Rumi Darwaza is one of the most popular heritage structures of the city.
Built in 1784, along with the Bara Imambara, this 236 year old archway is as pivotal to Lucknow as is India Gate is to Delhi. Rumi Darwaza is one of the most popular heritage structures of the city and is truly counted amidst Lucknow's pride. The magnificent structure, the intricate design and the peculiar name of this giant doorway, have a story to tell.
The Nawabs appointed by the Mughals as governors in the yesteryears, have left an artistic stamp on the architecture of the city and Rumi Darwaza is a towering witness to it.
If you're visiting Lucknow, you'll definitely be advised to visit the Rumi Darwaza and if you don't understand why this place should be on your itinerary, we'll tell you.
Gateway to the old city
The Rumi Darwaza stands as a 60ft tall doorway in the middle of the Bada Imambara and Chota Imambara in the city of Lucknow. This imposing structure is in the middle of a busy road and now marks the entrance to the old city.
Designed on the lines of the Turkish gate
The Rumi Darwaza is designed after the Sublime Porte, Bab-iHümayun in Turkey (estrwhile Constantinople) and therefore is sometimes referred to as the Turkish gate. The marvellous door in Lucknow has also inspired a similar gateway in Istanbul.
The Rumi Darwaza was built during the rule of Nawab Asaf-ud-Daulah in 1784 under a food for work programme. The Kingdom of Awadh was hit by a major famine and the self-respecting people of the province, refused to take help from the Royal Treasury. So, instead of handing out a dole, the Nawab initiated the construction of Rumi Darwaza and Bara Imambara in the city- the two most exemplary and striking models of the Awadhi architecture.
The Nawabi touch
The Rumi Darwaza was different from all other Mughal structures which were usually built in red stone or marble. The famine had left the province with lesser resources and thus the Darwaza was constructed out of bricks and lime. This was not only an economical choice, it also laid down the foundation of what today is called as typical Awadhi or Lakhnawi architecture.
Like the Bara Imambara which was also built during the same era, the Rumi Darwaza is a beam-less structure.The doorway has been standing for 236 long years, just with the use of lintels!
The gateway is an example of Awadhi school of architecture, with hints of Turkish and Roman designs. Carved with stones, the details of this monument are so much more defined that those built in stone and marble. Stucco ornamentation or gajkari has been used to ornamentalise the monument, giving it a deep relief effect even on flat walls. It was later coated with lime!
What's in the name?
The word "Rumi" is derived from the modern day Rome that used to be Istanbul, the capital city of Eastern Roman Empire. The Rumi Darwaza is one of the finest gateways that has been built in Lucknow and is highly inspired by a similar gateway in Istanbul.
Intricate design that shows eye for detail
The gateway is characterised by the eight-faceted chattri or umbrella that could be accessed by a flight of stairs. During the rule of the fourth Nawab Asaf-ud-Daulah, a huge lantern was lit here which illuminated the entry to the Nawabi Palace. Today, access to the chattri is prohibited, however, new light instalments keep the door lit!
Little jets of water would rush out of the sides of the arch from beautifully carved flower buds thus making it look like a gateway to Paradise. The beautifully carved flowers and designs speak volumes about the unique architectural style and eye for detail.
Have you noticed the gateway in the metro logo?
The Rumi Darwaza has become so significant to the city of Lucknow and its pan India and global identity, that the door has been adopted as a symbol for both, the logo of the city and that of the metro corporation!
So whenever you find yourself in the older parts of Lucknow, do make sure to stop by. Stand at the entrance, soak up the charms it exudes and get clicking! Perfect spot for an evening stroll or a midnight drive, Rumi Gate will leave you enchanted with its artistic brilliance and royal grandeur every-time you visit. To know more such quirky facts about the city and its wonders, follow Knocksense Lucknow on Instagram!