Lucknow is the capital city of the state of Uttar Pradesh, India. It had a population of 2,207,340 in 2001. It has a literacy rate of 68.63%. It is the second largest urban centre in Uttar Pradesh after Kanpur.
Lucknow's history begins with its elevation to a capital city under the Nawabs of Awadh. The architectural contributions of the Awadh rulers, many paintings of whom are maintained at the Art Gallery today, include numerous mosques and palaces. Of the monuments standing today, the Bada Imambara, the Chhota Imambara, and the Roomi Darwaza are notable examples, although neglect by the authorities has put them in danger of turning into ruins.
The province of Awadh (anglicized to Oudh) was annexed by the British rulers of India, and in the Indian Mutiny of 1857, Lucknow was one of the cities besieged by the rebel forces. Today, the ruins of the Residency, and the picturesque Shaheed Smarak offer the poignant reminisces of Lucknow's role in the Mutiny.
Other architectural delights in Lucknow include the Vidhan Sabha (State Parliament) and the railway station at Charbagh with its yellow domes and pillars. One of the oldest schools in the world is also situated in Lucknow: La Martiniere, founded by the bequest of the immensely successful colonial enterpreneur Claude Martin (1735 - 1800).
Lucknow's airport is located around 20 km outside the city at Amausi. Locations of interest around Lucknow include Kukrail (a picnic spot and crocodile sanctuary), Malihabad (home of the famed Langda mangoes), Kanpur, Allahabad, Varanasi and Mirzapur. Lucknow is also home to the Central Drug Research Institute, the King George Medical College, and Birbal Sahni's National Botanical Research Institute.
Chikan, an embroidered handicraft which has traditionally been associated with Lucknow, and Lakhnawi Zardozi are important small-scale industries around Lucknow. Old Lucknow's Chowk area is the location where the maximum number of Chikan shops can be found. Apart from clothing, the Chowk area is also famous for its mouth watering sweets like Malai Gilauri, Badam Halwa and Ras-Malai, as well as the famed Chatpati chaat.
Aminabad, a bazaar quite like Delhi's Chandni Chowk, is situated in the heart of the city and is a large shopping centre, catering to a wide variety of consumers. The Hazratganj area is another hub of activity, and a number of government and administrative buildings are located there.