LUCKNOW: From intricately decorated stucco work, delicate 'jaali' work, the exquisitely crafted arches or the finesse of the Persian, Indian and Mughal forms of architecture blending into each other, there are innumerable houses in Lucknow that manifest heritage within and on their facade.
Tucked in every nook and corner, at every turn of a bylane in the historic city, many such homes are crumbling for paucity of funds, neglect, government apathy towards heritage and impact of weather over the years, while there are some that have been preserved with personal effort.
To celebrate grandeur of these architectural wonders of Lucknow Sanatkada festival beginning Friday is featuring a tribute titled 'Lucknow ki Reha'ish' or homes of Lucknow. "The concept intertwines the many stories these wonderful homes represent, contributing to the city's special history and showcasing a sliver of its past," said Madhavi Kuckreja, founder of the socio-cultural outfit. From heritage walks to photo galleries, qissagoi (story-telling) to launch of a special coffee table book 'Reha'ish: At home in Lucknow' compiled by Adity Chakravarti and edited by Nasima Aziz, Nimra Rizvi and Saleem Kidwai, the beauty of Lucknow's homes will be the theme of the festival.
With beauty comes need to make an effort for maintenance, especially in the absence of government policies allowing continuity of private ownership. "Restoration of the home began in 1995 and has continued, with over 22 rooves changed overtime," said Sheeba Zaidi, whose father Iftikhar Ali Khan and uncle Habib Ali Khan own the 19th century Khaqaan Manzil in Golaganj.
Similar is the case with Kakori Kothi, currently owned by Saif Ehtram Alvi and his cousin Imtiaz Alvi. "Such extravagant abodes need personal maintenance and craftsmanship to match the original and that is a challenge as huge as the building," said Saif.