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I have explored Munnar in many trips. But this time, the  feeling was different. The road ahead to Munnar had been further narrowed, following the recent floods and landslides. At many places, all along the road, safety barriers have been constructed.  Vehicles were moving in one line in most of the places. The remains  of landslides will make you feel uncomfortable.  The recent  floods has  consumed literally  the whole of Kerala state. But people had  begun to travel to Munnar to view and enjoy the  Neelakurinji bloom in Munnar hills.

It was in 2006 that the Neelakurinji bloomed in Munnar hills. Neelakurinji season arrive only once in 12 years.  This year the flowers bloomed a bit late and rains, flooding and week long fog also affected the longevity of the flowers.

We started our journey at around 6 am to Munnar which is around 117 km from Kochi. Along the way we stopped at Cheyappara Water Falls.

Cheyappara Falls

Our next stop was at View point. There is small hut and you will get tea and snacks. You can go down after taking nominal entry fee. From here you can admire the beauty of valley and hills.


We reached Munnar at around 1 PM. After lunch we rushed to Eravikulam National Park also known as Rajamala. It is situated just 8 kms from Munnar. You can also take ticket from the counter of sports council stadium, old Munnar.  After taking the ticket you can board the bus arranged by Eravikulam national park by paying Rs. 20 and within 15 minutes you will reach Eravikulam.

Fifth mile is the entrance of the Eravikulam National Park. It has visitors launch, drinking water, bio toilet display boards and parking facility.  After taking the entry ticket , further travel is by safari bus arranged by Park authorities till view point. Entry time is restricted from 7:00 am to 4.00 pm. Entry Fee is  Rs.120/ for Indian Adults and Ordinary Camera charge for Rs. 40/-

The road ahead to view point is narrow and two buses cannot cross at a time. The scenery on both sides of the zigzag road is marvelous.  Rolling hills and emerald green tea plantations sprawling across horizon make for a picture postcard setting.  You can also see some Neelakurinji flowers on the road side.



The bus will go till view point. Further you can walk through the tar road about two kilometer to the top. When we cross the security check post, the guard informed us that  plucking of Nilakurinji flower is illegal and will  be charged  Rs.2000/-. These flowers, when in bloom, cover vast areas over the hills and the surrounding landscape. 


And we walked through the narrow road enjoying beautiful Neelakurinji i flowers on one side and the wilderness of the nature on the other side. When I searched for the Neelakurinji flower over the internet, it looked like blue or pink color flowers,  but in real it looks purple color.



The presence of Nilgiri Tahr, the endangered mountain goat is one of the attractions that attracts travelers. They wander through the mountains by eating plants and ambling down the hills is a sight to behold


You can also find all kinds of flora and fauna which are marked by placing boards near to them which provide details of these flowers. Some of them are, Kattumunthiri ( Robus ellipticus), Sundew Plant, Blechnum orientala, Anaphalis subdecurrens, Kattu Thumba ( Leucas vestita) and Kurinji( Strobilanthes pulneyensis ).


All you can do is to enjoy the scenery  arranged by nature.
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For the last two months I could not make any travel.  Some unprecedented events in my life made it hard to just pick up and take off. After arriving at Chelakkara, a village in Thrissur district, in the Indian state of Kerala, for two weeks,  I had been looking for an opportunity to visit some places nearby. At last,  one of my relatives took me to Poolakund waterfalls, in his motorbike. 

Poolakund falls is around 3 kms from Pangarapilly Junction, on the way to Elanad. The road deviated to Poolachodu from the main road. The road was muddy when you are close to Poolachodu and was no less than a foot-path. From the road, walk along the water stream into woods. There was nothing spectacular about the place. When you  walk,  stop and enjoy the sound of nature. The path is generally easy to walk and the walk is pleasant as you stroll through the forest.


The day was cool and sombre. Shortly we could hear the sound of the falls and  huge rocks covered  the waterfalls. The first few steps beneath the falls are natural stone steps. From here you can view the falls perfectly.



From there you gain a lovely view, looking upstream, of the cascading falls. The walk at the foot of the falls provides several superb vantage points for sight seeing.


