Knock Knock (Lucknow)

Winters bring with them a plethora of food selections that we go gaga over, like- makkhan malai, shorba and Kashmiri chai, etc. But the most awaited one is gajar ka halwa!

We wait for winters all year long to taste this sweet-rich delicacy and in Lucknow, there's no dearth of options when it comes to gajar ka halwa. Each place selling this sweet treat has its signature mark & not even one can be missed. No matter how you like your halwa, whether is it extra sweet and jammy, or light and nutty, this list of 7 places for an indulgent 'gajar ka halwa' will definitely give you a place to come back to.

1. Moti Mahal

Moti Mahal is a legendary place in the city. Ask anyone in Lucknow where to find the best Gajar ka Halwa and this is where they'll send you off to. The gajar ka halwa served here is overflowing with nuts, mawa and deliciousness. A bite or two of this beauty and you'd be left comforted and satiated.

Location: 75, Mahatma Gandhi Marg, Next to Central Bank of India, Hazratganj, Lucknow

2. Chowk wala Kali Gajar ka Halwa

If you're not new to Lucknow, you have definitely heard of the kali gajar ka halwa sold in Chowk. Made with deep purple carrots, this halwa is rich, milky, laden with cashews and the perfect sweet you could ask for. Head to the busy lanes of Chowk and ask for kali gajar ka halwa, you will not be disappointed.

Location: Alamgir wali gali, Chowk (Ask for "Halwe wale Haji Sahab")

3. Chhappan Bhog

Another big name in the city, Chhappan Bhog, is one of the oldest and the most reputed sweet shops. Chhappan Bhog is where people come to, for their sweet tooth situation and this is where you too need to be when craving a delicious halwa. The gajar ka halwa served here is subtle, rich and done just right.

Location: No. 311, Prabhu Dayal Marg, Sadar Bazaar, Cantonment, Lucknow

4. Parampara

Parampara is also a great place to look for a delicious gajar halwa. Made with thickened milk, their halwa stands out from the rest because of its creaminess. If you're into saturated sweets that keep your energy up during the harsh winters, this is the halwa for you.

Location: Gole Darwaza, Chowk, Lucknow

5. Mohan

Located at Ram-Ram Bank Chauraha in Aliganj, this quaint sweet shop is a favourite in the area. The halwa they serve can turn even the most staunchest of carrot haters. Simmered for hours in rich nutty, milky and sweet mix, this is the halwa that your mothe will approve of.

Location: LGF, Ashirwad Plaza, 3/4 Ram Ram Bank Chauraha, Aliganj, Lucknow

6. Mahalaxmi Sweets

Another great place to find a rich and luxurious halwa, Mahalaxmi Sweets in Aliganj is a staple for those who crave familiar flavours. Prepared in a ton of desi ghee, the gajar halwa here is as rich as it gets. They even serve a sugar free version of the halwa for those who're looking for a healthy indulgence.

Location: Sector H, Near Sector A, Aliganj, Lucknow

7. Ritz

If you're looking for a standard halwa, a no muss, no fuss tasty treat, this is where you need to be. The Ritz halwa is as simple and as good as it gets. It is the safety net, the reliable halwa we go back to when the more experimental ones leave us wanting.

Location: M 20, Ground Floor, Gole Market, Mahanagar, Lucknow

Knock Knock

If you're looking for a scrumptious gajar ka halwa, this is the list you need right now. In case you are someone who isn't a fan, you must surely visit any of the given places and trust us, you will not regret!

Over the years, Lucknow has seen artistes who’ve risen, made a name out of their talents at places and they haven't been back since. Then there are those who’ve tasted catholic glories, travelled to faraway lands on the credits of their talents but have always returned to their roots.

One such performer is Himanshu Bajpai, who has stemmed from the snaking bylanes of Chowk and has reached the zeniths of appreciation ofttimes with his dastangoi, all over India and beyond.

But what is ‘Dastangoi’?

Dastangoi is the art of Urdu story-telling which originated in the 13th century and was prevalent in the Lucknow-Delhi region but after a few centuries, it had faded away. Dastangoi would have been a forgotten art-form unless for the efforts of the prominent Urdu poet and critic Shamsur Rahman Farooqi, his nephew, writer and director Mahmood Farooqui.

