26th Jul 2014
Photo of (Luck)now 1/3 by Mohua Mandal
Kisaan Rally in progress
Photo of (Luck)now 2/3 by Mohua Mandal
Photo of (Luck)now 3/3 by Mohua Mandal
Anecdote: “Next week am off to Lucknow,” Sandipan  informed me in a matter of fact way. Well so he always does about this innumerable tour plans. “Lucknow eh?” And we both laughed. The land of kababs and nawabs hold a very different place in our lives, for it was here that we rediscovered each other. He almost kidnapped me from my shopping trip and made me walk a good few kilometres and wished with all his heart that I miss my flight back to Delhi! But that adventure later.
What better place to scribble about in our joint project’s first post than the place we began our own journey together, I thought. This project has been long (actually way too long) due. Sandipan   laughed it out again, knowing that like each time I come bubbling with ideas, I will never come around writing this piece too. I however was determined to prove him wrong this time.
The biggest question when I actually began to write this up was how can one write about someone else’s experience? It’s Sandipan who does all the travelling, eating, staying and even shopping at these places. And I am writing it. Should it not be in his voice? I just let the words flow and here is the post which came around. Fingers crossed, hope this is the first of many and not just the end of the beginning!
As Sandipan landed late in the evening on Friday, Lucknow greeted him with a surprisingly pleasing weather. He pinged me while waiting for his luggage, “refreshed after an hour long nap :)”. Ah well, that how long is the flight time from Delhi to Lucknow. I did not quiz him about the airport as I usually do, neither did he delve into the details. This is an airport I was familiar with. A couple of years ago, when I was picking my bags similarly, I was fascinated by the large political posters donning the airport. They no longer do, though much of the character remains the same. You see a milieu of people who look a curious mix of academicians or politicians. Very few ‘business minded’, if I may say so. (Sandipan may disagree here, but I take the writer’s liberty :)). But then it’s the political hotbed of the most populous Indian state.
When I visited in march a couple of years ago, there was still chill in the air from a receding winter. Sandipan carries warm clothes when he visits between late Nov to early Feb. Needless to say, winters are cold and subsequently summers are pretty warm and sunny. The best time to visit would thus be Oct – Nov or Feb – March, unless of course one loves winter chills like I do :)
Lucknow holds a special place our hearts, but is an interesting and intriguing city as well. Where else would you see huge statues of a political leader, complete with her hand bag, or the now trending & enormous ‘mann se hain mulayam’ hoardings? 
By the time he reached his hotel, Sandipan was ravenously hungry. To his disappointment though, the hotel was not serving non veg that week as Navratri had began and north India shuns any meat for those 10 days. Sandipan, however being a true foodie at heart, looks forward to his Lucknow trips for his share of the speciality kababs. So he set foot the next day determined to make up for the lost dinner. As Sandipan finished working on Saturday, it was time to let his hair loose (only figuratively, for Sandipan has almost an empty scalp ;)). The small joints around Hazratganj make for the best street food hunts in the city. One can enjoy a variety of chats and kababs as well as wholesome food like the famous awadi biryani, chicken/mutton curry and naans. A full meal (as in the picture) can make your wallet lighter by as little as Rs. 200. Of course there are chic restaurants where you will get equally good meals, albeit at a much higher price. But who can beat the taste of a shanty?
Photo of Hazratganj, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India by Mohua Mandal
Another foodie's heaven is Chowk, which boasts a of equally long line up of mouth watering delicacies. The famous Tunde Kababs originated here.
Photo of Chowk, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India by Mohua Mandal
Photo of Jama Masjid, Daulatganj, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India by Mohua Mandal
Photo of Rumi Darwaza, Machchhi Bhavan, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India by Mohua Mandal
Photo of Satkhanda, Husainabad, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India by Mohua Mandal
Who can return from Lucknow without a good stock of chikankari material and jutis? S brings back beautiful kurtis and salwar kamiz for me almost every single trip, so much so that my wardrobe is heavily tilted towards wearing other dresses v/s the chikenkari ones :). But my love for these never end. The intricate handiwork makes each piece special. And the jutis hold their own pride amongst the various other versions available across the country. Best places to shop varies on your budget. I had picked an awesome pair of jutis at a bargain at Aminabad market. Then there is Chowk and Hazratganj, where you are spoilt with choice on the variety.
Photo of Aminabad, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India by Mohua Mandal
Photo of Imambara Agha Baqar, Yahiyaganj, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India by Mohua Mandal
Visit the Clock Tower In Hussainabad.
Photo of Husainabad, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India by Mohua Mandal