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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. We offer a dedicated studio space and accommodation at the Qila of Mahmudabad. The resident artist can seek inspiration from the bucolic landscape of the hamlet, spend hours in our library, or take a stroll in the early 20th century garden, lovingly called the Phulwari.


 Travel expenses, production costs and miscellaneous allowances are to be borne by the artist/writer in residence. We can provide limited material support on request. Depending on availability, resident artists/writers will also have access to the Mahmudabad House in Lucknow.


We are now accepting applications for this retreat. We welcome artists, writers and intellectuals from across the world and from the various fields of visual arts, including painting, photography, graphic design, illustration, new media, filmmaking (documentary) and creative writing. 


The application must include a completed application form, a maximum of five samples of your work, a resumé and a detailed project proposal and should be emailed to with the subject-line “Ilhām”. Download the application form here

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