Clearly, there are ample of reasons why we're obsessed with Lucknow ki sardi.
Winters are definitely our favourite when in Lucknow, given that the city catches a much-needed break after the sweltering summer months and this season brings along an array of things, to warm our hearts and souls. The chilly air brushing against our hair, warm kisses of the sun making up for it, foggy evenings amidst the backdrop of blurry lights, colliding heat of roadside bonfires, kadak adrak chai with toasted moongphali on the sides- we can go on forever! Clearly, there are ample of reasons why we're obsessed with Awadh's winter season but we have come down to 6 of the best ones.
Noon Chai at Kashmiri Mohalla
If you're in or around the Kashmiri Mohalla, then you cannot skip on a cup of noon chai, which is a specialty here. This blush pink tea is warm, aromatic and served with a hint of salt, which makes all the difference! Also known as Kashmiri Chai and Gulaabi Chai, it is widely consumed during winters because the warmth of it, soothes the winter chills like no other.
Evening strolls at Marine Drive
Marine Drive is an all-year favourite of ours, if we're in the mood to take a stroll with a friend or just to sit alone and stare at the city's landscape. But during winters, especially in the evening, the vibe of MD is unmatchable and we just simply love being here. You'll find people passing by, munching on moongphalis while gossiping with their gang, having a chai-sutta sesh and all of this, wrapped with winter chills and floating blankets of fog. You've gotta be here to know what we're talking about.
Paya Nihari coupled with kulcha, nimbu & pyaaz
Paya ki Nihari is not just a dish; it's an emotion which has our childhood memories and nostalgia of the bygone winters puckered up and served on a plate. This is a slow-cooked mutton-based dish, prepared on low flame for hours and garnished with lots of spices. An absolute favourite of Lukcnowites during this season, Paya ki Nihari tastes like love and we don't care about the calories, when it comes to this. So if you want to catch the best of it, go over to Raheem's or Mubeen's and order it with a side of garam kulche, nimbu and pyaaz.
Makhhan Malai at Chowk
Without Makhhan Malai, our winter breakfasts are incomplete! Also lovingly hailed as Daulat Ki Chaat and Nimish, this is a winter delicacy which is made by an elaborate process that requires tenderness and patience. Head over to Chowk during the early hours to catch a bite of this ethereal sweet-dish and you'll be coming back for more!
Kali Gajar ka Halwa & Moong Halwa
If you're not new to Lucknow, then you have definitely heard of the Kali Gajar ka Halwa sold in Chowk. Curated with deep purple carrots, this halwa is rich, milky, laden with cashews and the perfect sweet you could ask for, after a wholesome meal. You can head to Alamgir wali Gali, Chowk and ask for "Halwe wale Haji Sahab" or if you spot Radhey Lal Parampara Sweets, just go inside and relish this one! Lucknow also has various other sweet shops which sell different sorts of halwas, like moong, gajar, sooji, wageirah, which are quite popular during these cold months.
Midnight Mass at St. Joseph Cathedral
The Yuletide season is almost upon us and attending the midnight mass here in Lucknow's biggest cathedral- St.Joseph's, is the correct way to embrace it! Annually, the church premise witnesses hordes of people and devotees during Christmas eve, who come here for merry-making and the mass of course. But sadly, this year due to the ongoing pandemic, the cathedral will be deprived of its usual glory.
Lucknow winters will always be close to our hearts, no matter how far we are and admittedly, we won't ever be over the aura of the city, even during almost freezing temperatures! Lucknowites are also missing out on the iconic Mahotsav and the legendary Repertwahr Festival, which are the winter essentials here, on account of the ongoing pandemic but hopefully, the situation will be better next year.
This city moves at its own pace and winters, just makes it even more leisurely. So if you're ever lucky enough to be here during this season, you must taste all of these dishes and take part in all the other winter-special things which Lucknow has to offer, to make your visit memorable.