Bibiyapur kothi, Lucknow a heritage building - a silent witness to the British conspiracy!

Bibiyapur Kothi, Lucknow

Located on the banks of the Gomti River  on the south east side of Dilkusha Kothi and behind the government dairy farm Bibiyapur near  Lucknow  is a beautiful 18th  century neo-classical structure with fine pairs of columns supporting the fa├žade of the first floor. The ground floor has many arched  openings. It was designed by Antoine Polier to suite the needs of the Nawab.  It is not a large building   and  obviously, the builder was from the Nawabi clan -  Asaf-ud-Daula' (1775- 1797), whose yearning for grand classical buildings was sky-high. Being hospitable and friendly, he built  Bibiyapur kothi in a secluded quiet  area for the English guests to  rest and relax .  The ruler also used it as  his retreat  to be away from the trapping of the royal life and peer pressures of royal court and be at peace with himself. Better furnished than other palaces owned by the Nawab, after his death, his family  members controlled the Kothi. Political scenarios often change like the  weird  patterns in a kaleidoscope given a good shake. 

Location map, Lucknow city, UP

The structure has spacious  halls ornamented with white and blue European tiles, a high roof with wooden beams. It is provided with   spiral stairway  that was put to use for the first time in India.  Access to the interior of kothi is through   arched doorways The upper floor  had many cylindrical pillars. Close to the building there is a water tank (capacity: 80000 gallons of water).  It was for the royal kitchen  where food would be cooked for the European visitors  and others. 

adopted legal heir Wazir Ali Khan of Lucknow./

Above image: Nawab Wazir Ali Khan, adopted son of Nawab Asaf ud daulah.  Because his mother was a menial worker,  dissident Nawabs and the English refused to accept him as the ruler. He was deposed by the British along with his cohorts   in the late 18th century. Reason:  Wazir  refused to cooperate with the English company. They temporarily put the ruler  under house arrest in Bibiyapur Kothi  which his father built to entertain the Europeans............

Nawab Asaf-ud-dualah of Awadth, India

Above image:   Nawab Asaf-ud-dualah of Awadth, a  noble hearted ruler, highly charitable person.. 

The British being shrewd as they were, seized the Awadh kingdom by force under the officer Sir John Shore (1751–1834)  toward the end of the 18th century using some pretext. The unfortunate fact is   the wily British temporarily kept the adopted son of Asaf ud - dualah, Wazir Ali Khan  (crowned as Nawab in 1798) under house arrest at the kothi that was built by his surrogate father. What a twist of irony.  

damaged Bibiyarpur Kothi, Lucknow

damaged Bibiyarpur Kothi, Lucknow

The  company officials  refused to accept Nawab Wazir Ali Khan as the legal heir (Awadh's masnad), perhaps for the simple reason he was not the natural son of  Nawab  Asaf-ud-daulah. They used the same strategy with Hindu maharajahs with adopted sons. While in Benares under confinement, Wazir was in touch with the British officials.  In the course of argument, infuriated Nawab Wazir Ali Khan took his sword  and in a jiff  attacked army officer of the Residency Captain George Fredrick Cherry. In the melee that followed   he and other officials were killed. 

After the  British  annexed  Awadh, this building was put to use by them  for entertainment and celebrations.  This kothi, once a place of fun, frolics and celebration, now looks forlorn  and despondent. The building was undergoing some repair work. Thanks to the heritage lovers of  Lucknow like Roshan.