The ever resounding and jubilant note "Muskuraaiye Aap Lucknow Mein Hai" is not just a marketing gimmick but truly what you will exquisitely experience in this historical city. The chivalry of Lucknowites and the captivating 'Pehle Aap' will surely leave you smiling. Lucknow, the capital city of Uttar Pradesh along with Agra and Varanasi is in the Uttar Pradesh Heritage Arc. Situated alongside the bank of river Gomti this city is famous for its Nawabs and kebabs, rich culture, architecture and history. The city presents a mix of the old Colonial and Mughal era glimpses alongside the urban and modernized lifestyle. If you are one of those who loves street food and has a knack for historical places, Lucknow is a must-visit. The hotels in the city rival that of the hotels in Bangalore, Mumbai or Delhi and will surely win your heart with their ambience. However, you will be left overwhelmed with the sheer number of places to be visited in Lucknow. You would be pushed to leave your hotel room every moment and immerse yourself in this colourful city. Don't worry, we have curated the 7 best places that are a must if you want to relish all that this artistic city has to offer.

1) Imambara: The city of Nawabs has a plethora of Mughal era buildings. The Bara and Chota Imambara are the two most spectacular piece of Mughal architecture worth visiting. The Bara Imambara was made in 1784 by the Nawab of Awadh. The central hall of the Bara Imambara is about 50 m long and is decorated and painted on the inside with Persian artistry. The arched hall is unsupported by any structure and hangs in the middle which will surely make you swoon. There is also the Asifi Mosque and a Shahi Bauli (Well) inside the boundaries. The Chota Imambara is located about 1.5 kilometres west of Bara Imambara and was built in 1838. Alongside the connecting road is the Rumi Darwaza which marks an entrance into the old Lucknow city, where once used to be the palace of Nawabs before it was destroyed by Britishers. The building is also known as the Palace of Lights because of its decorations and chandeliers during special festivals. The structure has a gilded dome and several turrets and minarets and the walls are decorated with Arabic calligraphy. The tinge of green on this white structure is an artistic marvel. Book your hotel room close to this area and take a morning walk in this serene neighbourhood. There is nothing like the beauty of these two monuments in the wake of the rising sun.

Bada Imambara entry gate and Asifi Mosque (left)

2) British Residency: Another historical monument to be visited is The British Residency of Lucknow. The complex was the residence for the British Resident General who was a representative in the court of the Nawab. During the 1857 freedom struggle, this complex turned into a British refugee camp and was turned into ruin as a result of the battle. The ASI maintains the fort in its post rebellion state. The walls are still marked with cannon blasts. A British cemetery in the complex holds the graves of over 2000 Britishers who died during the revolt. The best time to visit is in the evening. A light and sound show to display the rich history is played every evening.

British Residency

3) Hazratganj: What Connaught place is to Delhi, Hazartganj is to Lucknow. Located in the heart of the city this place has a great historical significance. The market has been given a facelift and serves as a place to chill and relax.  There are urban shopping outlets in the old victorian style buildings where you can shop for literally anything. The streets are lined with lamps giving it a contemporary look. The best time to visit is at night when the entire market shines bright with glittery lights. This place is sure to satisfy your hunger pangs with an unlimited number of street food options like chaat, Kulfi, Panch Pani ke Batashee, coffee shops, fine dining restaurants like Royal Cafe, Jone Hing, Chedilal and many posh Mughlai restaurants.

Hazratganj Market

4) Marine Drive, Gomti Nagar: The Marine Drive is the name of a long stretch of road alongside Gomti river. The name is derived from the famous Marine Drive in Mumbai. Youngsters throng this newly made place every evening and groups of street performers can be seen daily. The road is lined with beautiful lights and benches are scattered evenly alongside the road. Not just visitors but even locals regularly come for evening walks regularly and you can surely strike some engaging conversations with the courteous Lucknowites. Marine Drive is a beautiful place for young lovers. Visiting couples are recommended to book rooms in hotels close to Marine Drive and enjoy a stroll on the sidewalks of the drive and fade into the scenic beauty of this place away from the cities chaos.

Marine Drive, Lucknow

5) Aminabad Market: The Aminabad market is one of the oldest markets since the time of Nawab of Awadh. Though the market is very crowded, it serves the purpose of a food lover and a shopper. The popular Tunday Kebab and Prakash Kulfi are the oldest delicacies in this area and are not to be missed. The market houses several sub-markets within it which are famous for different categories of items. Ladies don't forget to check out Pratap Market and Mohan Market for its wide range of ethnic Indian wear. If shopping is your thing, head out to Aminabad and your day will be spent well.

Tundey Kababi, Aminabad

6) Lucknow Zoo and Kukrail Gharial Park: If you are an animal lover, make sure to visit the Lucknow Zoological park and the Kukrail Gharial Park. The zoo lies in the middle of the city and you can see animal species like the royal and white Bengal tiger, grey wolf, Asiatic lion, hoolock gibbon, Himalayan black bear, blackbuck, swamp deer, Asiatic elephant, silver pheasant etc. Its a very popular family picnic spot. The zoo also houses a toy train which runs through every corner of the zoo and also a British-era Vintage train and the State Museum. The Kukrail Gharial park is one of the nurseries of the endangered species of Alligators and Crocodiles in India where these species are bred. It houses a Children's Park, Cafeteria and Rest House. The forest has a narrow riverine stream and a variety of birds and deer can be seen in their natural state.

Kukrail Gharial Park

7) Dr Ambedkar Park: The Ambedkar park will surely amaze you with its architectural beauty. If you like to be clicked the park provides ample picturesque backgrounds. The park is a memorial dedicated to B. R. Ambedkar "father of the Indian Constitution. The park is built with red sandstone and marble and houses excellent sculptures, magnificent columns, well-maintained lawns and a canal from Gomti river that surrounds the vicinity making it a major tourist attraction. The park is located in Gomti Nagar.

Dr Ambedkar Park

While Old Lucknow is famous for its artistic ancient marvels, the tundey Kebabs, Lakhnavi chikan market, the New Lucknow, in contrast, houses the Metro, wide roads, shopping complexes and several parks. Together they make a modern city that is reminiscent of its glorious past.

Well if you are a nature lover and want to go away from the buzz of cities, you need to Disconnect to Connect Better: 7 Indian Destinations to Unwind and Destress Yourself.