Better to avoid walk on the rocks beneath the falls. Enjoy the beauty all around and listen to the gurgle of the water from the falls. It is perfect for picnics and observing nature. Return the way you came after viewing these cascading falls.
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Monsoon is the best possible time for trekking. But there is another reason for selecting the less talked about Mankulam. The caves have a lot of interesting stories which gives us lot of curiosity. One such interesting unexplored caves are found at Mankulam. Moreover the climate is turning more pleasurable by the passing days and forest streams are now gurgling with crystal clear water.

Day 1

Mankulam is just 126 kms from Kochi, in the Indian state of Kerala.

Our route was :
Kochi -Aluva - Adimali - Kallar - Mankulam

We were informed that our base camp was at Chinnar Chappath ( also named as  Chinnar Kuthu ) which is just one km before reaching Mankulam town. We parked our car near one of the road side house and started climbing through coffee plantations towards our base camp. A huge waterfall amidst the forest and plantations welcomed us. There was a huge rock structure which was fenced and a metal ladder was placed to reach the top.


We were almost beneath the waterfalls. We saw a huge rock. And we walked little ahead and saw our base camp. It was constructed at the back side of the rock and the rock itself is used as wall of the building.  It had all basic amnesties like two bath attached rooms, kitchen and verandah.

Base Camp

After having lunch, we were ready to spend a good, long part of the day in exploring the forest and the caves  and soaking in the best of what the season has to offer.
Cave ExplorationWe set off into the forest.  There are ten hidden caves in this area and there is no legend associated with these caves. This is a naturally formed cave system. These caves are set amidst dense evergreen forests of the Western Ghats and cascading waterfalls. There were two caves near to our base camp.  After crossing two caves,  you'll have to cross a small stream coming from cascading waterfalls. The water is chilling but at the same time refreshing.


After a few minutes into the trek, we realized we were lost as there was  no trail to be found. The forest cover was thicker than ever.


We were totally clueless about the route even with our guide along. We could not find the trail leading to the caves.  And we reached nowhere.



The only way was to climb the rock. We started climbing the difficult path. The path became more dangerous and alarming and it involved a bit of elementary rock climbing. The trail was challenging, steep and an excellent place to test your endurance.  However the experience was  thrilling as the trail went  through dense forest cover and stream crossings before reaching the hidden caves.


Since it was monsoon season, the waterfall gushed down with force  inside the cave and all of this just made for one enthralling experience.



Descending from the cave was a little tricky.  You have to go down through a narrow hole, only one person can crawl at a time. Walking and bending and even crawling at certain places through the pathways, tires you out.  But this is a great experience if you are looking for some adventure and thrill.

One we reached the base camp, we decided to stroll around the Mankulam village. Mankulam is a very scenic small village. There are some resorts for accommodation. Reached back to the base camp and had a bath in the pool under the waterfalls. It was enough for me to wiped out the day's tiredness.

After a heavy dinner and chit chatting, it was time for camp-fire and tent setting. Few of the team members slept in the base camp and others preferred tent stay above the rock structure. This area can accommodate around 10 tents at a time. I slept in my tent in the verandah. The reason was to keep others from my thundering snoring. I retired to my tent. The sound of the waterfall that is constant music to the ears  and cool breeze that started blowing, lulled me into deep sleep.

Day 2

We woke up at the break of the dawn.
TrekkingThe peaceful forest trail starts from the base camp  and winds up along gently towards the plateau. First few kilometers takes you through the plantations. As you ascend, the forest open up to numerous vistas. Continuous chirping of birds and the sound of the wind echoing in the forest is constant music to the ears. Further the trail goes through Shola forest, crossing several small streams.


From the top you will get a picture-perfect backdrop of Mankulam village. We rested here for some time and every one was busy taking photos and selfies and they tried to get as close to the edge as much as possible.


Further was a series of streams with water so crystal clear, cool and pure for drink. I breathed deeply and sniffed Ayurvedic herbs. I filled my bottle from a  natural spring.


