The ancient history of Lucknow is believed to begin after the Suryawanshi king Lord Rama ordered his younger brother Lakshmana to establish a town at the present site of Lakshman Tila. Lucknow was named Lakshmanpuri or Lakhanpuri or Laknamau after him. Slowly the name Lakhanpuri became 'Lakhnau' and then named 'Lucknow' by the British.
Until 1719, subah of Awadh was a province of the Mughal Empire administered by a Governor appointed by the Emperor. Saadat Khan also called Burhan-ul-Mulk a Persian adventurer was appointed the Nazim of Awadh in 1722 and he established his court in Faizabad near Lucknow.
Awadh was known as the granary of India and was important strategically for the control of the Doab, the fertile plain between the Ganga and the Yamuna rivers. It was a wealthy kingdom, able to maintain its independence against threats from the Marathas, the British and the Afghans. The third Nawab, Shuja-ud-Daula fell out with the British after aiding Mir Qasim, the fugitive Nawab of Bengal. He was comprehensively defeated in the Battle of Buxar by the East India Company, after which he was forced to pay heavy penalties and cede parts of his territory. The British appointed a resident in 1773, and over time gained control of more territory and authority in the state. They were disinclined to capture Awadh outright, because that would bring them face to face with the Marathas and the remnants of the Mughal Empire.
Lucknow's rise to growth and fame begins with its elevation as capital of Awadh by Nawab Asaf-Ud-Dowlah. He was a great philanthropist and gave Lucknow a unique and enduring legacy. The architectural contributions of these Awadh rulers include several imposing monuments. Of the monuments standing today, the Bara Imambara, the Chhota Imambara, and the Roomi Darwaza are notable examples. One of the more lasting contributions by the Nawabs is the syncretic composite culture that has come to be known as the Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb..
In 1798, the fifth Nawab Wazir Ali Khan alienated both his people and the British, and was forced to abdicate. The British then helped Saadat Ali Khan to the throne. Saadat Ali Khan was a puppet king, who in the treaty of 1801 ceded half of Awadh to the British East India Company and also agreed to disband his troops in favor of a hugely expensive, British-run army. This treaty effectively made the state of Awadh a vassal to the British East India Company, though it notionally continued to be part of the Mughal Empire in name until 1819.
The treaty of 1801 formed an arrangement that was very beneficial to the Company. They were able to use Awadh's vast treasuries, repeatedly digging into them for loans at reduced rates. In addition, the revenues from running Awadh's armed forces brought them useful revenues while it acted as a buffer state. The Nawabs were ceremonial kings, busy with pomp and show but with little influence over matters of state. By the mid-nineteenth century, however, the British had grown impatient with the arrangement and wanted direct control of Awadh.
In 1856 the East India Company first moved its troops to the border, then annexed the state, which was placed under a chief commissioner - Sir Henry Lawrence. Wajid Ali Shah, the then Nawab, was imprisoned, and then exiled by the Company to Calcutta. In the subsequent Revolt of 1857 his 14-year old son Birjis Qadr son of Begum Hazrat Mahal was crowned ruler, and Sir Henry Lawrence killed in the hostilities. Following the rebellion's defeat, Begum Hazrat Mahal and other rebel leaders obtained asylum in Nepal.
The city played an important role in both the First War of Independence and the modern Indian freedom struggle. Whether it was the Lucknow Pact of 1916 or the Khilafat Movement it brought the citizens on a united platform against the British rule. In the Khilafat Movement Maulana Abdul Bari of Firangi Mahal, Lucknow actively participated and cooperated with Mahatama Gandhi and Maulana Muhammad Ali Jauhar, Freedom fighter and one of the most great parliamentarians, Firoj Gandhi was also releted to the city.
In 1901, after staying the capital of Oudh, since 1775, Lucknow, with a population of 264,049, was merged in the newly formed United Provinces of Agra and Oudh. However, it became the provincial capital in 1920 when the seat of government was moved from Allahabad. Upon Indian independence in 1947, Lucknow became the capital of Uttar Pradesh, the erstwhile United Provinces.
Lucknow is bravely struggling to retain its old world charm while at the same time acquiring a modern lifestyle. Regarded as one of the finest cities of India, Lucknow represents a culture that combines emotional warmth, a high degree of sophistication, courtesy, and a love for gracious living. The Pehle-Aap (after you) culture, popularised as a tagline for the society of Lucknow, is waning. But a small part of Lucknow's society still possesses such etiquette. This sublime cultural richness famous as Lakhnawi tehzeeb blends the cultures of two communities living side by side for centuries, sharing similar interests and speaking a common language.
Many of the cultural traits and customs peculiar to Lucknow have become living legends today. The credit for this goes to the secular and syncretic traditions of the Nawabs of Awadh, who took a keen interest in every walk of life, and encouraged the traditions to attain a rare degree of sophistication.
Higher education institutions:
Six universitiesUPTU, LU, RMLNLU, Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University, Amity University and Integral University,
Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences (SGPGIMS), Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj Medical University