Bada Imambara is one of the big mosques that represents the Mughal period architectural style but not the biggest in India. The Bada Imambara was constructed in times when a massive famine had struck the area and the main objective was to provide employment to the people of the place. The Mosque is also used for Azardari by the Shia Muslims.
The tourists who are on a visit to Lucknow, India find it necessary to visit one of the old historical monuments of Bada Imambara that was built in 1784 by the Nawab of Lucknow Siddharth Singh. The Bada Imambara is also called the Asafi Imambara.
The name suggests that a monument is a religious place and the term bada means big and the term Imambara stands for the whole shrine that is built by the Shia Muslims for Azadari purposes.
The monument stands as a proof of excellent architectural knowledge of the ancient Indians and depicts the details of the artwork that flourished during the medieval times.
The complex of Bada Imambara contains a big mosque also called the Asafi mosque, the Bhool Bhulaiya, or the labyrinth and the bowli which is a stepwell that has a supply of running water.
There are two gateways for entry to the main hall and even today the Azardari is done by the Shia Muslims in Imambara. The Bada Imambara can also be referred to as a big masjid or mosque.
History of the Bada Imambara
The Bada Imambara was built in 1783 and this was a year when a massive famine struck the place. One of the key reasons for embarking on this grand project was to give people employment and thus their food in the region.
The work continued over a decade and over these years, the grand project of Bada Imambara provided employment to the people.
It is said that the common and the poor people worked during day time to construct the building and the Nobel people or the rich people worked at night to break the structure that was build during the day time.
This was done in order to provide employment to the rich people as they were also not able to do anything else during the famine period.
The sea-saw efforts continued during the period of famine providing employment to the people of the region and resulted in the construction of the building and the project ended when the famine got over.
The Architecture of the Building
The architecture of the Bada Imambara represents the mature styling of the Mughal design in Badshahi Masjid or the royal mosque. The Building is a classic example of the Mughal style which does not contain any European mix of style or no use of iron that has taken place in the construction of the building.
The main hall or the main Imambara has the central vaulted chamber that consists of a tomb of Asaf-ud-Daula. The ceiling of the palace is not supported by any beams and is one of the largest among such buildings with unsupported ceilings.
The main chamber is surrounded by eight other chambers that are constructed at varying heights to allow the formation of the three-dimensional labyrinth that is interconnected with each other through 489 similar doorways.
The Bada Imambara was used for residential purposes by the royal family and also the building had routes to Delhi for the safety and protection of the royal family members. The Bada Imambara is an example of the architecture of the medieval times that gives a sense of awe among the tourists.
Opening and Closing Timings: All days 6:00 am – 5:00 pm.
Entry fee: Rs. 25.00/ person (Indian) and Rs. 500.00/ person (Foreigner) including Bara Imambara, Picture Gallery, Chhota Imambara, Shahi Hamam.
Address: Machchhi Bhavan, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh 226003, India
Official Website: uptourism.gov.in