The infamous tale of Lakhan Passi and lost Lucknow heritage

Lucknow’s brilliant yet lost past has left its legacy in the entrancing destination and landmarks of the city. One of the most famous legendary attractions is the Bada Imambara, known as Bhoolbhulaiya, worked by Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula in 1784. A suggestive of the Mughal period, this complicatedly cut structure is among the must-visit vacation spots of Lucknow. But more than these historical attractions tells about Lucknow, one lost past is hidden under the beauty of Lucknow Tila.

Though India remembers Lucknow to be named after the Hindu epic Ramayana’s Lakshman, not many people knew about the heritage of King Lakhan Passi. Who was he and how is he connected to Lucknow? Let’s check that out!

Chronicles of Lucknow’s Name

Maharaja Lakhan Passi

Before Lucknow became the home of Mughal’s and Nawab’s, not many knew about the history of the Passi Kingdom. Though there’s no doubt that the ravishing beauty of the city is credited to Nawabs, before them Lucknow was a valley of massive palaces and temples. Ruled by the Passi monarch in the 10th and 11th centuries, Lucknow was much different from its modern-day legacy. It was then called by the name ‘Lakhanpur’ named after the Passi king- Lakhan Passi. At the entrance of his palace, today stands King George’s Medical College. The same mound used to be the fort of Raja Lakhan Pasi. The Lucknow Tila tells that this fort was one and a half kilometers long and equally wide. This fort was 20 meters high from the ground.

Lakhan Passi

Lakhan Passi had a beautiful wife named Lakhanvati and for a time being Lakhanpur was also recognized as ‘Lakhanvati’. For his beloved wife, the king built a beautiful palace called Lakhnavati Vatika. On the east side of the same stands Naag Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. King Lakhan Passi was a great follower of Lord Shiva thus the kingdom had numerous temples and worship places dedicated solely to the God.

As inscribed in the pages of history, when Lucknow was attached by Syed Salar Masood Ghazi’s chief generals Syed Hatim and Syed Khatim, they made their camps at Garhi Jinjaur which is located on the border of Lakhan Passi’s kingdom. Because the camps were built near the fort, spies of the enemy often convey important messages to the opposite sides. Inspecting this information, Ghazi decided to attach Lakhanpur and Kasmani on the same day. King Lakhan and King Kansa of Kasmandi were friends, thus in order to drive both the forces away from each other, the attack was planned on the same day.

Ghazi first attached the fort on the eve of Holi, when the whole town and the army were tired of the celebrations. Hearing the news of the sudden attack on the fort, the king rode on a horse and went to the battlefield with the army. The battle between the Muslim ruler Ghazi and King Lakhan was fierce and gruesome. As the fight drew in favor of the Hindu ruler, Ghazi attached the king from behind. From his sword, he slew the head of Lakhan Passi. The place where his head was fallen down is today recognized as ‘Sarkata Nala’. Even when his head was slain, King Lakhan’s body stood still on his horse and kept on fighting- as per the legends.

Witnessing the bravery of the enemy, even Ghazi, and his army was frightened, such was the legacy of Passi King Lakhan.

Lakhan Passi

The Hero Of The Ramayana

According to another legend, Lord Rama gifted the territory of Lucknow to his devoted brother Lakshmana after he conquered Sri Lanka and defeated Ravana. Therefore people also say that the historical name of Lucknow was ‘Lakshmanpur’ or ‘Lakhanpur’. In the historical text, the city of Ayodhya was so magnificent that Lakhanpur was described as its suburbs. Lakshman Tila, a place in Lucknow still exist.

After 1350, Lucknow was majorly ruled by Sharqi Sultanate, Mughal Empire, Nawabs of Awadh, and the British East India Company. Lucknow became independent on 15th August 1947, the same day India became independent. Since then, it has been listed as the 17th-fastest growing city in India and 74th in the world.

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