Musa Bagh Conservation Plan, Lucknow, India

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Musa Bagh Conservation Plan

Musa Bagh Conservation Plan

Introduction Lucknow History 1857 Uprising Lucknow Architecture Nawabi Gardens Lucknow Circulation Musa Bagh Circulation Land Use Viewsheds Gomit River Study

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Musa Bagh Conservation Musa Bagh Timeline Site Relics Landscape Archeology Barowen Restoration Musa Bagh Memorial Park Details View References and Project Credits

Table of Contents

11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19

Musa Bagh Conservation Plan


Musa Bagh, a heritage site on the outskirts of Lucknow consists of the ruins of the country retreat Barowen, built in 180304 and a Nawabi garden on the banks of the River Gomti. Barowen is an example of 19th c. hybrid Lucknow architecture and the Nawabi garden, one of the few surviving examples of the late Mughal garden style. Musa Bagh was the site of the f nal battle of the 1857-58 Uprising between the Indian rebel forces and the English East India Company troops. As the city expands, it is likely that the remnants of the historic garden, now being farmed, will be obliterated and the building ruins protected by the Archaeological Survey of India, hemmed in by new housing development. The Musa Bagh Conservation Plan outlines a landscape planning and design approach that preserves the historic site against urban encroachment and addresses environmental issues of inadequate greenery, disturbed river ecology and loss of productive farmland. The approach is based upon the idea that landscape heritage conservation is not only a tool for social and economic development but also of environmental protection and control of haphazard urban growth. The core of the Conservation Zone is a Memorial Park commemorates Nawabi Lucknow and the Uprising.

Musa Bagh Conservation Plan


Lucknow city grew from a conglomeration of villages on the south bank of the Gomti as 1890 a capital city of the Shia Nawabs who governed the province of Awadh under the Mughal tutelage. In 1775 the city began to grow under Nawab Asaf-ud-daula, f ourishing in poetry, dance, music and architecture for the next 81 years. Gomti was the main artery of transportation of goods and people with the royal palaces and gardens built on its banks to take advantage of its cooling breezes and pleasant views. The East India Company under Lord Dalhousie annexed Lucknow in 1856 and exiled the last Nawab, Wajid Ali Shah to Matiya Burj near Calcutta. In 1857 Indian sepoys revolted leading to the widespread Uprising in Northern India and many battles were fought in the gardens of Lucknow. With the defeat of rebel forces, the British took over administration and planning of the city with far –reaching changes in its urban landscape. In 1901 Lucknow was merged in the newly formed United Provinces of Agra and Oudh. In 1947 India gained independence and Lucknow was declared as the capital of the state of Uttar Pradesh. With the coming of Railways and construction of highways, the city turned its bank on the river. Many memorial parks have been built since independence but with a few exceptions they do not commemorate Nawabi Lucknow.

Nawab Asaf-Ud-Dowlah 1775-1797

Lucknow History

Ambedkar Sthal

1857 Site of Uprising

Historic Lucknow

Sepoys dividng spoils after the revolt

Udadevi Pasi in Skandar Bagh, Lucknow

2nd Relief of Lucknow Path taken by British troops

East India Trading co. Logo

Animal fat coated paper cartridges

Residency during the siege of Lucknow

Musa Bagh Conservation Plan

Sir Henry Montgomery Lawrence. KIA in the siege of Lucknow

Capture of Lucknow

Begam Hazrat Mahal


1857 Uprising

The 1857 Uprising began when the Sepoys of the 7th Oudh Irregular Cavalry stationed in the Marion Cantonment in Lucknow, refused to bite the cover of cartridges (rumored to be greased with cow and pig fat) for loading their Enf eld rif es on May 1st. Following the outbreak of violence on 30th May, the British fortif ed themselves inside the Residency Complex. The siege by rebel forces continued for more than four months until November when British forces arrived from Cawnpore and advanced from Alambagh and along the south bank of Gomti to evacuate the besieged survivors. The riverfront palaces became stronghold of rebels and in their gardens pitched battles were fought as the labyrinthine character of the city allowed little space for large scale skirmishes to occur elsewhere. Four battles were fought in Alam bagh on October and December of 1857 and again in January and February of 1858. Sikandar Bagh was occupied by rebel forces, about 2,000 of whom were killed when the British recaptured the garden in November 1857. In March 1858 Begum Hazrat Mahal with her force of 9,000 men made Musa Bagh her headquarters where the last battle of the Uprising, resulting in the defeat of rebel forces, was fought.

