Lucknow Tour | Episode 3 | Uttar Pradesh | Zardozi & Chikankari Handicraft

Namaskar friends! Welcome to Visa2explore! This is your host, Harish Bali. There can be multiple reasons for you to undertake a trip to Lucknow. Like exploring local food, understand the history of local monuments,…. …or go on a Heritage Walk. The first feeling that comes to your mind, when you land in Lucknow, would be “Smile, you’re in Lucknow.” The environment of Lucknow or the traditions prevalent here since long,… ….that includes speaking lovingly with each other,…. You will find followers of every religion here speaking to you with love and affection. They would speak politely, even if they are fighting or abusing each other! This is a special aspect of our city. A local person feels so proud to belong to Lucknow…… ….that feeling is described by a poet in one of his couplets….. (Reciting couplet) Today is Day 3 of our Lucknow journey. We started our day with Bun-maska (bread & butter) and Samosa from a shop near Hazratganj. The usual shape of a samosa is triangular.. But as I can see, samosa in Lucknow has a round shape. It has been raining since morning. This is the reason we had to begin our day at noon. In this episode, you will see our activities of Day 3 and 4. In Chowk area, we’ve reached a shop near Akbari Gate. There you can see New Mubeen Hotel. That is where we are going. I’ve ordered Kulcha and Paya (trotter curry) for myself. See the texture of kulcha! Amazing! To make this kulcha, they don’t use water to knead flour. Milk is used instead. And, wow, this dish is really different! That is what I feel. I just dipped a bit of this kulcha into the dish and it soaked up all the gravy. Downstairs, I was talking to owner earlier. He told me it takes 4-5 hours to cook this paya dish. This place sells paya and nihari from 7.30 am to 10 pm. This restaurant also has a seating space at the ground floor. Since a lot of customers were already seated there, we came upstairs to eat. We preferred to sit here, it is peaceful. We came upstairs so that the audio recording could be clear. While eating paya, you might feel the gravy to be a bit sticky. I’ve started feeling that. Let us finish this and then start our day trip. We’ve reached the Chowk Kotwali now. We’ve to go through Gol Darwaza to see zardozi work happening. That is the Gol Darwaza. Do you see this Kotwali, Janpad Chowk, Lucknow? The architecture of this police station is very beautiful. Look at this building. When you will reach the Gol Darwaza in the Chowk area,…. …don’t miss eating Makhan Malai. I ate it yesterday. It was delicious! Let us move on! The old Lucknow market is completely closed on Thursday. Right now, this market seems so empty, though I’ve been here twice earlier. I’ve seen this place teeming with customers, crowds everywhere. And today the market is absolutely tranquil, with no traffic. The ‘Kaptaan Kuaan’ is on this side. And on this side is ‘Unani Shahi Shafakhana.’ That is where we are going. It is a matter of chance that this shop is open today. Very good! We have two types of artefact-making here. ‘Aari’ and ‘Zardozi.’ So, let me tell you about Aari work first. The Aari work is suitable for two types of fabrics – georgette and chiffon. Now you can see this sari being made in front of your eyes. On georgette fabric. This is Aari work being done. First we copy the design on a tracing paper. Then we trace this design onto the fabric. After that, we do the embroidery on the fabric. And the thread that we use for this work has ‘tamba’ (copper) mixed. We use the thread for this work. And two artists will take at least 25 days to complete this sari. Really! Yes Sir! That too continuously! This design is beautiful. This design is being embroidered onto chiffon fabric. The theme of this work is a bit different. This is Zardozi and we use a special soft thread for this work. And it follows the same procedure. The design is first put on a tracing paper and then onto the cloth. So, whether it is zardozi or aari work, in both cases, the thread needs to be taut. Yes, it has to be taut! If there is no tautness, the design will not be clearly visible. If you would want to copy this same design, being done in Aari, into this Zardozi, ….. ….it will take two artists at least two months to finish. Double time! It will take double time. It will cost double too. This elderly artist, who is doing this work, must be doing it for quite long? For a long time! He has been doing it for the past 50 years. I will show you 2-3 designs. This is a chiffon sari, with aari, zardozi works mixed. The cost of this sari, when complete, would be at least Rs. 15,000. Let me show you another design now This work is also done on chiffon And its price would also be in the range of Rs. 20,000 to 22,000. And this design is complete. We will show you a shawl now. This is made on velvet. And it has both aari and zardozi works mixed as well. After it is ready, its cost would be Rs. 25,000. You cannot even imagine that this market would be this quiet. I told you already that this whole area of Chowk remains closed on Thursdays. Only 5% of the shops are open. If you go straight from here,…. …Gol Darwaza is at about 100 meters from here. Right now, I am standing in front of a shop called ‘Bachche Lala Jewellers.’ Right there is written ‘Shri Kalli Ji Ram Mandir Trust’ above a small entry gate. We are going in from here. We got to know about a 150 year old sweet shop right in front of us in there. We will go there and eat something. This is halwa made of black carrot. It is available only during winter season. Really! And Sir, this is black carrot. I’ve never had this kind of halwa before. Though we eat the halwa made with red carrots regularly. Alright. I will give you some. So, we have in front of us some black carrot halwa. Very different! There is a lot of difference between this halwa and the one made with red carrots. The first thing that you feel, the thing that even I am feeling, is that it has been cooked in milk. Khoya (milk solids) has been used and some dry fruit, which I can see right there. The sweet taste of ghee while eating this halwa… Okay brother, it was tasty to eat. And this is another winter specialty. It is sold only till the time the ghee hardens at room temperature. Its taste is delicious. Tell me one thing. You told me that this sweet has mawa or khoya in it. But it doesn’t feel like that in taste. Sir, this is not made with the usual khoya. In our language, when we dry gehun (wheat),… …..and then grind it…. ….that is what we call mawa. Alright! So you don’t call khoya as mawa! No. We call khoya, khoya. And this is called mawa, from which we make three things, four things. One is this ‘Halwa Sohan.’ ‘Doodhiya Barfi’ And we make ‘Doda Barfi’. And ‘Jauji Halwa Sohan.’ This sweet kind of sticks to the teeth, in a way! No, it will all melt away in a short time. It will melt just like chocolate. Hmm. While eating it I just felt that the ghee has stuck to my mouth inside. Yes, the ghee will stick because it is winter season. A very different experience! A tasty experience! This man told me that the black carrot halwa and Halwa Sohan will be available only through winters. It was a good experience to come to you. And to enjoy these two sweets. Right now, we are standing somewhere between the Bara Imambara and Chhota Imambara. Look at the top of this Clock Tower in front of you. Its height is 220 feet. This is a replica of London’s Big Ben. It was built between 1882 and 1887. When tourists visit here, they spent some time taking selfies with the clock tower here. While roaming around in this downpour, we’ve reached the new Lucknow area of Gomti Nagar. We’ve come to Irani Kafe. As I entered this place, I felt that the whole set up here is in vintage style. Now look at this menu card in my hand. It is very stylish as well. It feels as if you are looking a menu card, at least a hundred years old. Now, I was just studying this to see what I could order for myself. So, finally I’ve decided to order to veg kebabs. We’ve ordered for ourselves two types of kebabs. A half portion of Veg Subz Galouti Kebab. And Dahi Anjeer Kebab. This is also half a portion, I’ve got two pieces in each. With it, they’ve given this small, cute paratha too. My God! I could not even imagine to eat such a soft kebab. I had eaten mutton kebab at the Tunday Kebabi’s. Galouti Kebab! This veg kebab is soft at the same level as that non-veg kebab was. The masalas are subtle, soft. I don’t feel any kind of heaviness, usually associated with spices. Great taste! Dahi-Anjeer Kebab! Look at its texture! I got to understand while placing the order that…. ….this kebab has anjeer (fig) filling inside! Oh God! I am enjoying two different tastes in this kebab. One is that of paneer (cottage cheese) on the outside. Also used in binding this kebab together. And obviously, it is kebab, so there are subtle spices too. And the next taste that you experience is that of anjeer, with slight sweetness. I liked this thing very much. If I had to compare these two and tell which one I liked more…. …I would say I really liked the veg galouti kebab. I really want to eat ‘Shahi Tukda.’ For that I am going to ‘Lebua’, a premium hotel in a mall 5kms from here. We’ve reached Lebua. It is raining outside. This is a heritage property dating back to 1936, which is run as a hotel now. We’ve come at a time when, obviously, we cannot show you the exterior of this property. Because it is dark outside. Come, let’s go inside. Thanks In this photograph, you can see ‘Rumi Darwaza’ and Bara Imambara, as it used to be during 1857. So, these are two pieces of Shahi Tukda for us. It is really soft. It is so soft……that it is difficult to even pick up. At the base of it, you can see bread. That has been fried in ghee. Then, there are alternate layers of thick cream and bread with….. ….the top layer garnished with pistachios and almonds. Whenever I have had Shahi Tukda before this…. ….that was dipped in sugar syrup every time. I am eating this type of Shahi Tukda for the first time in my life. And this recipe is very different as compared to what we get elsewhere. Amazing! As soon as I put this one bite of Shahi Tukda into my mouth, it just melted. And it is full of richness from cream, milk and dry fruits. Now let me finish this. Then we will leave. This place is lovely. Once here, it doesn’t feel that you are either in a hotel or a palace, it feels like…. ….you are in an old-era Kothi, which has been decorated specially for you. Well, we could sit outside and eat, if not for rains. Let us finish today’s journey here. Now we will meet tomorrow morning. We are going to our hotel in Gomti Nagar. See you now tomorrow. We had an awesome start to the day. No sun out yet. Since it rained till late last night, a cool breeze is blowing right now. I had told you we were staying at a hotel in Gomti Nagar in New Lucknow. You must’ve noticed the wide roads here and smooth traffic. Lot of high rises! A cycle-track has been built on the divider between the