The city stands at an elevation of approximately 123 metres (404 ft) above sea level. Lucknow district covers an area of 2,528 square kilometres (976 sq mi). Bounded on the east by Barabanki, on the west by Unnao, 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 the highest Shia Muslim population in India.
Historically, the capital of Awadh was controlled by the Delhi Sultanate which then came under the Mughal rule. It was later transferred to the Nawabs of Awadh. In 1856, the British East India Company abolished local rule and took complete control of the city along with the rest of Awadh and, in 1857, transferred it to the British Raj. Along with the rest of India, Lucknow became independent from Britain on 15 August 1947. It has been listed the 17th fastest growing city in India and 74th in the world.
Lucknow, along with Agra and Varanasi, is in the Uttar Pradesh Heritage Arc, a chain of survey triangulations created by the Government Of Uttar Pradesh to boost tourism in the state.
"Lucknow" is the anglicised spelling of the local pronunciation "lakhnau". According to one legend, the city is named after Lakshmana, a hero of the ancient Hindu epic Ramayana. The legend states that Lakshmana had a palace or an estate in the area, which was called Lakshmanapuri (Sanskrit: लक्ष्मणपुरी, lit. Lakshmana's city). However, the Dalit movement believes that Lakhan Pasi, a dalit ruler, was the settler of the city and is named after him. The settlement came to be known as Lakhanpur (or Lachhmanpur) by the 11th century, and later, Lucknow. A similar theory states that the city was known as Lakshmanavati (Sanskrit: लक्ष्मणवती, fortunate) after Lakshmana. The name changed to Lakhanavati, then Lakhnauti and finally Lakhnau. Yet another theory states that the city's name is connected with Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth. Over time, the name changed to Laksmanauti, Laksmnaut, Lakhsnaut, Lakhsnau and, finally, Lakhnau.
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 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.
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.
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. 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.
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 East India Company, he was forced to pay heavy penalties and surrender parts of his territory. Awadh's capital, Lucknow rose to prominence when Asaf-ud-Daula, the fourth Nawab, shifted his court to the city from Faizabad in 1775. The British East India Company appointed a resident (ambassador) in 1773 and by early 19th century 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. He became a puppet king, and in a treaty of 1801, yielded large part of Awadh to the East India Company while also agreeing to disband his own troops in favour of a hugely expensive, British-controlled army. This treaty effectively made the state of Awadh a vassal of the East India Company, although it continued to be part of the Mughal Empire in name until 1819. The treaty of 1801 proved a beneficial arrangement for the East India Company 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. By the mid-nineteenth century, however, the British had grown impatient with the arrangement and demanded direct control over Awadh.
In 1856 the East India Company first moved its troops to the border, then annexed the state for alleged Maladministration. Awadh was placed under a chief commissioner – Sir Henry Lawrence. Wajid Ali Shah, the then Nawab, was imprisoned then exiled by the East India Company to Calcutta. In the subsequent Indian Rebellion of 1857, his 14-year-old son Birjis Qadra, whose mother was Begum Hazrat Mahal, was crowned ruler. Following the rebellion's defeat, Begum Hazrat Mahal and other rebel leaders sought asylum in Nepal.
During the Rebellion (also known as the First War of Indian Independence and the Indian Mutiny), the majority of the East India Company'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.
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.
The Khilafat Movement had an active base of support in Lucknow, creating united opposition to British rule. In 1901, after remaining the capital of Oudh since 1775, Lucknow, with a population of 264,049, was merged into the newly formed United Provinces of Agra and Oudh. In 1920 the provincial seat of government moved from Allahabad to Lucknow. Upon Indian independence in 1947, the United Provinces were reorganised into the state of Uttar Pradesh, and Lucknow remained its capital.
Lucknow witnessed some of the pivotal moments which changed the politics of the country forever. One is the first meeting of the stalwarts Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru & Mohd Ali Jinnah during the Indian National Congress session of 1916 (Lucknow pact was signed and moderates and extremists came together through the efforts of Annie Besant during this session only). The Congress President for that session, Ambica Charan Majumdar in his address said that "If the Congress was buried at Surat, it is reborn in Lucknow in the garden of Wajid Ali Shah".
Also, the Famous Kakori Incident involving Ram Prasad Bismil, Ashfaqullah Khan, Rajendra Nath Lahiri, Roshan Singh and others followed by the Kakori trial which captured the imagination of the country took place in Lucknow.
