Chattar Manzil or Umbrella Palace is so called because the dome on it has a gilded umbrella. The palace has a checkered history as its ownership has changed several hands. It was first built by General Claud Martin as his residence in 1781 on the bank of Gomti River in Lucknow. It was purchased by Nawab Saadat Ali Khan. Later on Nawab Ghazi Uddin Haider started to extend its construction, but it was completed by his successor Nawab Nassir Uddin Haider.
The palace currently houses the office of the Central Drug Research Institute (CDRI). It remained a place of residence of Nawabs of Awadh and their wives and also became a focal point for the meeting of freedom fighters during the first war of Indian Independence in 1857.
A unique and intriguing feature of the historical building is its underground halls called tahekhanas. They were built in the water of the river Gomti so that they could remain cool during the hot summer months.
The palace has, therefore, become a favourite visiting destination of the curious tourists as well as some of the famous professional photographers such as Samuel Bourne, Darogah Ubbas Ali, Felice Beato and Thomas Rust.