I met a traveller from an antique land,
Who said—“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal, these words appear:
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
Each time I visit Lucknow, I am filled with a sense of majesty that was, of promise that might have been, and of a present that constantly rides the current of progress without succumbing to it. This is my fourth visit in twenty-five years and my first in fifteen. Though much has changed, much abides. The old monuments, many of whom have been subjected to serious repair, continue to command our respect as we gaze upon their stately grandeur. Some of the new, though vast in scale and ambitious in scope, are no more than the the hallucinatory projects of those who lack inspiration and taste to meet the demands of their megalomania. Such is the case with the the concrete park erected by one worthy who has impermanently, one hopes, enshrined herself within its Xanadu-like limits and looks out in all four cardinal directions like a modern day but uninspiring Ramses at Aswan.
Below is a selection of sepia toned images that bring home the real and eternal Lucknow to me: visible history, eclectic variety and living tradition.
All photos taken with the Fuji X100F.
The old town from the Grand Mosque
The Bara Imambara
Travelling through the Bhul Bhuliya (Labyrinth) of a thousand doors
Inside the Bawli or Step Well
Entrance gate near the Chota Imambara
The Husseinabad Clock Tower
The old and the new at Rumi Gate
Bullet holes by the Magazine in the Residency 160 years later
The old hospital at the Residency
Baroque Drive, La Martiniere College