Bara Imambara

Bara Imambara

Bara Imambara, also known as Asifi Mosque, is an Imambara complex in Lucknow, built-in 1784 by Asaf-ud-Daula, the Nawab of Awadh in India. Bara means big. The building also includes the largest Asifi Mosque, Bhul-Bhulaiya (Labyrinth), and Bauli, a step with running water. The main hall has two entrances. It is said that there are 1024 routes to reach the roof but there are only two to return to the first gate or the last gate. It is a casual architecture

Relief measure

The construction of the Bara Imambara began in 1784, a year of a devastating famine, and one of the objectives of Asaf-ud-Daula in starting this grand project was to provide employment for nearly a decade to the people in the region, While there was a famine. It is said that the common people used to build the building in the daytime, while the nobles and other elites worked at night to break the things that had arisen that day. It was a project that preceded a Keynesian intervention for employment generation. The construction of Bara Imambara was completed in 1791. The estimated cost of the construction of Bara Imambara is between half to one lakh rupees. Even after completion, the Nawab used to spend four to five hundred thousand rupees on its decoration annually.


The architecture of the complex reflects the maturity of ornate Mughal design, namely the Badshahi Mosque – it is one of the last major projects not involving the use of any European elements or iron. The main Imambara has a large arched central chamber, which houses the tomb of Asaf-ud-Daula. 50 by 14 meters and longer than 15 meters, it has no roof supporting beams and is one of the largest arched constructions in the world.

There are eight adjoining chambers built at various ceiling heights, space above which can be reconstructed as a three-dimensional maze passing through each other through 489 homogeneous gates. This part of the building, and often the entire complex, can be called a maze. Which is known as a popular attraction is probably the only existing maze in India and came spontaneously to support the weight of the building being built on marshland. Asaf-ud-daula also erected the 18 meters (59 ft) high Rumi Darwaza on the outside. Ornamented with lavish decorations, this portal was the west-facing entrance to Imambara.