The Lucknow University main campus today is located in just a small portion of Badshah Bagh or the Kings Garden. It was conceived by Nawab Nasiruddin Haidar as a picnic place for his Queens who lived on the other side of the river in Chattar Manzil Palace. The picnic party crossed the Gomti by boats and landed in Badshah Bagh for having a good time. Maharaja of Kapurthala who purchased the Badshah Bagh from the British government for a throwaway price of Rs.35,000 after the Mutiny, gave 90 acres of the garden land to Canning College on lease (with just Rs.3 as annual rent). It later became the Lucknow University in 1922.
Some details of the short period of the prime glory of Badshah Bagh are available from the accounts of one Fanny Parkes, a French lady [who visited the gardens in 1831] and Sheikh Azmat AN Nami of Kakori, a contemporary chronicler. They speak of an ochre coloured Baradari( still there and can be seen in pictures below) with white marble pillars and chequered floor at the centre of the royal gardens, along with the zenana quarters for the royal ladies and a grand square house near the Jilo khana.
The high walled garden also had two gateways. A wide canal flowed in front of the Baradari which was filled with rose-scented water and small coloured fishes were seen gliding or leaping through its clear white sparkling waters. Water in the canal came from Gomti river.A pretty small bridge was placed over the canal.(in picture)The beautifully laid flower beds contained a variety of plants and bushes and had their floored walks (paths) illuminated with silver lanterns in the evening.
Reliving old university days with friends is a magical feeling. Here we are the Gardens of Botany department. The physics department can be seen in the background.