Culturally, Lucknow has also had a tradition of courtesans, with popular culture distilling it in the avatar of the fictional Umrao Jaan.
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, Mohanlalganj, Gosainganj, Chinhat, and Itaunja. To the east lies Barabanki, to the west Unnao, to the south Raebareli, while to the north lie the Sitapur and Hardoi. Lucknow city is located in a seismic zone III.
Lucknow has a humid subtropical climate with cool, dry winters from mid-November to February and dry, hot summers with thunderstorms from late March 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. Fog is quite common from mid-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 very 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).
Lucknow has a total of only 4.66 percent of forest cover, which is much less than the state average of around 7 percent. Shisham, Dhak, Mahuamm, Babul, Neem, Peepal, Ashok, Khajur, Mango and Gular trees are all grown here.
Different varieties of mangoes, especially Dasheri, are grown in the Malihabad adjacent to the city and a block of the Lucknow district for export. 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.
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 zoo also has enjoyable toy train rides for the visitors.The city also has a botanical garden, which is a zone of wide plant diversity. 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.
The major industries in the Lucknow urban agglomeration include aeronautics, automotives, machine tools, distillery chemicals, furniture and Chikan embroidery.
Lucknow is among the top cities of India by GDP. Lucknow is also a centre for research and development as home to the 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.
Ranked sixth in a list of the ten fastest growing job-creating cities in India according to a study conducted by Assocham Placement Pattern, 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/biotechnology. Business-promoting institutions such as the CII and EDII have set up their service centres in the city.
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. HCL Technologies also started its training program with 150 candidates in April 2016 at HCL Lucknow campus. There are many local open source technology companies. 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 costing 15 billion Rupees 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.
The city has potential in the handicrafts sector and accounts for 60 percent of total exports from the state. 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 sectors such as electricity supply, roads, expressways, and educational ventures.
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.
Lucknow division which consists of six districts, and is headed by the Divisional Commissioner of Lucknow, who is an IAS officer of high seniority, the Commissioner is the head of local government institutions (including Municipal Corporations) in the division, is in-charge of infrastructure development in his division, and is also responsible for maintaining law and order in the division. The District Magistrate of Lucknow reports to the Divisional Commissioner. The current Commissioner is Anil Garg.
Lucknow district administration is headed by the District Magistrate of Lucknow, who is an IAS officer. The DM is in charge of property records and revenue collection for the central government and oversee the national elections held in the city. The DM is also responsible for maintaining law and order in the city, hence the SSP of Lucknow also reports to the DM of Lucknow. The District Magistrate is assisted by a Chief Development Officer (CDO), eight Additional District Magistrates (ADM) (Finance/Revenue, East, West Trans-Gomti, Executive, Land Acquisition-I, Land Acquisition-II, Civil Supply), one City Magistrate (CM) and seven Additional City Magistrates (ACM). The district has five tehsils, Sadar, Mohanlalganj, Bakshi ka Talab, Malihabad and Sarojni Nagar, each headed by a Sub Divisional Magistrate. The current DM is Kaushal Raj Sharma.
Lucknow district comes under the Lucknow Police Zone and Lucknow Police Range, Lucknow Zone is headed by an Additional Director General ranked IPS officer, and the Lucknow Range is headed Inspector General ranked IPS officer. The current ADG, Lucknow Zone is Abhay Kumar Prasad, and IG, Lucknow Range is Ajay Narain Singh.
The district police is headed by a Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), who is an IPS officer, and is assisted by ten Superintendents of Police (SP)/Additional Superintendents of Police (Addl. SP) (East, West, North, Trans-Gomti, Rural Area, Crime, Traffic, Security, Protocol and Modern Control Room), who are either IPS officers or PPS officers. Each of the several police circles is headed by a Circle Officer (CO) in the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police. The current SSP is Deepak Kumar.
The district 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. Mob controlling is carried out with the help of pepper spraying drones.
The Lucknow Modern Police Control Room (abbreviated as MCR) is India's biggest 'Dial 100' service centre with 300 communication officers to receive distress calls from all over the state and 200 dispatch officers to rush for police help. It is billed as the India's most hi-tech police control room. Lucknow is also the center for 1090 Women Power line, a call center based service directed at dealing with eve-teasing. An Integrated 'Dial 100' Control Room building is also under construction which when completed will be the world's biggest modern Police Emergency Response System (PERS).
