“Imambaras” are congregation halls used by certain sects of Muslims for commemoration (or mourning) ceremonies. “Bara” means big. This imambara is the second largest in India.
The Bara Imambara was built by Asaf-ud-Daula, the Nawab of Awadh (Lucknow region). Its construction began in the year 1780 AD and was completed in 1784 AD.
Bara imambara is about 50 by 16 meters and over 15 meters tall. Inside, there are no beams supporting the ceiling. It is one of the largest such arched constructions in the world.
The architecture of the complex reflects Mughal architecture designs. The main imambara building consists of a large vaulted central chamber that contains the tomb of Asaf-ud-Daula, who built it. The architect behind the design of this building - Kifayatullah, was also buried in the main hall of the Imambara. beside the sponsor, Asaf-ud-Daula.
There are eight chambers surrounding the main one, each of different roof height, to make the labyrinth above it 3-dimensional, with passages interconnecting with each other through about 489 identical doorways. The roof of Imambara is a unique one, being made up of rice husk!
Bara Imambara is open to visitors on all days of the week between 6:00 am to 5:00 pm, except Mondays.
During festivals and national holidays, the place may remain open or closed depending on the situation – this can be checked on their official website before planning the visit.
To enter Bara Imambara, an entrance fee of INR 25 is applicable per head for Indian citizens and INR 500 per head for foreign national visitors. Additionally, a guide can also be hired to get a better understanding of the place and its history; this may cost each person an additional 100 INR.
The nearest airport to Bara Imambara is the Chaudhary Charan Singh International Airport in Amausi, which is located about 13 kilometres away.
The nearest railway station to here is Lucknow Junction in Preeti Nagar, which is 4.8 kilometres away. This is well connected to different cities around India, and can be reached easily from these, after which visitors can hire a cab or autorickshaw to reach the monument.