The modern dastangos (story-tellers) have made dastangoi a medium through which they can raise awareness about important societal issues and through these, they also reiterate stories of the past. Dastans are just verbal adventures which can take your focus from djinns to princes of faraway lands but mostly it focuses on razm and bazm.

Dastan of the Dastango!

A journalist by profession, Himanshu has been associated with organizations like Akashvani, Dainik Bhaskar, and Tehelka in the past. Bajpai is a store-house of the rich cultural history of Lucknow and his immense knowledge in Urdu and Hindi poetry and Awadhi literature is simply unmatched.

Himanshu commenced his journey to become a dastango back in 2013 with the help of his beloved friend, the late Ankit Chadha, who was also one of the most celebrated dastangos in India. Furthermore, Bajpai’s aziz friend, Varun Grover has also helped him to realize his passion for the art form.

Highly inspired by Amritlal Nagar, Yogesh Praveen and his late beloved friend, Ankit, Himanshu has become one of Lucknow’s ambassadors in his own terms. According to Bajpai, even Gandhi’s ideals and principles have ignited an ardour in him and fashioned his notions and perspectives, notably.

‘Qissa Qissa’ ki Kahaani

From a cameo role in Sacred Games 2 to the third reprint of his book ‘Qissa Qissa Lucknowaa’, Himanshu Bajpai has become the shaan aur maan of Lucknow.

Qissa Qissa Lucknowaa has drawn its inspirations from the current socio-political and cultural scenario of the country and it was penned on a priority basis too. Bajpai had specks of trepidation, that the world might lose out on this oral art-form so the future generations should be aware of its eminence. This book also talks about a secular Lucknow; tales of the past and how there was unity in diversity previously, on the lines of Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb.

Knock Knock

With over 50 dastongois to his credits, Himanshu has been earnestly promoting the culture of Lucknow and his fidelity towards this craft, is simply commendable.

Himanshu has always directed his craftsmanship towards all sectors of people, to inculcate a sense of this art around him and truly, it for the people and of the people.

Lucknow is a city we love for many things; the food, the people. The culture here is entirely different from anywhere else and we Lucknowites are fiercely proud of it. Though Lucknow was never a mainstream destination for Bollywood, yet there have been several movies shot in the city, about the city that have truly done justice to the essence of the city of Nawabs.

So, here's a list of 9 movies that portray Lucknow in the most realistic sense.

1. Jolly LLB 2

A story about a wannabe lawyer from the city and the corrupt police system, took away our hearts. There aren't many movies who have been able to capture the laughter, the markets, the people and the language like Jolly LLB 2.

2. Dawat-e-Ishq

A gem of a movie, Dawat-e-Ishq was about the foremost things that brings the people of Lucknow together- food. Lucknow's love for food is unmatched, the kind of love we hold in our hearts for kebabs was beautifully portrayed by Tariq's raw passion. Though, quite weak on the storyline the movie did make its way into the heart of every Lucknowite.

3. Tanu weds Manu

Tanu weds Manu was one movie where we saw prominent shots of the city, a portrayal of its culture and the spirit of Lucknow all encapsulated in one. The scene on Gomti bridge or the 'Rangrez' song where we saw the lanes of old Lucknow, the river bank and the cloth dyeing area.

4. Ishaqzaade

Another great movie about Lucknow, Ishaqzaade talked of Lucknow's religious rift, the communities and young love. A majority of the movie was shot in old Lucknow, mostly Chowk; the Lucknow railways station and the tracks even got a shout-out during the 'Pareshan' song.

5. Bullet Raaja

Starring Saif Ali Khan and Jimmy Shergill, Bullet Raja was more on the swag of the 'Nawabs' of Lucknow . The movie showed us the rowdy side of the city, the gangs, the battles and some of the fun. Yet, it also showed us a beautiful view of this stunning city and that is something we'll forever cherish.

6. Always Kabhi Kabhi

This movie about students and the complications of young love was shot at La Martiniere, an iconic place for the city. The movie showed off Lucknow's most premier educational institution and showcased the grandiose that is associated with the school and its architecture.

