The Bada Imambara(Big) lies in the old city. It was built by the Nawab of Awadh, Asif-ud-Daula in 1784. The complex consists of several buildings. It has a mosque, a labyrinth and a bowli- a step well. The labyrinth, commonly called a maze is one of the main attractions here, it might get a bit confusing to find your way out here with lots of steps, yet people have a great time solving that puzzle. It might become a little difficult if you forget to carry a torch. The Bada Imambara is a great place to see cultural integration in terms of architecture, a Nawab's care for the people of his kingdom and the techniques adopted to ensure maximum security. There is a combined entry fee of Rs. 50 for Indian citizens and with a slight variation for other citizens. There are guides available at a fixed cost. Just outside the Imambara there are small shops where there are goods sold which are made out of camel bone.From the Bada Imambara , it's easy to get a shared rickshaw for Rs. 10 per person to the Chota Imambara(Small). On the way do not forget to stop at the clock tower and the picture gallery which has paintings of the Nawabs who ruled the city.
History: Bada Imambara was built by 4th Nawab of Awadh- Nawab Asaf-Ud-Dowhala. It took 14 years to complete the construction. This great structure was started with a noble cause. During 18th century a devastating famine struck the Awadh Estate, the Nawab thought of a plan to provide food for its starving subjects. He decided to make magnificent buildings which would in turn provide employment to the people of the state. Thus the idea of Food- for- work was implemented. This basic concept is still prevalent in India and poor are always benefited of such schemes whenever sponsored by government. Architecture: The whole building is made of Lakhanui bricks (small size bricks) and lime plaster. No wood or metal has been used in the construction. It is said that this is the only building of the world without any pillar support though it is largest one. Structure: One can find the famous Bhul Bhulaiya. It is a network of more than 1,000 passages, 400-500 identical doorways and a number of staircases that goes up or down. Some of the doorways open into the balconies of the Central vault, while some open into the windows where from you can see the main road.
The name refers to a shrine built by the Nawab Asaf-ud-daula in 1784, and is one of the largest buildings in Lucknow. The name ‘Bara Imambara’ is an Urdu word, wherein the word ‘Bara’ means big and ‘Imambara’ means the shrine complex. The complex includes the Asfi mosque and the Bhulbhulaiya or the Labyrinth. The Asfi mosque contains the tomb of Asaf-ud-daula, and the labyrinth is the only maze in India and supports the massive structure of the whole complex from the underground.
Just near the banks of Gomati River, there is Bada Imambara. Built by Nawaab Asad-ud-Daula, it boasts a large central chamber that originally was a shrine for lamentation for Shia Muslims during the mourning of Moharram. It now is a shrine dedicated to Nawaab Asad-ud-Daula himself.