The earliest records of settlements in Lucknow are those of Muslims in the thirteenth century. Lucknow was undistinguished during the Delhi Sultanate and most of the Mughal era. It was only after the Avadh dynasty took over, that Lucknow came into prominence and in fact became the last bastion of Mughal culture. The capital was moved from Faizabad to Lucknow during the rule of Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula (r.1775-1797). It was under the patronage of the Nawabs that most of Lucknow's monuments were built. While Delhi fell into decline, Lucknow's fortunes were steadily growing. The Nawabs of Avadh declared independence and to celebrate their improved status began to patronize the arts and culture that were previously the prerogatives of Delhi's court. Lucknow became a city of culture, attracting poets, courtesans, scholars and nobility. Remnants of Mughal culture survived here until the early 1920s. The nawabs commissioned many imambaras, mosques and other public buildings like water reservoirs. Many of the architectural monuments built during this time could be classified under what is known as Nawabi architecture -this is the last phase of Mughal architecture. Nawabi architecture is divided into two phases: the first is towards the end of the eighteenth century and is characterized by grandiose and stylistic buildings; the second, in the nineteenth century, incorporates European decorative styles. The Great Imambara is devoid of any European element and hence comes under the first phase, but most of the secular buildings and palaces of nawabs were more influence by European styles. In 1856 Lucknow came under British control, which allowed the nawabs to remain as figureheads, having no administrative control but drawing an annual stipend. The annexation fanned growing resentment amongst the people and became one of the factors contributing towards the Indian uprising of 1857. Lucknow became the battleground of intense fighting before the uprising was finally quelled. As the capital of the state of Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow today is a sprawling, industrialized city. Most of its historic monuments are located in the northwestern part of the old city. The imambaras are still actively used, especially during the month of Muharram when the ritual commemorating the martyrdom of Imam Hussein, grandson of Muhammad, is performed. Sources: Das, Neeta. 1991. The Architecture of Imambrara. Lucknow: Lucknow Mahotsav Patrika Samiti, 9, 11. Lonely Planet Travel Guide - India. 1999. London: Lonely Planet Publications, 451, 452.
Variant Names
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null Lakhnau, Laknau