7. Bala

The Ayushmann Khurrana and Yami Gautam starrer talked about the taboo associated with baldness with a light-hearted rom-com and box office went wild. The movie also showcased the stunning Lucknow river-front and the awe-inspiring Ambedkar park while the montage of the Tik Tok videos is shaping the love story of the prominent characters.

8. Youngistan

Another movie that portrayed Lucknow's grandeur was Youngistan. Driven by the idea that a young political leader will make the country a better place, the movie also has a love story brewing in the background. The epitome of the romance was celebrated here with the song- Suno na Sangemarmar. The song was shot in Lucknow's Ambedkar Park and showed off the majestic memorial of Dr. Ambedkar.

9. Umrao Jaan, 2006

This movie about a famous Lucknow courtesan of the same name showed a Lucknow of another era. The beautiful havelis and the architectural wonder of the city is wonderfully portrayed in the movie which talks of love, loss and pain. The movie celebrated Lucknow's culture of music and poetry and the taboos associated with it.

Knock Knock

Each of these movies, show a different aspect of Lucknow. The city's inherent charm, the kind of people who live here, our culture, our architecture and our spirit. These movies together define what Lucknow is and stands for and every time we see a familiar place we get ecstatic beyond belief.

There are many things that Lucknow is known for- being the city of Nawabs, the exceptional food culture, rich history and the majestic monuments. If there's one monument that has the ability to define Lucknow, it is the Bada Imambada.

Bada Imambada or the 'Bigger residence of Imam' is a peacock feather in Lucknow's very ornate cap. The monument, its grandeur, its cultural significance and the stories surrounding it are as interesting at the city itself.

A testament to the glorious culture of this quaint city, Bada Imambada tells a tale of grandiose, good-will, religion and philanthropy woven together.

Tale as old as time- a Nawab, a famine & a monument

The Bada Imambaa was constructed in the time of the late Nawab of Lucknow 'Asaf-Ud-Daulah'. A famous story in the region tells the tale of the time and the circumstances in which the monument was built.

It is famed that during the time of Asaf-Ud-Daulah, an extremely generous and loving Nawab, Awadh was struck by a huge famine. In order to ensure that none of his subjects go hungry, the nawab decided on constructing a huge ibadatghar, or a 'place of worship.

It is also said that the Nawab had employed two sects of population in the building process of the Bada Imambada- the working class and the elite. While the workers built the formidable structure at night, the elite would come and destroy what they had made. Ensuring that the construction was a long drawn process and workers get paid for every single day's work. Hence, it took 11 years to complete the monument which gave employment to 20,000 men at the time!

The architectural grandeur

Bada Imambada is a beautiful specimen of Mughlai architecture, untouched by the European style that is quite visible at other places in the city. There are many wonderful things about the architecture of the Bara Imambara including the fact that the monument includes a mausoleum of Asaf-Ud-Daulah, a main hall which is used for religious gatherings by Shia muslims and a labyrinth on the upper floors.

It is famed that there are 1024 ways to get inside the maze but only 2 to get out of it.

The Bada Imambada is an architectural marvel since there's no use of wood, wooden pillars, beams or metal in the entire building. The whole structure stands on the many small & large windows, doorframes and the gateways built to confuse the beholder.

It is also said that there are several tunnels leading away from the monument which, if followed will oust the travellers in wilderness and even the cities of Delhi and Allahabad.

Knock Knock

Bada Imambada is one of the most famous places in the city. While the maze is what most people know about the place Imambada, it is not all that you'll find attractive. The Bada Imambada complex houses the Asifi Masjid, the Bhool Bhulaiya, the Baoli or the step-well the royal females used for bathing and lush gardens.

There's much to see and experience at the Bada Imambada complex, so take a trip there, have a small picnic and be awash with a rush of pride and nostalgia.

Sighting porters in and around busy places isn’t an unusual deal when in India. But when we subconsciously assume the gender of these porters, that’s when the surprise kicks in here at Margao. You’ll see bhadels here, walking in the folds of this south Goan city, as they have been doing since the mid-eighteenth century.

Who are Bhadels?

