Published On: Tue, Nov 8th, 2022

Historical Importance and Architecture of Bara Imambara in Lucknow

bara imambara Shia Muslims

The death of Husayn ibn Ali, the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson, is mourned annually by Shia Muslims, who flock to Bara Imambara in Lucknow in large numbers during the month of Muharram.

Nonetheless, the monument’s dazzling design and the myriad of intriguing legends surrounding it have made it a popular destination for sightseers. In Lucknow, known as the “City of Nawabs,” stands the magnificent Bara Imambara, a place of worship built in the 18th century.

Asafi Imambara was commissioned by Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula of Awadh. The monument is one of the most breathtaking historical sites in Lucknow, and it features remarkable Mughal-style architecture.

The Bara Imambara: Brief History

A devastating famine struck the province of Awadh in 1784, driving common citizens and nobles alike into poverty and misery. Because of the famine, Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula chose to construct Bara Imambara during this period.

Around the course of its construction, it is estimated that over 20,000 laborers were used. While the regular workers toiled away during the day, the nobility and the elite class would sneak onto the construction site at night to destroy what had been produced.

Bara Imambara’s Current Situation

The Shia Muslim holy site of Bara Imambara may be found on a major thoroughfare in the historic district of Lucknow. Visitors and Muslim worshipers flock to the site 365 days a year. Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula and his wife, Begum Shamsunnisa, are buried in the vast Imambara hall.

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During the Islamic holy month of Muharram, many devout Shia Muslims flock to the site to perform rites. There are three beautiful gardens at the Imambara.

Architectonics in the Bara Imambara

Hafiz Kifayatullah, a prominent architect of his period, is responsible for the design of the stunning Bara Imambara. It is one of the most stunning structures in Lucknow thanks to a unique fusion of Mughal, Rajput, and Gothic architectural traditions.

The fact that neither metal nor wood was employed in the monument’s construction is perhaps its most intriguing feature. The Imambara is framed by two massive doors. The Asafi Mosque may be seen at one end of the gate, while the enormous baoli can be seen at the other.

The Nawabs’ emblem was a pair of fish, hence the monument’s main entrance features three arches and a fish design.  There are a total of nine rooms, the largest of which is located in the building’s heart.

Bara Imambara Attractions

  • The Central Hall is one of the most impressive features of Bara Imambara due to its size and exquisite design. As was previously mentioned, the hall’s ceiling is constructed in an unusual manner, with neither beams nor pillars.
  • In keeping with its moniker, Bhul Bhulaiya is a maze consisting of more than a thousand corridors and four hundred and eighty-nine doors that are all the same. You must not enter without a guide, even though it is one of the most fascinating portions of the Imambara. It’s not always possible to find your way through this complex network of interconnected passageways on your own.
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  • Located on the western side of the Imambara, the Asafi Mosque is a stunning example of Mughal architecture.
  • The five-story Shahi Baoli stepwell on the monument’s eastern flank is an excellent example of architectural mastery. It was said to be the spot where the Nawab’s servants would keep an eye on guests in secret. Visitors standing at the well’s entrance will see their reflection in the water.

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Bara Imambara: How to Get There

The state capital of Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow, is easily accessible by air, rail, and road. Distance from Bara Imambara to Lucknow’s Chaudhury Charan Singh International Airport is roughly 15 kilometers.

Those riding the train can get out at Lucknow Railway Station, which is located 6 km away. Then take a taxi or auto-rickshaw to their destination.