Imambara means Shia Muslims' Shrine. Bada Imambara or Bara Imambara is a largest and grandest monument in Lucknow city. In 17th century, Asaf-ud-Daula, the Nawab of Lucknow built the Bada Imambara. The Imambara Complex also includes the Asfi Mosque, a Labyrinth and Step well which has running water. As per historical facts, the Nawab built this Imambara in order to provide work to ordinary people who suffered in great deprivation in 17th century. Normal people constructed the edifice of Imambara by working in day time, whereas the Noblemen and Elite people work in the night times. It took approximately 6 years (1785 – 1791) to complete the construction. In those days itself, it cost nearly 4000 to 5000 rupees for Nawab to maintain the Imambara annually even after completion.
Like Badshahi Mosque, no European materials or iron used for its constructions. The main Imambara which has the tomb of Asaf-Ud-Daula stands elegantly without any support beams. Eight chambers which surround the main Imambara are interlinked by a wide labyrinth consisting 486 doorways. The Rumi Darwaza which is situated just outside the main Imambara is of 18 m tall. In that period of time the architect from Delhi won the contract of construction over tough competitive procedure. You can see the architect’s tomb by the side of tomb of Nawab inside main chamber. As per legends the secret passages which link the Imambara with other places like Gomti River, Delhi, Faizabad and Allahabad have been closed permanently.
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