Lucknow, rightly called “Bagho’n ka Shehar” boasts of many localities having been suffixed “bagh” (Urdu for garden). Though not many of those baghs remain, the city continues to remember those places by the name of the baghs that had been.
Charbagh, a locality towards the south of Lucknow, was known for the four gardens that were located there. Charbagh, the highly structured geometrical scheme of garden lay out where the axial paths intersect at the garden’s center is said to have been brought to India by the Mughals. The design of this magnificent structure exudes splendor and elegance.
The popular name ‘Charbagh’ has prevailed because of the four gardens that used to surround the railway station adding to the charisma of the place. The beautiful amalgamation of Awadhi, Rajput and British architecture has resulted in the building of an incredible piece of workmanship, charming visitors on their first step into the city.
History of Charbagh Railway Station
The Charbagh Railway Station is a prominent ancient landmark in Lucknow. The railway station was built in 1923. Bishop George Herbert laid the foundation stone on 21st March, 1914. The renowned architect Mr. J.H Horniman sketched the map of the railway station.
The entire structure resembles an outstanding Rajput palace. If you take an aerial view of the structure, it looks like a chess board. A unique quality about the railway station is that standing on the portico, you cannot not hear the noise coming from incoming and outgoing trains. Moreover, there are special underground tunnels located beneath the railway station. At the moment, these tunnels are utilized for ferrying goods and parcels. But, passengers also use these tunnels for unrestricted movement during rush hours.
Painted in spectacular white and red cement, the structure was the site of the first personal meeting between Mahatma Gandhi and Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. An engraved stone has been placed outside the railway station marking this special meeting.
Khamman Peer Dargah- A Rare Sight
There is an amazing ancient shrine (Mazar or dargah) located at platform no 2 of the Charbagh Railway Station. The shrine has been a representation of intense faith and fervor both from Muslim and Hindu devotees. The dargah is believed to be 900 years old. People generally call Khamman Peer Baba as ‘Line Baba’. Every Thursday, thousands of people pay their reverences at the Khamman Peer Dargah and pray for their wishes to be fulfilled. Every year, a 4-day long holy Urs (death anniversary) is held here in order to commemorate the life of Saint Khamman Peer Baba. A Dargah between the railway lines is a very rare sight, not to be missed, when in Lucknow.
Passenger Facilities at Charbagh Railway Station
The Charbagh Railway Station is divided into two buildings: Northern Railway (NR) Building and North Eastern Railway (NER) Building. Most of the trains pass through or originate from Northern Railway (NR) Building. People often refer to the Northern Railway Building as ‘Badi Line’ (Broad Gauge) and North Eastern Railway Building as ‘Choti Line’ (Narrow Gauge) though narrow gauge doesn’t exist anymore. The North Eastern Railway (NER) building is officially called Lucknow Junction (station code LJN). Currently, it is a terminus station for several broad gauge trains just like Mumbai CST, and Chennai Central.
The massive Charbagh Railway Station houses convenient waiting rooms, baggage rooms, ATMs, inquiry counters, telephone booths, special counters for senior citizens and defense personnel, prepaid taxi booths, wheelchairs for disabled and several refreshment outlets. Big LCD monitors have also been installed to provide up-to-date information of all the trains arriving or departing from Lucknow.
The Charbagh Railway Station- Today
The Charbagh Railway Station is considered a heritage site. It is among the most beautiful railway stations in India. Moreover, the overall architecture and the premises of the railway station have been preserved well by the concerned authorities. Several government and NGO initiatives have done a lot to conserve the beauty and architecture of this marvelous heritage site. The well maintained palatial building helps you establish an instant connect with the Nawabi city at the first look of its Railway Station.