I generally dislike travelling in August, that muggiest of all months here in North India. The humidity levels would put even my hometown Chennai to shame! However, personal likes and dislikes aside, we've always ended up doing atleast one trip this month every year because of all the long weekends that arrive around this time.
We arrived in Lucknow one muggy afternoon. Mercifully there was some rain to bring down the temperature, even if only temporarily. After a quick lunch, we set out for our first stop, the Bara Imambara. The guides here are really pesky and intrusive and it required all of our rudeness to fob them off! The children enjoyed running around in the huge empty spaces while S and I walked around absorbing some Nawabi atmosphere.
|The entry to the Bada Imambara.
|Burning off some excess energy
|Look at that lovely candle sconce!
We then moved to shop till we dropped :) Salwar kurtas, shirts and kurtas for the boys, a saree, even a lovely bedsheet and pillowcases. Due to the unrest in the old areas of the city the previous day, we were warned against shopping in Aminabad and Chowk, which is where you get the bargains. But it worked out for the best because walking through narrow smelly streets in the rain would not have been anyone's cup of tea. As it happened, the kids worked up a perfect storm in the very nice shop that we patronised. I thanked our stars that we were the only customers at that time because for a full hour, they made perfect pests of themselves! The staff looked on with a very indulgent eye even as I was itching to spank my own kids! Methinks that they took the famous Lucknowi tehzeeb to another level altogether!
The rain still dropping in buckets, we had no option but to head back to our hotel for some much needed rest, since all of us had had a very early start that morning. The next day, we headed out in a leisurely fashion, around lunchtime, to first partake of some authentic Awadhi cuisine. Having stuffed ourselves to the gills with kababs and biryani, we drove to the Kukrail picnic spot where Ads wanted to see the Gharial Conservation Center. It was really HOT and humid and all I wanted to do was sink into the cool pond just like the crocodiles were doing.
Having ogled our fill at the creepy-crawlies, all we would do was find a shady spot, get some icy-cold drinks and sink down into the grass for some time while the kids ran around. Where do they get the energy from??? I could barely stay upright!
Our next stop was the Residency, which funnily enough my family had never visited all the years we lived in the city. The Residency complex is set amidst green lush manicured lawns. Every building, from Dr. Fayrer's house to the Treasury to the banqueting hall, bear signs of extensive shelling and most of the buildings are left in their almost-fallen-down state. There is a small but interesting museum which details the events leading upto to the seige of Lucknow, and it's aftermath.
Being the lazy people that we are, even here we spent a lot of time on our backs in the lovely lawns, just gazing at the sky and the trees while Y plaintively kept asking "Why aren't we walking around?" We also sampled some chaat - brilliantly flavoured aloo tikkis, khasta chaat and golgappes. I have to say I don't care for the North-Indian golgappes all that much, much preferring their superior versions - panipuri in Mumbai and puchkas in Calcutta. But the aloo tikkis were yummmm...I can still taste them on my tongue several hours later :) I went back to see my old school. Unfortunately it was closed. I tried to peek inside and what I could see seemed just the way I remembered.
So these were the highlights of our weekend in Lucknow. We arrived back this morning bushed and drained from all that walking around in the humidity. Happy to sleep in my own bed tonight!