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Uttar Pradesh: Places to Visit - IV

Allahabad Fort

Kushinagar

Kushinagar is one of the principal Buddhist pilgrim centres in India. It is where Lord Buddha attained mahaparinirvana. The Buddhist monuments of Kushinagar are, the Nirvana Temple, Nirvana Stupa, the Mathakuar shrine, the Ramabhar Stupa and many monasteries. The Buddha Museum in Kushinagar houses finds from excavations at the site.

Gorakhpur, 51km from Kushinagar, is the nearest railhead and airport. Situated on National Highway No. 28, Kushinagar has frequent bus services.

Nirvana Stupa

Nirvana Stupa is a huge brickwork stupa that bore an inscription in ancient Brahmi, which states that Lord Buddha's remains had been deposited here.

Nirvana Temple has a long statue of reclining Buddha that is over 6 meters in size. The statue was unearthed during the excavations in 1876. Carved from Chunar sandstone, the statue represents the dying Buddha reclining on his right side.

Mathakuar Shrine is about 400 yards from the Parinirvana stupa. A black stone image of the Buddha in the 'bhumi sparsha mudra' was recovered here. The last sermon by Lord Buddha was given here.

Ramabhar Stupa is a large stupa that rises to a height of 49 ft. It marks the site where Lord Buddha was cremated. In ancient Buddhist texts this stupa has been referred to as Mukut-Bandhan Vihar.

Lucknow

Located along the banks of the River Gomti, Lucknow is the capital of Uttar Pradesh. Lucknow flourished and rose to prominence during the reign of the Nawabs of Awadh who controlled a region in the north-central India after the decline of the Mughals. Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula (1775-1797) shifted the capital of Awadh from Faizabad to Lucknow. The prominent architectural structures of Lucknow were built during the reign of the Nawabs. The city became known as a centre for Urdu poetry and courtly diction, and reached its epitome during the reign of Wajid Ali Shah (1847-1856) who was a connoisseur of music and poetry. In 1856 the British annexed Awadh after retiring the Nawab to Calcutta for a pension.

Regular flights operate from Lucknow to Delhi, Patna, Calcutta, Bombay and Varanasi. Lucknow is a major Railway junction from where many trains operate to the major centres of the country. National Highways connect Lucknow to all major cities of the country.

Bara Imambara

It is a complex of shrines, prayer halls and tombs built in the late 18th century by Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula as a famine relief 'food-for-work' project. Its 50m long and 15m high central hall is one of the largest vaulted galleries in the world. There is a mosque with two tall minarets in the courtyard. Asaf-ud-Daula also built Rumi Darwaza, the imposing replica of of the entrance gate in Istanbul, which is located beside the Imambara.

Hussainabad Imambara

Hussainabad Imambara

Also known as the Chota Imambara, this structure was built by Muhammad Ali Shah, as his mausoleum. Built between 1837 and 1842, it was also a famine relief project. The main building of the Imambara with a golden dome has the tombs of Ali shah and his mother. The walls of the mausoleum are decorated with verses in Arabic. Chandeliers, gilded mirrors, colourful stucco, the Nawab's throne and ornate tazias adorn the interior.


Shah Najaf Imambara

This white-domed plain imambara is located on the right bank of River Gomti, opposite Carlton Hotel. It is the tomb Ghazi-ud-din Haider who died in 1827 and his wives. The entrance leads to a beautiful garden. The silver tomb of Ghazi-ud-din Haider is in the centre of the building flanked by the more imposing silver and gold tomb of Mubarak Mahal, his European wife. The interior is used to store chandeliers, tazias and other creations of wood those are taken out in procession during the Muharram Celebration.

Residency

Built in 1800 for the British Resident, this group of buildings was the stage for the dramatic events of 1857 Uprising known as the siege of Lucknow. The red brick ruins are maintained as it was at the time of relief surrounded by lawns and flowerbeds.

Kukrail Reserve Forest

It is a picnic spot developed by the Forest Department. It has a deer park and crocodile farm. A variety of birds and deer can be observed in their natural habitat.

Nawabganj Bird Sanctuary

43 km. from Lucknow and situated on the Kanpur highway, this sanctuary attracts Siberian migratory birds. The best season to visit is between October and March.

Mahoba

Suntemple, Rahila Sagar

Mahoba is associated with the Chandela kings who ruled Bundelkhand between the 9th and the 11th centuries. They were the builders of the temples at Khajuraho. The impregnable hilltop fort and the tanks they constructed at Mahoba are considered engineering feats. Mahoba was also a great cultural centre. The Granite Kakramath Temple dedicated to Shiva at Madan Sagar, the 9th century granite Sun Temple at Rahila Sagar and Vijay Sagar bird sanctuary are the main places of interest in Mahoba. The temples of Mahoba are built in line with the temples of Khajuraho. There are also a number of Buddhist and Jain shrines at Mahoba.

Located 240km from Lucknow, Mahoba is connected by road and rail to other centres of the state. Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh is the nearest airport at 65km.