Thursday, 21 June 2018

Charnokite rock named after Job Charnock.who developed Calcutta

named after job Charnock. Charnokite rock. Sandatlas
Job Charnock , founder of Calcutta?Amazing Kolkata
Earth scientists who specialize in hard rocks are quite familiar with a unique variety of granite called Charnockite which is commonly called Hypersthene granite whose outcrops occur in and around  St. Thomas Mount, a suburb of Chennai.  This kind of rock is being used extensively for decorative purposes, flooring, etc in expensive buildings world over.
Mausoleum of Job Charnock. St. John's Kolkata. Wikimedia Commons
How this rock got the name is an interesting one. A very few people are aware that this particular rock type is named by famous well-known British India geologist T. H. Holland in 1893 after  Job Charnock, purportedly the founder of Calcutta City (now known as Kolkata).  Holland,  who was with Geological Survey of India.  came up with the first scientific study of rocks from the tombstone of Job Charnock in St. John's church in  Calcutta.  The pink colored granite mined near St. Thomas Mount area of Madras (now Chennai) was specially brought to this place to build the mausoleum for Charnock, a great administrator with East India company.  Earlier it was known as Pallavaram gneiss. Pallavaram is also a suburb of Chennai.
Charnikite outcrop location,
The charnockite is a non-foliated rock normally formed  under relatively high temperatures and pressures. This kind of combination of forces prevails  deep in the crust where tectonic forces  operate on a large scale. Charnockite is a form of  granofels and is  a product of regional, rather than contact, metamorphism. Various studies point out that this type of pink granite (Which has lot of potassium) is formed mostly from the granite group of rocks, This rock is distributed widely in India, Ceylon, Madagascar and Africa. In his article published in Royal Asiatic Society of Bengal in 1893,  Holland  wrote:  "As this is a new type of rock  and modifications of it occur by the introduction of accessory minerals, I would suggest for it the name Charnokite in honor of the founder of Calcutta who was unconscious means of bringing the first specimen of the interesting rock to the capital"

Job Charnock ( c. 1630–1692/1693) was an employee and administrator of the English East India Company. He was best known for his honesty and integrity Charnock won the appreciation of the English company when he took serious action against a group of dishonest company employees who worked against the interest of the company.   On Sunday, August 24, 1690, it was Charnock  who set up the a new headquarters for the East India Company on the land covering three villages - Shutanuti, Kalikata and Gobindapur with access to the river Hoogley. However, after the landmark Calcutta High Court ruling on 16 May 2003, his name had been purged from all official documents as the founder of Kolkata. The honorable judges were of the opinion  a  highly civilized society and an active trading center had been there on the site of this city long before the arrival of European settlers  and
pointed out  there is no justification to give credit to one man (Job Charnock) for the creation of the city of Calcutta.  

Charnock died in Calcutta on 10 January 1692 (or 1693 according to an exhibition at the Victoria Memorial, Calcutta  soon after the death of his son. His three surviving daughters all remained in Calcutta and settled down there. One of them married the first president of Bengal, Sir Charles Eyre. who erected in 1695  a mausoleum over Charnock's simple grave.  It is in the graveyard of St. John's Church, the second oldest Protestant church in Calcutta after John Zacharias Kiernander's Old Mission Church (1770), and is now regarded as a national monument. His tomb is made of pink granite which was later named after him. It is inscribed with the Latin epitaph:ll

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Mt. Everest's summit routes are highest trash dumps in the world!! - a challege to environment

Campaign against plastics, Mt. Everest. The Hindu
Trash on Mt. Everest.
With the advent of commercial mountaineering side by side with professional mountaineering summitting the tallest peak in the world is no longer a challenging one. On the contrary, it has become an Herculean  challenge and a daunting task for the Nepalese government to keep the routes to the summit clean. The slopes of Mt. Everest are no longer clean and tidy, rather they became the highest trash dumps in the world as an ever increasing number of  adventure seeking  climbers  do not care a fig to keep the places tidy. They litter around leaving an  ugly footprint  behind them. It is said "26,500 pounds of human excrement” each season, “most of it bagged and carried by native Sherpas to earthen pits near Gorak Shep, a frozen lake bed and village at 16,942 feet,” according to Grinnell College.

