Rampur is a hidden gem stowed quietly in the chaotic realms of Uttar Pradesh. Being a history buff and an architecture lover, I had always wanted to visit this place, and finally got a chance when me and some of my friends set out on a road trip from Delhi to Lucknow.
Though the route to Lucknow didn’t necessarily goes through Rampur, but in order to get there I became the navigator and lied to my friends that it would be a shortcut. This detour cost us 3 more hours and a bumpy ride, but it was all worth it.
We arrived Rampur in the afternoon and started navigating our way towards the famous Rampur Raza Library. 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 town are, 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.
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 public. The library is a beautiful amalgamation of Indian, Persian and European architecture and that is why it is unique. It is one of its kind in India and perhaps the world.
They didn’t allow me to take the camera inside the library, but take my word for it, IT WAS BEAUTIFUL! European style halls and galleries welcome you as you enter the building. Several Roman styled sculptures adore 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.
My friends still curse me for lying to them about the route. But I have no regrets.
Cant wait to go there again!