After a leisurely breakfast, proceed to visit Rumi Darwaza which was once described as the Earl of Grosvenor’s seat in Cheshire. The towers on both sides of the gateway appear like medieval European towers. With perfect Indian arches, Rumi Darwaza symbolizes the historic architecture of Lucknow. The builder, Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula, was possibly not aware of the fame that would follow in pursuit of his construction. The history attaches the design of this gateway with a portal of Constantinople. Built in 1784, Rumi Darwaza or the Turkish Gate is a perfect combination of Hindu-Muslim architecture. Each brick placed in the structure of Rumi Darwaza moans the gloomy past of the famine-stricken people and hails Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula for providing the relief. ‘Jisko Naa Dey Maula, Usko Dey Asaf-ud-Daula’ – One forsaken by God, is bestowed by Asaf-ud-Daula.
Asif Immambara – In the year 1775 the to-be Nawab, or governor, Asaf-ud-Daula decided to shift his capital from Faizabad to Lucknow because he didn’t get along with his mother so he decided to move out. At the time a famine had broken out in and around the city of Lucknow because of a severe drought. It is said that the people of Lucknow were very friendly but also very proud and would not accept alms, or help from others. So, the Nawab began the construction of an Imambara, or mosque complex, which would provide employment to the masses so they could work for a living. Thus, he became known as a very generous king and was accepted as the ruler by the masses. This magnificent monument recalls the glorious past of the Nawabs and stands out for its austerity in style, proportion and symmetry and daring techniques in architecture. This Imambara houses the tombs of Nawab Asaf-Ud-Daula and his architect. The remarkable feature of this building is the large vaulted hall which has withstood weather and time without the support of pillars or beams for the past 200 odd years. Surrounding the hall is a labyrinth of about four hundred corridors which is said to act as a natural air conditioner allowing the breeze to enter the building and cool the walls, at the same time keeping the sunlight from coming in direct contact with the walls of the interior hall.
Later, you will visit the Royal House Mahmudabad for lunch.
Culinary Lesson 4: The Mahmudabad Kitchens represent more than 400 years of history. The recipes for many of the famous dishes have been passed down the generations, sometimes tweaked, sometimes changed more substantially, but never compromising the essential flavours. Despite the elaborate recipes and preparation methods that might challenge a Michelin starred chef, the tradition of the family, when praising a dish was to say ‘Aab-o-Namak munaasib hai,’ or ‘the water and salt are just right’.
From New York to London and from Paris to Mumbai people, especially those from the region, mourn the fact that there is no restaurant that serves authentic food from the region of Awadh. The reason for this is simple: the food often requires anything from 4 to 24 hours of preparation. A solution to this is our ‘Curated Dining Experience at Mahmudabad House’. The preparation and cooking methods will be traditional, whether it is using wood or charcoal to cook meats or using hand-made mud kilns to bake breads. Many ingredients will be sourced from their own kitchen, garden, and farms.
After lunch you will return to the hotel.
Please Note: While you are tasting the dishes here, please choose a favourite and write down all the details of its preparation for your final cooking experience.
Hands-on Experience at CHHAT (a rooftop)
Culinary Lesson 5: ‘Chhat’ is a vernacular for an open terrace or a rooftop. This place is a popup kitchen (on a home rooftop) that comes alive to hold private cooking sessions in a casual, home-like setting. It can also be for enjoying a home-cooked potluck dinner. It is a place and time for live-cooking interactive sessions and is also based on the concept of ‘Guestaurant’. A guestaurant is a unique concept that is more personal in nature and not a commercial restaurant where the theme is centred on exclusive cooking aimed to share the passion of food and knowledge of cuisine with like-minded patrons.