Bada Imambara is also popularly known as the Asafi Masjid or even known as the Asafi Imambara. This is one of the most popular monuments in Lucknow. This monument is built by the Nawab of Awadh, Asafi-ul-Daula as he ruled this place during that time in the year 1784. This complex has much other small architectures in it such as the Asafi Masjid, the summer place with running water and the Bhul- Bhulayah. Bada Imambara is a popular monument and has cultural, historical and heritage importance in India.
The main aim to build the Bada Imambara was 'Food for Work' that was initiated by the Nawab in order to give employment for the people in that region who were suffering from starvation. One of the special features of this monument is that it has the largest arched room without any pillar. Nawab used to hold all his public hearing here. Bada Imambara is a replica of the tomb that is dedicated to the family members of the Holy Prophet Muhammad. This place is also famous for the general gathering in the month of Muharram that is staged to remember and express grief on the sacrifice of Imam Hussain.
The architecture of this monument reflects the year when the design of the Mughal ornament was at its peak. This is regarded as the last Indo- Islamic architecture that has no elements of European design. The main chamber of the Imambara has a large dome in the centre; this sanctum contains the tomb of the Nawab. The main hall is 55 feet wide and 170 feet long, it is 50 feet above the sea level. There are altogether 8 surrounding chambers that are built to different roof heights. This forms the structure that looks like a 3-dimensional maze. These chambers are interconnected to each other by several similar entrances. Bada Imambara is very attractive and popular among the tourists as this entire building is referred to as Bhul-Bhulayah. Today it is the only maze structure that is existing in India and this structure supported the build's weight that is constructed on a marshy land.
Legend says that while the foundation of this building was being dug out they found a gold treasure that no one could believe was there. Another saying that there is secret passage that is submerged in the baoli, that leads to the treasure which is hidden below the Imambara. The British tried a lot to pump out the water and find the treasure of Lucknow.
Asafi mosque is found inside the courtyard of the great monument Bada Imambara and this is one of the most graceful historical monuments. There is grand flight of steps that directly leads to the covered paved floor of the Asafi Mosque.
There is a terrace that is reached through narrow flight of steps and also has a twisted set of passages. The aim behind constructing this passage was to confuse the most alert mind and other strong reason to do so was to support the thick walls of the building. This terrace of the Bada Imambara provides a very beautiful view of the old Lucknow.
One of the most fantastic structures built inside the complex, that attracts most of the people is the 5 storied baoli. This 5 storied baoli belongs to the Nawab and also well known as the Shahi-Hammam that is a royal bath place.
Airways: Lucknow has domestic as well as the international airport. It is well connected to all the major cities of India. There are regular flights available from Lucknow to Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Patna, and Varanasi.
Railways: Lucknow is also connected through rail line to almost all parts of the country. The important cities that are connected to Lucknow are Delhi, Patna, Varanasi, Kolkata and Agar.
People visit this place to have a look at the amazing design of the Bada Imambara. People from other religions are not allowed to enter this monument.