Volume: 15, No: 10 ; October-2021
Ever wondered how there seem to be no end to the baghs in Lucknow? We bring to you the untold stories behind some of the city’s landmarks.
Wander through the streets of Lucknow and you are bound to find a number of areas with a suffix bagh meaning garden, attached to its name. Though the suffix may have no relevance today but there was a time when the city of nawabs was known to be home to no less than 400 such royal gardens.
For example Martinpurva used to be known as Lakhpeda as it had more than a lakh trees of guava and mango. Similarly, Hussainabad area was formerly called Jamuniya Bagh as this area was covered with jamun trees.”
Avers Yogesh Praveen, another historian, “Lucknow was called the city of palaces and gardens. A number of these localities were erstwhile residential colonies for the royalty, with kothis and huge gardens.
Once stripped of their titles it became difficult for the nawabs to maintain such huge gardens, so most sold them off. But the names remained.”
SECUNDER BAGH: Nawab Wajid Ali Shah fell in love with a lady named Secunder Begum but married her only when she was on her death bed, suffering from an incurable disease. He constructed a palace, a masjid and garden pavilion for the begum in the area which is now with the National Botanical Research Institute. The garden extended till the Gomti banks and was called Secunder Bagh.
MUSA BAGH: Huge gardens laid by Nawab Asaf-ud-Daulah existed in this area located near Hardoi road. Legend says that the nawab killed a rat (mushik) here hence the name. Some also believe it took its name from a French word Monsieur during Lord Martin’s period.
ALAM BAGH: This garden was named after Alam Ara, the first wife of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah. The young couple harboured a love for ghazals, and used to compose couplets sitting in these gardens.
CHAR BAGH: The area got its name from the four huge Mughal style gardens here during the time of Nawab Asaf-ud-Daulah. A garden called Bagh Sher Jung named after his uncle Sher Jung, Governor of Kashmir, existed where the city station stands now, built along with Buland Bagh laid near Rakabgunj.
KAISER BAGH: Set up by Nawab Wajid Ali Shah, it was a huge complex with small gardens dotting the area. It got its name from Urdu word qaiser meaning king, hence Qaiser’s Bagh.” Another story goes that the nawab was besotted with a beautiful lady, who was referred to as qaiser pasand (the king’s choice). He laid the garden for her and called it Kaiserbagh.
BADSHAH BAGH: Laid by Nawab Naseer-ud-Din Haider for his wife Kudsia Begum, it was a ladies garden, where even the gardeners were all women. The nawab visited this garden on a steamer which cruised from Chatr Manzil (CDRI) to Badshahbagh (Near Kailash Hostel). It was the badshah’s garden hence its name.
VILAYATI BAGH: Historians believe this garden, situated near Dilkusha gardens in present day cantonement area, got its name because of the two foreign wives, one of whom was a Christian and another, an Armenian (vilayati begums) of Nawab Ghazi-Ud-Din Haider. According to another story, the varieties of flower planted here were of foreign origin, hence the moniker Vilayati Bagh.
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