Inside the bhool bhulaiya, Bara Imambara, Lucknow by Sirsendu Gayen

Inside the bhool bhulaiya, Bara Imambara, Lucknow

Bara Imambara is an imambara complex in Lucknow, India, built by Asaf-ud-Daula, Nawab of Awadh, in 1784. It is also called the Asafi Imambara. The architecture of the complex reflects the maturation of ornamented Mughal design, namely the Badshahi Mosque - it is one of the last major projects not incorporating any European elements or the use of iron. The main imambara consists of a large vaulted central chamber containing the tomb of Asaf-ud-Daula. At 50 by 16 meters and over 15 meters tall, it has no beams supporting the ceiling and is one of the largest such arched constructions in the world. There are eight surrounding chambers built to different roof heights, permitting the space above these to be reconstructed as a three-dimensional labyrinth with passages interconnecting with each other through 489 identical doorways. This part of the building, and often the whole complex, may be referred to as the Bhulbhulaya. Known as a popular attraction, it is possibly the only existing maze in India and came about unintentionally to support the weight of the building which is constructed on marshy land.