At last, we left the jungle and returned to the base camp.
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Periyar Barrage, Bhoothathankettu 

Its name, as it turns out, is  the most dramatic thing about Bhoothathankettu.  The dense forest cover of this place, shrouded in myth and reality, starts appearing as soon as you cross the Periyar Barrage in  the new Bhoothathankettu Dam. The dam is a vantage point from where you can spot the turbulent water rushing from the dam towards the Old Bhoothathankettu. It is situated 50 km away from Kochi,  in the Indian state of Kerala.
Explore : Old  Bhoothathankettu  & Reserve ForestIf you like to walk, trekking to old Bhoothathankettu  is a great experience  crossing small springs by the side of the Periyar river.  The walk starts from the end of the Periyar Barrage. This is also the entrance of the Edamalayar hydroelectric project. The walk is conducted by Bhoothathankettu ecotourism. This place is under Malayattoor Forest division, Thundathil Range. Since this is a guided walk, you will get an opportunity to know the forest and nature.

Entry time is restricted from 9 am to 4 pm. Entry ticket is Rs. 20 for adults, Rs.10 for Children and Rs.50 for Foreigners. Only two restaurants are available in this place and you will get tea, snacks and ice creams. There are also vendors selling ice cream, peanuts and  chips.


During the walk, you can see a cave tree, a huge cheeni tree and other forest trees.


But the most interesting attraction is a big cave inside the forest. Since this is a rainy season,  the path  to the cave is slippery and a temporary bamboo ladder is placed to help visitors  enter into the cave.


Even though the entry is short, one can stand straight inside the cave. This can accommodate hundred people at a time.


The debris of huge stone are visible here which were used to identify the direction.



Once you reach old Bhoothathankettu, you will be surprised by the majestic beauty of the Periyar flowing through a big gap between the rocks. If one more rock was there, the flow could have been arrested completely.

There is an interesting mythological story about this place.  Demons wanted to destroy the Thrikkariyoor Temple of Lord Shiva by building a dam, and started rolling huge rocks towards the riverbed in the thick of the night. The God, however, decided to fool the demons by creating an illusion of dawn. The demons fearing the arrival of light fled the place . He saw the boulders which the demons were supposed to have rolled onto the riverbed, the Old Bhothathankettu . The Periyar flows on through the narrow space which the demons did not quite manage to dam up .

The reality is that the gigantic rocks rolled down from the mountains during the landslides caused by floods of the 4th century and become entrenched in the Old Bhoothathankettu.   In 1790 Tipu with his army camped on the banks of the  Periyar river at Aluva. To prevent his evasion,  a small group led by Vaikom Padmanabha Pillai and Kunjai Kutty Pillai went upstream and managed to break the walls of a dam at Bhoothathankettu causing heavy flash floods downstream Periyar river.


Those who visit the area should not venture into the river for swimming since the under currents are very strong and the water deep in some areas.

Birdwatchers will be thrilled by some of the species found here. This is a kind of place you would go to listen to the nature. You can occasionally hear the leaves hustle with the wind or the sound of the birds. You can watch a wonderfully quaint hut set into the breathtaking countryside of old dam.


The trek takes one hour and is suitable for anyone.
BoatingBoating for 10 km is also offered at Bhoothathankettu dam. During the ride, one can witness the Thattekad Bird Sanctuary too. Entry fee is Rs. 150 for one person for one hour . Entry time is restricted from 8 am to 5 pm. The area around the boating facility is landscaped with tree houses, a children's play area and a restaurant.

Nestled amidst the lap of nature with  thick forest on one side and cultivated coconut and rubber trees on the other side, it is a sight to behold. We were in the constant lookout for elephants, deer, sambar, and wild dogs but had no luck.


You can also witness Chelamala, the remnants of summer palace of Chola kings during the boat journey.

A view of Periyar River from the boat

We saw few resorts by the side of the reservoir.

A view of Bhoothathankettu Dam from the boat

A trip to this picturesque place is the perfect way to soothe the Big City nerves.
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Fort Kochi is known for its beaches, Chinese fishing nets, historical buildings and cafes that serve European food. But also dotting the cultural remnants of  the Portuguese, the Dutch and the English.

