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Lucknow (the Capital Of Oudh)
POSSIBLY no other city in India is approached by newcomers with such mixed feelings as is Lucknow, the old royal capital of the brief line of Oudh sovereigns. Nor does familiarity ever succeed in entirely obliterating this first impression.
To men and women of the British Isles, Lucknow is pre-eminently a place hallowed by memories at once terrible and heroic. Unbiased by special sentiment of the kind, Westerners in general regard it with curiosity as the scene of a grim struggle, wherein the swords of a few brave men transformed what had threatened irreparable disaster, into a great national triumph.
Whether viewed in the tender light of sentiment, or the clear cold scrutiny of criticism, Lucknow cannot fail, but interest and attract. As the centre of modern Mussulman culture in India, it makes special appeal to those whose sympathies are intellectually inclined. The historian will find food for reflection in the city founded by Lakshmana, brother of the semi-divine Rama, King of Ayodhia (Oudh), colonized by followers of the dread Mahmud of Ghazni, converted into a capital under the Moghuls, and finally annexed to the British Empire in 1858. Lovers of splendour will appreciate the palaces, Imambaras, Maqbaras and Masjids built by the prodigal kings of Oudh, while critics can criticise to their hearts' content, strengthened and encouraged by the comfortable conviction that, in so doing, they are treading in the footsteps of such eminent authorities as Fergusson and Burgess.
Apart from historical, intellectual, archeological and architectural considerations, Lucknow has a fourth side.
Seen from the last it impresses as a gay and prosperous modern city, rich in handsome shops, schools and public institutions of every kind. Nevertheless, a turn down one of tlie narrow, tortuous streets in the Chauk, speedily brings the seeker into the hidden heart of the East, as revealed in the bazaar.
In this little guide-book it is not my purpose to criticise, or draw comparisons, but rather to pass in rapid review those famous places, which have figured most prominently in the strange and varied history of the capital of Oudh.
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