Even though much of Dilkusha Kothi lies in ruins today, it still exudes that stately aura which suggests it being a structure of immense historical and cultural significance. It has witnessed some of the most thrilling episodes of Indian history. History lovers or not, this is a monument which you should visit during your trip to Lucknow. This monument was built in the 18th century by Major Gore Ouseley, the British resident and a good friend to the then ruler of Oudh, Nawab Saadat Ali Khan. It was initially built as a hunting lodge for the Nawabs, although it also served the function of a summer resort. Because of its close proximity to the river, the Dilkusha Kothi, which still is one of the popular tourist attractions in Lucknow, was also used as a place where the Begums (wives of Nawabs) came to relax, unwind and enjoy a picnic. It is interesting to note however, that this place did not have a separate zenana (ladies’ room), a feature common to all Nawabi buildings.
This structure has fascinated people from all over the globe since the earliest times. It was from this place that William Howard Russell, an acclaimed correspondent of The Times, said that Lucknow was the most beautiful city he had ever come across, adding that its beauty exceeded that of Rome, Athens and Constantinople. And this, at a time when the building was damaged by the exchange of heavy artillery fire between the Indian sepoys and the British forces during the Indian Revolt of 1857. This magnificent structure also charmed Mary Linley Taylor, a famous British actress, who was so impressed by it that she named her home in Seoul after it.
The building went further changes under the rule of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah (the tenth and last Nawab of Awadh). It was he who, during the early years of his rule, built another Kothi just next to it. This was done so that he could hold military exercises for his troops. However, the British were very offended by this act and ordered him to stop all further exercises. This left the Nawab quite helpless and frustrated. It was not too later that he was forced to abdicate by the British. Before doing so, he also refused to sign his abdication statement, following which, he was illegally deposed.
Upon visiting the Dilkusha Kothi today, you can but be moved by the sight of it and the events which occurred at this very spot. It is as if the structure bemoans a loss of lost lives and the sacrifices made. An emptiness pervades the atmosphere, and in the midst of it all, you are overcome by nostalgia.
Much of the Dilkusha Kothi is in ruins today. However, take a quick look at its walls and towers, and you are instantly reminded of its grand past. The design of this structure bears a striking resemblance to Seaton Delaval Hall, an amazing country house located in Northumberland, England.
This 18th century house was originally a three-storeyed structure which also housed a mini-basement. There were four ornamental octagonal towers whose entrance was marked by an impressive flight of steps. These then led to a central doorway which rested on tall pillars which are as high as the roof of the second storey. Another notable feature of the structure which lent it a similarity to Claude Martin, was the presence of female statues near the balustrades. The perfectly manicured gardens outside the Kothi greatly add to its beauty.
There are a lot of tourist attractions in Lucknow which offer various opportunities for sightseeing and exploration. After visiting the Dilkusha Kothi, there are some of the other places which you can check out.
Dilkusha Kothi is located in the city of Lucknow, the capital city of Uttar Pradesh. During the summers, it can get extremely hot during the summers, with the average temperature being 42°C. The heat can be a daunting factor for many people. If, however, you are not too troubled with the heat, you can certainly visit Lucknow during this time. If you prefer cool, pleasant and inviting weather, then winters is the time to plan a trip to the city of Lucknow, as you can enjoy sightseeing at leisure.