 The first European township in India was built as a fort city by the Portuguese. Before the Dutch destroyed Fort Immanuel in Fort Kochi, it had seven bastions. Even though you can no longer actually see the Fort after which the town is now named, but you can watch the barely existing fort walls and its old bastions. A guided walk on a  Sunday morning is the best time to uncover the city's history. The walk started from Vasco da Gama Square. You can watch Chinese fishing nets and  fresh fish stalls in this place.

TOWER HOUSE

Tower house

The walk goes through Jawahar Park. Since the British period, this area has been used by the public to spend their evenings. The British administration erected a tower like machine here to measure the power of the wind

OLD HARBOR HOUSE

Old Harbor House
Once you cross the park, you can see the old harbor house. This old bungalow, built in 1808 belonged to Carrit Moran & Co., renowned tea brokers. Now they have converted the bungalow into a hotel.

KODER HOUSE

Koder House
Koder house is next to the old harbor house. This building was constructed in 1808 by a Jewish patriarch, Samuel Koder of the Cochin Electric Company. Now this three -storeyed building has been converted into a heritage boutique hotel.

FORT WALLS

existing fort walls
Soon you will reach K B Jacob Road where you can see the remains of the fort walls. This wall is considered to be  the boundary of the Fort.

SANTA CRUZ BASILICA

Santa Cruz Basilica
Santa Cruz Basilica, the original Catholic Church in Fort Kochi, was built by the Portuguese in 1505 and named as a cathedral in 1558. The current structure dates to 1905 and was made a basilica by Pope John Paul II in 1984.

VIHARA


Behind the Santa Cruz Basilica, you can see a structure which has been considered as a Vihara and now it is kept as a monument.

The walk goes through K L Bernard Master road where you can find fort walls, now part of private property.

BISHOP HOUSE

Indo-Portuguese museum in Fort Kochi is located in the compound of Bishop House. It showcases Portuguese influence in Kochi and is famous for it's collections from various churches. It is considered as one of the seven bastions of the Dutch Fort.

THAKUR HOUSE

This magnificent bungalow was built on the sea side, facing Gelderland Bastion, one of the seven bastions of the Dutch Fort.Thakur House was earlier known as Kunal or Hill Bungalow.

THE DUTCH CEMETERY

The Dutch Cemetery
The Dutch Cemetery is now managed by the Church of South India and is the testimony of the European community at Fort Kochi. This was constructed in 1724.

FORT KOCHI BEACH


Fort Kochi Beach is one of the favourite tourist destinations in Kochi. You can enjoy the breathtaking view of the Arabian sea or take a stroll on the walk-ways. The walk-way extends till the famous Fort Kochi fish market. It is considered that the remnants of the forts are buried under the layers of sand of the Fort Kochi beach.

ST FRANCIS CHURCH

St Francis Church
St. Francis Church is believed to be the oldest church built by Europeans in India. This was the burial spot of Vasco da Gama, who died in Cochin during his third visit. Later his remains were taken back to Portugal.

PARADE GROUND

Parade Ground

Surrounded by impressive century old trees and old buildings, the four acres of Parade Ground was used by the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British to conduct military drills and parades. Today it is the largest open space in Fort Cochin and serves as a public sports ground.

COCHIN CLUB

Cochin Club

Located in Fort Kochi near Parade ground, this was a British club till Indian Independence. Presently, it is open to Club members.

VOC GATE

VOC logo on VOC Gate
Facing the Parade ground is a large gate with the initials VOC. The monogram, which is dated 1740, represents the once mighty Dutch East India Company, which had its offices here for almost 150 years.

VASCO HOUSE

Vasco House
Vasco House is believed to have been the residence of  Vasco Da Gama until his death in 1524. The original high wooden ceilings, old stone-staircase, and a series of typical European glass-paned windows have been maintained to this day.

