Spanning acres, the Bara Imambara at Lucknow appears like a lithographic print from the 18 th century. Breathtaking and grand, it was built in the 1780s by a former Nawab of Oudh or Lucknow, Asaf-ud-Daula. As the name suggests, Bara in Hindi means big and Imambara means a shrine. It is also called the Asafi Imambara. It includes a mosque, the bhulbhulayah (the labyrinth), and bowli, a well. Legend has it that there are several passages which are routes to several places such as Kanpur, Allahabad and Delhi.
The Bara Imambara was one of the last works of Mughal architecture without being influenced by other schools of architecture. Further it stands testimony to a past that had a flavor and love for beautiful structural design in forts, palaces and other monuments. One must not miss the gardens either.
My take on it: well, I was at the Imambara on a scorching May afternoon in 2011. Lucknow’s temperature prepared a furnace but it could not spoil my curiosity and delight to be there. Inside the Imambara, it was breezy. The bowli looked amazing from a height. What I remember most is looking down from the terrace of the Imambara. It revealed another time; a place of gardens, domes, a bustling city below and a cacophony of sounds, traffic, voices, claps and much more. Yet it was serene up there.The world appeared stunning then.
(Article by Kabita Sonowal)