#13 of 31 Places to Visit in Lucknow
Distance (From Lucknow Junction Railway Station): 6 Kms
Trip Duration (Including Travel): 1 Hour
Place Location: At Hussainabad Locality
Transportation Options: Bus / Cab / Auto
Travel Tips: The entry ticket includes Bara Imambara, Chota Imambara, Picture Gallery, and Shahi Hamam.
At a distance of 6 km from Lucknow Junction, Bara Imambara is a historical monument located in the old Hussainabad neighborhood of Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. Also known as Asafi Imambara, it is one of the places of heritage in Uttar Pradesh, and among the prime places to visit in Lucknow.
Bara Imambara was built by Asaf-ud-Daula, Nawab of Awadh in 1784 to employ people in the region during the 11-year famine. This imambara is the second largest after the Nizamat Imambara and is considered to be one of the architectural wonders of that era. Kifayatullah was the architect and designer of the monument. Around 20,000 people were employed to construct the building, and it took eleven years to complete the building. Bara means big, and an Imambara is a shrine built by Shia Muslims for Azadari.
The Bara Imambara is said to be the largest structure in the world that is unsupported by beams and among the grandest buildings of Lucknow. Considered a marvel of engineering and a fine specimen of Mughal architecture, the Imambara has a unique style of construction as there is no wood or metal has been used in the construction of this mosque. The complex has the large Asfi Mosque, the Bhulbhulayah (the labyrinth), a Baoli, a stepwell with running water, and an enormous central hall with two imposing gateways.
Built of Lakhauri bricks, the Imamabara is adorned with stucco work along with chattris and parapets. Bara Imambara is primarily known for its incredible maze, known as Bhul Bhulaiya locally. It is an enticing network of narrow passageways winding its way inside the upper floor of the monument's structure, eventually leading to the rooftop. It is said that there are 1024 ways to get inside the maze but only 2 to come out. One can get the panoramic view of the City of Nawab from the roof as part of Lucknow tour packages.
Inside the monument, there are 9 halls out of which, the central hall is the largest, and was to be used as a place for prayers. The central hall of Bara Imambara measures 50 m long and goes up to a height of 15 m, and is said to be the largest arched hall in the world. It houses the graves of Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula and his wife Shamsunnisa Begum. Here, Muslims perform their sacred rituals during the Muharram festival, also known as Azadari in the local language. On this day, Muslims mourn the death of Husayn ibn Ali in the battle of Karbala.
The complex houses a big courtyard, a Nibu Park, and two imposing gateways that lead to the main hall. Apart, there is also a blocked tunnel passageway which, according to legends, leads through a mile-long underground passage to a location near the Gomti river. Other passages are rumored to lead to Faizabad (the former seat of power of the Nawabs), Allahabad, Agra, and even to Delhi.
Timings: 6 AM - 5 PM
Entry: Rs. 50 for Indians & Rs. 500 for Foreigners