Engineering and Technology, Babu Banarasi Das University, Safedabad, Pasi qila, Charbagh, Andhe Ki Chowki, and the Budheshwar Intersection. There are four bus depots in Gomti Nagar, Charbagh, Amausi, and Dubagga.[70]

City buses

Four Indian National Highways originate at Lucknow's Hazratganj intersection: NH-24 to Delhi, NH-24B to Allahabad, NH-25 to Shivpuri via Jhansi, NH-56 to Varanasi and NH-28 to Barauni.[67] Multiple modes of public transport are available such as taxis, city buses, cycle rickshaws, auto rickshaws and compressed natural gas (CNG) low floor buses with and without air conditioning. CNG was introduced as an auto fuel to keep air pollution under control. Radio Taxis are operated by two major companies along with several other small operators. They can be arranged by phone or at taxi stands.[68] Many other private players such as Ola cabs have also their presence in the city.

The roads of Lucknow (Gomti Nagar in picture)



The Lucknow Police, a subsidiary of Uttar Pradesh Police, keeps the citizens under watch through high-technology control rooms and all important streets and intersections are under surveillance with the help of drone cameras.[63] Mob controlling is carried out with the help of pepper spraying drones.[64] The Lucknow Modern Police Control Room (abbreviated as MCR) is India's biggest 'Dial 100' service center with 300 communication officers to receive distress calls from all over the state and 200 dispatch officers to rush for police help.[65] It is billed as the India's most hi-tech police control room.[66]

The Commission of Railway Safety of India, under the Ministry of Civil Aviation, has its head office in the Northeast Railway Compound in Lucknow.[62]

The police is headed by a Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), who is an IPS officer, and comes under the authority of the state Home Ministry. Each of the several police zones and traffic police zones is headed by a deputy inspector general of police. The Traffic Police is a semi-autonomous body under the Lucknow Police while the Lucknow Fire Brigade department is headed by the Chief Fire Officer, who is assisted by a Deputy Chief Fire Officers and Divisional Officers. Former Prime Minister A. B. Vajpayee was a member of Parliament for the Lucknow Parliamentary constituency until 2009, when he was replaced by Lalji Tandon. Rajnath Singh replaced Tandon in the Lok Sabha elections of 2014.[61]

Lucknow falls under the jurisdiction of a district collector, who is an IAS officer. Collectors are in charge of property records and revenue collection for the central government, and oversee the national elections held in the city. The collector is also responsible for maintaining law and order in the city.[60]

The city spans an area stretching from the Mohanlalganj (Lok Sabha constituency) in the south to Bakshi Ka Talab in the north and Kakori in the east. Lucknow Urban Agglomeration (LUA) includes Lucknow Municipal Corporation[58] and Lucknow Cantonment with executive power vested in the municipal commissioner of Lucknow, who is an administrative officer. The corporation comprises elected members (corporators elected from the wards directly by the people) with the city mayor as its head. An assistant municipal commissioner oversees each ward for administrative purposes. The city elects members to the Lok Sabha as well as the Uttar Pradesh Vidhan Sabha (State Assembly). As of 2008, there were 110 wards in the city. Morphologically, three clear demarcations exist; the Central business district, which is a fully built up area, comprises Hazratganj, Aminabad and Chowk A middle zone surrounds the inner zone with cement houses while the outer zone consists of slums.[59] Lucknow has two Lok Sabha Constituencies Lucknow and Mohanlalganj and nine Vidhan Sabha constituencies. The chief minister of the state for the 2012 Vidhan Sabha is Shri Akhilesh Yadav.

Since 1 May 1963, Lucknow has been the headquarters of the Central Command of the Indian Army, before which it was the headquarters of Eastern Command.[57]

As the seat of the government of Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow is the site of the Uttar Pradesh Vidhan Sabha, the Allahabad High Court and numerous government departments and agencies.[56]

Government and politics

To promote the textile industry in the city, the Indian government has allocated Rs. 200 crore (2000 million rupees) to set up a textile business cluster in the city.[55]

The city has enormous potential in the handicrafts sector and accounts for 60 percent of total exports from the state.[53] Major export items are marble products, handicrafts, art pieces, gems, jewellery, textiles, electronics, software products, computers, hardware products, apparel, brass products, silk, leather goods, glass items and chemicals. Lucknow has promoted public-private partnerships in a major way in sectors such as electricity supply, roads, expressways, and educational ventures.[54]

