Bara Imambara (Urdu: بڑا امامباڑا, Hindi: बड़ा इमामबाड़ा) is an imambara complex in Lucknow, India, built by Asaf-ud-Daula, Nawab of Awadh, in 1784. It is also called the Asafi Imambara. Bara means big, and an imambara is a shrine built by Shia Muslims for the purpose of Azadari. The Bara Imambara is among the grandest buildings of Lucknow. Construction of Bara Imambara was started in 1785, a year of a devastating famine, and one of [Asaf-ud-Daula]'s objectives in embarking on this grandiose 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. 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.
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