BASTION BUNGALOW

Bastion Bungalow
Originally one of the seven bastions of the 17th-century Fort Immanuel built by the Portuguese, this bungalow was built by the Dutch using one wall of the original fort. In keeping with the architecture of the region, it has a tiled roof, and long wooden verandas, and today, functions as a heritage museum.
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Built in the 16th century, Padmanabhapuram Palace seems to have resisted the sweeping march of time. On the Thuckalay-Kulasekharam route, turn from Thuckalay to the Palace, which is just one km from Thuckalay. For many, the palace is a pitstop on the way to Kanyakumari from Thiruvananthapuram. The palace has a handful of families who have lived here for generations.  I was walking towards the biggest wooden palace in Asia. The Palace is nestled by the bustle of shops and hotels. A walk after crossing the main entrance takes you back to the reign of royal kings of Travancore. The first sight of the palace was impressive. Once you enter the large lawn, you can watch a 300 year old clock which still keeps time.

Our first stop inside is 'Poomukham', where the king entertained special guests. The entrance of this building is shaped as a triangle and it showcases the indigeneous architechtural style of Kerala.
Poomukham

The most striking feature of the building is the wooden ceiling, where ninety flowers have been carved and each of them is unique.

Another attractions in the 'Poomukham' are Kuthira Vilakku ( hanging brass lamp with a knight on horse-back), a Chinese chair presented to the King by  a Chinese merchant and the 'Onavillu' presented to the King as tribute by landlords and cheiftains of different clans during the Onam festival.
Kuthira Vilakku
First floor of the building is 'Mantrasala' ( King's Council chamber), which is decorated by wooden window grills and beautiful craft work of wooden ceiling. This is the most impressive part of the palace.
Mantrasala ( King's Council chamber)

The floors throughout the palace are in shades of bone white, rich earthy brown and black. The ingredients of the floor include egg shells, lime, tender coconut water, coconut oil etc. The coloring added by using,coal from burnt coconut shells, for black, red hibiscus and henna for brown and egg shell and lime for ivory.

Next to the Mantrasala is Oottupura ( Dining Hall ), a two-storeyed building, which can accommodate over 1000 people at a time in each floor.
Oottupura ( Dining Hall )

At the farther end of the hall is the exit. Next our stop was at  'Thai Kottaram' also known as mother palace. This Nalukettu style building was built during the reign of Ravi Varma Kulasekhara Perumal.

Next up is the 'EKANTHAMANDAPAM'. The main attraction in this building  is 'Kannithoonu'  a ceiling supporting pillar built of jack fruit tree.

And then there was the majestic King size bed- a wooden cot made up of 64 different pieces of wood which are of medicinal quality. The Queen's dressing room nearby had  another cot.

The ceilings were carved out of wood and were a treat to the eyes.

Next up is 'Ambari Mukhappu' which was was built for the kings to view chariot races (temple car's race) during festivals and to appear before the public on special occassions.

Next up is Navarathri Mandapam.  Various cultural programes were conducted  in this place during the Navarathri festival. The dance floor was polished to mirror-dance perfection so much that it is known as 'Kannadithara' or mirror floor. Separate rooms with 'Kilivathil' ( small wooden windows built in the wall) have been made for the king to view the programmes without being seen by the common public.
Navarathri Mandapam

After hours of Palace hoping, we came out of the  main Palace compound.  Then we walked to the Thekke Kottaram Heritage Museum which is adjacent to the Padmanabhapuram Palace. The Thekke Kottaram has three small buildings carved in traditional architecture. One of the buildings has its balcony opening to a pond below. One building houses the heritage museum and the third one used to be a ‘Thekkini’ or place of worship.

Follow the paths of Keralities at heritage museum, where you can see age-old domestic appliances, musical instruments and other artifacts showcasing their everyday life.

Padmanabhapuram Palace showcases centuries-old tradition in timeless glory.
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When I visited Rock garden in Chandigarh long back, I was impressed by the breathtaking artwork and installations. I had the same experience when I made a detour to Rock Garden which is located 800 meters South of Malampuzha Dam in Palakkad district, in the Indian state of Kerala. This garden is situated with a backdrop of the Malampuzha dam and the collection of artwork is conceived and designed by the renowned sculptor Padma Shri Nek Chand Saini, the creator of India's first Rock Garden located in Chandigarh. This is the first-of-its-kind in South India and thousands of visitors travel to Malampuzha to see the master pieces arranged in the Rock garden.  The site was very peaceful even though it was a weekend that I visited. After crossing the entrance, you can see the central courtyard with arts in the traditional form of Kerala.

