Bara Imambara in Lucknow - World's largest unsupported structure - marvel of engineering

 
 
 

Bara Imambara is the main attraction of Lucknow and the first destination point of tourists. You will get here detailed information about this must-see monument of Lucknow. 
 
In the vicinity, you can also see Asifi Mosque, Shahi Bawali, Rumi Darwaja.  
 
After seeing these, you may proceed to see Chhota Imambara, Hussainabad Picture Gallery, Clock Tower etc. which are situated upwards on the same road.
 
 
About the Great Monument
Asafi Imambara, also called as Bara Imambara in Lucknow is a sprawling historical monument of India. This beautiful splendid building was built by 4th  Nawab of Awadh- Nawab Asaf-Ud-Dowhala  and the construction work was taken up in the year 1784. It took 14 years to complete.  It was designed by the Architect Hafiz Kifayat ullah. Shahjahanabadi, a prominent Architect of that time.
 
 
The Noble Mission - To provide work and food-  This great structure was started with a noble cause. During 18th  century a devastating famine struck the Awadh Estate, the Nawab thought of a plan to provide food for its starving subjects. He decided  to make magnificent buildings which would in turn provide employment to the people of the state. Thus the idea of Food- for- work was implemented.  This basic concept is still prevalent in India and  poor are always benefited of such schemes whenever sponsored by government.
 

No Discrimination

It is said that the famine had affected to all segments of the State. To keep pace with crippling food scarcity poor people worked in day-time as usual while a section of the noble people worked during night hours. This it was ensured that each  section of society gets opportunity to work.

Unique Construction

The whole building is made of Lakhanui bricks (small size bricks)  and lime plaster. No wood or metal has been used in the construction. This special contemporary style of construction makes  the structure unique  and amazing.

What will surprise you is the arched roof of the central halls where not even a single piece of beams or girders has been used. It is said that this is the only building of the world without any pillar support though it is largest one . The height of the ceiling is 15 meters.  The amazing hollow walls of the central hall  not only keeps it cool during summer  but also help to lighten the load of the structure.  You can view the grave of Nawab Asaf-ud-Dowlah and his crown kept in the central hall. Bara Imambara in fact establishes a unique link with Lucknow's past. Best of the structure is excellent architecture that represents Lucknow's culture, art, its ethos and Nawabi way of life which is always peculiar to Avadh (Province).   New Excellent Photographs - Click here - Images
 

So where is Bhool Bhulaiya (the Labyrinth) in Bara Imambara


The most interesting and amazing structure of Bara Imambara -Bhool Bhulaiya or the Labyrinth, is constructed above the Imambara.  On left hand side you will see steep chain of stairs going upto the roof of the monument.  Put on your shoes, equip yourself with a torch and of course with acqua water bottle if it is summer days, explore the world most discussed and appreciated Bhool Bhulaiya which comprises a network of more than 1,000 passages, 489 identical doorways  and a number of staircases that goes up or down.  Some of the doorways open into the balconies of the Central vault, while some open into the windows where from you can see the main road, and other structures and the rest ways are  blocked ! 

The structure appears like a maze game involving a number of stairs, tracks, openings which confuse the visitor.  Few of the tracks are sealed because of maintenance or other reasons.  If you visit, keep in mind that maximum stairs have opening to the roof of the structure. If you find yourself confused, you may opt for to go on roof … and this is the easiest way.  This looks like secret code to crack the maze. 

 An unknown Significant fact : You will find some guides burning a matchbox stick at the other end of the balconies that have openings to the Central Hall.  In fact, this is another significant and architectural art of the building that has been used in this structure.  You can listen the sound  of a match stick at the other end of the hall.  It is really interesting and seems unbelievable. If you happen to visit this monument, please do observe this uniqueness. It may be probably due to grooves made on the walls of the Hall. You can see grooves lining in black colour. Another most unusual feature is that Imambara  provides different moods - either at dusk or dawn. Please visit it in early morning and thereafter in evening and you will find still more to explore.

The Top of the Bhool Bhulaiya

Ah, what a look of Lucknow. The city of Minarets and domes.  Have a bird's eye view of monuments, the Roomi Darwaja, the Gates, Asifi Masjid, Clock Towers, Laxman Tila Masjid, the blue river - Gomti and the busy streets of Lucknow city. 
 

Bara Imambara in Lucknow is probably the most visited monuments of the city by the tourists coming from all over the world who find it one of the really  fascinating buildings of the world. - a building created about 226 years ago to help the needy, the poor during the sad days of famine - and the building that still provides employment to a number of shop owners [selling bone articles, jewellery, nawabi shoes, ornaments, decorative items, chikan clothes, etc.], to the well behaved Guides- equipped with Lucknow's  etiquette and manners,  the helpful staff.  The Asifi Imambara is not only a great monument of Lucknow but also a message of humanity, kindness and love.

Entry Ticket : Buy here a COMBINED PASS (Entry ticket) : Rs. 35/- from the Ticket Window at 2nd Gate of Bara Imambara- Provided by Hussainabad Trust, Lucknow, for visiting Bara Imambara, Bhool Bhlaia, Shahi Hamam, Bouli, Picture Gallery, Chhota Imambara.  (Earlier it was Rs.25/- revised from 01.12.2010)

Care:  Being a religious place, tourists are expected to cover their heads with proper clothes before entering Imambara. If you do not have any such clothe, it is available near gate. Please take a torch while visiting Bhool Bhulaiya (Labyrinth).  Do not be alarmed of the closed  Galiyara (passages).  Keep in mind that if you try to climb up stairs towards upper roof, you can find down-stairs there.  Guide facility is provided and they charge Rs.150 or more.

How to reach : Take a reliable Taxi or auto or Rickshaw if you are in city. If you are coming through train or Air, please take a pre-paid taxi or auto rickshaw.

 
 
Still more to explore:

Roomi Darwaja

This looks so beautiful that you may not resist your temptation to climb up the stairs and have a look of the river Gomti and surrounding areas.  Presently, due to maintenance or other reasons - visit to top of the Gate is not allowed. You know it is called the signature building of Lucknow. It is also called Turkish Gate.  Since it was made by workers from Rome, hence the name Roomi Gate. 

 
 
 
 
Asifi Masjid

You can also see  on the western side of the Asifi Imambara, a beautiful building.  This is Asafi Masjid  with sculptured domes and minarets, it provides a most splendid look and many thousand of people of Lucknow reach here on Friday to offer namaz.  

 
 
 
 
 
 
Shahi Bavali - the Royal Well with bathrooms


On the eastern side you may see another amazing structure.  This is Shahi Bavali.  You can go downstairs to see the well with blue water on surface and the bathrooms constructed around the well on ground, first and second floors of the Well.  So what is amazing in it ?  Your guide will tell you.  If you have a look from the eastern side of the well, you can see in the water - the image of person approaching the well.  This is the architectural art of the then Nawab's time.  It is said that even sound emanating from the shoes of the person coming inside could be heard -something more to explore !

 
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