Bada Imambada; Lucknow

Charbagh Lucknow Junction

If you are a traveller, it is difficult to avoid surprises.. Last year I explored the chowk Husainabad area but did not get time to visit the grand Imambada. It looked tough this time in my super short visit. But when I reached the Charbagh station I realized my train to Delhi was delayed by 4 hours and decided to pay a quick visit to this grand heritage site.

After almost 3 months I think I saw bright blue sky.. almost cloudless and deep blue in colour. The entry of Imambada looked fresh and vivid. 

There is a step well inside the complex but having seen a few baoli like..Agrasen ki Baoli, Abhaneri and Adalaj, the well here looked quite simple. But the play of light was interesting, especially in the corridors around the well.

The Baoli

Lot of people who work as guides will aggressively push you to take one. But I am little averse to that since they treat all tourists alike and rush through the whole experience and mostly they tell you myths than historical accounts.
This monument was built by Nawab Asaf Uddaula of Avadh, who shifted his capital to Lucknow from Faizabad. Imambada was completed in 1784. It is believed that this grandiose structure was built as a famine relief measure. 

The vaulted roof

Kifayatullah, an architect from Delhi won the competition to select the designer for Bada Imambada and went on to make this magnificent structure with large vaulted roof. Kifayatullah lies burried here in the Imambada next to its patron Asaf Uddaula. 

The nawab wanted to compete with the Mughals and tried to create a rich architectural legacy of Lucknow. He also built the Asafi Masjid right next to the Imambada, the structure is similar to Jama Masjid of Delhi and looks great from the roof of Imambada.

The labyrinth or bhool bhulaiya is another attractive feature to explore here and the local guides will tell hundreds of stories about who found the way and who got lost. I was fascinated by the geometry of arches and their interaction with sunlight.

From the roof one can catch a glimpse of a few other heritage sites in the vicinity. The Husainabad clock tower,the spotless white Tile wali Masjid and the other side of Rumi darwaja

Well there is a lot to explore in this Nawabon ka Shahar… And after long heritage walks and burning calories… One may feel less guilty about the chat and gilauti kebabs! I left for Delhi with memories of a stunning sunset..

Keep watching this space for visual delights from Malwa and Dilli Desh..

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