Lucknow, a place with a number of cultures and a number of languages, is the 14th most popular city in India. The reason for so many cultures living together is the combined ruling of the Hindu and Muslim rulers who ruled the city in coordination with each other. The Lakhnavi people are the epitome of the Nawabi culture, which is seen in their language, clothing and traditions. There are a lot of Muslim people living in the city and they celebrate various festivals and their yearly rituals. One of the most important places for the Muslims in Lucknow is where all of them come together to honor a day to the Twelver Shia Muslims. The place is known as Bara Imambara, where Bara means big. An Imambara is also known as Hussainiya, Ashurkhana or Imambargah. The commemoration ceremonies are associated with the mourning of Muharram.
BARA IMAMBARA- AN ARCHITECTURAL GENIUS
The Bara Imambara leaves todays architectural experts in awe with its flawless and far-fetched designs. The Imambara was built by the Nawab, Asaf-ud-Daula in the year 1784. He was associated with the designer Kifayat-ullah who is believed to be a distant relative of the person who built the Taj Mahal. The place beholds a very steep, almost five storied well known as the Shahi-Hamman or the royal bath which goes back in the Nawabi era. The well is connected to the beautiful river Gomti. The Imambara is like a huge mansion which is 50 meters in length and 16 meter wide. The place is famous for its dark and a very tough maze which is located on the upper floor of the historic monument. The maze is quite enormous and a person should really think twice before entering the maze alone. The ‘bhul bhulaiyya’ consists of more than a 1000 labyrinths, most of them leading you to dead ends and only some of them will lead you to the right path. It is strongly advised to have a professional guide along with you if you want to go through the confusing maze. An interesting fact about the palace is that there are 1024 ways to reach the terrace of the monument but only two ways to return back!
A MONUMENT INSIDE A MONUMENT
There is a mosque located inside the Imambara, the Asfi Mosque. The mosque is another incredible architectural work by the Mughal designers. The cost of the whole monument ranges between 5 to 10 lakhs rupees at the time it was made. Even after the whole place was built, the Nawab who used to run the place used to spend lakhs of rupees every year just for the decoration of the royal monument. Lucknow is famous for a lot of things; the monuments, the festivals and specially the food. So, if you are visiting Lucknow, free yourself some time from eating the ‘Tunde Kebabs’ and plan a trip to this architectural genius as well!