Celebrating 13 Years (1998 - 2011)


Bada Imambara

is an imambara complex in Lucknow, India, built by Asaf-ud-daulah, Nawab of Lucknow, in 1784. It is also called the Asafi Imambara. Bara means big, and an imambara is a shrine built by Shia Muslims for the purpose of Azadari. The Bara Imambara is among the grandest buildings of Lucknow.

Architecture : The architecture of the complex reflects the maturation of ornamented Mughal design – it is one of the last major projects not incorporating any European elements or the use of iron. The main imambara consists of a large vaulted central chamber containing the tomb of Asaf-ud-Daula. At 50 by 16 meters and over 15 meters tall, it has no beams supporting the ceiling, and is one of the largest such arched constructions in the world. There are 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 489 identical doorways. This part of the building, known as is a popular attraction, and often the whole complex may be referred to as the bhulbhulayah. It is possibly the only existing maze in India and came about unintenionally to support the weight of the building, constructed on marshy land. The design of the Imambara was obtained through a competitive process. The winner was an architect Kifayatullah, who also lies buried in the main hall of the Imambara. It is another unique aspect of the building where the sponsor and the architect lie buried besides each other.