Lucknow is known for an architecture that is par excellence. But, hardly anyone knows the uniqueness behind it. Like the building material that was used in the construction of mosques was ‘Lakhori bricks’ (burnt clay bricks that are exclusive to Mughal architecture) and that the architecture of the tombs and Karbalas have been taken from the Central and South Asian countries. For a better understanding of Lucknow heritage sites, enlisted here are top 5 features which make Lucknow architecture unique.

Though the architecture of Karbalas and tombs has been taken from the South Asian countries and South Imambara of Lucknow is originated in India only. It consists of two words ‘Imam’ and ‘Bara’. Imam is an Arabic word that means a religious leader and ‘Bara’ means Braj which means a pious place.

Gates:

Gates in Lucknow are very popular and important as well. They are Qaiserbagh Gates, Sikandarbagh Gates, Sibtainabad Gates. Despite having a similarity of three open passages, one big in the center and one each on the two sides, there are definitely different stories of architecture, stucco plaster and its decoration. The architecture of the gates of Nawabi period is different from that of Mughal period. Seeing the picture of the gate of Panch Mahala which was constructed during the Nawab Shuja-ud-daula reign in pure Mughal style, one can see the difference clearly. While the construction of the Roomi Gate looks like a rising sun with wings spread North and South. One Chattri on the top of crest, four more chhatris are placed on four different columns from both up to the level of crest. There is no sign of the Royal emblem with fish pair. This is the first example of integrated architecture.

Rumi Gate never had a system of opening and closing the doorways while in Qaiserbagh, and other gates, the main entry has a system of wooden opening and closing side entries with Iron gates and a fish emblem on the top.

Use of Pottery:

One of the real strength of Royal architecture of Nawab’s period was the use of pottery to create something unique and splendid. Pottery was extensively used for decorative purpose. The pottery ducts have also been used at Constantia and Barowen that conducted hot air away from the lower room to vents in the flat roofs. More fanciful use of pottery which is particular in Lucknow is for roof finals and ornaments. This can be a Guldasta, pineapple, flower pot or big size regional flowers. All can be seen in the Rumi Gate, Dault Khana and Chhatar Manzil and different buildings erected by Nawabs themselves. Pottery is also used in the architecture of European buildings.

Carving in Stone:

Carving in stone is an age old part of India. Artisans from Rajputana excelled in this art and Mughals used it in their buildings as see-through net for air and ventilation. One of the world-fame beautifully carved stone screens is in the ‘Sidi Syed Mosque’ at Ahmadabad, constructed in 1572-73. Almost all the tombs of the Mughal period show goodies of this type of stone carving. Almost all the important tombs of the Mughal period show goodie of this type of stone carving.

Chattri:

Compelled by the philosophy of forcing their architectural styles, the East India Company engineers and builders did not adopt it. Chhatris (Canopy) in the period buildings are one of the most important parts of architecture. Most of the chhatris are carved out of stone, can be seen in Husainabad Baradari, Lal Baradari, White Baradari on the gates of Asifi Imambara, Chhatar Manzil and Naubat Khana. Octagonal or Hexagonal with arched openings with a canopy on top is the decoration of these building. Due to unavailability of the stone nearby, these chhatris imitated by the masons with brick and stucco, perfectly matched with original one, and can be seen in the parapet of Shahnajaf and Sikandarbagh palace, through the long column and the flower on the top at the junction points of parapet are of stone cutting, but perfectly matched with the brick and stucco work.

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