Remember that Chocolate room from Charlie and the chocolate factory, Where willy wonka says everything in this room is edible. Well, ladies and gentlemen, i present to you a fort in INDIA in real life that is made of edible material and still standing tall and beautiful in our beautiful city of Nawaabs and kabaabs -Lucknow
Stop scratching your head
Yeap a real-life willy wonka chocolate room, not exactly chocolate. But hey it is made of Food
Bara Immambada of Lucknow - India
It is situated near Machchhi Bhavan, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. The Structure is literally large, that, There is no wordplay here. It’s huge and grand. If Wikipedia is precise, then it has one of the largest unsupported ceilings in the world. Yeap you heard it right no pillars and still standing strong.
History of Bara - Immambada
It is constituted by Asaf-ud-Daula, Nawab of Awadh, in 1784. It is also described as the Asafi Imambara. It is a memorial built by Shia Muslims for the design of Azadari. The complex also incorporates the large Asfi mosque, the bhul-bhulaiya (the labyrinth), and boawli, an abrupt well with running water. Two impressive gateways lead to the main hall. It is said that there are 1024 ways to reach the terrace but only one to come back. It is an accidental architecture.
Construction of Bara Imambara was started in 1785, a year of a devastating famine, and one its objective in embarking on this pompous project was to provide employment for people in the region for almost a decade while the famine lasted. It is said that ordinary people used to work in the day building up the edifice, while noblemen and other elite worked at night to break down anything that was raised that day. It was a project that preceded a Keynesian like intervention for employment generation. Construction of the Imambara was completed in 1791. The estimated cost of building the Imambara ranges between half a million rupees to a million rupees. Even after completion, the Nawab used to spend between four and five hundred thousand rupees on its decoration annually. The only structure that is normal in this place is the Mosque ( i am not sure ).
The infamous Bhool Bhulaiya or the Labyrinth
From outside you will never suspect anything extraordinary. It looks like your typical heritage place where people come and go and take the selfie, Annoying kids trashing the place. Huge chandeliers with beautiful portraits hanging around. It all seems so normal But as they say " Never believe what you see". It hides the real character beneath the beautiful Persian architecture. It's a labyrinth that is constructed vertical ( Mind Blown right). It is a gigantic maze where there are thousand of passage but only one is correct. And many people including a 25 people group of British soldiers have never found there way out until today. (CREEPY AS HELL). So my suggestion is you take a guide(saving few bucks are not worth your life). The walls that support the entire structure is made of Slaked Lime, Rice Husk, Water chestnut floor, Chickpea flour and Jaggery as at that time building a castle with stones was not that popular and also in order to decrease the weight of the monument. (what was the king thinking).
Why was it built -
Many say, for prayer many say for protection against enemies ( they sure did a great job in both). If you see, that it consists of large hallways, where people are allowed to sit a pray. But the Bhool Bhuliya serve a purpose of protection from an unwanted guest. As only one d
oor is right, and rest 9999 is wrong. The odds of finding the correct door that will take you to the King or the important treasure are like 1/9999 ( Mathematically speaking). The terrace windows are all pointed towards the entrance Plus the underground tunnels that are rumored to take king and his important associates safely outside the castle in case of an invasion to the borders of Lucknow. These tunnels are not opened to the public as they are very dangerous.
The whispering walls
Since the structure is hollow to the extent that you can even hear a match lighting up from the one corner to another. Imagine if someone saying something IIL about the king or any Royal member. Another advantage of this walls was you can hear the voices of the person taking in the other room so if king's follower catch you hearing anything bad about king you will be executed ( HA HA AH).*dramatic music*.
My tips -
1. Take a guide with you.( they will keep you alive)
2. If you are going to film, then take a source of Light with you( I didn't and used my torchlight).
3. Carry a bottle of water with you cause you will spend at least 3-4 hrs here.
4.Timing: The Imambada opens at 6 am, though the Bhool Bhulaiya opens only at 9 am to 6 pm in the evening.
5. Check out the Bawli too, it is small but beautiful.
Lastly a selfie
How to reach Lucknow -
Lucknow is well attached from all the metro city and to other major Indian capitals by air, road, and rail. Most flights will fly you through Delhi, without a stop-over.
The train system is even sounder and implicitly all trains from Delhi to East of India halt by in Lucknow.
Additionally, Lucknow is also well attached by buses. I went by bus - 3200 INR total #cheaptraveler