Their next destination was the Baoli in the same campus. The Baoli is an interesting structure, a step-well to inform the occupants of any probable attacks on the palace. The soldiers were able to see the attackers as a reflection on the well, much before they arrived. Sohini clicked quite a few photographs, while Anandita roamed around to admire the beauty of this structure.
Rumi Darwaza, the giant gateway, was their next stop. It was exciting to see a 250-year-old gateway standing strong, without showing much sign of wear and tear. Chhota Imambara, a small monument, and Clock Tower, presented themselves as added bonus.
The girls decided that they should not miss a Tanga ride, a horse driven carriage, and took it on their return trip to their hotel. Roadside chaats and panipuri were their lunch for the day and they were quite excited by the varieties offered by roadside chaat stalls. Read more about the street food of Lucknow here.
The next day was allocated for visiting the British Residency and Chattar Manzil, and for some quick Lucknow Chikan shopping. They had their flight in the afternoon and hence started early.
The British Residency complex is a beautiful landmark of Independence struggle. It hosts quite a few cannon-shot buildings and ruins. There is a wonderful video documentary that is played at regular slots, a must watch for history buffs.
The girls missed the designated slot and the staff was accommodating enough to provide a re-run of the documentary on Sohini’s request. Anandita was delighted by the wonderful photographic backdrops that the Residency provided.
Chikan Kari, not to be confused with Chicken Curry
After a couple of hours it was time to visit the Chattar Manzil, the last item on their monument checklist. Previously known as the Umbrella Palace, this monument is almost deserted, barring a few government officials and security staff, no one visits the place.
The place is ill-maintained and undergoing renovation. They were planning to leave when a security personnel was kind enough to give them a guided tour to the rooftop and underground tunnel. The view from the rooftop finally made them happy.
The last destination for the girls was the Chikan shops selling beautifully embroidered kurtis and saris. They haggled a bit and were happy to close the deal at a moderate price.
Anandita was keen on visiting a Chikan factory, but was sadly informed by the shopkeepers that the shops did not host any in-house factories. Mostly the embroideries were done in factories in the outskirts, and it was quite difficult to visit them in such short notice.
They took a quick trip to Tunday kababi for the final time, gulped a few kababs and packed a few more for their family members back home.
Their return journey was not an easy one. Flights got delayed quite a bit and they had to wait at the airport for a long while. Though it was not comparable to their previous return journey (Benaras misadventure), it left them exasperated and helpless. Anandita grabbed a few packs of sweets from the airport stall of Chappan Bhog, a famous chain of Lucknow sweets. However, she missed tasting Makhan Malai, a sweet delicacy found in the winter season, and plans to go back sometime soon just to tick it off her food wishlist.
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