A few kilometres from the Lucknow railway station and not very far away from the banks of river Gomti, stands two majestic buildings in ruins.One of them is Dilkusha Kothi and depicts the Baroque style of architecture.The other one , just north-east of it, is called the North -East building or Kothi.
While exploring Lucknow, I came to know about many buildings which played a prominent role during the first war of India’s Independence.Dilkusha Kothi was one of those first buildings of Awadh which was attacked by the British during the war in order to get the control of Lucknow(Awadh) back from the rebels. So, I decided to visit and explore this place.
I reached Dilkusha Kothi in the afternoon. There is a small gate for entry, mostly remains half open. Entry is free. From the gate, The North East building was clearly visible. I went inside the gate. The place is full of large, spacious gardens however I couldn’t see many people visiting the site.I took right and reached the end of the small path and then I could see the majestic Dilkusha Kothi, lying in ruins., few metres ahead. Just south of it, is the grave of British Lieutenant Charles Keth Dashwood who died at a young age of 19.
Dulkusha Kothi was built by British Major Gore Ouseley in 1800.The Major enjoyed good relationship with Nawab of Awadh , Saadat Ali Khan at that time. The kothi was to serve as a hunting lodge and summer resort within a vast deer park. The north east building was built by Nawab Wajid Ali Shah. He constructed it with a large open space in front of it to hold military exercises of his troops. However, he had to stop and leave the place after the Britishers took exception of this.
Dilkush kothi was a three storeyed structure with basement. The design of this structure looks similar to Delaval Hall of Seaton in Northumberland,England. Dilkusha Kothi contrary to other buildings of the era, does not have a courtyard. Due to this, It was possible to construct it with a very small footprint. It was built with lakhauri bricks with lime mortar and plaster. The lime mortar was used in old times for most of the buildings which provided good strength to the buildings. Most of these buildings with lime plaster exist in very good condition even now, after hundred of years.
The Kothi was further decorated with plaster mouldings. The walls were patterned. At the corners, towers were constructed with circular stairs. A broad flight of steps lead to the entrance of the building. The building is oriented to have a good view of the nearby Gomti river.
The North east building is also built in European style with lakhauri bricks and lime mortar and plaster.This building is on east west axis. There is a large garden infront of the building along with other gardens on the site.
After the attack on the buildings, it suffered good amount of damage and were left in ruins for many years. Later on , Archaeological Survey of India took note of it and started the process of its conservation. Now it is properly maintained and certain points are restricted for general public in order to prevent further damage. Even for those not much interested in art, architecture or history, this place should be a must visit for its calmness and tranquillity.It remains open from morning 0800 hours to 1800 hours in the evening, all days of the week.
Today, these ruins of Dilkush kothi serve as a reminder to the sacrifices of the people of Awadh in their fight to freedom against the British.