Rampur: A Faded Chapter in History

Rampur is a hidden gem stowed quietly in the chaotic realms of Uttar Pradesh. 

Being a history buff, Rampur had always been in my 'to go to' list, and finally I saw a chance. Though the route to Lucknow didn’t necessarily goes through Rampur, in order to get there I 'informed' my friends that it would be a shortcut. 

It was a road trip to Lucknow with some friends when I was acting as the navigator in the car. This is when something in the map (Google Maps) caught my attention. 

It turned out that we were quite close to Rampur. 

This detour cost us 3 more hours (and some choicest of abuses by my friends) along with a bumpy ride, but I dont have anything to complain.

We arrived Rampur in the afternoon and started navigating our way towards the famous Rampur Raza Library. 

Edgy !
Fun fact: Rampur is also called Mustafabad. It was the name given to it by its first Nawaab, but Rampur is the popular one. In the medieval period, it was a part of Delhi and was called Kather. But after the great war of 1774, the Nawaab of Oudh laid the first stone of the Rampur fort in 1775.

The city is quite small like most of the small towns, but what surprised me was the cleanliness of the roads and how well maintained the public areas were. Another thing I noticed was the significant lack of Hindi on local signboards. English and Urdu were the prominent languages.

"Hindi is the national language, sir!" - "Not here, kid!"

One of the gates of the Rampur Fort.
Just another neglected chapter of a glorious history.

Navigating our way, by asking the locals we finally reached the Rampur Fort. Most of the fort has been turned into Government establishments but they have kept the Library open for the public. The library is a unique amalgamation of Indian, Persian and European architecture, and is one of its kind in India and perhaps the world.

Look at this magnificent piece of architectural beauty!
One thing that I didn't understand was the prohibition of camera. I was asked to deposit my camera in a locker before going inside the library. However, inside they were cool with everyone taking pictures with their cellphones. I guess, they have a beef just with the high quality pictures of the interior.

(I did take a few pictures using my phone, but it was too dark and the pictures were blurry and underexposed. I might put them here in the future.)

But nagging aside, the library was a piece of art. It was astoundingly beautiful! European style halls and galleries welcome you as you enter the building. Several Roman styled sculptures adored the walls leading to a big hall with a high ceiling. This hall has been turned into a small museum where a small collection of melee arms and platters are on display from the time of the Nawaabs.

What disappointed me though was the lack of any reading material or any history of the Nawaab clan that ruled this town for centuries.
Since we were on an unscheduled detour, I was reminded that we were on a tight schedule and so we drove off towards Lucknow.

Cant wait to go there again!

"I will be back." I said to this city.