Bara Imambara

In Lucknow, the capital of a state in northern India, stands the gigantic building of Bara Imambara. It combines a whole complex of ritual religious buildings.

Bara Imambara

Construction history

The construction of the imambar began in 1784 by Nawab Asaf-ud-Daulah. 22 thousand people participated in the construction. One of the goals of the construction is to give the population the opportunity to earn money so as not to die from the famine that raged in the country. It was caused by drought and crop failures that lasted for several years in a row.

There is a legend that the poor worked during the day, and at night the rich broke everything that was done. They broke in order to delay construction and provide work for a longer period, and not let people die of hunger. The construction was completed in 1791. Even after the construction was completed, the ruler of the region, Asaf-ud-Daul, spent a lot of money on further decorating the imambar.

Bara Imambara

Architecture of the Bara Imambara complex

Enter the Bara Imambara complex. can be through one of the two huge gates. Of greatest interest are the luxurious western gates. They are called Rumi Darvaza or Turkish. The arch of the gate is beautifully decorated with battlements. The height of the gate is 18 meters. It is believed that the portal is an exact copy of the city gates in Istanbul. Two fish are depicted in the center of the gate - the coat of arms of the Nawabs. Behind the gate is an impressive courtyard. On one side is the magnificent large mosque of Asafi, surrounded by many minarets, on the other - a large stepped well with running water, called "baoli".

In the center of the courtyard is a huge main hall. The height of the vault reaches 50 m. The hall is one of the largest vaulted galleries in the world. Huge crystal chandeliers are fixed on the ceiling. The giant vault, weighing 20 tons, does not support anything. There are no columns or beams here. Above the halls of the imambara, the ceiling is hollow inside and consists of countless passages, dead ends, and rooms. The labyrinth is built in three-dimensional space. Passages connect 489 absolutely identical doors. The structure is called bhulbhulaya. You can go through it only with a guide, otherwise you can get lost. After passing the labyrinth, you can get to the roof. There is an opinion that this is the only labyrinth in India that turned out by accident. It was built so that the building, standing on a swampy area, could withstand its weight.

The central hall is surrounded by 8 more smaller halls. Before construction, a competition for the best project was announced. The winner was an architect from Delhi, Kifayat-Ulla. In the main hall are the tombs of the Nawab (prince) Asaf-ud-Dauly and the architect. The roof of the imambar is made of rice husks.

There is a legend that under the building there are secret underground tunnels leading to the river and the residences of the Nawabs and even to Delhi. There are indeed tunnels, but they are walled up. Where they are laid is unknown. They closed them because rumors about missing people began to spread. Rumors have not been verified.

Religious events and religious gatherings are regularly held in Bara Imambara. The service in the month of Muharram is especially revered - when a prayer service is held for Hussein ibn Ali. Hussein was the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. In the battle near the town of Karbala, he, and with him 72 more people, died in 680. In the same month, the faithful conduct religious mysteries - tazii. These are theatrical performances in memory of the grandson of the prophet.

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Bara Imambara - geographical coordinates
Latitude: 26.869103
Longitude: 80.912886


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