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Kothi Bibiyapur Visit – A Heritage Walk for a Cause

Kothi Bibiyapur - a hidden heritage gem at Lucknow

Lucknow is home to a treasure of heritage sites. The medieval history of Lucknow is replete with stories about constructions of iconic palaces and complexes by the Nawabs of Awadh and the British. These buildings had put Lucknow on the list of World’s top cities in terms of colossal structures and town planning in that era. A heritage walk to some of the lesser known heritage sites was organized on 25th August 2019. Citizens for Lucknow, a group of Lucknow citizens who care about the city’s heritage landscape and want to stop the vanishing act.

The heritage lovers from Lucknow gathered at Dilkusha Kothi on a calm Sunday morning to learn about Dilkusha Kothi from a noted historian Dr. Roshan Taqui. Some interesting facts were unearthed, some misconceptions were cleared. With a curious and an enthusiastic group that was all ears, Dr. Taqui related the anecdotes and pieces of history to help everyone appreciate the beauty and significance of the Kothis at Dilkusha and Bibiyapur.

Picture of Dilkusha Kothi - a heritage palace at Lucknow India. This building was used as a kitchen as well as stable.

At Dilkusha, the discussions went about the Mutiny of 1857 to evacuation of the Britishers from the Residency to Dilkusha and how it all started with Nawab Saadat Ali Khan writing a letter to the Queen about replacing the East India Company with the Nawab and himself while entrusting the latter with the task of revenue collection. Actually, it was for shifting the British resident away from the city that the idea of constructing the Dilkusha Kothi was conceived. This kothi came to be used as a summer resort or a guest house when the British resident Major Gore Ouseley refused to leave the city.

At one point, even a young staff member of the restoration team at Bibiyapur Kothi lead the group to show them the marvels of architecture such as the spiral staircase, the fireplaces, and the terracotta drainage pipes concealed within the walls of the Bibiyapur Kothi. It only left people asking for more as they wondered how the buildings would have looked like when they were in their best shape. The imaginary portraits transformed the visitors to a different era of glory.

Such trips are necessary for inhabitants of a growing city like Lucknow for many reasons. One of them is to make responsible and informed citizens who do their bit to conserve our rich heritage. LucknowPulse is proud to support this initiative by Citizens for Lucknow.

Here’s a video clip of Dr. Roshan Taqui relating the story about the evacuation of the Residency after the siege and how the British left the Dilkusha Kothi to die a slow death. Watch it!

 

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