roads. This track is quite wide. A lot of people ride bicycles here. RIght now, we are going to Janeshwar Mishra Park, which is 5kms away and….. It is believed to be the largest park in Asia. We are at the entry gate to park. We’ve purchased the entry ticket at Rs. 10 per person. Now going in. It feels great here. We’ve come hardly 100 meters from the entrance. And it already feels so good here. Look at all the greenery. I have lake on my either side. The statue that you see is that of Shri Janeshwar Mishra, who was a socialist philanthropist. If you want to go bicycling inside the park, then come to Gate No. 4. You can rent a bicycle at Rs. 20 per hour. You have to submit your ID. You can take back your ID card once you return it. We are standing near Gate No. 2. We will take this Golf Cart to visit the whole park because one cannot do that on foot, even in a day. So the charges for this Golf Cart are Rs. 300 in which 5-6 people can sit. And this cart takes you around the whole park in about 1.25 hours. Let us go. There is a solar panel on our right. From this panel, electricity is supplied to the whole park. This whole park is spread over an area of 376 acres. That would give you an idea about its size. We went straight for another 10 minutes. Now we’ve reached the boating point. It will take you Rs. 200 if you are a group of 4 on a motorboat. And for a pedal boat, Rs. 20 per person is the charge. Both the boats will ply for 20 minutes each. Right in front of this is the national flag. The height of this pole is 207 feet. So, it would be safe to assume that this is the tallest national flag in all of Uttar Pradesh state. Two things have impressed me the most while going around this park. One is the greenery. And the second thing is cleanliness. Highly impressive! There are 10-12 canteens situated all over the park. If you are hungry, you can eat food like momos, chowmein, etc. So, our one-hour journey is complete. And if your trip exceeds an hour, then you have to pay Rs. 100 for every extra 15 minutes. Here is your money brother! Alright! It was fun! I am too much impressed. Such a huge park and you can see the greenery here. Great! After travelling for another 10 minutes, we’ve reached Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar Memorial Park. As soon as we entered the park,… …I am dumbfounded at the beauty of this place. Amazing! What a beauty! You can visit here from 11 am to 9 pm. Let us walk further. When you come to Lucknow, you must visit here. I think this place must have a light & sound show. So that the tourists and locals visiting this place…. …know in detail about the life and works of Dr. Ambedkar. And also gain inspiration from his life. His life is marked by his struggle to move forward and the various contributions that he made to his country. A light & sound show can be a good programme to present that. Now we will travel for 40 minutes from here to reach Chowk area. For your information, right now we are in New Lucknow, Gomti Nagar. Yesterday, we saw Aari and Zardozi work among Lucknow handicrafts. Today, we’ve come to the Chowk area to see and understand the Chikankari work and…. …to watch the procedure of transformation of fabric into a Chikankari dress material. The art of chikankari is 200-300 years old. The chikankari industry employs at least 50,000 men and 50,000 women and… …it is all hand work. Initially, chikankari was used only to make men’s kurta but now….. …we make saris, suit pieces for ladies as well as children’s dresses too. We need to change this blocks every 6 months or so. This is because the designs keep changing. That is why, this job of mine is very tedious! Chikankari is being done on all types of fabrics now. A number of steps are required to do that. First of all, fabric is selected, which is then cut into desired shapes and sizes. Then the design is imprinted onto the fabric pieces with the help of carved wooden blocks. After that embroidery is done. After the embroidery is complete, it requires finishing, washing, etc before it is ready to be sold. This is gents kurta in cotton fabric. This embroidery is done with hands. Its price is Rs. 750. This is white cotton kurta. This is net embroidery. This is georgette suit piece with frontal embroidery in chikankari. Its cost is about Rs. 2700. This is silk suit piece, with Parsi style of embroidery. Its cost is Rs. 6500. I got to know one more interesting thing from him. The main task of embroidery is done in the villages. As you were telling me. So, a lot of villages, within 100 kms of Lucknow, have women who do this work during their free time. These dress materials that we see, may cost Rs. 700, 800 or even Rs. 1000,…. ….if someone does it full time, the cost of this material would become double. That is what he explained to me. Okay Mr. Amit. Thank you very much. Thank you! Our Lucknow series ends here. I hope you have enjoyed our Lucknow series. Now we are going to Ayodhya Ji from here. It will take us about 3 hours to complete these journey, which is 140 kms long. We had hired a taxi for local travel within Lucknow. That is our taxi. We had paid a charge of Rs. 1800 for a journey of 200kms. So, we didn’t travel for more than 70-80kms on a given day. Otherwise, for local travel, Lucknow has a number of means of transport for shared travel. Autorickshaws, battery-driven rickshaws and lots more! Now we will meet in our next episode, in Ayodhya Ji. Till then bye-bye! Thanks for your time.


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