The ‘Bhadels of Goa’ are women porters who work in the city of Margao and this occupation has been operating through a hand-me-down system! Generations of women in the family have been involved in this trade but as globalization found its way here, this breed of women have been dwindling in numbers.

These bhadels in Margao have traditionally been of Roman Catholic origin and they mostly belong to tribes originating in Goa! This lot of women porters is still considered to be the most trustworthy labourers here in the city and their income strictly depends on the weight of the baggage and the distance you assign them.

With rising development swings in the state, bhadels have been facing competition from other youngsters, who’re encroaching upon this business with their physical strength. Bhadels here are mostly above 50-60 years of age but their wrinkles haven’t stopped them from hauling cupboards on their backs to carrying items double their weight.

In honour of their tireless services, a life-size stainless steel sculpture of a bhadel has been installed in Margao and it was fashioned by sculptor Subodh Kerkar.

The number of bhadels have been reducing with each passing day as the women of this generation want better means to make a living. Although the women from the bhadel community can apply for government pension schemes for senior citizens, they have actually dragged their feet through it.

It’s a matter of good news that there are women from this tribe who are looking for better job opportunities! It reduces the chances of exploitation and furthers the growth of the women here. We can only hope for a fond remembrance of these women coolies amidst the citizens while they move forward with their lives and careers for a head start.

Truly, Lucknow has no dearth of talents no matter which stream it is! With the snowballing amount of platforms to prove our prowess, the city is a hotbed of skills.

Joining this venerable legion of artistes from the city, we have Arjit Agarwal. A home-grown talent who has garnered 32k subscribers on YouTube in the past 3-4 years and with over 2.3 million views in his record, he’s clearly hitting the right chords.

Not just another singer!

A music graduate from the esteemed Bhatkhande Music Institute in Lucknow, Arjit draws most of his inspirations from Amit Trivedi and A.R. Rahman. His style resonates with fusion music and his dreamy voice proves that Indian Classical music is his jam.

Arjit has performed at Varanasi, Mumbai, Pune amidst other prominent cities and along with a blend of originals and covers, he has garnered a nationwide cult following. His subscribers and followers can actually vouch for that!

Holder of various titles and awards in his field, Arjit credits his mother for imbibing her musician-like qualities in him. “Maa is an amazing singer and I have picked up my skills from her. Watching and listening to her voicing the lyrics and tunes of a song, has always been a lesson.”

Adding layers to his confidence, Arjit was amidst the top 10 YouTubers selected for the YouTube NextUp event, back in August and he bagged the first place too!

This wunderkind has also collaborated with YouTube biggies like Antara Nandy and Siddharth Slathia in this short while, which further speaks volumes of his potential.

For the love of his God - Rahman!

A Rahman fanatic, Arjit has been lending his twists to classic Rahman songs ever since he realised his zeal. If you’ve subscribed to his channel, you’ll know that he posts a Rahman song on every 6th of January, as an ode to A.R.R. on his birthday.

Arjit’s first-ever Rahman cover was Jiya Jale which was well-received by thousands all over the country and we could honestly, play it on loop repeatedly! These songs have again pushed him to the zeniths of fame and resulted in umpteen downloads.

Knock Knock

Arjit will be releasing his cover of Aap ki Nazron Ne Samjha in the first week of December, which will be followed by a premiere of his next original Woh Mili, in the first week of January.

With a state-of-the-art studio set-up in his residence, Arjit dedicates his entire time to his passion on a daily basis and the best part? He’s open to collaborations with other talents in the city as well.

So whether you want to perform a duet, discuss the nuances of music or learn the art in its most unfiltered guise, hands down Arijit is the guy for you! Just reach out to him via his social media handles and the rest will be history.

Subscribe to his channel here

If you’re in Lucknow and have fur-babies to take care of at home, then we’ve got some news for you which’d make you go OH MY DOGGG out of happiness and relief too!

Canine lovers in the city can now go ahead with their vacay plans because Lucknow has just become a home to Paws on Vacation- a luxury dog resort for your pets, here at Gomti Nagar Extension. This is exactly what we’ve been hoping for and FINALLY after a long the wait, POV is here to make our lives a little easier!

