Lucknow is well known for several attractions, ranging from Classical music to Literature to History to Food to Chikan handicrafts. I decided to explore several areas of Lucknow to sample the acclaimed 'Tunday Kababs' available at only a few outlets. The word 'Tunday' means 'one-handed' in Urdu. The story goes that a King, several hundred years ago, announced a contest for making the softest of kababs. The winner turned out to be a one-handed man. The reason for the contest was that as the King grew older, his teeth grew weaker. He was therefore looking for softer kebabs to munch on.
Tunday Kabab outlets are limited. Probably because the recipes are passed down generation by generation. The outlet I discovered is located down a street almost opposite the Doordarshan complex, a 15-minute walk from the hotel where I was staying. Not long enough to digest the rich food, I thought.
The menu is fairly extensive, attributed to his Grand father. Maybe the one-handed gentleman who had won the softest kabab contest.
The delicacies are cooked along the street at the front of the restaurant.
The range of kebabs actually dissolve in your mouth, laded with spices.
The orange parotha is called 'Sheermal', a saffron flavoured bread that has its origins in Persia.
Dastarkhwan is yet another must visit place in Lucknow, located in the Hazrat Ganj area. Busy by day, the area calms down after sunset.
The menu is simple, but adequate.
Food is served fairly quickly by a few busy waiters.
Dastarkhwan stays open till about 11 PM. It appears to be very popular with locals who come to take the food away, and equally popular with tourists bending under the weight of plastic shopping bags.
One of my students took me to a well known lassi restaurant further inside town in the Chowk area. Sri Lassi, was it?
Normally not a lassi drinker, finding the cream floating around rather irritating, I found this cool lassi particularly delicious, unlike any I have tasted anywhere, with a bonus topping of dry fruits.
My student had offered to be my guide and kindly gave me a ride on his scooter. The traffic density is probably the highest of all the places that I have been to. Or, my student took it upon himself to squeeze through impossible gaps. I had to, on several occasions, raise my legs way high to avoid amputation or getting squeezed between smoke belching buses or cars barely a centimeter away.
Riding around the busy city with incredibly crowded streets, we took a minute to peek into some of the historical buildings. The grandest and most well known structure in Lucknow is the Bara Imambara. The story is that the King had this building built during the late 1780's, just after a famine. It was a congregation hall. The King wanted to provide food for the people. He offered them food in return for work. In order to prolong the project, the parts that were constructed during the day were razed to the ground during the night.
And so the cycle of construction and destruction continued for months. Reputed to consist of a large number of corridors, halls as well as a large main hall, the King and the architect are buried inside.
The Chota Imambara is a smaller structure located about a kilometer away, constructed during the 1830's, where members of the Royal family lie buried. Known as the Palace of Lights, historians claim that the vast number of chandeliers inside were imported from Belgium.
Separating the two Imambaras is the Rumi Darwaza, a decorated gateway that once used to be the main gate leading into Lucknow.
The Clock Tower manages to peep out from the Victorian era.
However, the narrow, crowded streets from several hundred years ago quickly take over.
It looks like the people of Lucknow like to celebrate weddings with the help of colourfully decorated 'band' vehicles.
Are such wedding aids a feature of North Indian cities? I've come across similar vehicles in Indore, as well.
An oasis of cleanliness and calm in the midst of the cacophony, crowds, litter and dust outside, the Ramakrishna Mission seems to represent the state of mind that we need to strive to achieve, as we go about our daily lives.
That was a brief Tunday Kabab and Lassi tour. And a quicker glance at a few of the historical sights around Lucknow. I hope you enjoyed the journey!
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