Sikandar Bagh


Sikandar Bagh

Sikandar Bagh, also known as Sikandra Bagh or Secundra Bagh, is a villa and garden estate located on the outskirts of Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India. It was built for the Nawab of Awadh, Wajid Ali Shah (1822-1887), as a summer house. The complex takes its name from the nawab's favourite wife, Sikander Mahal Begum. The site now houses the National Botanical Research Institute of India.

Origin

The garden was laid out around 1800 A.D. as a royal garden by Nawab Saadat Ali Khan. It was later improved upon by Nawab Wajid Ali Shah, the last King of Awadh, during the first half of the 19th century, who used it as his summer villa. It was Nawab Wajid Ali Shah, who named the garden "Sikandar Bagh", after one of his favourite queens, Sikander Mahal Begum.

It is about 150 square metres in size and has a small pavilion in the middle, which must have been the venue of innumerable performances of the famous 'Ras-lilas', 'Kathak' dance, music and poetic 'mehfils' and other cultural activities for which the last Nawab was very well known.

Indian Mutiny

During the siege of Lucknow in the Indian Rebellion of 1857, it was used as a refuge by hundreds of sepoys who were under siege by British and colonial troops. The villa was overrun on 16 November 1857 and the British killed a reported 2000 sepoys. After the fighting the British dead were buried in a deep trench but the Indian dead were left to rot. In early 1858 Felice Beato took an infamous photograph of the skeletal remains of the sepoys strewn across the grounds of the interior of the complex.

Articles like cannon balls, swords and shields, pieces of muskets and rifles, accidentally dug out of the garden over the years are now displayed in the NBRI Exposition and scars of cannon balls on the old walls of the garden, still remind one of that historic event.

A still greater and more visible reminder of that battle is the statue, erected some years ago in the old campus of the garden, of Uda Devi, a Parsi lady, who fought side by side with the besieged soldiers. Attired in a male battle dress, she had perched herself atop a tree in the garden, with some ammunition and a gun in hand, and kept the British attackers at bay till her ammunition was exhausted and she dropped dead on the ground, her body riddled with bullets.

External links

* [http://www.defencejournal.com/2000/mar/lucknow.htm The Lucknow Campaign-1857-58]

References

* [http://www.brown.edu/Facilities/University_Library/collections/askb/beato/beato.html Brown University Library; Anne S. K. Brown Military Collection: Photographic views of Lucknow taken after the Indian Mutiny] . Accessed 2 November 2006.
* [http://lucknow.nic.in/hplaces.htm NIC District Unit, Lucknow. "Historical Places At Lucknow"] . Accessed 2 November 2006.


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