Lucknow – City of Nawabs and Kebabs

Lucknow Airport Directory (LKO)
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Those who think that the age of chivalry and gracious living is past and complain of modern life's monotony need to visit Lucknow. Dotted with grand monuments and famed throughout India for its cuisine, Uttar Pradesh's capital is often unfairly overlooked by travellers. They should know that locals tend to be welcoming, and the city manages to transport you back in time. Lucknow was once home to the great Nawabs of Awadh, a dynasty famously known for its pursuit of pleasure, most of it culinary. Undeniably more graceful and refined than the rest of India, the city where Umrao Jaan is based has absorbed all faiths with grace and tolerance, a mark of the Sufis and their influence in the region.

Lucknow is a multicultural city, which lies in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India. This capital city is a major metropolitan city of India. It is the second-largest city in north, east and central India after Delhi. Lucknow has always been known for its food and culture. It has been the artistic hub and was Nawab's seat in the 18th and 19th centuries. It continues to be an vital centre of government, education, aerospace, finance, pharmaceuticals, technology, design and tourism. This is the City of Nawabs holds significance for courtly etiquettes, beautiful gardens, poetry, music, and fine cuisine.

Best time to visit Lucknow

Lucknow is at its sunny best between October and early April. 

How to reach Lucknow

  • Flights to Lucknow: Situated in Amausi, Chaudhary Charan Singh International Airport is the nearest airport to Lucknow. IndiGo operates more than 150 non-stop weekly flights between Lucknow and other key destinations.
  • By train: Lucknow Charbagh Railway Station and Lucknow Junction Railway Station are the central railway station in Lucknow and others. These stations have a good network of several high-speed trains like Lucknow Rajdhani Express, Howrah-Jaisalmer Superfast Express etc., connecting the city with the rest of the country.
  • By bus: Lucknow is well-connected with the nearby cities through a vast network of buses provided by Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (UPSTRC) and private operators.
  • Getting around/local transport in Lucknow: You can travel around Lucknow using local buses (A/C and non-A/C) run by UPSRTC along with other accessible means of transport, including cycle rickshaws, auto-rickshaws and private cabs.

Most spoken languages in Lucknow

  • Urdu
  • Hindi
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Places to visit in Lucknow

  • Bara Imambara: There are many places to visit in Lucknow. Begin your trip with a stroll through the Bara Imambara (assembly hall), the largest arched entryway in the world. The central hall of Bara Imambara has no beams supporting the ceiling even though it's 15 metres tall—an architectural feat that has drawn many to Lucknow. After you've seen every detail in this historic heart of the city, don't leave. There's more which includes many historical places in Lucknow. Your ticket to the Imambara lets you immerse yourself in the magnificence of the Chota Imambara, the clock tower and the Hussainabad Picture Gallery, all of which are steps away.
  • Clock Tower: Also, visible from the Bara Imambara is a 19th-century clock tower modelled after London's Big Ben. This is also one of the most important tourist places in Lucknow.
  • British Residency: The story of Lucknow is not all pleasure—it does include some very dark chapters. You could and should lose a whole day visiting the British Residency—a haunting reminder of the 1857 Indian Mutiny (India's first revolt against the British for independence). This awe-inspiring cluster of gardens and ruins offer a look into the fall of the British Raj; the Residency was the only refuge for the British during the uprising. The main building hosts a museum devoted to keeping alive the story of 1857—in a chronological order making it even more haunting. Here, history buffs will find original photographs and lithographs, paintings and portraits of local Bravehearts. However, the museum's tone darkens as you venture down to the basement wing where you'll find terracotta figurines, a loaded revolver and cannonballs. To learn more, walk to the cemetery behind the nearby dilapidated church to ruminate by the graves of the dead. And end the day by bagging a front-row seat at the light, and sound show that dramatises the Residency's history every evening.
  • Rumi Darwaza: Another monument depicting the era of Lucknow is the Rumi Darwaza. The main attraction of this landmark of the medieval period is exponentially incredible at night. It is during the night that the gate becomes surreal with the bulbs highlighting this architectural marvel. Built-in 1784, Rumi Darwaza is an epitome of Awadhi style architecture. It is also known as Turkish gate due to its similarity with to the gateway of Constantinople. Considered to be the symbol of Lucknow city, this beautiful monument features exquisitely carved dome and beautiful architectural patterns and designs. You must include in your travel itinerary while visiting Lucknow.