Musa Bagh Conservation Plan

The Baradari ( the twelve doorway pavilions)

Use of Fish as a decorative motif especially on Gates


Distinct features of Lucknow


Bara means big, and an imambara is a shrine built by Shia Muslims for the purpose of Azadari. The Bara Imambara is among the grandest buildings of Lucknow.

Bara imambara complex in Lucknow, India, built by Asaf-ud-daulah,

in Lucknow and has become a logo for the city of Lucknow.

An imposing gateway which was built under the patronage of Nawab Asaf-Ud-dowlah in 1784.

Rumi Darwaza

Chutter Manzil Palace, with the King's Boat in the Shape of a Fish View of one of the Chattar Manzil [Umbrella Palaces] showing the King's boat called The Royal Boat of Oude on the Gomti River. Lucknow, India, 1858 - 1860.

The imposing building has large underground rooms and a dome surmounted by a gilt umbrella.

Use of Chattar ( umbrella ) as in the Chattar Manzil

Lucknow Architecture

A raised platform with arched recessed openings.


A labyrinth of hundreds of narrow stairway passages, some of which have dead-ends, on the roof of Asafi imambara distributes weight over a long span.

The labyrinth Bhulbhulaiyan

gateway and corner bastions, approx. 150 yards square, c. 4.5 acres, located in the city of Lucknow, Oudh, Uttar Pradesh, India.

Enclosed Baghs like Sikandar Bagh

Humayun’s tomb, New Delhi

Musa Bagh Conservation Plan

Vilayaiti Bagh, Lucknow

Charbagh layout

Taj Mahal, Agra

Mughal Gardens, Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi

Walled pleasure garden


Nawabi gardens, Lucknow

Nawabi Gardens

The 19th c. Nawabi Gardens of Lucknow were a regional version of the late Mughal Garden style in India. Part of palace complexes or suburban pleasure retreats with country houses they were walled and often opened to the river for views and breezes. Inspired by the Mughal gardens they were divided into chahar baghs (four squares) by walkways and water channels, planted with fruit trees and f owering shrubs, and lush ground cover. Walled enclaves for the nobility and those possessing wealth and status, they had elaborate entry gateways, ornamented baradaris (pavilions) and chattris (kiosks) for rest, shade and viewing. Lucknow developed into a city of gardens in less than a century, evolving as gardens were built in proximity to Gomti and along the routes to the city. The gardens, being more ephemeral than architecture, could not survive the disappearance of royal patronage in the aftermath of the Uprising and many became part of the colonial public parks, reshaped in a new image.

Musa Bagh Conservation Plan


Lucknow Circulation

Martiniere Estate La aM ere E state artinie

Tomb of Nawab Saadat Ali Khan


egum H Begum B Hazrat azrat M Mahal ahal Pa Park ark

Shah Najaf aja mba S hah Na af IImambara mam ara a& Botanioal Gardens ota ardens B anioal Ga s

Musa Bagh Conservation Plan


Historically Musa Bagh was accessed from the river as well as old brick road from Lucknow. Currently entry to Musa Bagh is from streets on the south and east of the site that connect with the Ring Road and the road from old Lucknow. On the north is a dirt road leading to the mazar and dirt tracks cutting across the garden connect the village to it as well. To encourage heritage tourism access to Musa Bagh from the Gomti is desirable.

Bara Imambara

Ohotta Imambara

Jama Masjid

Lakshman Tila Lakshma an T ila a

Husainabad Husainaba Clock ad Tank Ta ank k & Clock k Tower Tower

Residential Area

Traffic Access

Future Access from Gomti River

Site Boundary

Musa Bagh Circulation

Future Access

Future Focal Point

Major Road

Existing Building

Musa Bagh Conservation Plan

The Ring Road has brought new urban development to the area around Musa Bagh that was previously all farmland. New housing colonies are being built by Avas Vikas (State Housing Board) and private developers. A village of 500 residents lies on the south of Musa Bagh while within and surrounding the site are farm f elds of wheat, lentils, and mustard. A variety of open space types—forest, urban parks, and institutional campuses—exist within half a mile radius and the river Gomti, hidden by embankments, f ows about three quarters of a mile away from Musa Bagh.


Land Use

In its prime, Musa Bagh was visible from the Gomti. The river has since changed its course and a levee has been constructed blocking the view.

The lookout towers located on the the edge of what used to be the garden are still visible.

