Lucknow (Lakhnao), capital of the province of Oudh, and the fourth largest city in India, stands on the river Gumti, 42 miles by rail NE. of Cawnpore and 199 NW. of Benares. The appearance of magnificence and splendour which the city presents when seen from the outside is not borne out by close internal inspection, though a vast improvement has been effected since the Mutiny. The chief architectural glory of the place is the Imambara or mausoleum of Asaf-ud-Daula, the fourth Nawab, who did much to embellish Lucknow. This edifice, built in 1784, stands within the Machi Bhawan fort (built by Asaf's predecessor), and is now converted into a British arsenal. The Rumi Dorwaza, a grand and massive gateway, leading out of the fort, the magnificent Residency palace, and the country palace of Bibiapur, were all erected by the same prince. The Jama Masjid or chief mosque, and the huge palaces of Chattar Manzil, Kaisar Bagh, Farhat Baksh, four royal tombs, and an observatory (headquarters of the rebels during the Mutiny) are the most noteworthy amongst the remaining public buildings, though the palaces, debased in style and gaudily decorated, are remarkable only for their great size. The educational establishments embrace Canning College, established in 1864; the Martiniere College, in which 120 soldiers' sons are educated and clothed; and more than two dozen mission and other schools. The staple native industry is gold and silver brocade, besides muslins and other light fabrics, embroidery, glass, clay-moulding, shawls, jewellery, and paper. There are here extensive railway workshops. Lucknow is a busy commercial town, trading in country products (grain, butter, sugar, molasses, spices, tobacco, oil-seeds), European piece-goods, salt, leather, etc. Pop. (1869) 284,779 ; (1901) 264,050.
Originally a village called Lakshmanpur, founded by a brother of Rama Chandra, the hero of the epic Ramayana, the city first rose into importance as the capital (1732) of the independent state of Oudh. Lucknow was the scene of stirring events during the mutiny of 1857 - its defence by Sir Henry Lawrence, its relief by Havelock and Outram, and its final succour by Sir Colin Campbell.