Bara Immambara – The Edible fort


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




Shama Perveen is a Travel and Food Blogger from Central India. After graduating from Asian Institute of Travel and tourism, I worked as a Travel consultant for various Travel companies. Besides Travel and Food, I love  reading, Photography and Creating Brand Content. I plan for World Domination.

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31 thoughts on “Bara Immambara – The Edible fort

  1. A thoughtful creation. sounds intresting.. must be amazing to visit

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time and reading the article. Your support means a lot to me.
      Yes, a must visit is and Plus the kabaabs are another attraction in this place (if u r a non-veg lover or else the sweets are also amazing)

  2. Even though I know the place really well, but the way you speak about it makes it one of the wonders of the world!!

    1. If i become PM, i will put this place in the list of wonders of the world

  3. Hi
    A very detailed article indeed , m sure even 3-4 hrs might be just sufficient and it looks like a photography haven

    1. Thank You so much for taking the time and reading the article.
      yes 3-4 hrs will be sufficient. But i decided to spend more time as the weather was really great for photography.
      and i get excited in places like this 🙂

  4. Such a great writeup…the flow of the article is so imteractive and yes its really atonishing to know the facts like holllow wall, 1000 paths and the tunnel

    1. Mohit, It means a lot coming from you. I am a huge fan. I was equally mesmerized
      Thank you for taking the time and reading the article. Your support means a lot to me Mohit

  5. Great info on bada imambada. I like the way you started with comparing it with chocolate factory.
    I have written a few post on lucknow too, though a imambadas specific post is long pending.

    1. You liked my reference.. oh it struck to me cause i saw a poster of johnny deep while i was writing my article. Ha ha ha
      You should complete that post and send me the link … so that i can read it also
      Thank you for taking the time and reading the article. Your support means a lot to me Stuti

    1. You think so i am huge fan of your writing but, Thank you for taking the time and reading the article. Your support means a lot to me Debjani

  6. This is wow . I used to travel frequently but never seen this kind of beauty of structure with these specialities .I thought there is nothing to visit in Lucknow .
    But U Ma’am – Thanx for this article. I’ll have to visit this Fort #Luknow .

    1. You should Fanish. This was my notion as well like i am in Delhi so like why i should go there and see another fort. But when the saw the vastness and Magnificence of this heritage place. I was glad i came and spent a day here.Thank you for taking the time and reading the article. Your support means a lot to me Fanish

    1. Thank you for taking the time and reading the article. Your support means a lot to me Ankush

  7. It is indeed a very useful and helping article , and you have played with the words so nicely that it urged me to read it again and again , great going and hope I got to see more from your side .

    1. Thank you, Mohit for your kind words. Your support means a lot to me. Thank you for taking the time and reading the article

  8. Yes, the Bada Imambara is indeed edible! I was also surprised when our guide told us about it. A wonderful post and very well-written.

    1. Moreover it is still standing so beautifully was more shocking to me, this is not possible with modern day technology even

  9. Beautiful pictures. So much to see in the world, it can be a bit bewildering. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Wow! Awesome explanation of an awesome place. Will visit soon.

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