The unique feature of this garden is that the artifacts displayed here are made of waste materials such as used plastic bottles and cans, waste pieces of tiles, granites, stones, electricity fuse carriers, power insulators, broken bangles, melamine dishware, etc.

Walking through the dramatic entrances in the garden, you  find a new world after every gate.


Many narrow paths and staircases are made inside the garden . You can marvell the beautiful art work on the walls.




We were really surprised to see such artistic work created from just junk.  Every piece is carved from junk material.  Then I took a closer look on the top of the walls and they are decorated with sculpture of birds.

As I walked from one portion to another, I noticed many sculptures of people and animals.  Lots of human figurines, birds, animals were there with some breathtaking surreal murals on the walls.




I walked along the narrow passages  and found a Bharathanatiyam standing posture and so many other sculptures depicting different dance forms.


At the next rock wall, I found a lady dancing depicted in red color background.


Rocks tells lots of stories. Scenes recreated from Kathakali, Theyyam, Kalaripayattu, Thiruvathirakali,  Dandiya dance and the Mahabali legend are the main attractions. These are the exhibits showcasing the traditional culture and art forms of Kerala. Just go to the world of imagination to see it all come alive.







 You can also see the sculpture of group of farmers and building workers created from concrete and tile pieces.

At another spot, a sculpture of a man sitting near to the wall looks like he is surprised to see the art works.

The exit wall of the garden is decorated with bangle pieces. It takes around two hours, but am glad to have visited this rock garden.

Entry time  is restricted from 10 am to 6 pm.
Entry tickets - Rs 10
Still camera - Rs 20
Video camera - Rs 50


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I had  read much about Lucknow over the years. It was the capital of the Nawabs of Awadh during the 18th and 19th century who lived well, enjoyed the arts and indulged in good food. Hence, Lucknow is often lovingly referred to as the city of Nawaabs, Tehzeeb (Respect), Kebab (Food) & Shabaab (Beauty). The rulers of many dynasties ruled the city which finally came under the rule of British. After independence, the city was made the capital of Uttar Pradesh.

A road trip from Kanpur to Lucknow on a Sunday morning and  much of the countryside appeared just as I had  imagined. During the 2 hours journey covering 83 kms, I noticed the empty paddy fields on both the sides covered by smog.

Here are some places you must visit while in Lucknow.

MARVEL AT THE ARCHITECTURE OF BARA IMMAMBARA

Nestled in expansive lawns, Bara Imambara. also known as Asafi Imambara was constructed in 1784 by Nawab Asaf-ud Daulah, the fourth Nawab of Awadh. Bara means huge or big, and an imambara (a congregation hall) is a shrine for Muslim community built by Shia Muslims for the purpose of prayer or Azadari. The monument has two levels of entrances, a large courtyard, and gardens. You can take the entry ticket from the second entrance.


The main building is constructed on a high platform and this three storey building is still impressive. The main feature of this monument is that no pillars or beams were used to support the roof and it shows  the architecture sensibility of the era.


The central hall which is the largest among nine halls in the monument, has the tomb of Asaf-ud-Daula and a beautifully designed ceiling.
Central Hall. Bara Imambara, Lucknow

The eight other halls are small and surround the central one, divided by thick pillars and walls.

