Rumi Darwaza, Lucknow - Visit Turkish Gate of Lucknow

As a very eminent poet described, Rumi Darwaza looks like the diadem of a Queen.

Akbar ascended the throne in 1556 in India and in the following decade, he was completely focused on expanding the empire. The Nawabs appointed by the Mughals in Lucknow were also up for leaving their stamp on architecture just as the Mughals did. Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula, who ruled from 1775 to 1797, changed his capital from Faizabad to Lucknow in 1775. Rumi Darwaza, Lucknow was built under his patronage in 1784.

The Rumi Darwaza, Lucknow is said to be the same in design as that of the ancient portal at Constantinople in Turkey. In fact, it is also referred to as Turkish Gate sometimes. When you see the gate from a long shot, the brilliantly ornate structure will nothing but amaze you. As you reach closer, you can admire the intricate works on the structure. Marked by an eight faceted chhatri in its uppermost part, this is the sign of Lucknow! Basically, this gate marks the entrance to the Old Lucknow City.

Architecture of Rumi Darwaza, Lucknow

During the reign of Asaf-ud-Daula’s rule, the city saw a devastating famine. As understood, it created an economic crisis. However, the residents of Awadh were self-respecting folks, so instead of haggling for jobs, the Nawab initiated a food-for-work plan. The famous Asafi Imambara, or Bara Imambara of Lucknow was built which provided scopes for employment and revenue to the public.

But, as the entire situation of the region was challenging with restrained resources, the Nawabs used a cost-effective approach in architecture, which gave a touch of lightness to the buildings. So, unlike the other royal monuments, stones and marble, brick and lime were used. Stucco ornamentation (gajkari) adorned the monuments which created a deep relief effect on the flat walls. Shells and Mother of pearl were collected from the lakebeds for stucco ornamentation and to shine finer than marble.

As said, the main workers were the localities who made very careful use of the brick which came in various sizes and thickness. Also, this different use of bricks created outstandingly fine details on the wall and column surfaces. The Rumi Darwaza, Lucknow stands as a testimony to their skill that they could adapt the simple materials to such wonderful effect.

Did you know the balusters were imitated on iron rods supported by clay? Additionally, the artisans used pottery for roof finials and ornaments.

If you closely follow the intricate details of the main gateway to the Bara Imambara, you can find similar skill set. The design of the structure bears strong semblance to an ancient gateway at Constantinople. The place is also called the “Turkish Gateway” - Roomi means Roman, and the name was possibly given due to the gateway’s design having traces of Roman architecture.

Rumi Darwaza Now

The doorway has been the signature to Lucknow and seen generations pass underneath. Unfortunately, it is decaying slowly. This is because, unlike the structures made from stone, the brick and mortar constructions have a much shorter life span. This is why the architecture of the Mughals such as the marbles in Taj Mahal is not facing any decay even after almost four centuries. Additionally, Rumi Darwaza, Lucknow has an excessive pressure of development around which is contributing to its faster decay. A main road of the city passes through the gate and the constant pollution and vibrations from the vehicles add to the speed of decompose.

Structurally, the door is made with arches and the end vaults do not have any proper use of lintels. This means, when there is a crack in one part of the arch, the rest of the parts can quickly be damaged.  Unfortunately, even though people understand it and knows it is important to maintain such a special architectural wonder, not much architectural preservation has been done about it.

That being said, recently the entire zone was developed as a heritage corridor, and there are talks going on which will stop all vehicular transportation in the area.  It is essential for the survival of the heritage monuments in the area.

It would be a bit odd if the city's loses Rumi Darwaza, Lucknow which is the symbol of the place which it so lovingly adopted. As your contribution towards sustainable tourism, it will be nice if you take up a Heritage Walk, instead of driving around in your car

If you see the image of the door, you will see that the gate is on the main road. This means, there is no fee needed to see and admire it.

How to Reach Rumi Darwaza

For any trip to Lucknow, you cannot miss this gate. Being positioned near the city's heart, reaching Rumi Darwaza is no trouble all. Get on the public transport - a rickshaw or a taxi or a car and you can reach there in a jiffy. The nearest railway station is Lucknow Junction which is about 5.5 km from the place.

Other Places of Attractions Nearby

•  Bara Imambara

•  Hussainabad Imambara

•  Shaheed Smarak

•  Residency