Remnants of the garden wall are still visible

of the Gomti due to the lack of development, trees,and higher elevation

View of Musa Bagh is very

Musa Bagh Conservation Plan










Viewshed behind Musa Bagh

Viewshed in front of Musa Bagh


Contour Line






1� = 1K


1� = 4K




3K 3K




Musa Bagh Conservation Plan




Move the barrier back to give breathing room for the river to flood

Proposed Levee system

Existing Levee system


Urban growth

Divert the river to create an oxbow lake. This backwater lake can support wetland habitat

Proposed Hydrology

Existing Hydrology

13.3% 2.3%



Connect the forest preserve with the reconstructed gardens of Musa Bagh to the Gomti

Proposed Green Belt

Existing Natural area and Musa Bagh ruins



To protect Musa Bagh and and as one of the last remaining green/natural areas in Greater Lucknow

Proposed No Development Corridor

Agriculture and urban sprawl make up 97.3% of the total land area in the 20k radius of Greater Lucknow area. Of the 84.4% of urban sprawl, 12.8% is located in flood prone area. Although much of River is contained by levees, history has shown They sometimes fail creating catastrophic conditions.The levee and sprawl leave little room for river wetlands; crucial ecosystems during the monsoon period. With a booming population, and economy, and lack of development restrictions, it is only a matter of time before the rest of the land is swallowed up by sprawl.


Gomti River Study

This wetland will provide crucial habitat for migratory birds as well as other organisms.

Proposed Bird Sanctuary

Percent of urban growth Located in 0.40% Area 12.8%

Gomti River and Flood Prone Area

Musa Bagh Conservation Plan


Musa Bagh Conservation

There are three phases to the planning of the Musa Bagh Conservation Zone. The historic site of Musa Bagh is presently poorly connected with Lucknow city. Revitalization of Barowen and recreation of the Nawabi Garden would lead to planning the larger area with its circulation pattern connected to the urban network. Once the site becomes a tourism destination, the entire Zone of 1,043 acres can then be protected and developed for increasing greenery, preserving farmland, planting orchards, and constructing wetlands on the Gomti f oodplain. Presently Gomti is not visually and physically accessible from Musa Bagh due to the embankments built to prevent it from f ooding Lucknow. To re-establish the historic connection between Musa Bagh and Gomti, the embankment has been removed to allow the choked river to breathe and f ood naturally. Gomti is rechanneled at a sharp bend shortening its course and creating an ox-bow lake. The land between Musa Bagh and the river has been re-graded into three terraced wetlands. Depending upon how high the river rises during the monsoons, one, two, or all three terraced sections will be covered with water. The extensive wetlands thus created will become a sanctuary for birds that have lost their habit because of urbanization along the Gomti. Musa Bagh Memorial Park forms the core of the larger Conservation Zone created to protect green open spaces from urban encroachment. The area on the north and west where f elds are being cleared for housing is planted with orchards of mangoes and lychees to provide a buffer area around the Park. A large retention pond is constructed to irrigate the orchards. A maidan is proposed at the northern entry to the Park where the Dargah is located and fairs are held. The access to the Conservation Zone from the Ring Road is designed to accommodate slow moving traff c such as rickshaws and vendors. The existing forest preserve is connected to Musa Bagh Memorial Park and orchards with a trail system. It is recommended that the orchards be leased to the local community and its members also employed in managing the Conservation Zone.

Musa Bagh Conservation Plan



Country Retreat

The site was initially a Nawabi garden laid out by Nawab Asaf-ud-daulah. Later in 1803-4 Barowen was built by his half-brother Nawab Saadat Ali Khan. It was used for entertaining European guests. The building was damaged during the Uprising and fell into disrepair. The garden was lost to farming. Barowen is now under the protection of Archaeological Survey of India but the historic garden site continues to be farmed.

Nawabi Garden

First owner SaadatAli Khan



Bust of Cluade Martin, in La Martiniere school

Musa Bagh Timeline

Barowen in 1858

for control of Lucknow



Musa Bagh Conservation Plan

One of two towers on site located at southern corners of building

Shrine on North end of the site

View of ruins from the Shrine

View into sunken garden


Cemetary of Captain Sahib

Site Relics

The preserved ruins of Barowen are visually remarkable in the f at plain. It is possible to enter the building from the east side and also look down into the sunken back portion of the building from the west side. The building on the north of Barowen appears to be built not too long ago and contains the mazar (tomb) of Syed Imam Ali. It has an inner sanctum containing the mazar and an outer hall that fronts a narrow dirt street where fairs are held on auspicious occasions such as Vasant Panchami (spring equinox) and on Jume Raat (Thursday night) of the new moon. West of Barowen is the cemetery of Captain Swale who commanded the Sikh Irregular Cavalry and was killed on Mar 2, 1858 at Musa Bagh in the f nal battle of the Uprising in Lucknow. Every Christmas, a mela (fair) is held in honor of ‘Captain Sahib’ as he is called.

