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Lucknow, Aug 16 (IANS) A parapet of the historic 230-year-old Bara Imambara in Lucknow collapsed on Monday night, following heavy rains.
The superintending archaeologist, Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) Aftab Hussain said despite proper maintenance of the monument, the parapet fell during heavy rains.
“Soon after we got the information about the incident, site in-charge visited the area. Based on the inputs given by him, engineers will go and see the damage and will make a report on Tuesday. Thereafter, it will be restored,” he said.
However, activists have said that poor maintenance caused the building to weaken and that resulted in a portion collapsing.
Mohammed Haider, heritage activist said, “We have informed ASI multiple times however despite so many complaints, no action was taken by ASI to make the structure strong.”
Bara Imambara, also known as Asafi Imambara is an Imambara complex in Lucknow built by Asaf-ud-Daula, Nawab of Awadh in 1784. This Imambara is the second largest after the Nizamat Imambara.
The building also includes the large Asafi mosque, the Bhul-bhulaiya (the labyrinth), and Bowli, a step well with running water.
Two imposing gateways lead to the main hall. It is said that there are 1024 ways to reach the terrace but only two to come back — first gate or the last gate. It is an accidental architecture.
The construction of Bara Imambara was started in 1780, a year of a devastating famine, and one of Asaf-ud-Daula’s objectives in embarking on this 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 1794. 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.