Bara Imambara- Bhool Bhulaiya of Lucknow

Bara Imambara Lucknow
Bara Imambara Lucknow

Among the major landmarks of Lucknow, Bara Imambara is the major attraction for tourists who visit Lucknow for the first time. Bara Imambara is popularly known as Bhool Bhulaiya (labyrinth) due to it having thousands of ways but only a single right way to reach the destination so people who enter it are unable to find the way to get out. It is only the type of labyrinth in India.

Its name Bara means big and Imambara means shrine. Imambara refers to the place where Shia Muslims celebrate their various ceremonies such as Muharram. It’s another unpopular name is Asafi Imambara due to its construction being done by Nawab Asaf-Ud-Daula.

Bada Imambara or Bhulbhulaiya is the pride of Lucknow and people know Lucknow by the name of Bada Imambara. Bada Imambara is situated in the Hussainabad area of Lucknow where lots of monuments are present to see.

Bada Imambara Lucknow History

As per records, its construction was started in the year 1784 by that time Awadh’s Nawab Asaf-Ud-Daula, and the architect was Kifayat-Ullah. At that time there was a devastating famine in the Awadh region and the people of Awadh suffering from it. So Awadh’s Nawab Asaf-Ud-Daula planned to employ people for the construction of a building.

More than 20000 men were selected from all classes at that time so-called poor, working, and elite classes. As per the planning of Nawab, in the morning poor and working-class peoples build the complex and in the evening elite class people broke the construction of the morning for ensuring the work for everyone. That’s why Imambara takes 11 years to complete.      

Bada Imambara Lucknow images
Second gateway of Bada Imambada

Bada Imambara Lucknow Architecture

The architect of Bara Imambara was Kifayat-Ullah who win this project through a competition. This huge complex reflects the mixture of Mughal and Rajput architecture which shows the maturation of Mughal design with strong Islamic influences. There is the Badshahi Mosque which is the major project constructed at that time without the use of iron. The main hall of the Imambara has the tomb of Asaf-Ud-Daula which is the largest arched construction in the world without the use of supporting beams or iron rods. It is 50 by 16 meters in length and width and more than 15 meters in height. 

bada imambara lucknow timings
A view of Asfi Mosque from Bada Imamabada

There are nine halls in the Imambara, in which the central hall is the largest and is surrounded by other eight halls. Due to the different roof heights of the halls, there is space on the roof to create such a beautiful three-dimensional labyrinth where zig-bag passages are interconnected with each other and confusing to people in choosing the right way. There are lots of dead ends so without knowing the exact way it was unable to get out from this building so popularly called Bhul Bhulaiya.

As per saying there were lots of underground passages which open in nearby cities of Lucknow such as Faizabad, Agra, Kanpur, etc. but now all underground passages are blocked. The wall thickness of the Imambara is 10 to 16 feet which provides space for the passages and there were stairs to go up but all are now closed.

There is Shahi Bawli which is a five-storied building around a well. This is a very interesting building it designs in such a way if you stand at the main gate of the entrance of Bawli your clear image will be displayed in the well as people inside the Bawli easily see who is coming inside the Bawli. This Bawli well is connected to the Gomti River. There is Asafi Masjid which is a mosque and it’s named after Asaf-Ud-Daula.

Asfi Mosque
Asafi Masjid

TouristBug’s Tips for Tourists

  • For couples, it is compulsory to take government-authorized guides, and also for husband-wife who have no kids with them. 
  • Others have the option to take a guide or not but I will recommend taking a guide or joining a group who take a guide under sharing for better knowing this historical place and stories related to this place.  
  • The maximum time for visiting this place will be around 3 to 4 hours so reach in the morning to enjoy the full day.
  • In the main building shoes or slippers are not allowed so you can use shocks for visiting the Imambara.
  • If you have DSLR cameras then there will be an extra charge for the camera.
Bada Imambara Lucknow ticket price
Corridors Inside the Bada Imambada

Facilities Inside the Bada Imambara Lucknow

  • There is a very big park to rest and enjoy.
  • Cars and bike parking stands are available.
  • Washrooms are available for gents and ladies.
  • Old and antique item shops for purchasing.
  • Small canteens are available for snacks, cold drinks, water, etc inside the campus.
  • There are all facilities for tourists at Bara Imambara.
  • Many photographers are there who will take your photo and give print immediately.

