Friday, July 19, 2013


 My first visit to Lucknow, "the city of Nawabs" was most memorable. Here are some of the spectacular architectural forms.

Bara Imambara:
Asaf-ud-Daulah, the fourth Nawab of Awadh made Lucknow the permanent capital. He is credited with its initial beautification and glorification.One of the earliest building and largest one constructed by Asaf-ud-Daulah was the Bara Imambara in 1784.

 Bara Imambara

The Nawab decided to build the Imambara as an act of religious piety and a measure of relief for his poor subjects affected by the severe famine of 1783-84. It provided employment to nearly 22,000 people at a time. To encourage menfolk of respectable families, who felt embarrassed on being recognised as labourers in daylight, the Nawab directed that the construction work be continued after 
sunset, through the night, when men could work in semi-darkness 
and could not be identified. Most of those who worked through the night were unskilled workers and the work done was not upto the mark. This sub-standard work was demolished during the day and rebuilt by skilled workers.

The Bara Imambara has a unique style of construction. The central hall of Bara Imambara is said to be the largest arched hall in the world. The hall measures 50 meters long and goes upto a height of 15 meters. What makes the construction unique is the fact that the 
blocks have been put together with interlocking system of bricks and there has been absolutely no use of girders and beams. The roof stands steady till date without any pillars to support it. 

The Bara Imambara is known for its incredible maze called Bhool bhulaiya. This is located in the upper floor of the monument. A stairway leads to this level. One can view a scenic panorama of the city from the top of this monument, which is absolutely breath-taking.

Entrance to Labyrinth
Structure of Bhool Bhulaiya

The Bhool Bhulaiya was constructed to confuse any enemy intruders. It is three storeyed, surrounded with 489 similar galleries, where one can roam endlessly for hours together. This is why it is so mysterious.

Rumi darwaza: which was built along with Bara Imambara is one of the most beautiful gates in India and worldwide. Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula constructed Rumi Darwaza in 1784 as a part of the 'Food for Work' programme  to help financially his subjects who were suffering from a prolonged & severe famine.

Front view of Rumi Darwaza

Rear view of Rumi Darwaza

Chhota Imambara: Chhota Imambara, the Hussainabad Imambara stands to the west of Bara Imambara which was built by Nawab Mohammad Ali Shah. It is more ornate in design with exquisite chandeliers, gilt-edged mirrors,and coloured lamps. A golden dome and fine calligraphy on the exterior of the building makes it a truly exceptional monument of Mughal architecture.

Chhota Imambara

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