Places to eat in Lucknow

Tunday Kebabi
Tunday Kebabi

For the seriously uninitiated, Tunday Kebabi, in the busy Aminabad bazaar, is run by the grandson of the one-armed Tunday, creator of the galouti kebab. You can also feast on a spread of pulaos, Awadhi kheer and saffron-coloured sheermals. But it is the smoothness of the kebabs that everyone queues up for—with diners travelling from afar. Bargain prices, attentive service and a market atmosphere, add to the draw.




A posh, rooftop restaurant located in Hotel Clarks Avadh, serves authentic Awadhi food. Perfect for winter afternoons, their signature butter chicken is the ideal accompaniment to their pillowy naans. There’s a small bar where you can enjoy brews and views as well.

Royal Café
Royal Café

As is your right, queue up the next afternoon for the local treasure that is the Royal Cafe at Hazratganj. Even if you don’t choose to dine here, try the chaat stand outside, the best of which is the potato basket chaat—stuffed with tikkis, fresh peas, yoghurt and chutney.


Ram Asrey
Ram Asrey

To combat a heavy meal, a well-made Lakhnavi paan is the best antidote. Founded in 1805, make your way to Ram Asrey for freshly made samosas and finish with the malai paan.




In a city where most of the food is a legacy of the Nawabs, Coqina is a small experiential kitchen that specialises in Awadhi cuisine. If you’re lucky, the meal gets prepared by a khansama from the Nawab’s kitchen. For those who want to learn about the city’s rich culinary heritage, this is the booking to snag in advance, since it is only open to those that have made reservations.

Sharmaji ki Chai
Sharmaji ki Chai

Every city has its sweet spot. Lucknow has the Sharmaji ki Chai in Aminabad. Apart from the refreshingly milky teas served with loads of nostalgia, their deceptively simple bun-makhan is a delicious conversation starter.



Located in the lobby at Vivanta by Taj - Gomti Nagar, Oudhyana serves some of the most authentic Awadhi dishes—the kakori kebab, the delicious nihari gosht, warqi paratha, sewai ka muzaffar and shahi tukda are all worth ordering. Service is spot-on, and the splendid thandai delivers a kick more pleasurable than the bill.


Shopping places in Lucknow

High-end shopping/luxury shopping/shopping malls in Lucknow

  • Sahara Ganj Mall
  • Fun Republic Mall
  • East End Mall
  • Pheonix United Mall
  • River Side Mall
  • Omaxe city centre Mall
  • Singapore Mall

Street shopping in Lucknow

  • Kotwara House: The home of the renowned film-maker and designer Muzaffar Ali (the Raja of Kotwara), Kotwara House is a homage to Nawabi culture. Located within the Qaisarbagh Palace complex, the restored house showcases and revives the traditional craft of Awadh. Here you can spend hours admiring the chikan, zari and mukaish work for the designer's couture label, Kotwara. Take a curated walk by all means across the palace property. It's the best way to sample Lucknow heritage without the hordes, though you can only do so by scheduling a walk with Lucknow Walks.
  • Self Employed Women's Association (SEWA): You don't need to look far or go to the streets when looking for a bargain buy in Lucknow. Self Employed Women's Association (SEWA) peddled beautiful chikankari at reasonable prices long before becoming fashionable. So, if you'd like to do your bit for a social cause, shop at their Alamgarh store. Looking good isn't half as satisfying as feeling good about yourself.
  • Bharat Khamira store: Are you hooked on hookah? Pick up a pipe or two from Nazirabad-based Bharat Khamira Store in Hukke Wali Gali, play a few ghazals on that vintage turntable back home and go back a few years in time. This addictive haunt satisfies your smoking needs with an array of pipes and intensely flavoured tobaccos.
  • Burma Bakery: Lucknow is famous for its bakery products as much as for its womenswear. Burma Bakery, in Hazratganj, is where you can stock up on butter biscuits and cake rusks to take home. Head to Ram Asrey in Chowk for kilos of kaju dalmoth, so that you can leave the city without feeling hungry for more.
  • Hazratganj
  • Aminabad Market
  • Chowk

If you know your chikankari from your chicken curry, Lucknow is the best place to shop for traditional wear. Ever since Judi Dench sashayed up in an exotic Abu Jani-Sandeep Khosla creation to receive an Oscar in 2004, chikankari couture has become a fashion staple in the swish set—at home as well as in the international corridors of fashion.

