A gala of Nawabi arts, crafts, culture, cuisines & more, Lucknow Mahotsav ties the past with present
The grandeur and opulence of Lucknow's history have transcended the boundaries of time. This is best visible in the Awadh city's incredible monuments, most of which still echo the whispers of those who dwelled there in the past. Lucknow's rich culture, vibrant arts, crafts and culinary breakthroughs have also been passed down from one generation to another and now, people from across the world come to savour the delights of Awadh. Lucknow's past has been shaped and moulded by its many-faceted forms of art and craft and that's exactly what the Lucknow Mahotsav celebrates- centuries of this Nawabi culture.
Lucknow Mahotsav tells the tale of Lucknow's vibrant past
Nothing comes as close to telling what Lucknow has been and is all about, as the Lucknow Mahotsav. A kaleidoscope of craft, couture, culture and cuisine, the 10-day mega fair is a cornucopia of colours and cheers in all forms. It literally transports the visitor to the old world charm of the City of Nawabs, as much as to its modern-day delights. Let us, as proud Lucknowites, take you on a trip down memory lane to trace the origin, past, present and possibly the future of this pageant.
It is instructive to recall, that the year 1975 was observed as the Tourism Year and since then, every year, Lucknow Mahotsav has been organized. Even back then, the carnival held a charm and a vibe that was unmatched by others.
Since its humble beginnings, it has become one of the grandest events, not only for Lucknowites welcoming the winters but for thousands of people across the country, many, who use this opportunity to showcase their craft. For us Lucknowites, the Mahotsav marks 10 (or so) days of riveting fun, excitement, a time to reflect on the past and everything that Lucknow is today.
Bringing hints of nostalgia amid Lakhnawis
Just the words "Lucknow Mahotsav'' evoke nostalgia and fond remembrance in die-hard Lakhnawis. Mahotsav evenings are remembered by many as gatherings of people from all walks of life, who come to take in the arts of Lucknow, to enjoy the rich Awadhi cuisine, which is symbolic of Lucknow and to catch a fleeting essence of the nawabi culture in the form of Kavi Sammelans, Mushairas and the likes.
In the recent past, Lucknow Mahotsav's festivities have been taken to the next level as national performers and artists have come here to elevate and illuminate Lucknow's forgotten arts and more. These artists come here not only to rekindle the flame of these forgotten arts but to achieve and obtain new heights, to find new meaning within them.
Mahotsav brings forth forgotten Awadhi arts
Artisans who are skilled at the centuries-old Zardari, Chikankari and associated works come here to show their wares. Chikankari is one of Lucknow's most lucrative arts and for good reason. It requires skill, precision and years of training, and the artisans of Lucknow have got it down to a T. Textile art is part of a traditional lifestyle and subtly blends with new-age fashion. When at the Mahotsav, you have to indulge in the simple yet elegant work of chikan artists.
And then there's the delectable Lucknowi cuisine. Since Lucknow Mahotsav is a celebration of the city's past, there's no way anyone can miss out on the food. Exotic foods and rich cuisines have always been a part of Lucknow's culture, and the Mahotsav delivers. Here, you can get everything from Tunday ke Kebab to Wahid ki Biryani and then some more. Lucknow is nothing short of a foodie's paradise and in the many years of the Mahotsav, we've learned that we, Lucknow locals, are suckers for our own food.
Over the years, Lucknow Mahotsav has expanded its wings to make way for artists, craftsmen and artisans from areas in Uttar Pradesh and the country but the essence of Lucknow, and its charm is not forgotten for a moment. This is perhaps best quantified in the hordes of Lucknowites who come for the Mahotsav from all parts of the city.
Mahotsav holds a special place for Lucknowites
It simply goes to show that Lucknowites are curious about their own city and are always looking to find something new around a corner in Lucknow. The Lucknow Mahotsav brings together the galis of Chowk, the swank localities of Gomti Nagar and everything in between.
A city within a city, the Mahotsav has been beckoning us since we were children and has not only shaped what the city is today but also the people. The Mahotsav is a place of discovery and serendipity, a place where time stands still and the past is celebrated, making way for the future to come. At the conclusion of each Mahotsav, Lucknowites walk tall and proud, even as they await with eager anticipation for the next version.
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