SHAFAQNA – The Bada Imambara of Lucknow; the capital of Uttar Pradesh (India) is one among the oldest and largest Hussianiah of the world.
The Imambara is specially known for its incredible maze, known as Bhul Bhulaiya locally, which is located in the upper floor of the monument which is another most identified feature of this Hussianiah in the world. It is a labyrinth of about a thousand passageways, the Bhool Bhulaiya at Bada Imambara in Lucknow, has intrigued traveler as well as architects for the last two hundred years. The fourth Nawab, Asaf-Ud-Dowhala,commissioned the building during the drought year of 1784 AD to help the poor make a living. However, from the time it was finished, it became a symbol of pride and grandeur of Lucknow.
Said to be the world’s largest unsupported structure, Bara Imambara is considered a marvel of engineering and a fine specimen of Mughal architecture. In the vicinity, religious centers like the Asifi Mosque, Shahi Bawali, Rumi Darwaja etc. are also present for one to explore.
The Bara Imambada has a unique style of construction. The central hall of Bara Imambara, which is said to be the largest arched hall in the world, measures 50 meters long and goes upto a height of 15 meters. The whole building is made of Lakhanui bricks, which are a bit small in size, and lime plaster. No wood or metal has been used in the construction. The cement material was composed of humus, clay, lentils and fruits. One can also have view of the grave of Nawab Asaf-ud-Dowlah and his crown, which are kept in the central Hall of the Imambada. There are several Chambers in which Alams and “Taziyeh” are decorated for pilgrims.
There is also a blocked (tunnel) passageway which, according to legends, leads through a mile-long underground passage to a location near the river. Other passages are rumoured to lead to Faizabad (the former seat of power of the Nawabs), Allahabad and even to Delhi. They exist but have been sealed after a period of long disuse as well as fears over the disappearance of people who had reportedly gone missing, while exploring.
It is situated 12 km from the Lucknow Airport and open for all public throughout the year attracting millions of visitors from all over the world.