The people of Lucknow love ganjing, a term used to describe leisurely, aimless ambling in the wide lanes and by-lanes of Hazratganj. This is the city’s most posh and happening market which is also a place of beauty, romance and heartbreak.
Hazratganj was established by Nawab Amjad Ali Shah also called Hazrat, or saint. It appears that Hazratganj has its roots in that name. After the death of Nawab Amjad Ali Shah on 13th February 1847, his son Nawab Wajid Ali Shah got the Sibtainabad Imambara built in memory of his father. In 1857, the area was destroyed in the war between freedom fighters and the English.
In 1860 it was rebuilt, widened and called Hazratganj. At that time, fashionable shops were opened in Hazratganj and many shopkeepers lived above their shops. The best restaurants, the three main cinema halls Prince of Wales, Capitol and Mayfair are located here. Earlier the road running through Hazratganj was called Queens Way, and was allowed to use only by British carriages before Independence.
Modern Hazratganj includes on its premises the Cathedral Church, Coffee House, Sahu Cinema, GPO and Christ Church. Lucknowites enjoy strolling along Hazratganj every day but especially on festive evenings. All youngsters and children enjoy ganjing during Christmas, New Year and Valentine’s day and bask in the comfort and happiness that accompany all celebrations. Shopkeepers dress up as Santa Uncle and distribute sweets and gifts at Christmas. Vendors sell flowers, heart- shaped baloons and teddy bears on Valentine’s Day.
A favourite is the spot so narrow that visitors are unable to pass by without touching each other giving it the name of Lover’s Lane. The ambience of the place is very romantic with some old and some new shops and so it is a venue of many dates amongst youngsters. People also come here for time pass and to watch life go by. This is one of the most photographed places in recent times. It is a favourite spot for Bollywood celebrities who have acted in countless films shot in the area. It is not rare for celebrities to also go ganjing after they wrap up work.
Hazratganj has many good restaurants, pubs, lounges, and bars like Royal Sky, Blue Lounge, Mirage Lounge Capoors, Royal Cafe, Moti Mahal, Aryan, Rover’s, Mark’s Man, Mini Mahal Cafe Coffee Day, Pizza Hut, Baskin Robbins, Tramp Tree Café and others. This area is also home to some of the best schools in Lucknow like the St. Francis’ College, La Martiniere Girl’s College, Christ Church College, and St. Joseph’s Cathedral which is the most beautiful place of worship in Lucknow and a prominent landmark of the city. The building houses a huge hall in the lower basement, a chapel, a library and the convent of the sisters.
Its Naza Market is the second most famous market for computer goods in North India but more than just shopping the purpose of ganjing remains to promenade, to dawdle, to pause, to chat with friends, to keep a date, to admire each other’s clothes and shoes, to leisurely browse in a bookshop, to enjoy katchori chaator golgappas or a coffee.
To keep connected with fellow citizens is very important to Lucknowites as assurance to each other that all is well in the city and its chosen pace of life!