Hazratganj (Hindi: हज़रतगंज, Urdu: حضرتگںج) is a major shopping area situated in the heart of Lucknow in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. In addition to bazaars, it also contains shopping complexes, restaurants, hotels, theaters and offices.
The idea for the present Hazratganj was conceived by the first Nawab of Awadh, Nawab Saadat Ali Kahan in 1810 and was then called Munnawar Baksh. He started creating European style kothis falling between the present DM's residence (Kothi Noor Baksh) to Raj Bhawan (Kothi Hayat Baksh). Various kothis like Kothi Zahoor Baksh, Noor Manzil, Khurshid Manzil, Enakbaaz ki Kothi, Kankar Wali Kothi, Munnawar Kothi, and Lucknow Club and Lawrence Terrace came up gradually.
In 1827, the then Nawab Nasiruddin Haider laid the foundation of the Ganj market by introducing the China Bazaar and Kaptaan Bazaar which sold goods stuff from China, Japan and Belgium. The famous Taar Wali Kothi, Dargah of 12 Imam's at Khas Mukaam, Choti Chattar Manzil, Saawan-Bhadoh Mahal (the present location of zoo), the stunning Baradari, which was earlier situated between Kaiserbagh, Darulshafa, and Lalbagh also emerged during his regime.
In 1842, the name of the area was changed to Hazratganj after Nawab Amjad Ali Shah, who was popularly known by his alias 'Hazrat'.
After the First War of Independence in 1857, Britishers took over the city and Hazratganj was modelled after London's Queen Street. Many old Mughal style buildings were demolished and new European structures came up.
Ring Theatre, the present GPO, served add the Ball Room and theatre for the British officers and was called 'Entertainment Centre' . It's another matter that its doors would be closed for the natives. This place was exclusively for the Britishers and natives were barred from entering. Later on, it was converted into a special court and witnessed the hearing for the Kakori Conspiracy case. In 1929-32, the building was renovated in Gothic style and a clock tower was constructed in the centre and The GPO, which was then situated in Janpath, was shifted to this building after that.
When Ahmad Shah died, his son Wajid Ali Shah got an Imambara constructed in Sibtainabad. The place is now called Sibtainabad Imambara and situated just behind Marksman restaurant, another landmark for the present generation.
The Indian Coffee House (ICH) came up during the First World War (1914–18) and was then owned by the Filmistan cinema which today is known as Sahu Cinema. Unlike Mayfair and Ring Theatre, ICH was crowded by Indians all the time. In the 1920s, the place became a paradise for journalists and writers and thinkers like Dr Ram Manohar Lohia, Atal Bihari Vajaypee, Chandrashekar to Yashpal, Amrit Lal Nagar, Bhagwati Charan Verma and Anand Narayan Mulla who expressed their views over a cup of coffee.
Beautification and Makeover
In 2010, to celebrate 200 years of Hazratganj, the then government, started a programme for the makeover of the area. The original makeover plan designed by country’s noted architect Nasir Munjee several years ago worked as the base for the final plan that entailed an expense of Rs 30 crore.
Hoardings from rooftops and encroachments on the road were removed. Buildings were painted in a uniform crème and pink, same size and colour signages, stone pavements and the Victorian style balustrades, lamp posts, waste-bins, benches, an open air tiny amphitheatre and colourful fountains were constructed. The century old Fire Station was demolished to make way for the modern multi-level parking.
"Ganjing" is a term used to describe ambling and shopping in the wide lanes and by lanes of city’s ganj market.
Hazratganj is a major Victorian style shopping area. It houses showrooms, shopping complexes, restaurants, hotels, theatres, offices and businesses. Hazratganj shops sell the famous Lucknow Chikan material. Gurjari, Handloom Emporium and Gandhi Ashrams are also located in the market.
The Sahara Ganj Mall is a 5-storied major shopping mall located in Hazratganj. It is one of the largest shopping malls in India covering an area of over 425,000 square feet. It also has PVR movie theaters besides a huge food court.
Naza Market, part of Hazratganj, is the biggest market for computer/IT goods in the state  and second largest in India after Delhi's Nehru Place.
Hazratganj also houses Sahu, Novelty and Leela movie theaters. It also have Mayfair cinemas which is now closed and was Lucknow's one of the best cinemas in 20th Century. It mostly showed Hollywood Movies.
Lucknow Development Authority (LDA) together with city's administration organizes monthly carnival on the second Sunday of each month in Hazratganj market. On this night, the market becomes a no-parking zone with barricades and security services. Various types of cultural and entertainment programmes are held for the general public. Lucknow Police watches the crowd with the help of drone cameras.
Hazratganj crossing is the busiest crossing of Lucknow city. It is situated at the confluence of NH-24, NH-25, NH-28 and NH-24B. The whole area along with the crossing falls in Lucknow's Heritage zone.
There is a proposed metro station in Lucknow Metro.
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- NAWABS OF OUDH & THEIR SECULARISM - Dr. B. S. Saxena