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The Qila in Mahmudabad is one of the few living historical homes in India. It has been listed by the World Monuments Fund as a place of global significance.


The Mahmudabad Estate opens the doors to its forts in Mahmudabad and Bilehra and, its city residence in Lucknow to visitors who wish to explore Awadh’s culture and traditions.


Artists and writers including V. S. Naipaul, William Dalrymple, Antonio Martinelli and, Mehak Sethi have chronicled Mahmudabad’s “living history” that the family has sought to preserve and adapt to changing times.


Now we would like to welcome guests to visit us to explore our forts, palaces, shrines, temples, and other sights which are all part of a rich history that goes back centuries. 

An Artists and Writers Retreat

The name for our retreat is derived from an Arabic word that was defined by the 10th century Ikhwan as-Safa or Brethren of Purity as the source of inspiration for all forms of human knowledge including poetry, philosophy and art. Ilhām or inspiration is different from wahy, which is best understood as divine revelation. 

The Qila of Mahmudabad is offered as a retreat for artists, writers, and intellectuals to find inspiration to create and collaborate. 



'Ghuth-ti,’ Suleiman Mahmudabad noted, referring to the first liquid to pass a newborn’s lips, ‘depends on the mother and the father’s humours, and the family’s characteristics.’

We are in conversation in his office, a spare high-ceilinged room except for the enormous desk scattered with books behind which are shelves of more books. Appropriately, his family’s very own apothecary where such tea was brewed, had been situated across the corridor.

‘The proper herbs were pounded, boiled, liquefied, strained and given to the child by the hakim. This was the first thing given, even before mother’s milk; it purged the child.’

‘That,’ he said, ‘is the beginning of cuisine.’

Interview with Holly Shaffer, Seminar Magazine, July 2007.


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