Akbari Gate: Gateway of the Chowk
Lucknow is indeed a land of monuments and its ruins. From Imambada to Residency, the city boasts of it rich cultural heritage. In the city that speak volumes of it glorious past, stand tall one of the greatest architectural marvels Akbari Gate.
Situated in the densely-populated area of Chowk, Akbari Gate is said to be the gateway for the Chowk Street. Built during the reign of Mughal Emperor Jalal-ud-din-Muhammad Akbar (1556-1605), the gate gives access to the Chowk, Shahganj and Mahmud Nagar localities.
Akbar, who is considered to be the most popular ruler of the Mughal Dynasty, had a great liking for Lucknow. It was during the closing years of his reign, the ‘Akbari Darwaza’ was built in honour of the Akbar’s first visit to the city.
The emperor had appointed Miyan Qazi Mahmud Bilgrami, for the construction of Akbari Darwaza. Built with Mughal lakhauri bricks, the gateway is decorated with armorial fish, which is also considered the insignia of the Nawabs of Awadh. Standing tall in the heart of the old city of Lucknow, the height, arch, depth and sih-daris somewhat resembles the gateways of Fatehpur Sikri.
It was only after the construction of this Akbari Gate, that many localities like Shahganj, Mahmud Nagar were founded during the reign of Akbar. Later more localities like Mansur Nagar and Fazil Nagar came into existence. In the Mughal era Akbari Darwaza had shops around it that sold miniature replicas and toys made up of clay. Besides, places like Sarai, Ashrafabad and Musharaffabad were founded later.
Akbari Gate, is one such monument of Mughal Era that may not appear full of opulence, but was a center of commercial activities during reign of the great Mughal Emperor Akbar. Even today, it stands as a gateway of Chowk: A window that gives the most humble peek to the old charm of Lucknow city.