Lucknow city is known as much for its rich heritage as it is for the love of Lakhnawis to preserve their heritage. The stories about the “Pehle Aap” tehzeeb of the city may have been made out, but, the dialect of its residents still carries the special ingredients of “adab” and “lehaaz”.
The radiant and infectious dialect of the city holds testimony to the linguistic proficiency of numerous writers, poets, journalists and lyricists who are proud to have their roots in this marvelous city.
The “City of Adab” boasts of being the birthplace of some of the finest poets and writers of India such as the renowned Josh Malihabadi, Mir Taqi Mir, Kaifi Azmi, Javed Akhtar, and Imam Buksh to name a few. These famous personalities of Lucknow have showcased the entire world, the unparalleled legacy of rich literary works in the form of shayari, ghazals, nazms, books and novels.
The city has a lot to offer in terms of traditional as well as modern public libraries where you can explore some of the finest literary works of renowned writers or poets. At the same time, there are specific localities in Lucknow where you can explore extensive variety of books ranging from curriculum books, to novels and magazines.
The Legendary Ameer-ud-Daula Public Library
The Ameer-ud-Daula Library was actually the small section of the Provincial Museum founded in 1868. The library was opened for students in the year 1887. In the year 1907, the upper floor of Lal Baradari was reserved for this library. However, in 1910, the Ameer-ud-Daula Library was moved to Chhota Chattar Manzil and was opened for the general public and called as Public Library.
The library is located in the centre of Lucknow at Kaiserbagh. You will be able to explore ready reference, normal reference and reprographic services at the library. The library is fully equipped with modern facilities such as internet, computer systems, CDs and DVDs that are available for members.
At the same time, translation service, children book section, Munshi Nawal Kishore section and Oudh section are available for the expediency of people. A separate hall is available for scholars and researchers who are working on in-depth projects.
The Munshi Nawal Kishore hall in the library has a unique collection of books and novels written in Sanskrit, Persian, Arabic, Urdu and Hindi language. People who are fond of novels and books written in these languages can get access to them. The Oudh section has a rare collection of Persian, Urdu and English books.
The library is said to have preserved more than 2 lakh books till date. You can explore the oldest and the rarest books here, one of them being the “The Turkish History” 6th edition written in 1687.
You can get access to the oldest collection of manuscript written in Burmese, Sanskrit, Pali, Persian, Arabic and Urdu. These rare manuscripts tend to have significant information and details of the bygone era. The unique collection of maps here will give you vivid memories of ancient India. Maps of Awadh, Provinces of Agra, Cawnpore, Delhi Sultanate, Calcutta and other places can be discovered here.
The Ameer-ud-Daula Library has the largest collection of Lithos such as the “The Campaign in India 1857-58” written by George Franklin Atkinson in 1859, “Select Views in India Drawn on the Spot” in 1780, 1781, 1782 and implemented in Aqua Tinta written by William Hodges in 1786 and the famous “Siege of Lucknow”.
Some of the oldest Arabic manuscripts are properly preserved here such as Ash-sharhul-Lamaa, Ayyate – Baiyanat, Nafeese, and Sahee-Fae-Sajjadia. On the other hand, you can get access to ancient Persian manuscripts such as Al-Resala-Fi-Marfatul Ustar, Ahwale-Fateh-Etahwa, Iqbal-Nama-Jahangiri, and Kalemate-Jahangiri.
Old Urdu manuscripts such as Hamla-E-Haidari, Deewan Sauda, Kulleyat-Jurrat, and Indr Sabha are also preserved here. The collection at the Ameer-ud-Daula Library is really outstanding and immensely diversified and you will be delighted to explore some of the fascinating books, novels and manuscripts written by some of the world’s best writers and poets.
Universal Bookseller is the most famous books outlet in Lucknow. The main branch is located at M.G. Marg, next to Hanuman Mandir, Hazrat Ganj. There are other branches of the bookstore located in Mahanagar and Aliganj.
Students can get all the curriculum books from Universal Booksellers right from Class 1st till Class 12th for all the educational boards and mediums. You can also purchase graduation and post-graduation course books from Universal Booksellers as also the top quality stationery items such as pens, pencils, erasers, geometry box, maps, school bags, along with tiffin boxes and water bottles for school-going children.
On the other hand, the premises have 3-4 floors and all the floors have specific allotments. Apart from curriculum books, you have the luxury to explore novels, poetry books, short story books, magazines, etc. Different sections are allotted for books such as politics, fiction, history, health and fitness, sports, literature, autobiography, and other related sections for the convenience of members and customers.
Researchers, scholars and students have the luxury to explore different books for working on specific projects or assignments. There are books and magazines on almost all the fields. You can even find some famous works written by popular writers such as Chetan Bhagat, Arundhati Roy, Vikram Seth, William Shakespeare, Munshi Premchand, Ruskin Bond and other acclaimed writers here.
Aminabad Book Market
The Aminabad Book Market is a prominent place to explore and purchase different books. This popular book market located in the commercial hub of Aminabad is over 100 years old. There are famous book stores in the market that have been selling books, novels, magazines, and curriculum books since several decades.
Rama Book Depot, National Book Depot, Vishal Book Depot, Prakash Book Depot, and Malviya Pustak Kendra are some of the prominent stores located in the market. Customers can grab some of the best deals here. Most of the book stores here even sell books at second hand rates or resale rates.
Right from curriculum books, novels, and magazines, customers have the option to explore diverse literary works according to their liking and need. Prominent books written on politics, history, current affairs, science, sports, health and fitness, and fiction can be bought here. It is a big book market with several makeshift stores on the pavement selling different types of books and novels. You can easily bargain with these provisional stores to acquire the best deal.
If you want, you can also sell your old books, magazines and novels to any book vendor or retailer. High quality stationery products such as pencils, pens, erasers, maps, geometry box, along with school bags, tiffin boxes, and water bottles for school-going kids can also be purchased here.
Books Galore at Libraries and Book Markets of Lucknow
Book lovers or people who are very fond of reading can explore variety of books, novels and magazines at prominent libraries and book stores situated in the city. The experience of exploring these masterpieces will be enlightening and rewarding as well.
A visit to the city cannot be complete without a visit to the prominent libraries and book markets as these are the places where you can get to know about the culture and essence of the city dwellers, their past and what goes into the making of the legacy called “Lakhnau”.