During the colonial era, the Begums and the Nawabs added many new buildings, mostly in the Old City, or in the adjoining northern area. Shah Jehan Begum initiated the Taj-ul-Masjid, the largest mosque in India , which started in 1887, being built on the model of Delhi ’s Jama Masjid and was completed in the 1970s.Her daughter created the suburb of Ahmedabad.
One of the most emphatic dance forms that the City of Nawabs has given - the Lucknow Gharana of Kathak, which came into existence mainly in the court of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah, the ruler of Avadh in 19th Century. Kathak, its exponents say, was so powerful that no other dance form posed a challenge to it for a long period.
The atmosphere of courtly refinement that was so characteristic of Lucknow included the greatest north Indian classical musician of modern times,Ustad Allauddin Khan (the father of the virtuoso AIi Akbar Khan and the guru of Ravi Shankar). The city is known as the 'Paris of the East' and the 'Babylon of India' a century before: the ornate mosque Bara Imambara with its notorious Bhulbhuliya maze, the Dilkusha garden, and the decorative palaces of the kings and Nawabs of Oudh.
A lifestyle typical of many rulers of that era who squandered away their empires to the British -- in the manner of the famous scene from Ray 's film that depicts Wajid Ali Shah leisurely playing chess as the British soldiers marched in. But yet these much-maligned Nawabs were responsible for nurturing Lucknow's culture of poetry , dance , music and art and inventing the famous Lucknowi traditions.
In the middle of 16th century, Sher Shah Suri built a fort on the banks of the Ganga understanding the strategic location of the city and importance of the port. The place has continued to be a significant trading centre during Sultanate period and flourished during the rule of Mughals and Nawabs of Bengal.
Lucknow was a bystander of those last proud days of Muslim rule in India, before it and the rest of Oudh , was summarily annexed by the British . The fall of Wajid Ali Shah, the last Nawab of Oudh and the siege of Lucknow during the 1857 Mutiny have given Lucknow special mention in all history books . The Nawabs of Lucknow are a footnote in Indian history for their degenerate, idle and lavish lifestyle .