Bada Imambara, Lucknow
Constructed in the late 18th century, Bada Imambara is one of the largest Shia monuments in India. The construction of the congregation hall was commissioned by the Nawab of Awadh, and reflects a striking Mughal inspired architecture. The monument is also famous for its maze like labyrinth called ‘Bhulbhulaiya’ that contains 489 identical doorways.
The Bara Imambara was built in the year 1784 by the fourth Nawab of Awadh known as Asaf-ud-Daula. It was built as a part of a relief project for a major famine that took place in the year 1784. The Bara Imambara of Lucknow is one of the most famous monuments of this place. It is also called Asfi Imambara after the name of the Nawab of Lucknow who got it constructed. It is an important place of worship for the Muslims who come here every year to celebrate the religious festival of Muharram.
The Bara Imambara has a unique style of construction. The central hall of Bara Imambara is said to be the largest arched hall in the world. The hall measures 50 meters long and goes upto a height of 15 meters. What makes the construction unique is the fact that the blocks have been put together with interlocking system of bricks and there has been absolutely no use of girders and beams. The roof stands steady till date without any pillars to support it.
The Bara Imambara is known for its incredible maze called Bhulbhulaiya. This is located in the upper floor of the monument. A stairway leads to this level. One can view a scenic panorama of the city from the top of this monument, which is absolutely breath-taking. The Bhulbhulaiya is a must see and the best way to find your way out without getting lost is by hiring a guide. It is said that great treasures are hidden in the secret tunnels of this maze. The monument remains open from morning 6am to evening 5pm.