Lucknow was perhaps the most photographed city in India during 1800's and after seeing below images it would be easy to understand why. Lucknow symbolized the extreme decadence that was prevalent amongst the royalty. It was a life of unadulterated leisure and indulgence which sparked a cultural revolution of sorts. Beauty in all its forms was patronized by the princely nawabs. Courtly manners came to be known as "nawabi tehzeeb".
View of City of Lucknow - Sometime in 1800's (Unknown) via
View of Mohammad Ali Shah's Palace and Garden (Undated - Bettman) via
Roomi Darwaza (1870 - Samuel Bourne) via
Chattar Manzil (1870 - Unknown) via
Chattar Manzil and the Royal boat of Oudh (Felice Beato) via
Did you see that lovely fish shaped boat of a Raja - Could anything be more romantic that to travel in that boat on a calm Gomti river by night?
And now for some images of Rajas, Nawabs and Courtesans of Lucknow. The elaborate costumes and the jewelery are fabulous.......
Raja Lal Madho Singh - Talukdar of Amethi (1880 - Abbas Ali) via
Love his shoes - they seem almost contemporary !
Mirza Jafar Ali Khan - Tallukdar of Bihta (1880 - Mushkoor ud daula) via
.......and finally for some images of pretty courtesans. These ladies were extremely accomplished and educated. They learned and practiced classical singing and dancing, poetry, literature etc. Unfortunately some of the beautiful ladies below are un-identified.The pictures are taken sometime around 1865 by Mushkoor ud daula.
Check out the beautiful inlay work table and the mirror .... and ofcourse the jewellery.
Addha Biggan 1905 via
Mahemuneer around 1905 via
Mooshtari Jan around 1905 via
Mulka Jan around 1905 via
All the above 3 ladies have a very similar design on their lehnga/sharara. Perhaps this was the latest in fashion then.
Noor Jahan around 1905 via
Hope you liked this post. If you'd like to have some more information, please click here. It is a well researched essay on a famous and yet almost mythical Lucknow courtesan Umrao Jaan.