Visit Timing of Bada Imambara

It opens in the early morning at 06:00 am and closes at 05:00 pm in the evening. Bhul Bhulaiya opens daily and closes during some festivals of Muslims so check the status before reaching there.

To completely visit the Bada Imambara or Bhulbhulaiya you have to spend 2-4 hours here.

Entry Fee of Bada Imambara

Bhul Bhulaiya Lucknow ticket price is different for Indian and foreign tourists. For Indians Rs. 50.00/person and for a foreigner, it will be Rs. 500.00/person. There is a single ticket for all including Bara Imambara, Chhota Imambara, Picture Gallery, Shahi Hamam, and Bawli.

You have to take a guide for the Bada Imambara and it will cost Rs. 100 to 150 for couples and groups or for a single person.

Best Time To Visit Bada Imambara 

You can go to see Bara Imambara or Bhul Bhulaiya at any time of the year. But as per season, March to April and August to November will be the best time to visit Bara Imambara.

As per timing the best time to go to Bhul Bhulaiya would be early morning because you get sufficient time to explore this place calmly.

During weekends and public holidays here lots of tourists come to visit this place, so if you want to avoid the crowd then the best time to go here for you to avoid these days.

How To Reach Bhool Bhulaiya Lucknow 

Bada Imambara is the symbol of grandeur and pride for hundreds of years so everyone knows about the Bada Imambara in Lucknow. Then if you ask local people about the Bhulbulaiya they can easily guide you better.

You can reach easily the Lucknow Charbagh railway station to Bada Imambara or Bhulbhulaiya in 15 minutes only. Bada Imambara is only 5 km from the Lucknow Lucknow Charbagh railway station. For the Bada Imambara, you can get buses, Vikram, and auto from Alambagh, Charbagh, and Nisatganj also easily.

For Bada Imambara you can easily get local Auto, Vikram, and city buses also at a very cheap rate. If you have your own vehicle then it is the best option to reach Bada Imambara from anywhere in Lucknow.

Lucknow is well connected to the many states by airway, railway, and roadways buses. So reaching Lucknow from any city is very easy.

Bada Imambara Lucknow Address

Bada Imambara is situated at Macchi Bhawan, Hussainabad Trust Road, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.

TouristBug’s Recommendations

  • If you are coming to visit Bara Imambara here then you must visit the Rumi Darwaza near the Bada Imambara. Rumi Darwaza is only 100-200 m far away from the Bada Imambara and free of cost to visit. There is no ticket to see it and Rumi Darwaza is a symbol of Lucknow.
  • Many years ago tourists were unable to go downwards and find a way to get out of the Bhul Bhulaiya then the government built direct stairs from the ground floor to the top floor. So if you forget the way to get out, then you just go to the top floor and you will get the stairs downwards.
  • Lucknow is popular for its exclusive Chikan embroidered clothes and dress. So you can purchase these for you and your family members as a sign of Lucknow.

Nearby Places to Visit in Lucknow

Lucknow has lots of tourist places to visit such as Nakstrashala, Chhota Imambara, Rumi Darwaza, Lucknow Zoo, Regional Science Centre, Residency, State Museum, Chandrika Devi Mandir, etc. Outside Lucknow city, nearby tourist places are Ayodhya Ram Mandir, Hanumangarhi temple in Ayodhya, Mahadeva in Barabanki, Kalpavriksha in Barabanki, etc.

I mentioned these names because I personally traveled to all these places.

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