Lucknow souvenirs must be special. After all, the city of Lucknow stands for delicacies that range from its world-famous Tehzeeb or etiquette to its delicate embroidery called Chikankari or its tender kebabs called Tunde Kebab. The souvenirs from Lucknow city are bound to be elegant and delicate.
I combed the markets of Lucknow and spoke to many people who know the city well to help me create this list of souvenirs from Lucknow.
Lucknow Souvenirs Shopping
Lucknow is the city that gives you things to enjoy a good life – be it its garments, its jewelry, or its food.
Chikankari or Chikan Embroidery
Chikankari has to be the top must-buy thing in Lucknow. The delicate embroidery done on delicate white muslin is just perfect to wear on sunny summers of North India. In my student days, I wore a lot of Chikankari suits in all possible pastel colors. In those days Lucknavi Chikankari was synonymous with pastel shades on organza or Stiff muslin. These days you get it on all kinds of fabrics and in all possible colors.
There are fancy Sewa shops all over the city but I find them too expensive. Walk in the lanes of Aminabad and Chowk area and you can get a good bargain.
I also advise visiting a Chikankari workshop and seeing how the designs are made in ink with blocks and then embroidered by hand, typically by women.
If Chikankari is all about elegance and delicacy, Zardozi is all about sophistication and celebration with threadwork. This time I happened to visit the workshop of Muzzafar Ali at his home in Lucknow. It was a pleasure to see the artisans painstakingly working on a delicate fabric to create magic by putting shining crystals on them.
There are various nuances in the Zardozi work that literally means embroidery with gold threads. You also get Salma Sitara work where the sequins are arranged on the fabric or stitches like Aari work which looks like the teeth of a saw.
Zardozi is for your special days.
This is a white muslin cap, usually with some Chikankari on it, that you get only in Lucknow. It has two equal parts and is stitched in the middle. Dupalli literally means with two sides. You can find it in the lanes around chowk. You can get them as cheap as Rs 50/- or depending on the work on them they can be as expensive as you want them.
Jewelry as Lucknow Souvenir
If you have seen the film Umrao Jaan and admired the jewelry of the protagonist, you know what to pick in Lucknow. Look for Paasas – the ornament worn on one side of the head. Or look for Jhalar earrings – these are longish earrings that give the impression of being ornate lace. You can also look for Chand Bali or an earring in the shape of a half-moon. Imagine the moon hanging in your ears.
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While you can get all of these in Gold, in the popular markets you also get them in imitation work. Jewelry is a perfect gift from Lucknow for women in your life.
Metalcraft from Lucknow
Metal Artists of Lucknow carve different metals to create things like Paandaan or a box to keep the beetle leaves and all that goes with it. You can get these Paandan’s in each size and shape, with mysterious options to open and close them. They are cute souvenirs to pick from.
However, my recommendation would be to pick up the Khadaun carved in silver. I loved them in various silver shops that I visited. They represent the Khadaun of Sri Ram and represented him in Ayodhya while he was away in exile.
There are small silver carved boxes that can be used to store jewelry or any other precious stuff. Some of them come in pure silver while others come with Meena work.
If you can splurge, there are things like a chessboard in silver. It would be some fun to play with that.
There is also metal inlay work that you can pick up from Lucknow.
Perfumes or Atar
Most old cities like Chandni Chowk in Delhi or Charminar Area in Hyderabad have interesting local fragrance shops. These are locally-made oil-based perfumes. Apart from the floral fragrance, you would find fragrances from different woods also. The perfumes here can be customized for you. You can mix and match the perfumes to your taste or you can custom order them for yourself. They all come with intriguing names that are filled with romance.
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At Lucknow, in the old Bazaar areas, you can see these lovely glass bottles lined up. Some would fascinate you with their colors and others with their shapes.
Atar is a great souvenir from Lucknow for the Sahukeens or the people who enjoy good things in life.
At Kotwara House in Lucknow, I found these lovely shoes made with handmade cotton fabric in traditional Indian designs. They fit the foot like socks. Very comfortable and easy to wear. These you would get only at this place and not in the market in general.
Lucknow Souvenirs for the Foodies
Every Indian city has some food specialties that you can pick as souvenirs for those who live to eat. Here are some foodie souvenirs from Lucknow:
The Malai Gilaouri is the famous sweet from Lucknow. It is delicate Malai or the milk cream wrapped that is wrapped in a filling of sweetened nuts. The shape of this looks like Paan & just like paan you are supposed to eat it in one go.
Although you get it in many sweet shops around the city, for the most authentic version go to Ram Ashray Sweets in Chowk.
Pickles literally spice up your food. They can make the blandest of food palatable. Pickles are also as localized as any food can be. At Lucknow, the most popular pickles are Arora Pickles. I tasted their pickles at Clarks Awadh and I simply loved their Mango Chutney.
Every time I have been to Lucknow, I have picked up Hindi Books. This time I was lucky to be there during a Book Fair, so I picked up books on Kabir from there. Nowhere else do you get such a great collection of Hindi Books as you get in Lucknow.
Check out my Hindi Books Collection.
Lucknow Markets to Explore for Shopping
- Nakhas Market
Do you have any suggestions?
interesting article on Lucknow
Thank you, Pradip.