Gondola discovered at Lucknow’s 220-year-old Chhatar Manzil

A 42-feet-long and 11-feet-long gondola (a traditional, flat-bottomed boat) has been unearthed by the officials of the Uttar Pradesh State Archaeological Department (UPSAD) while excavating the 220-year-old Chhatar Manzil of Lucknow. The Chattar Manzil once served as a palace for the begums (royal women) of Awadh.

According to UPSAD officials there is a possibility that it could be a royal boat. However, it is yet to conclude as to how this huge boat got buried in the ground.

AK singh, director, museum and also the additional charge of UPSAD director says, “How this boat got buried is still a mystery. We are yet to find out if it was due to floods or some other reason.”

When the excavators and experts from the Uttar Pradesh Rajkiya Nirman Nigam (UPRNN) were excavating the site in the late evening hours of Tuesday, it was then when the discovery was made. At first, they stumbled upon a partially visible wooden structure, which was later confirmed to be a gondola.

This is the third major discovery since May 2017, when UPRNN started the excavation as part of the ongoing Chhatar Manzil restoration and conservation project in which the officials discovered a 15 sq ft room, lying buried beneath the imposing structures that constitute a seraglio (palace complex) of the nawabs of Awadh that once served as the palace for begums.

So far, they have gone about 19.5 feet deep revealing the hidden storey of over 200-year-old structure of the era of nawabs. Officials have also discovered pillars, wall brackets, doors and windows that are clear enough to give a hint that the buried structure was meant for living.

PC Sarkar, a historian who has written books on the Nawabi structures of Lucknow, termed it to be a major discovery which would throw light on the hidden chapters of the history of Awadh.

“Gomti was the main channel for transportation and leisure during the era of Nawabs. Boats of various shapes and sizes, resembling fish, crocodiles, and ‘mor pankh’ (peacock quill) used to ferry in the Gomti. This boat endorses the existence of water transport in Lucknow during the times of Nawabs,” he said.