Lucknow is a growing IT hub with software and IT companies resident in the city. Tata Consultancy Services is one of the major companies with its campus in Gomti Nagar, which also is the second-largest such establishment in Uttar Pradesh.[48] There are many local open source technology companies.[49] The city is also home to a number of important national and state level headquarters for companies including Sony Corporation and Reliance Retail. A sprawling 100 acres (40 ha) IT city is planned by the state government at the Chak Ganjaria farms site on the road to Sultanpur and they have already approved special economic zone status for the project, which is expected to create thousands of job opportunities in the state.[50][51][52]

Ranked sixth in a list of the ten fastest growing job-creating cities in India according to a study conducted by Assocham Placement Pattern,[46] Lucknow's economy was formerly based on the tertiary sector and the majority of the workforce were employed as government servants. Large-scale industrial establishments are few compared to other north Indian state capitals like New Delhi. The economy is growing with contributions from the fields of IT, manufacturing and processing and medical/bio-technology. Business-promoting institutions such as the CII and EDII have set up their service centers in the city.[47]

Lucknow is also a major centre for research and development as home to the prominent R&D centres of the National Milk Grid of the National Dairy Development Board, the Central Institute of Medical and Aromatic Plants, the National Handloom Development Corporation and U.P. Export Corporation.[45]

Lucknow is among the top 15 cities of India by GDP.[44]

The major industries in the Lucknow Urban Agglomeration include aeronautics, machine tools, distillery chemicals, furniture and Chikan embroidery.[43]

Tata Consultancy Services Campus at TCS Awadh Park in Vibhuti Khand, Gomti Nagar


The Lucknow Zoo, one of the oldest in the country, was established in 1921. It houses a rich collection of animals from Asia and other continents. The city also has a botanical garden, which is a zone of wide plant diversity.[41] It also houses the Uttar Pradesh State Museum. It has sculptural masterpieces dating back to the 3rd century AD, including intricately carved Mathura sculptures ranging from dancing girls to scenes from the life of Buddha.[42]

Different varieties of mangoes, especially Dasheri, are grown in the Malihabad block of the district for export.[39] The main crops are wheat, paddy, sugarcane, mustard, potatoes, and vegetables such as cauliflower, cabbage, tomato, and brinjals. Similarly, sunflowers, roses, and marigolds are cultivated over a fairly extensive area. Many medicinal and herbal plants are also grown here while common Indian monkeys are found in patches in and around city forests such as Musa Bagh.[40]

Lucknow has a total of only 4.66 percent of forest, which is much less than the state average of around 7 percent.[37] Shisham, dhak, mahuamm, babul, neem, peepal, ashok, khajur, mango and gular trees are all grown here.[38]

Baby elephant at Lucknow Zoo
Lucknow is known for its Dusshehri mangoes, which are exported to many countries

Flora and fauna

Climate data for Lucknow (Chaudhary Charan Singh International Airport)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 30.4
Average high °C (°F) 22.5
Average low °C (°F) 7.5
Record low °C (°F) −1.0
Average rainfall mm (inches) 20.2
Average rainy days 1.5 1.5 1.0 0.6 1.6 5.4 12.0 11.6 8.6 1.7 0.5 0.8 46.8
Source: India Meteorological Department (record high and low up to 2010)[35][36]

Lucknow has a humid subtropical climate with cool, dry winters from November to February and dry, hot summers from April to June. The rainy season is from July to mid-September, when the city gets an average rainfall of 896.2 millimetres (35.28 in) from the south-west monsoon winds, and occasionally frontal rainfall will occur in January. In winter the maximum temperature is around 25 °C (77 °F) and the minimum is in the 3 °C (37 °F) to 7 °C (45 °F) range.[34] Fog is quite common from late December to late January. Occasionally, Lucknow experiences colder winter spells than places like Shimla and Mussoorie which are situated way high up in the Himalayas. In the extraordinary winter cold spell of 2012-13, Lucknow recorded temperatures below freezing point on 2 consecutive days and the minimum temperature hovered around freezing point for over a week. Summers are extremely hot with temperatures rising into the 40 °C (104 °F) to 45 °C (113 °F) range, the average highs being in the high of 30s (degree Celsius).

The Gomti River, Lucknow's chief geographical feature, meanders through the city and divides it into the Trans-Gomti and Cis-Gomti regions. Situated in the middle of the Indus-Gangetic Plain, the city is surrounded by rural towns and villages: the orchard town of Malihabad, Kakori, Mohanlal ganj, Gosainganj, Chinhat, and Itaunja. To the east lies Barabanki District, to the west Unnao District, to the south Raebareli District, while to the north lie the Sitapur and Hardoi Districts. Lucknow city is located in a seismic zone III.[33]

Downtown New Lucknow with Gomti River in the Middle
Map of Lucknow city

Geography and climate

Culturally, Lucknow has also had a tradition of courtesans,[32] with popular culture distilling it in the avatar of the fictional Umrao Jaan.


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