It promises a safe, stress-free and clean ambiance for your dog’s boarding and daycare needs and your furballs are gonna love being here. POV offers a variety of services, state-of-the-art rooms and a whole lot more, to make their woofin’ guests as comfortable as paw-sible.

What’s in for the Doggos?

Put together by four ardent dog lovers- Mohit and Tanvi Gurnani, Shrinath and Sachi Poddar, POV reflects the love and passion they have for mutts. They’ve brought in the first-of-its kind luxury resort for dogs here in Lucknow so you gotta thank them for your stress-free vacays now!

POV is your safe haven whenever you need to make travel plans without your doggos! Pets here can access a sprawling playground that has been built keeping their incessant adrenaline rush in mind and we’re sure, they’ll be making friends in no time.

They even house a feeding zone, a gym zone and even a chill zone, complete with a dog spa! No, we ain’t kidding. Your furry friends will be treated like royalty here and to make sure that they’re always healthy, they've appointed a vet who visits regularly to keep a check.

Adding to their highlights, each dog gets their own private room, which is spacious enough for bigger breeds too, like Great Danes and Saint Bernards. Best part? Your doggo will never be lonely here; they’ll always have play-mates around whenever they’d want to play fetch or throw. POV has trained professionals who can walk your dog, play with them, or even groom them- all wrapped with love and affection!

The Paw-rty we Attended!

For the inauguration of Paws on Vacation, the grounds here saw a slew of doggos who turned up and made new friends while getting a taste of homemade dog beer- Tubark!

This paw-party saw dogs of numerous breeds- Great Danes, Golden Retrievers, Alsatians, Dobermans, Rottweilers, in the big-dog-section. Apart from that, we got to pet and cuddle Shih-Tzus, Apsos and Beagles, who were just these little bundles of joy, bouncing all around.

Knock Knock

With an array of top-notch facilities, Paws on Vacation is the retreat we've been waiting for and furtunately have right now, in the city! So if you’ve been scrambling for places to leave your dog at while you’re at work or on a vacation, POV is the good news we all needed.

Contact: (+91) 9956600222 / 9956600333

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Check out their Instagram: https://instagram.com/pawsonvacation.in?igshid=gvq7kz9l8ijc

Men have an extremely important role to play in all our lives. Be it our fathers, our brothers, friends, boyfriends, husbands or colleagues- men stand as the pillars of our life. But they are also some of the most misunderstood and overlooked people in our lives.

From being told to be more manly, more strong, less emotional, reliable and the providers, today, modern men have to deal with a lot of issues.

Hence, we have created a list of 5 reasons why we love and appreciate the men of Lucknow & what makes them different.

1. His Tehzeeb is unparalleled

Being brought up in a city that lays a lot of emphasis on being respectful and cordial, men in Lucknow have come to be extremely well mannered. Guys from Lucknow will treat you well and wouldn't disrespect you, no matter what the circumstances.

2. Knows his biryanis well

A guy from Lucknow would always be able to tell his biryanis from his pulaos. You can trust a guy from Lucknow to bring you the best of Awadhi biryanis, all flavourful, aromatic and rich. Also, he knows the importance of salan and raita, so that you never have to eat your biryani dry.

3. His 'Ama Yaar' is an emotion

A guy from Lucknow will never get mushy on you and shower you with 'Shona', 'Jaanu' and 'Sweety'. When he feels like he cannot put his feelings into words he'll say 'Ama Yaar' and you'll know exactly what he means.

4. His date idea is all about food

A true-blue Lucknowi knows that a good date comprises of having fun, rather than sitting ducks and pretending to be someone you're not. Guys from Lucknow will take you on a binge along the winding lanes of the city because a kabab eating contest is always better than sitting down for a formal dinner.

5. He loves chai more than coffee

While we like a good cup of cappuccino or a mocha-latte as much as the next person, chai will forever be our first love; which is absolutely true for a man from Lucknow. Raised in a city with extremely high chai standards, this guy will be your forever chai partner. Incidentally, he also knows how to make a good chai and that is as beautiful as it gets.

Knock Knock

These points are few among a huge list of assets men from Lucknow have. Though, we know that we're partial towards our fellow Lucknowites, there's no denying that men from Lucknow have an inherent charm & definitely need a mention.