Discover the lesser known facts about Lucknow's Safed Baradari!
The Safed Baradari of Lucknow is primarily known for its architectural beauty showcasing fine craftsmanship from medieval India. This monumental wonder of the Mughal architecture is the most well preserved and maintained site which is open to public gatherings and events. However, the purpose of the hall today, stands in stark contradiction to what it was meant for.
Here's a list of some unknown facts about Lucknow's Safed Baradari:
Safed Baradari was built by the Nawab of Awadh in 1854. This white marbled Imambara was initially used as a sacred mourning hall for remembering the martyrdom of Hazrat Hussain and his followers at Karbala.
Qasr-ul-Aza was the sacred hall for mourning. The prayer meets were usually held on a very large scale where people carried banners in remembrance and respect. These meetings were called majilis and were presided over by a pastor who was seated on a raised platform.
The popular name Safed Baradari comes from the architectural construct of this structure. The Urdu words of Bara which means 12 and Dari which means doors, combine to forms the name Baradari which translates to- a structure with 12 doors. Safed is used for colour white in Hindi and Urdu and simply stands for the white marble making.
A Nawabi Prototype
Safed Baradari is a testament of the typical Nawabi architecture and consists of a closed gazebo with arched doorways and a block structure. The 12 doors of the monument are divided to pave 3 entries on each side. This design is so basic and primary, that it can be found just anywhere, from parks and forts to secret chambers!
Architecture and Design
The East entrance of the monument is the primary route into the foyer. Right across the foyer, is a large roof with engraved marble railings and borders. Like many Nawabi structures, this too has Octagonal towers on the top corners and is characterised by archways, twin-columned windows and beautiful chandeliers.
Role in Revolt of 1857
The building of Safed Baradari was not harmed during the fall of Lucknow in the Uprising of 1857. This hall was used by freedom fighters as a political and strategic meet-house. All military planning against the British were conducted from this safe-house. The Begum of Awadh, Begum Hazrat Mahal used this as a refuge for herself, her children and the military troops.
After the revolt of 1857, this monument was used by the British to listen to the petitions and claims of the exiled Nawab's nobles, officers and relatives.
Another drastic change came for the Baradari in 1923 when it was handed to the Talugdars of Oudh, known as Anjuman-e-Hind Awadh. This handover was a symbol of submission to the British Raj. It was later renamed to 'The British India Association of Awadh' and the monument continues to be a part of this.
The foyer of the Baradari holds two marble statues of Maharaja Man Singh and Digvijay Singh of Balrampur, founders of the Anjuman.
The splendour of this monument has been like a magnet to many tourists and film-makers across the globe. You might have seen this beautiful structure as backdrop in Bollywood movies like Umrao Jaan, Junoon, Gaddar, Tanu weds Manu and many more!
Follow Knocksense Lucknow on Instagram to know more such interesting, quirky and historic facts about the city and its wonders!