Knock Knock (Lucknow)

We've officially entered a new decade and honestly, these 10 years have given us a lot of things and our city has gone through major facial upliftments too. This decade has come with its fair share of challenges, adventures, ups and downs but what makes it all really noteworthy, is the evolution which Lucknow has gone through.

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Christmas in Lucknow is a jolly affair. The streets of Ganj are adorned with beautiful fairy lights, there's a crisp nip in the air, the bakeries look like wonderlands and there are a tons of offers on food & beverages. In short the city is engulfed in a holiday mood that stays till the New Year celebrations.

But Christmas isn't all about plum cakes and huge family lunches, it is foremost about the reason we celebrate this festival, the birth of Christ. Hence witnessing the midnight holy mass and the birth of Christ at St. Cathedral in Lucknow becomes a must for your Christmas celebrations.

Twinkling lights and the birth of Christ

St. Joseph's Cathedral is one of the most iconic and old churches in Lucknow. You wouldn't find a person in Lucknow who does not share fond memories of the place and agrees to the fact that being here is unlike any other experience you've had before.

Established in the year 1860, St. Joseph's Cathedral is one of the oldest and the biggest church building in Lucknow. Its architecture though formidable is uncommonly modern, especially for a place of worship.

The St. Joseph's Cathedral church is a prominent example of the communal harmony that Lucknow has been a shining example of the church which witnesses a footfall of over 1.5 lakhs each year during Christmas, welcomes to a huge crowd, 90% of which are non-Christians.

You can be a part of the huge celebrations that take place here each year. The holy midnight mass on 24th of December, followed by the birth of Christ is an affair many in the city desire to be a part of. The church holds carol singing, plays and worship sessions, and for three whole days, the birth of Christ is celebrated with an unmatched fervour.

Hence, when in Lucknow, there's no better way to celebrate Christmas than to be a part of the fabulous celebrations held here. Be it the midnight mass on 24th, the carol singing or just googling at the awe-inspiring decor, being at the St. Joseph's Cathedral is the best way to start with your Christmas celebrations in the city.

Knock Knock

Visiting the St. Joseph's Cathedral in Lucknow is an inseparable part of the city's culture. You just can't call yourself a true-blue Lakhnawi if you haven't been to the Cathedral during Christmas time. Sure there's a little rush in the area and it may feel like a lot, but visiting the church becomes a must and a Christmas without the visit would be as incomplete as one without a tree or plum cakes.

Given the rapid evolution of digitisation, Lucknow is at the forefront of an IT revolution too, all thanks to CEDCOSS. You might’ve heard about this organization and shoved it aside as another start-up, amidst the many in the city! But we’re here to make you think differently.

CEDCOSS is a homegrown IT solutions company which has many laurels to its credit. It possesses a vast range of e-commerce solutions products, including custom development services, consultancy, digital marketing services and much more.

They've been working across various verticals to proliferate a power-packed digital transformation in the city and CEDCOSS has set foot on heights through their top-notch services. It is an up and coming company that provides a great opportunity for anyone, who wants to get a feel of the IT world while excelling at it, right here in Lucknow itself.

The company is dedicatedly working to provide all-around eCommerce solutions, enabling online sellers from all around the world to scale their businesses worldwide! CEDCOSS has been providing them with integrations & marketplaces solutions, mobile apps, websites and much more. Ranging from product development to its amazing after-sales services, CEDCOSS believes in defining, designing and delivering exceptional IT solutions which are simply class-apart!

Completing 10 successful years of its being, CEDCOSS has partnered with many big names around the globe, like Google, Walmart, Magento, earning trust and credibility.

Deloitte Technology Fast 50 India award!

With over 500 satisfied companies and 5000+ satisfied clients in their professional kitty, CEDCOSS is spearheading the sector of IT solutions in Lucknow.

A recipient of the prestigious Deloitte Technology Fast 50 India award, 4 times in a row, CEDCOSS comes with scopes for expansion and new groundbreaking ideas!

Bridging the gap between Lucknow & IT Hubs across India!

Essentially, CEDCOSS is bridging the gap between IT hubs such as Bangalore & Hyderabad and the rapidly developing cities, like ours. Their philosophy is to bring an ‘IT hub’ like work and technological experience, right here at home in Lucknow! So if you’re searching for a job which would provide you with a cohesive learning system paired with fun, CEDCOSS is where you gotta send your CV to.

In fact, CEDCOSS is always on a hunt for enthusiastic folks who can bring a slew of new skills and game-changing ideas in the run. So if you're searching for an opening in a prominent IT company, then CEDCOSS is where you have to look.

Knock Knock

Lucknow is a developing hub of corporates and within a short span of time, CEDCOSS has bolstered the confidence of many brainchild ventures with their excellence. CEDCOSS is changing the facade of the city with its revolutionary IT solutions- they’re tapping into the business potential of Lucknow like no other!

So, if you’re a budding or an experienced Developer, UI/Graphics Designer, Video Artist, Digital Marketer or anyone who holds a significant wish of working and growing, CEDCOSS is here to provide you with a cohesive learning system paired with fun!

Checkout their website here.

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.