Bhoolbhulaiya of Lucknow is a labyrinth or maze, believed to be built for the amusement of the Nawab and his Begums (wives). It was designed by the Architect Hafiz Kifayat Ullah and commissioned by Asaf-ud-Daula, the fourth Nawab of Awadh. Bhoolbhulaiya, today, is considered an architectural wonder, with every brick echoing mysteries and stories from the pages of history. It is one of the chief attractions of the city of Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh, India. In the past, Lucknow, the seat of Nawabs, was the capital of the Awadh Region, under the Delhi Sultanate and later the Mughal Empire.
Bhoolbhulaiya of Lucknow is a part of Bara Imambara. Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula, in 1780, commissioned the Bara Imambara as part of a famine relief program. It is said that people from the lower strata of the economy worked during the day, carrying on the construction. While people from the higher economic strata worked at night to break down anything that was raised that day. This way income was generated and the grand building was finally completed in 1794. The Imambara Complex houses the majestic Asfi Mosque, a Bowli (step well), and the popular Bhoolbhulaiya. Huge gateways lead to the Bara Imambara complex and then into a hall that is Asia’s largest hall without any pillar to support it. The hall is decorated with mirrors and chandeliers and the simple grave of Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula rests in this hall. Above this hall begins the maze and ends at the rooftop which provides amazing views.
How does the Bhoolbhulaiya of Lucknow look?
What makes the Bhoolbhulaiya of Lucknow so unique? It is not just any other labyrinth but a three-dimensional labyrinth with 1200 passages interconnecting with each other through 489 identical doorways or nodes. Some of the passages are connected and some doors are fake, leading to dead ends. It is suggested to enter the Bhoolbhulaiya with a guide because many of the passages are dark and have unpredictable bends. If you feel claustrophobic it is better to avoid the labyrinth. However, there are some passages that are airy and have large vents for both light and air to enter. One should make sure that she climbs the stairs to reach these airy and broad passages and finally reach the top of the terrace. The view from the top is amazing; overlooking the Asfi Mosque and the Rumi Darwaza and some other heritage monuments of the Hussainabad Heritage Zone. The ticket price for entry to only Bara Imambara is Rs.50 and guide charges are separate. It remains open on all days from 6:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Things to see around Bhoolbhulaiya of Lucknow
Hussainabad Heritage Zone is the area where Bara Imambara stands. Besides the Bara Imambara and Bhoolbhulaiya of Lucknow, there are numerous other heritage monuments to see around this place. Rumi Darwaza, standing a little ahead of the Bara Imambara, is a massive gate with intricate designs. It is located between Bara Imambara and Chhota Imambara. After crossing the Rumi Darwaza, we get to see Ghantaghar, the tallest Clock Tower in India, influenced by London’s Big Ben. Shahi Talab (Lake) and its surroundings near the Clock Tower are sprawling. Satkhand, an incomplete mansion stands nearby. Then come the Picture Gallery housing gorgeous full-size paintings and portraits and some items which belonged to the Nawabs. The guides at the Gallery give a good insight into the history of the Nawabs. Chhota Imambara is another serene monument. Another beautiful gate leads to the serene Chhota Imambara which is much smaller in size compared to the Bara Imambara but is famous for its architecture, calligraphy, and decoration. It is a unique experience to ride horse carriages (tonga) at the Hissainabad Heritage Zone.
When and How to Visit Bhoolbhulaiya
Lucknow is really hot in the summer and similarly, inside the Bhoolbhulaiya it is pretty sultry. So October to March is the best season to enjoy Bhoolbhulaiya of Lucknow.
Lucknow is well connected by air at the Chaudhary Charan Singh International Airport.
Lucknow has important Railway Stations, Lucknow Charbagh Railway Station, being the most significant. It is well connected with all major cities of India.
Lucknow is well connected by roadways from Kanpur and Delhi.
The city of Lucknow can be covered by taking rickshaws to most locations. Uber is readily available too.
Bhoolbhulaiya of Lucknow and the entire Hussainabad Heritage Zone is a part of Lucknow representing the old city of Nawabs. Once in Lucknow, besides this area, one must visit The Residency, revealing stories from Imperial Lucknow and the modern-day parks of Lucknow. Asia Pacific’s largest Park, Janeshwar Mishra Park; Gomti Riverfront Park; Ambedkar Memorial Park, and Gautam Buddha Park are places that one can’t miss. Explore the plethora of Nawabi delicacies, from Biriyani, Kebabs to sweets, chat, and pan (beetle), and shop Chikankari.
Bhoolbhulaiya of Lucknow, the maze of the Nawabs
The Bhoolbhulaiya of Lucknow has been romanticized by numerous authors and filmmakers in their works. I have personally felt so inspired that it has a place in my travel art journal. Such is the charm of the place. Lucknow, with its history, culture, mannerism, architecture, food, and Chikankari embroidery, steals the heart and brings a smile to the lips.
To read about Lucknow in detail please check https://monkatforty.com/best-places-to-visit-in-lucknow/
A versatile writer and travel freak, discovering the world in her own casual way. Loves to immerse into the core of Mother Nature and extract her inherent beauty.