From our memories back to Singapore, we remember being on the plane to some exotic destination, opening the inflight magazine at a random page, and reading an article about Lucknow. It was the first time we heard about this city and even if we did not remember what the interesting places highlighted in the article were, we kept it in our minds. So when we were in Delhi, looking for the next city in our trip, we saw Lucknow on the map at equal distance between Delhi and Varanasi and we decided to make a stop there! It was not even on our guidebook.
Lucknow witnessed our bad health for a few days. Good we did not experienced the Delhi belly (popular among tourists who experience Indian food for the first time), but a bronchio-pulmo-tuberculo-sore throat that took some time to solve. We spent a few days in Shimla Inn Hotel, a pretty good value for money, especially knowing that there are not so many hotels in Lucknow, it was not easy to find it! We were trying to heal thanks to kebabs and chicken tikkas as Lucknow is famous for its meat delicacies! We cannot count the number of times we went to Tundai Kababi to eat their super spicy mouth watering galawi kebabs (really a must try if you go there).
When we felt better, we enjoyed a ride in the city and visited the attraction of Lucknow, the beautiful Imambara and its famous labyrinth. “Ok, we though, a labyrinth, that should not be complicated to get out of there…” We spent two hours trying to get out the crazy corridors at several levels, in the middle of the crowd as it was a public holiday!
We also had a surprising experience. In the middle of touts, trying to rip us off, we found the generosity of a man. We went to his Muslim restaurant, Rahim’s Nihari, to eat the unique dish served there, the Nihari mutton. But after we ordered two meals, he came to our table and told us we better start with one in case we do not like it and he does not like to waste food. We ensured him we would eat everything and we even ordered more as it was so good. When paying the bill, he told us “You are my guests!” It was the first time we were invited at the restaurant by its owner!
It was time to head to a destination we looked forward to a lot: the sacred city of Varanasi!