Sunken courtyard

View upon entry

Musa Bagh Conservation Plan

Surface excavation is recommended to investigate the remnants of the Nawabi garden buried under the tilled farmland. The method is less invasive and can yield a great deal of information. The aerial photograph show possible pathway locations in the form of raised lines running through the length of the garden and across the site forming a number of possible chahar bagh layouts. The existing farm plots were probably based upon historic garden sections. Minimal elevation changes throughout the 26 acre site allude to the absence of a terraced garden. Surface archaeology will also reveal the water source in the 19th c and the irrigation system.


Landscape Archeology

Musa Bagh Conservation Plan


Barowen Restoration

The building, designed by the Frenchman Claude Martin, is an interesting example of the Indo-European house in Lucknow. It contained indigenous design concepts of tykhana (basement room) with the sunken courtyard combined with European elements such as an elegant semi-circular portico approached from the river, arches and composite columns. The building is unusual in utilizing topography in an imaginative way such that it is three-storied in the front and double-storied at the back. The front was used in the winter time and the back part cooled by the surrounding earth and sunken courtyard for use in summer time. Airy pavilions on the roof allowed the Nawab to watch stag f ghts in Musa bagh and wild beasts on the banks of the Gomti. The building was badly damaged during the Uprising in 1857-58 and over time the garden became overgrown and planted with wheat and mustard f elds.

Musa Bagh Conservation Plan

The Memorial Park is designed as a chahar bagh Nawabi Garden with a large central pool and axial pathways adjacent to the channels on the north-south and east-west directions. Fruit trees are planted in the four squares. The area around the historic building is surrounded by a parterre gardens, lawns and paved plazas so that the views are open. The area can be used for festive events such as marriages and other celebrations, thus adapting a historic pattern to contemporary recreational uses. Parking is on the north side and visitors can enter from the north and east. Upon entering the building the visitors walk on the raised metallic bridge through the interior, a 21st c. insertion into the historic structure thus giving them an opportunity to study the building closely. Water channels serve as an aesthetic water feature in the garden as well as a storm water management system. The volume of water f owing in the channels is regulated through the f ap system. Once the water reaches a high level during monsoon events, the f ap doors to the channels swing open and water is allowed to f ow into the central underground water catchment basin. Pavilions are situated at the intersection of pathways and at the corners of Musa Bagh.



Musa Bagh Memorial Park


Musa Bagh Conservation Plan












Musa Bagh Conservation Plan


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Musa Bagh Conservation Plan

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Image References

Page 3 Hay, Sidney. Historic Lucknow. Delhi Rupa Paperback, - - 2002; f rst published 1939. rising_falling.html Llewellyn-Jones, Rosie. The Great Uprising in India, 1857-58: Untold Stories, Indian and British. Woodbridge, - html Suffolk: The Boydell Press, 2007. - Llewellyn-Jones, Rosie. A Fatal Friendship: The Nawabs, the British, and the City of Lucknow. Delhi: Page 4 Oxford University Press, 1985. Markel, Stephen with Tushara Bindu Gude. India’s Fabled City: The Art of Courtly Lucknow. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 2011. Sinha, Amita. “Decadence, Mourning and Revolution - Facets of Nineteenth Century Landscape of Lucknow, India,” Landscape Research, U.K., No. 2, Spring 1996, pp. 123-136. Sinha, Amita, “Greener (Past)ures”, Indian Architect and Page 5 Builder, vol. 22(9), May 2009, pp.65-67. Nagpal, Swati and Amita Sinha, “The Gomti Riverfront in Lucknow, India: Revitalization of a Cultural Heritage Landscape”, Journal of Urban Design,U.K. vol. 14, no. 4, November 2009, pp.489-506. Page 6 Sinha, Amita, “Colonial and post-colonial memorial parks in Lucknow, India: shifting ideologies and chang- -google maps - aesthetics”, Journal of Landscape Architecture, chive.html Autumn 2010, pp. 60-71. -

Text References


©2011 by the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois,USA

The project was part of LA 336/438 Design Workshop in Spring 2011 at the Department of Landscape Architecture, University of Illinois Urbana Champaign

Editor- Amita Sinha

Layout- Grace Vogel

Report Credits

Guangyan Wang

David A. Hunter Changmo Kim William L. Lingel Chase A. Morgan Lu Peng Stephanie Salinas Grace Vogel


University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, USA

Professor, Department of Landscape Architecture

Amita Sinha


Project Credits

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