The Lucknow Fire Brigade department is headed by the Chief Fire Officer, who is subordinate to the District Magistrate and is assisted by a Deputy Chief Fire Officers and Divisional Officers.
The development of infrastructure in the city is overseen by Lucknow Development Authority (LDA), which comes under the Housing Department of Uttar Pradesh government. The Divisional Commissioner of Lucknow acts as the ex-officio Chairman of LDA, whereas a Vice Chairman, a government appointed IAS officer, looks after the daily matters of the authority. The current Vice-Chairman of Lucknow Development Authority is Prabhu Narayan Singh.
The Lucknow Municipal Corporations oversees civic activities in the city, the head of the corporation is the Mayor, but the executive and administration of the corporation are the responsibility of the Municipal Commissioner, who is a Uttar Pradesh government appointed Provincial Civil Service (PCS) officer of high seniority. The post Mayor of Lucknow is currently vacant and the Municipal Commissioner is Udairaj Singh.
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.
Lucknow also houses a branch office of National Investigation Agency which is responsible for combating terrorist activities in India. It oversees five states of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh for naxal and terrorist activities.
The Commission of Railway Safety of India, under the Ministry of Civil Aviation, has its head office in the Northeast Railway Compound in Lucknow.
As the seat of the government of Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow is the site of the Uttar Pradesh Vidhan Sabha, a bench of the Allahabad High Court and numerous government departments and agencies.
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 and Lucknow Cantonment with executive power vested in the municipal commissioner of Lucknow, who is PCS 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. Lucknow has two Lok Sabha Constituencies Lucknow and Mohanlalganj and nine Vidhan Sabha constituencies.
The current Member of Parliament from Lucknow is Rajnath Singh.
Two major Indian National Highways have their intersection at Lucknow's Hazratganj intersection: NH-24 to Delhi, NH-30 to Allahabad via Raebareli, NH-27 to Porbandar via Jhansi and Silchar via Gorakhpur. 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 several major companies.
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. Terminals for city buses are located in Gudamba, Viraj Khand, 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.
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.
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, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Chandigarh, Amritsar, Jammu, Chennai, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Pune, Indore, Bhopal, Jhansi, Jabalpur, Jaipur and Siwan. The city has a total of fourteen railway stations 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.
Direct air connections are available in Lucknow to New Delhi, Patna, Kolkata, Mumbai, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Chennai, Guwahati and other major cities via Chaudhary Charan Singh International Airport. The airport has been ranked the second best in the world in small airport category. The airport is suitable for all-weather operations and provides parking facilities for up to 50 aircraft. At present, Air India, Air India Express, 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. International destinations include Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Muscat, Riyadh, Singapore, Bangkok, Dammam and Jeddah.
The 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.
Lucknow Metro is a rapid transit system which started its operations from 6th September 2017. Lucknow Metro system is the fastest built metro system in the world and most economical high-speed rapid transit system project in India. The commencement of civil works started on 27 September 2014.
In February, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav gave the 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 complete by March'17. The completion of metro rail project is the primary object of Uttar Pradesh government currently headed by the chief minister Yogi Adityanath
Home Minister Rajnath Singh and CM Yogi Adityanath showed green flag to the Lucknow Metro.
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. In the year 2015, Lucknow also hosted a national level cycling event called 'The Lucknow Cyclothon' in which professional and amateur cyclists took part. An under-construction cycle track network by the Government Of Uttar Pradesh is set to make Lucknow the city with India's biggest cycle network.
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 2.18 million in Lucknow city and represented an increase of 34.53% over the 1991 figure.
According to the provisional report of 2011 Census of India, Lucknow city had a population of 2,815,601, of which 1,470,133 were men and 1,345,468 women. This was an increase of 25.36% compared to the 2001 figures.
Between 1991 and 2001, the population registered growth of 32.03%, significantly lower than the 37.14% which was registered between 1981 and 1991. The initial provisional data suggests a population density of 1,815 per km2 in 2011, compared to 1,443 in 2001. As the total area covered by the Lucknow district is only about 2,528 square kilometres (976 sq mi), the population density was much than the 690 persons per km2 recorded at the state level. The Scheduled Caste population of the state represented 21.3% of the total population, a figure higher than the state average of 21.15%.
