Lonely Planet Magazine India
Colonial Lucknow Uttar Pradesh Image Credit: Lonely Planet Magazine India
Colonial Lucknow Uttar Pradesh Image Credit: Lonely Planet Magazine India

Colonial Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh

TIME AFTER TIME The year is 1857. The natives in the British East India Company’s army have taken up arms, and have revolted against the sahibs that lord over them. A few thousand Britons have retreated to the safety of the gated enclave created for them by Nawab Saadat Ali Khan II. As the days turn into months, and the cannonballs keep coming, the water starts running out and the living conditions become appalling. Respite finally comes, but it’s a bit too late for many people, including children, holed up inside The Residency (7am – 6pm, Fri closed; ` 15). The besieged colonialists take refuge in the damp, dark cellars, with no access to basic sanitation, and of the 3,000-odd people, around 2,000 die.

 

Radhika Lalla

As you wander through this expanse of green gardens and crumbling ruins, it’s difficult to imagine the horror faced by the people once trapped here. It’s a serene place, this, and invites you to settle down under a tree with a gripping read – Dalrymple’s White Mughals, perhaps?

Do also make a quick walkthrough of the 1857 Memorial Museum (The Residency complex; 10am – 5pm Tues – Sun; ` 5), and spend some time wandering through the Begum’s Kothi, the residence of Begum of Nasir-ud-Din Haidar, as well as the atmospheric ruins of the lovely mosque and imambara (shrine) in which she worshipped.

The Residency isn’t the only place in the city where you’ll hear stories of the Siege of Lucknow, though. Head over to La Martinière College, whose students famously assisted in the defence of The Residency (00-91-9454469226; www.lamartinierelucknow.org; La Martiniere Rd, Martin Purva). This beautiful complex is centred around the gorgeous Constantia, built to be the residence of Major-General Claude Martin, who died before it was completed. One of the clauses in the eccentric Major-General’s will was that his home be converted into a school for young men. Ano


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