Historical Alambagh palace and Alambagh gate of Lucknow need to be saved from further deterioration

in ruins Alambagh palace, Lucknow, UP lucknow.me

Lucknow city, now the capital of Uttar Pradesh,  is dotted with vestiges of beautiful buildings with fine architecture that adorned this Nawabi city in the past. Though many of them in deplorable condition, each one has a unique story to tell and they all bear testimony to the  opulence  and rich culture of this place during the reign of Nawabs. In them is frozen the time-honored history of this place and land, its charm and the poignant period of freedom struggle in 1857 and of partition of India.  This place witnessed the  arrival of grief-stricken and penniless refugees in thousands  from Pakistan to this place, each family with a bizarre story of horror. Among  old structures in Lucknow  Kothi Alamara or Alambagh Palace and near-by Alambagh gate that serves as the entrance gate to the Chander nagar colony are worthy of mention. 

Alambagh  gate, Lucknow, UP

Located on the Lucknow-Kanpur highway, both Alambagh palace and the near-by Alambagh gate (Kothi Alamara Gateway) take us back to the Nawabi days. Alambagh palace which was specially  built by Nawab Wajid Ali Shah between 1847 to 1856, for his beloved wife Alam Aara (also known as Khas Mahal) as a token of his love for her. In the same area lies Alambagh gate (Kothi Alamara Gateway), designed by the architect Chhote Khan. 

Though  renovation was done  a few years ago both structures are in deplorable condition. Reasons: Persistent official apathy and encroachment of all kinds of shops near by. In 1947 this place was settled with refugees driven from Pakistan. In 2017 the Mangal bazaar near the Alambah gate and various shops were removed by the city authorities to make way for the up-coming metro project in this city. There should not be any building or construction activities within the radius of 300 meter from the site of monument acceding to monument guidance rules.  Across India encroachers don't care a fig; they do it unmindful of warning board put up in many places. Reason: No stringent regulations and lethargic enforcement of laws.  If the officials impose hefty fine and imprisonment, it will act as deterrent.   

Alambagh palace, Lucknow, UP lucknowobserver.com

Lucknow location map Maps India.com

Despite passage of time both the brick-red colored two-story  palace and the made of lakhauri bricks have not the charm.  the palace has spacious hall  with large rooms, interior walls decorated with floral designs and tall rooftop. Now the decorations and the floral designs are in bad shape.  Nawab Wajid Ali Shah who went into exile during the worst revolt used both Mogul and European style of design  for the palace.  

This area of  Lucknow (once the capital of Awadh kingdom)  was once a scene of intense freedom struggle and rampage during the 1857 war of Independence that started off at Meerut cantonment. The Indian fighters used some of the buildings  as military post to wage war against the oppressive British till September 1857. The EIC's army led by Gen. Havelock finally took control of the palace and other places and converted in to military hospital to treat the injured and sick soldiers. The English general died in this place on 23 November and on the following a\day he was buried here. A tomb in the memory of General Havelock was also constructed here by his relatives. 

The sad commentary is some impressive buildings that were not part of this are were also damaged during the revolt. It was not by the Indian fighters, but by the British soldiers who looted the buildings and caused heavy dames to them Literally, they spewed venom and hatred on the Indian natives. 

Alambagh Palace served no less role during the very first war of independence than other sites. The luxurious palace built for the queen served both the Indian freedom fighters and the British invaders. An important part of Indian history is well writ all over this place which is now in a damaged state. The state government should make dedicated efforts to renovate and conserve not only Alambagh palace but also other historical monuments.