The sex ratio in Lucknow city stood at 915 females per 1000 males in 2011, compared to the 2001 census figure of 888. The average national sex ratio in India is 940 according to the Census 2011 Directorate. The city has a total literacy level in 2011 of 84.72% compared to 56.3% for Uttar Pradesh as a whole. In 2001 these same figures stood at 75.98% and 60.47%. In Lucknow city, the total literate population totalled 2,147,564 people of which 1,161,250 were male and 986,314 were female. 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% and shows a decline from the 1991 figure of 5.9%.
Lucknow's buildings show different styles of architecture with the many iconic buildings built during the British and Mughal era. More than half of these buildings lie in the old part of the city. The Uttar Pradesh Tourism Department organises a "Heritage Walk" for tourists covering the popular monuments. 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.
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. It is the largest hall in Asia without any external support from wood, iron or stone beams. The monument required approximately 22,000 labourers during construction.
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.
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.
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.
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. Glimpses of Gothic architecture can also be seen in the college building.
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.
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.
In common with other metropolitan cities across India, Lucknow is multicultural and home to people who use different dialects and languages. Many of the cultural traits and customs peculiar to Lucknow have become living legends today. The city's contemporary culture is the result of the amalgamation of the Hindu and Muslim rulers who ruled the place simultaneously. 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. It also represents the melting pot of globalization where the legacy of Nawab's culture continues to be reflected in the traditional vocabulary of the Hindi language of the city along with better avenues for modernization present here.
Lucknow is famous for its ghararas. It is a traditional women's outfit that originated from the Nawabs of Awadh. It is a pair of loose trousers with pleats below the knee worn with a kurta (shirt) and a dupatta (veil). It is embroidered with zari and zardozi along with gota (decorative lace on knee area). This dress is made from over 24 metres of fabric, mostly silk, brocade and kamkhwab.
Although Uttar Pradesh's primary official language is Hindi, the most commonly spoken language is colloquial Hindustani. 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. 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.
Historically, Lucknow was considered one of the great centres of Muslim culture. 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.
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. 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.
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. The Tunde ke kabab restaurant has operated for more than a century and is the most popular source of kebabs. 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.
Lucknow is also famous for its delicious chaats, 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 travellers.
Common Indian Festivals such as Christmas, Diwali, Durga Puja, Eid, Holi, Raksha Bandhan, Vijayadashami are celebrated with great pomp and show in the city. Some of the other festivals or processions are as follows:Lucknow Mahotsav
Lucknow Festival is organised every year to showcase Uttar Pradesh art and culture and to promote tourism. 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.Lucknow Literature Festival
This is an annual literature festival held in the month of November every year since 2013. Lucknow LitFest is India's second largest literature festival featuring some of the greatest writers & thinkers from across the globe.Muharram
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) mourn the memory of Imam Husain, grandson of the Islamic prophet, Muhammad. Muharram processions in Lucknow have a special significance and began during the reign of the Awadh Nawabs.
Processions such as Shahi Zarih
and Chup Tazia
had special significance for the Shia community and were affected 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 register of the Shias.
The 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 descendant 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 an imitation of the mausoleums in 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.Bada Mangal festival is celebrated in the month of May as a birthday of ancient Hanuman temple known as Purana Mandir. In this festival fair conducted by the local public in the whole city. It is celebrated in the name of Hindu God Lord Hanuman.
The classical Indian dance form Kathak took shape in Lucknow. 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.
Lucknow is also the home city of the eminent ghazal singer Begum Akhtar. A pioneer of the style, "Ae Mohabbat Tere anjaam pe rona aaya" is one of her best known musical renditions. Bhatkande Music Institute University at Lucknow is named after the musician Vishnu Narayan Bhatkhande Bhartendu Academy of Dramatic Arts (BNA), also known as Bhartendu Natya Academy, is a theatre training institute situated at Gomti Nagar. It is a deemed university and an autonomous organisation under the Ministry of Culture, Government of Uttar Pradesh. It was set up in 1975 by the Sangeet Natak Akademy (Government of Uttar Pradesh), and became an independent drama school in 1977. 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.
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.
Lucknow is known for embroidery works including chikankari, zari, zardozi, kamdani, and gota making (gold lace weaving).
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. 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.
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.
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.
Lucknow is home to a number of prominent educational and research organisations including Indian Institute of Management Lucknow (IIM-L), Indian Institute of Information Technology, Lucknow (IIIT-L), Central Drug Research Institute (CDRI), Indian Institute of Toxicology Research, National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI), Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET Lko), Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia National Law University (RMNLU), Institute of Hotel Management, Lucknow, Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences (SGPGI), Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Institute of Medical Sciences and King George's Medical University (KGMU). The 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.