In 1953 when Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, for the first time,  made the feat by standing atop Mt. Everest, perhaps, then this oxygen-depleted peak was the loneliest place on Earth, a scary one removed far away from the plains
Mt. Everest Trash. The Kathmandu Post - eKantipur
The problem of littering along the charted routes to the summit- the Northeast Ridge and the Southeast Ridge, has gone up to a menacing proportion as already, it is mentioned in the media, that around 600 climbers reached the peak this year  alone  the problem of trash accumulation has worsened. To get to the top climbers have to stand in long line and spend 2 to 3 hours on the high slopes and it provides  them an opportunity to litter around. They are not doing it on purpose, but are left with no other choice.
Saving Everest. Modern Hiker
To cut down on the littering menace five years ago the Nepalese introduced a naval scheme  called 'Rubbish Deposit Scheme' under which the participating team had to pay $ 4000 refundable deposit. The lure is the deposit money would be refunded if they brought down 8 kg of waste. In 2017, this scheme had a good impact on the climbers who brought down 25 tonnes of trash and 15 tonnes of human waste (according to SPCC) which otherwise would have spoiled the environment which runs the risk of facing global warming and consequent melting glaciers. The trash brought down by them is just a fraction and tons of trash lies hidden underneath the sheet of ice on the slopes. Melting glaciers have exposed the trash that has accumulated over past several decades, including remains of humans - a challenge climbers have to tackle while ascending and descending the higher slopes.
 Strewn around the Everest slopes along the routes to the summit of the 8,848-metre (29,029-foot) peak.  are empty gas canisters,  discarded climbing equipment, Fluorescent tents and heaps of human excrement. It is quite nauseating site and an eye sore according to many professional climbers. "The dignity of the unpolluted mountain is ravaged by human madness and greed".

Countless climbers, having scaled the mountain top 
and become fatigued are reluctant to bring down 
18 kgs  of trash with them. Such climbers who spend 
$75000.00 to $ 100000.00 for the trip to the summit  do not care to lose the trash deposit money $4000.00. To them, it is pittance. The Nepalese government should increase the deposit amount and make it mandatory for the prospective climbers to bring down 10 to 12 kgs of trash.  To help the climbers Sherpas and workers carry heavier items, including tents, oxygen cylinders and ropes, up the mountain — and then down again. Decades ago invariably climbers carry the heavy stuff and engage the Sherpas as guides. In the present scenario, during the summer season more people are on the mountains and because of melting ice that washes the trash down, the water resources  down the valley get polluted. The raw sewage in the base camp moves down to some places and during the monsoon season is flushed into the near-by river. There is a proposal on the anvil to install bio gas near the base camp. Turing the climbers poo into fertilizer is a good proposition and this will cut down the flow of sewage down the valley.
Saving mt. Everest. TreeHugger
 Future climbers  must respect the sentiments of Nepalese and Sherpas who venerate the mountain peaks  and attach divinity to them like American Native Indians. They must come up with some means to reduce the trash they dump on the mountains. "The two standard routes, are not only dangerously crowded but also disgustingly polluted, with garbage leaking out of the glaciers and pyramids of human excrement befouling the high camps,” mountaineer Mark Jenkins wrote in a 2013 National Geographic article on Everest. Down the years now, the pollution problems on the higher Himalayas continue unabated and there is no semblance of slowing down.

Assault of Mt. Everest and the challehge of human traffic jams on the high slopes

People line up on the slope. Mt Everest.Emirates 24|7
Wisdom of Sir Edmund Hillary.
In the 1940s challenging Mt. Everest, the tallest peak in the world was a difficult job, almost an impossibility; this being due to lack of good mountaineering equipment and poor knowledge of weather  conditions at higher altitude. Since the first  successful assault on Mt. Everest by Sir Edmund Hillary, a New Zelander with his  companion Sherpa Tenzing Norgay in 1953, the scenario in the realm of professional mountaineering had changed, backed by improved mountaineering knowledge, better  communication equipment, new access roads to the lowest base and above all affordable cost of the expedition. 
Everest, human traffic. Telegraph
Border Nepal -
Despite the advances in professional mountaineering, there is no way you can avoid  the inherent dangers and challenges  existing on the higher slopes  to the summit. Mere latest mountaineering gears and gadgets alone would guarantee success as the route to the top is ridden with dangers. For several reasons,  until late 1970s, only a handful of well trained climbers could summit  Everest and the rest would withdraw from the expedition, considering the enormity of risk involved.

Since 2012, the number of people reaching the summit has gone up considerably up to 500 a year. In 2014 season when a party of climbers were ready for the further assault, a large chunk of ice fall triggered a dangerous avalanche killing 16 prospective submitters. Undaunted by such mishaps, adventurous people could not resist the lure of the majestic mountain. Until a few years ago, among roughly 4000 people, only 600 made it to the top and about 250 climbers lost their lives on the higher reach because of dangerous weather conditions, rock falls avalanches, etc. Not withstanding the risks and prohibitive costs, more than 100000 people, including several thousands from the UK  go to Nepal to hike the higher slopes of the Himalayas.  Thousands enjoy hiking up to the base camps from Lukia's Tensing-Hillary airport. 

