154-years-old Amir-ud-Daula Public Library is a jewel in the crown of Lucknow's history
A snug heritable home to some 2 lakh books in around seven languages, Lucknow's Amir-ud-Daula Public Library is a haven for the bibliophiles and history buffs! The former owing to the fact that it exhibits one of the rarest and oldest collections of books, and the latter based on the account of the rich history that comes along with this centuries-old library.
Set up in 1868, the Amir-ud-Daula Public Library is some 154 years old today! So, hop aboard with us on this historical journey where we unearth certain ancient facts and values attached with this age-old pearl jewel of Lucknow.
Age-old history & architecture
Open to public (only students) in 1887, the Amir-ud-Daula Library has had a chain of different locations and got different names. Initially it was a part of Lucknow's State Museum, that later got relocated to Lal Baradari in 1907 and then Chota Chattar Manzil in 1910. After this, it transformed into a public library inaugurated by Harcourt Butler in 1921. The Awadh Taluqdars had gifted the immemorial building to the Government of United Provinces.
Showcasing brilliant Indo-Islamic architectural elements, this Nawab-era building, covers an area of some 3,000 sq m and is today a part of the Qaiserbagh Heritage Zone. In 1947, a park was also constructed in front of this readers' refuge.
On a historical expedition
The library's rare collection envelops lakhs of books in languages like Hindi, Urdu, English, Bengali, Sanskrit, Arabic, and Persian.
Let's paint the picture for you — you're curious about the lesser known facts about Lucknow's contribution in the revolt of 1857 or the secret services of certain agencies, or about women writers clandestinely writing in 1600s, orr, perhaps, occult practises in the country and you know Google can't help you... You see where we're going?
The Amir-ud-Daula Public Library’s stupendous collection of books, journals, original manuscripts, newspapers, magazines and so much more will leave you in complete awe of its power!
From the Buddhist text of The Dhammapada written on copper plates, to the original plays written at the time of Nawabs, to highly unique Sanskrit manuscripts — exploring the library will be like an expedition to the past! Do you agree?
A digital revolution
Moreover, did you know that only recently, in an effort to save the oldest of manuscripts from turning into dust, the Amir-ud-Daula Public Library started being digitised?
With the on-going digitisation process that started in 2019, some 24,000 books have become available online on the Lucknow Digital Library.
A doorway to the secrets of the old world
If you're a bibliophile whose day is made just by the fragrance residing in the pages of old books, or a curious kid who'd like to dive deep into mysteries and secrets of the old world, or a nerdy person wanting to read about the subject you love — this is your cue to visit Lucknow's oldest library and unlock pure bliss!
Location: Kaiserbagh, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh 226001, India.
Contact: +0522 262 3473
When: Monday - Sunday, 9 AM - 6 PM