Sikandar Bagh: The Untold Story of a Forgotten Heroine (Mutiny of 1857)

Sikandar Bagh is a small yet very hidden monument and gardens that roots in the history of Lucknow.

India is filled with stories. Every place, every corner, every element here tells a story of its own. If you come here from a foreign land, be prepared to get amazed. And if you’re an Indian, feel proud.

Today the story which I am going to tell is of a Virangana who died fighting Britishers during the Indian Mutiny of 1857. And this no ordinary story which happened in Sikandar Bagh – a public garden.

Before you proceed reading, let me pause you. So if you prefer video over reading, you can watch the following video in Hindi (English subtitles) and this will serve the purpose.

Sikandar Bagh is an ancient protected monument and garden, by ASI situated in the heart of Lucknow – Hazratganj. It was built by the last Nawab of Awadh, Nawab Wajid Ali Shah in the memory of his favorite queen Sikandar Mahal. It sits right next to the popular Sahara Ganj mall and the Sikandar Bagh chauraha (roundabout).

It stays open from sunrise to sunset. Unheard by common people this bagh holds a story of a lady warrior. There are also rumors of it being a haunted place.

The Entry Gate of Sikandar Bagh in Lucknow
Front gateway of Sikandar Bagh

I don’t know how much truth those rumors have in it. But what I do know is the story of the lady warrior – backed up by our history. Her name is Uda Devi and I will come to her glorious tale in a moment. First, let me share my ground experience about the place from an explorer’s set of eyes.

Since I live in Lucknow when I don’t travel, I explored the place at my own pace and comfort on a day in November 2018. Later I did regret being lazy.

While exploring the Sikandar Bagh, I found it very much serene and peaceful! The only sounds you hear are of honking vehicles outside the bagh as it’s near a busy roundabout – Sikandar Bagh Chauraha.

Although most of the architecture inside the complex has been destroyed or decayed by time, the only architectures that stand still are the imposing gateway, a mosque, and a fortification wall.

There’s nothing more except greenery and people – like in a normal garden. But hold on still, Sikandar Bagh has an interesting story about it too.

The Haunted Garden Sikandar Bagh?

Rumors and the sayings of locals suggest that the Sikandar Bagh is one of the haunted places in Lucknow. Many Englishmen have died here and their disturbed souls roam in the park, supposedly in the evening. They say that’s the reason why the garden gets closed in the evening.

Sikandar Bagh: The Untold Story of a Forgotten Heroine (Mutiny of 1857) 1
Decayed/Ruined portion of Sikandar Bagh

Keeping rumors aside, let’s look on facts and real experiences. I roamed here for more than 2 hours and felt nothing. There were people sitting in the garden, some were talking and some were reading their books.

Though the whole area looks spooky, everything is fine inside. Remains of decayed buildings lay on the opposite side of the main imposing gateway. There’s a mosque preceded by it and after the beautiful gateways.

Although it is rumored to be haunted I personally believe that this is a lie as mostly all rumors are. Because I did not feel anything unusual there. Perhaps a lesson too, not to believe in rumors without verification.

The Forgotten Heroine & Warrior of Lucknow

Back in the era of freedom struggle, in the year 1857, a tough battle was fought between Englishmen and freedom fighters. This all took place precisely on 16th November 1857. The battle resulted in the death of hundreds of Englishmen and approximately 2000 freedom fighters.

The interesting story is that among those freedom fighters there was an unknown lady who bravely fought and killed a number of British sepoys. Her courageous acts bewildered the Britishers. She was an unknown heroine until one day her identity was discovered.

She was Uda Devi Pasi and she killed 36 Britishers in the battle, all by herself. You can imagine the valor and glory of taking down 36 enemies all by oneself.

Uda Devi’s husband Makka Pasi was already a soldier in the Indian army governed by Begum Hazrat Mahal. Later she formed a women’s battalion to fight against Britishers.

At the instant when I came to know about her story, I saluted her and my mind remembered the similar courageous acts and stories of Queen of Jhansi – Rani Laxmi Bai

Her identity was discovered by Pasiratna Ram Lakhan. At present, there’s a statue of her that is fixed on the entrance gate!

5 Reasons of Why You Should Visit Here if You’re in Lucknow

Like I said in the introduction – India is a place of stories. Stories of faith, history, and tradition. Places like Sikandar Bagh often get ignored by the agenda huge travel companies and gradually fade.

In a listicle format, here are my 5 reasons why you should spare an hour or two to visit Sikandar Bagh when you are in Lucknow:

  1. Sikandar Bagh is an ASI protected monument and garden built by the last Nawab of Awadh.
  2. Brave warrior Uda Devi martyred here while fighting during the rebel of Indian independence in 1857. To pay your regards and know the story of hers, you can give a visit.
  3. It is a lush green and peaceful place to hang out at apt timings.
  4. It could be a great point of interest if you’re an architecture lover. You’ll also find the two-fishes symbol which we see in most official works of Uttar Pradesh.
  5. This may be common, but beauty lies in the eyes of beholders. So if you’re a creative soul like into photography, painting, or something – you may find some inspiration.

How to Reach Sikandar Bagh?

To reach here, first, let us tell you how can you reach Lucknow.

By Rail

The main stations of Lucknow are Lucknow Junction (Charbagh), Badshahnagar, and Gomtinagar. Charbagh (LKO) is connected to all major cities of the country. You can reach here easily from any corner of the country. From the station, you can take taxis (Ola, Uber, Rapido) as well as auto, local bus. Nearest metro station is Hazratganj.

By Air

Chaudhary Charan Singh International Airport (Amausi Airport) is the only airport in Lucknow, which is connected to all parts of the country. From the airport, you can reach here easily with the help of the metro train, bus, auto, taxi, etc.

By Road

The distance of Lucknow is 500 km from the country’s capital Delhi. The city is well connected to other major cities by national highways.

Suggested Read: Hussainabad Clock Tower: India’s Tallest Clock Tower (200+ feet)

Final Words

These little yet significant stories are now long forgotten. People’s interest has started fading. Sikandar Bagh is a small garden amidst the busiest places of Lucknow yet it attracts only a few people.

These are our heritage upholding deep historical stories and bravery acts which we must preserve in our hearts and homes. These are the things we should be proud of and keep them safe, sound, and clean.

Have you been here? We’d like to know the experiences of your mind wanderings down below in the comment box!

Vipin Gaur
Vipin Gaur

Vipin is a techie, traveler, and entrepreneur. He has done engineering in computer science and is an Apple Fan Boy. He is behind all the tech and content management of this website. Often, he shares his entrepreneurial learnings and thoughts on his Twitter.

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  1. Thank you for your fine article on the lady Uda Devi Pasi. Please close your eyes and say a prayer for the soul of Captain John Tower Lumsden, the Interpreter for General Ewart of the 93rd Sutherland Highlanders, and who, with two others, was first to enter the Sikandar Bagh, and who was shot dead
    immediately. He was 34 years of age, and being able to speak the language, was possibly on a mission for peace. May we all live in peace in future years, and honour and remember the courage of Uda Devi Pasi and the young Captain Lumsden.