Educational institutions in the city include seven universities including the University of Lucknow, a Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University, a technical university (Uttar Pradesh Technical University), a law university (RMLNLU) and a large number of polytechnics, engineering institutes and industrial training institutes. Other research organisations in the state include the Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants, Central Food Technological Research Institute, and the Central Glass and Ceramic Research Institute.
Some of Uttar Pradesh's major schools are located in Lucknow including Delhi Public School having its branches in Eldeco, Indiranagar. City Montessori School, Colvin Taluqdars' College, Centennial Higher Secondary School, St. Francis' College, Loreto Convent Lucknow, St. Mary's Convent Inter College, Kendriya Vidyalaya, Lucknow Public School, Stella Maris Inter College, Seth M.R. Jaipuria School, Cathedral School, Mary Gardiner's Convent School, Modern School, Amity International School, St. Agnes, Army Public School, Mount Carmel College, Study Hall, Christ Church College, Rani Laxmi Bai School and Central Academy.
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. CMS also holds a Guinness World Record for being the largest school in the world with over 40,000 pupils. The school consistently ranks among the top schools of India.
La Martiniere Lucknow, founded in 1845, is the only school in the world to have been awarded a battle honour. It is one of the oldest and most reputed schools in India, often ranked among the top ten schools in the country. Lucknow also has a sports college named Guru Gobind Singh Sports College.
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 along with veteran Bollywood and Bengali film actor Pahari Sanyal, who came from the city's well known Sanyal family. 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, PAA and Shailendra Pandey's JD. In the movie Gadar: Ek Prem Katha Lucknow was used to depict Pakistan, with locations including Lal Pul, the Taj Hotel and the Rumi Darwaza used in Tanu Weds Manu. Some parts of Ladies vs Ricky Bahl, Bullett Raja, Ishaqzaade Ya Rab and Dabangg 2 were shot in Lucknow or at other sites nearby. A major section of the Bollywood movie, Daawat-e-Ishq starring Aditya Roy Kapur and Parineeti Chopra was shot in the city as was Baawre, an Indian TV drama, airing on the Life OK channel. The government has announced to develop two film cities in Lucknow. Here are some newspaper companies working and give online news services to the news readers including Amar Ujala, Dainik Jagran and Dainik Bhaskar.
The Pioneer newspaper, headquartered in Lucknow and started in 1865, is the second oldest English language newspaper in India still in production. 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.
One of the earliest All India Radio stations has been operational in Lucknow since 1938.
FM radio transmission started in Lucknow in 2000. The city has the following FM radio stations:Radio City 91.1 MHz
Red FM 93.5 MHz
Radio Mirchi 98.3 MHz
AIR FM Rainbow 100.7 MHz
Fever 104 FM 104.0 MHz
Gyan Vani 105.6 MHz (Educational)
AIR FM Vividh Bharti 101.6 MHz
CMS FM 90.4 MHz (Educational)
Mirchi Love 107.2 FM
BBDU FM 90.8 MHz (Babu Banarsi Das University broadcast station)
The city has broadband internet connectivity and video conferencing facilities. Major companies such as Sify, BSNL, Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications, Tata Communications, Aircel, Vodafone, Uninor, Idea, Tikona, Hathway, and STPI. My Lucknow My Pride is a mobile app launched by the district administration of Lucknow circa December 2015 in efforts to preserve "the cultural heritage of Lucknow" and to encourage tourism.
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.
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.
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.
The 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.
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, Mohammed Shahid Synthetic Hockey Stadium, Dr. Akhilesh Das Gupta Stadium at Northern India Engineering College, Babu Banarsi Das UP Badminton Academy, Charbagh, Mahanagar, Chowk and the Sports College near the Integral University.
The 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.
The city has parks and recreation areas managed by the Lucknow Development Authority. These 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, 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. The 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. Kukrail Picnic Spot (Crocodile Breeding sanctuary) Located at Area near to Lucknow Indiranagar Area. This is the Asia's Largest Crocodile breeding center. This along with small zoological Zoo and ample open space makes it unique for picnic and dating purposes.
Lucknow has sister city relationship with 2 cities namely Brisbane, Australia and Montreal, Canada. The relation has enabled exchange for developing commercial, cultural, sporting and other mutually beneficial exchanges.