LABYRINTH ( BHUL BHULAIYYA)

Bhul Bhulayya is a part of the monument that has a network of walls. It is a labyrinth of hundreds of narrow stairway passages, some of which also have dead ends, which was constructed to confuse intruders. It is easy to get lost when you walk through these passages.
 Labyrinth (Bhul Bhulayya),  Bara Imambara, Lucknow

ASFI MOSQUE

Asafi Masjid was constructed by Nawab Asaf-ud-Daulah. No iron was used in the construction of the mosque which makes it stand out. The mosque is located to the right of the Bara Imambara’s gate.
Asafi Mosque, view from Bara Imambara, Lucknow

SHAHI BAULI ( BARA) IMAMBARA

Shahi bauli  is situated inside the Bara Imambara and this monument has a five-storey baoli or step well and is also known as Shahi Hammam.  It is said that the step well is directly connected to Gomti.
 Shahi Bauli, Bara Imambara, Lucknow

CHOTA IMMAMBARA

Chota Imambara is also known as Imambara Hussainabad Mubarak. Mohammad Ali Shah, the third Nawab of Awadh, built the imambara. Here Shia Muslims perform mourning ceremonies in the month of Muharram. This imambara is also a mausoleum of the third nawab and his mother. The grand gateway of Chota Imambara is referred to as the Naubat Khana.  There are five doors to enter the imambara along with two halls and a platform. Looking at the central line of fountains and hanging bridge of the Char Bagh styled gardens, similar to the Taj Mahal, you inhabit again the world of the Nawab's. This must be how they lived.

The entire hallway is filled with colorful chandeliers that supposedly came from Belgium. Gilded mirrors, stunning lamps and more antiquities are from Europe.

RUMI DARWAZA ( RUMI GATE )

A short walk from Bara Imambara is the Rumi Darwaza, which  was built by Nawab Asaf-ud-Daulah in 1784 on the basis of Awadhi architecture. Rumi Darwaza is also known as Turkish Gate as per the resources from the British. Historians say that the structure is the replica of a gate in Constantinople currently known as Istanbul.

HUSSAINABAD CLOCK TOWER

Husainabad Clock Tower  is located adjacent to the Rumi Darwaza, and is a perfect example to the artistic and structural skills of the Englishmen. It was built in the year 1881 by Nawab Nasir-ud-din Haider to mark the arrival of Sir George Couper, 1st Lieutenant Governor of United Province of Avadh.  Husainabad clock tower is considered as the tallest among all the clock towers in India and was built as a replica to the BIGBEN clock tower of London.

SHOPPING AND FOOD

Like most culinary cities, Lucknow has plenty of great markets for shopping and eating. Some of the major and famous shopping places in Lucknow are Aminabad, Kapoorthala, Hazratganj and Janpath. As we turned onto bustling Aminabad market, we were  trying hard to walk through the crowd.
Aminabad Market, Lucknow

The first thing that comes to mind while talking about shopping in Lucknow is of course the famous "Chikankari" (means Chikan embroidery work ) of Lucknow, , which is well-known all over India. Chikan is a very famous thread work that is done by the skilled craftsmen of Lucknow. It is combined with  crystal work and embroidered  on clothes for women, men and kids.

"Chikankari" of Lucknow

What is on the menu in Lucknow?  Tunday Kebab and Kachori, accompanied by Makhan Malai, a kind of frothy sweet dish. The Mughal and Awadhi cuisines, which dominate most of the North Indian food worldwide, originated in Lucknow. Tunday means handicapped and they got their name because the person who made them first was handicapped. Over a 100 masalas go into the making of this royal kebab and are best served with rumali roti. A visit to Lucknow is incomplete without trying the local favourite - Tunday Kebab.

STREETS

The design of street lights reminiscing the  ancient days.

Remnants of good old days still linger in Lucknow with old buildings and the toots of cycle rickshaws. It was a nice experience to roam around Lucknow city in a Cycle-Rickshaw.

AMBEDKAR MEMORIAL

Ambedkar Memorial, a major attraction of modern Lucknow  is spread over 107 acres of land in Gomti Nagar.  This memorial was constructed by the BSP Government.

KANSHI RAM MEMORAIL

Kanshi Ram Memorial is a memorial of Bahujan Samaj Party founder Kanshi Ram situated at VIP road. It is considered as the bigggest dome in India constructed by the BSP Government.

From a perfect blend of modern and old architecture to busy streets and local cuisines, a day in Lucknow straddles many eras.
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