Nestled like a jewel on the shoulder of India, Lucknow is a place of ancient memories. It shimmers with dreams. Every place has their charm. Each city its allure. Lucknow has a special blend of modern surprise mixed with ancient splendor. I brushed through the city more than 23 years ago. Although I spent only a few days there, I was intoxicated by the place.
I can't remember specific names of streets or restaurants. I do remember the Carlton Hotel. The manicured lawns. The peaceful atmosphere. History is food for my soul and the Carlton fed me with delicate memories of what must have been. A palatial place fit for royalty but definitely showing signs of years of use. The hotel not only held a significance because of its past but it housed fascinating people in the present. Travelers from diverse cultures and countries found refuge in the sprawling building. When you enter the Carlton you are a stranger, but once inside you become tied to the other guests.
How does one visit Lucknow without visiting the Bara Imambara. This magnificent edifice rose up during a time of lack. A great famine spread through the land, but it was at this time the building went up. All through the years of famine there were people who secured income by working on the construction of the Imambara. It could be said this was a project of mercy. The massive building is known for its intricate tunnels and passageways. The bhulbhulaiyan is a maze which not only is exciting to explore, but also gives support to the entire building. A visitor is warned not to enter the labyrinth alone. Far too many people who entered these passageways without a proper guide were never heard of or seen again. Oh, that made me want to enter in and see what rich secrets could be found. My better judgment stopped me before I got too far down the dark hallways. Well it was either my better judgement or the fact I had no flashlight and things were pretty dark!
Lucknow cannot be bottled up in one simple post. It is a city to be tasted and savored. Lingering upon each part of the city, there are different flavors which emerge. Old and new tastes mingle together producing a full flavor.