Lucknow, also known as the City of Imambaras, is home to a number of small and big imambaras built by the Nawabs. An imambara is a place for remembering and lamenting the sacrifice of Prophet Mohammad’s grandson, Imam Husain in the great battle of Karbala. But the Imambaras of Lucknow are also a tourist attraction, because of their sheer magnificence. While most people only know of the Bada and Chhota Imambara, there are others too that are worth a visit. Here’s the list:

The biggest of them all, the Bada Imambara needs no introduction – it is the poster-monument for Lucknow. Nawab Asaf-ud-dulla undertook this project as a means of providing employment to the masses. Though there are many a fables associated with the imambara, the most popular one talks about how the Nawab would destroy the walls in the silence of the night, just to be built back the following day, so that labourers could provide for their families by being employed for longer.
Visit it for: 
> The Bhool Bhulaiya – The labyrinth above the main hall of the imambara was built 200 years ago without the use of modern construction techniques. Tourists happily lose and find themselves in the Bhool Bhulaiya. Not to be missed.
> Asafi Masjid – A flight of steps lead to the mosque that in itself is an architectural marvel and is still used for prayers.
> Shahi Baoli – On the left end of the complex is the Royal Step-well. Built as a water reservoir, the step–well has its own share of folklore – from hidden fortunes to treasure maps to secret pathways, this is no ordinary well.
Location: Husainabad Road, before Rumi Gate
Timings: Sunrise to Sunset
Best time to visit: Any time of the day

Licensed tour guide available

Also known as Imambara Hussainabad Mubarak, this is in sharp contrast to the Bada Imambara. It is smaller, has fewer visitors and is a lot quieter. On entering the main gate, a sense of peace and tranquility overcomes you. The entire complex is of very simple and modest design, with a mosque, a small tomb and the main structure. A stream runs centre from the main gate to the steps of the imambara, flanked by perfectly manicured lawns on either side. The main structure’s white façade has Quran verses on it in beautiful calligraphy. It is said that the imambara had numerous nails on the arches and doorways for lit lanterns to be hung in the evenings, the light of which was reflected in the stream, making the entire complex glow and thus the term Shaam-E-Awadh came into being.
Visit it for:
The beautiful glass chandeliers in vibrant colours – turquoise, emerald, magenta, teal, yellow – that adorn the main hall. It is said that these chandeliers were procured from Belgium and there’s no place else on earth where you can find them.
Location: Husainabad Road, ahead of Rumi Gate
Timings: Sunrise to Sunset
Best time to visit: Early morning or evenings to avoid the sun
Licensed tour guide available.

You must have surely crossed this imambara on your way to the National Botanical Gardens or on a visit to the Sahara Ganj Mall. This imambara is so called as it is a direct copy of the mausoleum of Prophet Mohammad’s son-in-law Imam Ali in the city of Najaf in Iraq. A large white dome at the end of the long driveway, which is flanked by lawns on either side makes for an impressive facade.
Visit it for:
Walking up the flight of steps, you land onto a huge platform, tiled in white marble. Though there isn’t a shade above, the marble remains cool even under the hottest sun, almost as to ease the feet of the devotees who have traveled from far and wide to pay homage. The main hall is decorated with colourful chandeliers, taziyas and other relics of religious importance.
Location: Shahnajaf Road, Opposite, Saharaganj Mall
Timings: Sunrise to Sunset

Also called the Maqbara Nawab Amjad Ali Shah, this imambara was constructed by Nawab Amjad Ali Shah. It may look modest in comparison to some other imambaras, but the structure itself is a sight to behold, despite the lack of upkeep and the growing encroachment on all sides.
Visit it for:
Well, if nothing else, then just its location! This imambara is tucked away in a lane near the busy Hazratganj, unknown to most people who frequent the marketplace. With two small chambers and a big hall with five archways. Inside the hall is a raised platform or shahnasheen where taziyas are kept throughout the year.
Location: 177, Capper Rd, Lalbagh
Timings: Sunrise to Sunset

While the Chhota Imambara is famous for its all-white façade, there is another imambara, which is known for the exact opposite. The Kala Imambara, as the name suggests, has an all black facade and hence is referred to as ‘Kajal ki Katori’. Situated off the main Husainabad Road, the imambara complex has a small rectangular courtyard, a dargah and a mosque. The main gate of the complex is through the Peer Bukhara colony. The only time the imambara has any visitors is during the month of moharram or if someone rents it for religious purposes.
Visit it for:
The love of culture and architecture, even though the entire complex is in dire need of restoration. The imambara makes for an interesting one-time visit.
Location: Daulatganj
Timings: Sunrise to Sunset