Lucknow, which is also known as the city of Nawabs is the eleventh most populous city in India 1 andthe capital of the Indian state Uttar Pradesh. The city stands in the middle of Indus-Gangetic plain atthe height of 123m above sea level and Gomti river cuts across the city dividing it into Trans-Gomtiand Cis-Gomti regions.Though the history of Lucknow dates back to 1033 CE, the city finds itself first mentioned in thewritten records dating back to 1325 CE (Ibn Batuta’s Safarnama/travelogue during the reign ofMohammad Bin Thuglaq) when it was known by the name ‘Lahknoo’2 while the oldest builtstructures date back to the period of Aurangzeb between 1658-1707CE when it became a part of theAwadh province, after the disintegration of the Delhi Sultanate. It was a trade and business centerand was also the biggest supplier of wheat, rice and fodder in the region and the famed Chowk market(CBD) formed its core which also catered to the daily needs of the people.
Rapid changes occurred after the reign of the third Nawab when Lucknow became the capital of theAwadh province. The Nawabs were known for their extravagant lifestyle and were patrons of arts,dance and drama. Various monuments and manicured gardens were also built by them between1755CE to 1842 CE and the same were developed to the south of the Gomti river away from thedense market settlement. The Urban morphology was influenced by the Islamic planning principleswhere the Mosque occupies the vantage position in the city with dense markets and residentialquarters around it and the rulers occupied a sprawling palace with a citadel like feature (Kaiser Baghpalace in this case) and organic streets connecting all of the above.
Lucknow was a vassal state of British between 1801CE and 1857CE after which the British tookcomplete control over the province. During this period, the supremacy of the British propelled themto establish the Hazratganj market that served the needs of he British gentry. Meanwhile, NawabAminudullah who owned large swaths of land developed Aminadbad 3 on the outskirts of the citywhich became a commercial and residential hub with four gates surrounding it where each gate hadan adjoining mosque. The Aminadad market served the locals along with the chowk market.
The rule of the British drastically changed the morphology of the town as they built 7 broad roadscutting through the heart of the city and decongested the older areas by introducing green spaceswhich included the demolition of most buildings along the corridor except few prominent ones(illustration 1) . The British also built a large cantonment (which had churches, hospitals, race courses,barracks etc.) in the South Eastern part of the town along with cemeteries and jails along the edgesexpanding the city. While the railway line separated the cantonment from main settlement in theSouth, the Gomti river separated the newer developments in the trans-Gomti region.