Lucknow is famous for most people as the land of Tunday Kebabs, Nihari, and Tehzeeb. However, there is more to this place that is steeped in the city’s rich history, culture, and tradition. Take time and embrace this treasure trove of cultural diversity. Among this diversified cultural treasure lies a beautiful historical monument known as the Bara Imambara Lucknow.
The Bara Imambara Lucknow, also known as the Asafi Imambara is named after the Nawab of Lucknow who constructed the mosque. The Imambara is considered as the world’s largest structure that stands without any external support. The timings to visit the Bara Imambara Lucknow is from 6 AM, however, the Bhool Bhulaiya opens only at 9 AM.
Bara Imambara Lucknow is a historical edifice with marvellous architecture. It was built by Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula in 1784 and its designer was Kifayat-Ullah. The architecture of the Bara Imambara Lucknow is highly influenced by the Gothic culture with a hint of both Rajput and Mughal architecture. The Bara Imambara Lucknow is a great hall built at the end of a spectacular courtyard approached through two magnificent triple-arched gateways. The central hall of the Imambara is almost 50 meters in length and 16-meter wide.
The ceiling of this columnless hall is at a height of more than 15-meter. The hall is one of the largest of its kind in the world without any external support of wood, iron, or stone beams. The roof has been put together with interlocking bricks without using a beam or a girder.
The building, which consists of three huge halls, has an amazing maze of corridors hidden in between its walls that are about 20 feet thick. This dense, dark maze called the Bhool Bhulaiyya which is a network of more than 1000 labyrinthine passages, some of which have dead-ends, some end at precipitous drops while others lead to the entrance or exit points.
Another intriguing structure at the Imambara is the five-storied Baoli (steep well), which belongs to the pre-Nawabi era. This is called the Shahi-Hammam (royal bath), this Baoli is connected with the river Gomti. It is said that that there are many underground passages that lead to the cities of Delhi, Faizabad, and Allahabad. There is also a passage that leads to the Gomti river. However, all these are sealed from a long time and no one knows whether they actually exist.