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‘Historic General Post Office Building, Lucknow’ by K.J.S.Chatrath

When I visited Lucknow about a fortnight back, a visit to the General Post Office there was not on my list of places to be seen.  One morning I was moving towards the Lucknow State Museum, when the cycle rickshaw by which I was traveling was stopped by the police as there was some demonstration on the road ahead. Leave the rickshaw and walk down to the place, advised the police officer on duty.

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I took the proverbial long breath and looked around. I noticed that I was standing near an imposing building with a tall tower. I soon found out that it was the General Post Office. So I spent some time visiting the building and taking some photographs.

The GPO is located on the main Vidhan Sabha Road, just opposite to the Christ Church on the main Hazratganj crossing.  There is a small little well maintained lawn in front. The whole building is said to have been constructed with red brick and lime stone and no iron was used in it.  A stone embedded on the main gate of the GPO dates the buildings as 1929-1932.

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The General Post Office Building in Lucknow  has an amazing history. During the British rule, this  building was  called the ‘Ring Theater’.  was used by the British for  entertainment. English plays were staged here and English movies screened. It was popularly known as ‘Entertainment Centre’. It was out of bound for the Indians. Some even say that there was  board  put at the entrance which read ‘Dogs and Indians not allowed’! But one is not sure about the veracity of this statement.

The famous Kakori trial (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kakori_conspiracy) took place inside this Theater in 1925. Pandit Gobind Vallabh Pant, Chandra Bhanu Gupt, Babu ML Saxena and K.C. Hajela fought for the accused viz. Ram Prasad Bismil, Bhagat Singh, Chandra Shekhar Azad, Ashfaquallah Khan, etc.Four of the accused, namely Ram Prasad Bismil, Ashfaqullah Khan, Rajendra Nath Lahiri and Roshan Singh  , were sentenced to death by the Court. 16 others were either given life sentences  or long prison terms varying from 3 years to 14 years. Banwari Lal, who became approver, was also sentenced for 2 years.

During the years 1929-1932 this building was transformed into the present General Post Office.  Some additions and alterations were made to give it a Gothic look. A large beautiful  Hall in the center  houses the main post office and besides  there is an imposing  Clock Tower.

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I liked the way the postal authorities have put the PIN Code prominently on the front of the fbuilding.

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Yes, the clock was working and and it was five minutes to eleven a.m when I took this photograph.

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The imposing main hall of the GPO.

 I could not find any board giving the history of this building.  May be there is one but it did not come withing the coverage of my vision. Of course I did notice one marble plaque put prominently on the right side as soon as one enters the main hall. It proudly mentions that Postal Department had been awarded Prime Minister’s award for excellence in Public Administration for 2008-2009 for the  ‘Project Arrow-Transforming Indian Post.’

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The postal department issued a stamp on 13 May 2010 showing the GPO Lucknow.

By the time I came out of this building, the demonstration had passed and the road was open. I then moved towards the Lucknow Zoo and the Lucknow State Mueum.

My final suggestion to the Fiftyplus travelers – it is a building worth a visit when you are in Lucknow.

(Text with inputs from the internet. Sources: https://sites.google.com/site/lucknowtravelguide/gpo-lucknow; and http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2011-01-17/lucknow/28363374_1_multi-level-parking-hazratganj-kotwali-foundation-stone.)

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Photos, text & copyright K.J.S.Chatrath.

IMPORTANT: This website does not sell any hotel rooms/air tickets/packages/insurance cover etc.  It is intended only for providing information to the Fifty+/younger travellers and sharing of travel experiences. The above information is being shared only for the convenience of the readers who are advised to double check the information and satisfy themselves before taking any decision.

I am happy to share with you about the starting of another website by me:       www.gravematters.in 

Grave matters….matters of graves…graves and cemeteries….tombs and graves…cemeteries and graveyards….photos of gravestones from all over the world…inscriptions from all over the world…sad, inspirational and some with a sense humour… I look forward to receiving your encouragement and advice.

These photographs are also available without watermark and in high resolution. Please contact chatrath@gmail.com.

 

2 Responses to “‘Historic General Post Office Building, Lucknow’ by K.J.S.Chatrath”

  1. Madhukar says:

    The General Post Offices in the whole of the British Empire have been examples of the best designed public buildings in the world. The British lavished a lot of attention on building their public buildings including Railway Stations and the Post Offices. Even in the sub-continent, the GPOs have generally been rather statuesque. The Calcutta GPO, the Madras GPO and the Bombay GPO are all 19th century edifices. Even smaller cities in India such as Lucknow and Patna have rather imposing buildings working as GPO. The GPO in Delhi is near the Delhi Railway Station on the Lothian Road opposite the old Magazine which was blown up by the British rather than let it fall in the hands of the rebels in 1857. I have checked that the GPOs in Australia, Hong Kong and even Shanghai are all based on Classical principles.
    Madhukar

  2. chat says:

    Thanks Madhukar. I wonder what was the style and lavishness scale of the post office buildings in their ‘mother country’?

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