Lucknow /ˈlʌknaʊ/ is the capital city of the state of Uttar Pradesh in India. Lucknow is one of the major metropolitan cities of India and is the administrative headquarters of Lucknow District and Lucknow Division. Lucknow has always been known as a multicultural city and it flourished as a cultural and artistic hub of North India in the 18th and 19th centuries and as a seat of power of Nawabs. Today it continues as an important centre of government, education, commerce, aerospace, finance, pharmaceuticals, technology, design, culture, tourism, music and poetry.Lucknow stands at an elevation of approximately 120 metres above mean sea level and covers an area of 689.1 square kilometres. It is the second largest city of northern India after New Delhi and the eleventh largest city of India. It is surrounded on the eastern side by District Barabanki, on the western side by district Unnao, on the southern side by Raebareli and on the northern side by Sitapur and Hardoi. The city is on the northwestern shore of Gomti river, which flows through it. Lucknow is accessible from every part of India through air, rail and road. It is directly connected with New Delhi, Patna, Calcutta, Mumbai, Varanasi, Bangalore, Thiruvananthapuram, and other major cities by Amausi airport. The airport is suitable for all-weather operations and can provide parking facility up to 50 aircraft. At present, Air India, Air India Express, Jetlite, Jet Air, GoAir, IndiGo, Saudi Airline, Flydubai, Oman Air and SpiceJet are operating domestic and international flights from and to Lucknow.As the seat of the government of Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow is the site of Vidhan Sabha, the High Court and numerous government departments and agencies. Since 1 May 1963, Lucknow is the headquarters of the Central Command of the Indian Army prior to which it was headquarters of Eastern Command. Lucknow has several educational and research organisations like IIM Lucknow, Central Drug Research Institute, Indian Institute of Toxicology Research, National Botanical Research Institute, IET Lucknow, Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia National Law University, Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences and King George Medical College.Lucknow is the location of many social and cultural institutions of national significance, such as the Kathak, Khayal, Nawabs and Classical music.It is the birthplace of British pop star Cliff Richard, the great Indian musician Naushad Ali, Indian playback singer Talat Mahmood, American entrepreneur Manoj Bhargava, founder of the Hindi Theatre Movement and founder-director of Bhartendu Academy of Dramatic Arts Raj Bisaria, film-maker Muzaffar Ali and the resident city of Subrata Roy who is the founder and chairman of the Sahara India Pariwar. Other famous people with close links to Lucknow include Urdu poet Kaifi Azmi, Javed Akhtar who spent his formative years here and former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee who represented Lucknow in the Parliament.The city's primary official language is Hindi, but the most commonly spoken language is colloquial Hindustani. Indian English is also well understood and is widely used for business and administrative purposes, as a result of India's British heritage and Commonwealth tradition, as well as globalisation. The Urdu language is also a part of Lucknowi culture and heritage. Mostly it is used by the more wealthy families and the remaining members of the royal family and also in Urdu poetry and on public signs.It is also known as the Golden City of East, Shiraz-i-Hind, Constantinople of the East and The city of Nawabs. Lucknow's society is very famous for its etiquette and tradition which has attained a rare degree of sophistication. Be it the cultural charm or the architectural wonders, everything is well conserved here to make Lucknow "The city of many splendours". Distance between Lucknow and New Delhi is 498 kilometres and it takes 5 hours 20 minutes by train, 7 hours by road and 45 minutes by air to reach Lucknow from New Delhi.