Where to stay in Lucknow


Vivanta by Taj-Gomti Nagar A 9-km stroll from Bara Imambara, this genteel hotel sits on 10 hectares of gardens in a domed, colonial-style building. Graceful columns, ornate tapestries, and lush lawns conjure up a time gone by, one that’s endearingly preserved here. Served by two restaurants and a bar, which will no doubt leave you in a glorious food coma, you can always recover from the day's activities at the welcoming pool.


Fairfield by Marriott, Gomti Nagar A lot is going for this hotel: a contemporary, central accommodation that offers excellent value, without compromising on the needs of the business traveller. Situated in the convenient Vibhuti Khand business district and just a short distance from the Indira Gandhi Pratishthan convention centre, guests can take in panoramic city views while working out in the hotel’s rooftop fitness centre.


Lebua Lucknow, Mall Avenue Had it with soulless hotel rooms? With its artfully designed rooms, the Lebua is all about being less stuffy. This was originally a quaint heritage bungalow built in 1936. The whimsical architecture reflects the art deco style of the early 1920s. All 41 rooms showcase the Nawabi heritage of living spaces flowing into courtyards making the property all the more welcoming. In a city that doesn’t quite throw up many boutique hotel options, staying here is more than delightful. There are also many resorts in Lucknow that you can choose to stay.

More reasons to visit Lucknow/Top things to do in Lucknow

La Martiniere School

It's another splendid day in Lucknow so park your cynicism at the gate before visiting La Martiniere School, situated on the marg named after it. Initially built by Frenchman Major General Claude Martin as a palatial home, it's a distinguished boarding school where pop legend Sir Cliff Richard and many other famous personalities studied. The eccentric facade is a sensory overload with its throwback to colonial architecture and its many turrets and gargoyles grinning in appreciation at students rushing by.

The Bara Imambara's Bhool Bhulaiya

Lucknow doesn't go big on molecular cuisine or boho boutiques. But, if you know where to look, the capital is full of curiosities. The Bara Imambara's Bhool Bhulaiya or the labyrinth is where rulers of the city, to guard themselves against rebellious soldiers, instructed the artisans to build it in a way that would enable the slightest whisper to travel through several turns and twists of the corridors. Rumour had it that the underground tunnels could take you to Delhi (sadly the tunnels were closed after some mercenary British soldiers went in search of rare diamonds and never surfaced). So, if you genuinely want to lose yourself in the beauty of Lucknow, you know where to go.

Kukrail Reserve Forest & Gharial Rehabilitation Centre

Is there anything better than a grassy picnic spot with crocodiles for a company? Make your way to the Kukrail Reserve Forest & Gharial Rehabilitation Centre. Throwdown a blanket and while away the afternoon, watching blackbucks, rare avian species and crocodiles.

Nightlife/party places in Lucknow

Places to hang out in Lucknow at night are many and enough to ensure that you are never short of things to do even when the sunsets.

  • Underdoggs Sports Bars
  • Saqi, Taj Vivanta
  • 5 CR Lounge
  • Skybar

Lucknow city also has a late-night entertainment arrangement for the movie buffs. Many theatres in the city offer to watch a movie late in the night. Be it a Bollywood masala movie or a Hollywood thriller, the latest of both the arenas are available in Lucknow.

Festivals in Lucknow

Lucknow Festival

Celebrated during November - December, the Lucknow festival is significant in this place. The unique and rich culture of Lucknow is depicted in this festival. The Lucknow Festival is celebrated for ten days. In these ten days, Lucknow wears an elegant and royal look, and the whole city comes alive with joyous celebration.

Vrindavan Sharadotsav

The beautiful festival of Vrindavan Sharadotsav is celebrated every year in October. Though it is not primarily celebrated in Lucknow, people over here also participate in celebrating this festival that is dedicated to Lord Krishna.


Holi is a celebrated festival all over India with great enthusiasm. . Many sweets and unique dishes are prepared for this occasion, and people indulge in all sorts of festivities and enjoy themselves.


Diwali is an important festival in Lucknow and is celebrated by people all over the city. It is rejoiced to mark good over evil when Lord Rama killed the demon king Ravana and returned to his kingdom in Ayodhya. People lit lamps/diyas outside their homes and welcomed Lord Rama with a brilliant fireworks display.


Dusshera is an essential festival of Lucknow, and it is celebrated with great enthusiasm. On this day, Ravana and his brothers' monumental effigies are put up in various parts of the city and are set afire.

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