Save Our Heritage : Bibiapur Kothi, Cantt, Lucknow

The Nawabs have always been renowned for formalities, mannerisms and hospitality with which they used to welcome their guests. The walls of Bibiapur Kothi stands as an evidence to it. Located on the right bank of river Gomti on the south-east of the city, it was built by Nawab Asif-ud daula (1775-1797) for the purpose of welcoming his European guests. Bibiapur Kothi was drafted by Antoine-Louis Polier in neoclassical architectural design with assistance of General Claude Martin. It comprised commodious halls which were ornamented with white and blue European tiles, a high roof with wooden beams and spiral staircases that were put to use for the first time in India. Arched doorways lead to the inside of the kothi. The upper floor of it had many cylindrical pillars. A little distance away, a water tank which had a capacity of 80,000 galloons of water, was constructed for being used for the royal kitchen.

‘This kothi was used by the Nawab’s European guests for their recreation. Moreover, it holds a major political importance as well. It is the same place where Nawab Asif-ud-daula’s son Nawab Wazir Ali Khan shot Captain Cherry who was the army officer of the Residency at that time. This incident took place day after Nawab Asif-ud-daula’s death, when the Britishers had denounced Wazir Ali Shah and refused to accept him as Nawab Asif-ud-daula’s heir’, states Mr. Roshan Taqui, an eminent Historian of Awadh. Nawab Sadat Ali Khan was crowned at Bibiapur Kothi at special darbar in 1798. After the annexation of Awadh, this building was often used by the Britishers as a venue for their celebrations. The same place which once frequently had so many visitors now stands abandoned. The walls which once embraced laughter are now succumbing to despair. However repair work is in process at Kothi.

Credit : Intern – Divya Suri


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