If walls could speak, they won’t stop talking about the glorious days, which they have witnessed. I recently visited Bara Imambara in Lucknow, which was build by Asaf-ud-Daula, Nawab of Awadh, in 1784. The walls are designed in such way that if someone just whispers in one corner, it is heard in other corners and galleries. These walls, literally, have ears here.
Beautiful arches are the result of the amazing engineering, which distribues the weight of building to the outer structure. Imambara has Asfi Mosque, three halls (Chinese hall, Persian hall and Indian hall), a labyrinth and a stepwell (Shahi Bowli). The place a strategic design, which made the soldiers spot the enemy as they enter the premises. There are many ways, which are blocked now. Legends has that these were secret passageways to Faizabad, Agra and other far distant places.
Other attraction of this place was Labyrinth and Shahi Baoli (stepwell).
A short fiction story
Once a family came to visit a labyrinth. There were four adults and two kids in the family. They hired a guide to show them around. Guide warned them that seven of us will enter but only six will come out. Everyone laughed as the guide was making everything mysterious to make it interesting. He gave a tour around. One of the kid was very chirpy and was teasing the guide, ‘Are you guiding us or yourself?’
In a span of more than two hours, everyone experienced the puzzles of the labyrinth to their heart and now it was time to get out. Guide challenged the tourists to find their way out in next fifteen minutes and claimed that the right way will take just 30 seconds. They never came out and guide was taken away by the police.
In few days, a man came and got the guide out of police station.
A boy of nine is asking another guide if he is guiding the boy or himself and then runs to his mother, who is cooking meal. She shushes him as she takes another child to show her home in a tunnel.
Written by Rini
Photos by Avinash