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About bara imambara

The Bada Imambada or Asafi Imambada is one of the most famous monuments in Lucknow. Of heritage, cultural and historical importance, the Bada Imambada was commissioned by then Nawab of Awadh, Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula in the year 1784 as relief work during the terrible famine that year. The complex also includes the large Asif mosque, the Bhulbhulaiya (the labyrinth) and a summer palace with running water.

Like its junior cousin Chota Imambara, Bada Imambara was also built under the 'Food For Work' program initiated by the then Nawab of Awadh named Asad-ud-Daula. The primary objective in embarking on this extravagant project was to provide employment for people in the region that was devastated by persistent famines.

It is said that the Bada Imambada is the world's largest arched room without any pillars and the Nawabs used to hold their public hearings here. It is also important to know that Imambada are actually the replicas of tombs dedicated to the Holy Prophet and his family members. Bada Imambara is also the venue for annual Mohharum gathering that is staged to commemorate and lament the martyr hood of Imam Hussein, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad.

The architecture of Bada Imambara reflects the era when the ornamented Mughal design was at its very peak. In fact, it is the last Indo-Islamic architecture that doesn't incorporate any European elements such as use of iron and spires. The sanctum of Imambara consists of a large vaulted central chamber containing the tomb of Asaf-ud-Daula. The hall that is 170 feet long and 55 feet wide stands 50 feet from the ground.

There are as many as eight surrounding chambers built to different roof heights, permitting the space above these to be reconstructed as a three-dimensional labyrinth with passages interconnecting with each other through several identical doorways. This part of the building is a popular attraction and this entire complex may be referred to as the Bhulbhulaiya. It is possibly the only existing maze in India and came about unintentionally to support the weight of the building, constructed on marshy land.

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