Alambagh Palace / Kothi Alamara
Entrance Chander Nagar Gate is free from encroachments
Upcoming metro brings the first good news for the heritage of the city. Chander Nagar Gate of the historical Alambagh Palace / Kothi Alamara will now be free from severe encroachments. Mangal Bazar which was near the gate has been removed by the authorities. It happened due the anti- encroachment drive for the metro route. As the construction work for the metro is speeding up from the Amausi, the clearance of the route is the first priority. Furthermore, encroachments of numerous shops and vegetable stalls surround these so-called protected sites are a big concern. Although it has been objected by the local shop- owners but the people who appreciate the beauty and heritage of the city are taking it as wonderful step by the authorities. Let’s hope that the same pace will be continued across the entire route.
Situated on the Lucknow-Kanpur highway, the area that now encompasses one of the major shopping avenues and eating points of the Nawabi city. It is the same place, which has been inhabited by the refugee’s families who migrated from Pakistan after Independence. History of Alambagh began with the construction of Alambagh palace which was erected by Nawab Wajid Ali Shah during the years 1847-1856, for his wife Alam Ara, who was also known as Khas Mahal. It had a well kept beautiful garden in its surroundings. Moreover, a huge gateway known as Alambagh Gate, designed by the architect Chhote Khan was constructed in the same area. Now the same gate serves as an entranceway to the Chander Nagar colony. Both the palace and the gate were made up of lakhauri bricks. The two-storeyed palace comprises of spacious halls and rooms. The rooftops of the rooms are quite high, whereas interior walls of the palace were once decorated with floral designs but are now in ramshackle.
According to the eminent historian of Awadh, Mr. Roshan Taqui, “The garden was occupied by the freedom fighters, who converted it into a military post and held this place till 23rd September 1857. Later it was General Havelock who got hold of it and transformed it into a command hospital for the injured and unwell British soldiers.” This immense area was also a witness to the fierce battle fought between the Indians and the British. Complex also houses the tomb of General Havelock which was erected by his family members. It was at Dilkusha where he died on 23rd November 1857 and got buried here on 24th November 1857. Across the main road is the Shahi Masjid, which too belongs to the same period and is a prominent heritage mosque situated in Alambagh. The present state of the Alambagh Palace and Alambagh gate is deplorable. Both of these structures are poorly maintained. However the restoration work is in progress since last one year and is expected to be completed soon. Only the front portion has been touched and the back portion has been left-out; is this the official way of doing the restoration work. A big question for everyone???
Shamim A. Aarzoo
Author is the Editor-in-Chief of The Lucknow Observer
(Published in The Lucknow Observer, Volume 1 Issue 10, Dated 05 January 2015)