Lucknow's most accommodating budget option is in the leafy neighbourhood home of Naheed and her family, who keep their distance but offer eight spacious, high-ceilinged rooms, four with private bathrooms. Breakfast is included and served on the cheerful yellow communal dining table. There's a sign in front; enter and go up one flight of stairs. Book ahead – it's popular for long stays.
Rickshaw drivers know Mall Ave, which is actually a neighbourhood (not merely an avenue); the easiest access is from Mahatma Gandhi (MG) Rd. Shared bathrooms are small and offer bucket hot-water showers only and some mattresses are lumpy, but you'll appreciate the quiet and the friendly welcome. Rates include a simple breakfast.