Sixty five years after the very first assault  on Mount Everest, the  joy of challenge of the treacherous climb has been blunted and its risks almost minimized by modern technology and commercialization. Now, it has reached a stage where  the traffic jam at the world’'s highest point is a threat to the purity of ecological environment on Mt. Everest. In 2013 alone, out of 1040 people,  record 697 people reached the highest point on earth (8,848 m).  Once a forbidden peak,  Everest now has become more accessible and since 1990 the percentage of successful assault has gone up manifold from less than 20% to 67%. Well- charted routes (unlike 1960s), fixed ropes laid out by Sherpas, availability of  better, lighter equipment, accurate forecasts and more guides have all reduced the risks considerably and Mt Everest has become less adversary unlike before. Though the mortality rate has not gone up, the risk is very much there, particularly for people with inadequate training in high-altitude mountain climbing.
Mt. Everest 2012 season, traffic on higher slope.

Prospective climbers do not realize the challenges on account of traffic jams on the higher slopes to reach the summit.  Unmindful of the prohibitive cost involved nowadays in going on an expedition to Everest, people in thousands flock to the base camp and have to wait in a long queue for further assault on the mountain. The moot question is: why do climbers keep dying on the world’s most famous mountaineering route with all latest facilities? Part of the reason is lots of people take a shot at the highest peak in the Summer when the weather conditions will favor the climbers at higher slopes. It means there will be human traffic bottlenecks to get to the top.  

Hundreds of climbers  have to wait for a few hours in line line to access the fixed ropes used to cross  a tough section of the climb known as the Hillary Step, a 12-metre (39-foot) wall of rock and ice just below the top, at 8,763 metres (28,750 feet) — the last obstacle before reaching the summit. The Step is at an angle of 45 to 60 degrees, which for most climbers, “is a simple obstacle easily climbed using the ropes. The hitch is it not an easy job standing in line on the slope of the highest mountain in the world. It is not line standing in line for the Amtrak train at a railroad station in the USA or any bus stand in India. The following may cause heart burns due to human traffic jams on the high slopes of mt. Everest: 
 01. The longer you stay in an oxygen-deficient environment, the more oxygen you lose in the Oxygen canister you care. 

02. When your turn is up, you run the risk of running out of oxygen, it means a threat to your life. 

03. You need enough oxygen to to be at the summit and for the descent to a safer level. 

04. While waiting in line for a long time the body temperature drops along with physical strength

05. Such conditions may be conducive to the formation of frostbite. It not taken care at the right time, you may end up losing a few toes or finger. 

06. Yet another challenge is continuous waiting in line may lead to hypothermia, a serious threat to life. 

07. At this higher level in severe cold condition, if you have stomach problem and feel an urge to relieve yourself, you are more exposed to danger.

08. Climbers must have an awareness about "Mountain Sickness". A person's mental agility and discretionary powers will be severely hampered under extreme cold conditions. 

09. In a near-death situation staying cool or aborting the climb or descending to a safer level would be a challenge.

10. Some fool-hardy customers force their guides on the summit, in the face of lurking dangers. In the death zone, bad decision will cause deaths. 

11. According to Ed Viesturs, one of the world’s most accomplished mountaineers, who recently wrote, “It’s the traffic jam that causes all the trouble. Climbers run out of bottled oxygen and collapse, or they push upward long after a sensible turnaround deadline and end up descending in the dark.”

12. Mt. Everest suffers from too many climbers who without their knowledge  contribute to environmental degradation. 
14. The crux of the problem is a majority of the climbers are amateurs and do not have effective training to deal with high-Alpine weather conditions.

15.  Correct training before the final assault is a must. Climbing teams spend weeks on the mountain acclimatizing  with the changing before making their summit push, which will be between early May and the first week of June, a brief weather window that provides favorable chances of reaching the summit—and returning alive. Every one in the group takes the same route to summit. 

16. Camp 4 close to the “Death Zone”. The Death Zone is a term used by climbers to refer to the altitude above 8000m. Above this altitude, humans have to struggle to stay alive. Climbers have to push themselves before running out of oxygen and it is the most difficult  and challenging stretch to the summit and normally it takes a few hours to get to the summit. Extra delay in wait will increase the risk.

17. A climber at this level burns 15000 calories
six days worth of energy for a normal man, hence he needs to eat and drink a lot to keep himself fit. However, your body burns fat and muscle to sustain energy as the digestive system slows down.

18. One main  reason for increased crowds is that the Everest can be challenged for  only  a few weeks, usually in May, every year.  When the weather is  quite suitable,  it offers only some windows of opportunity.  On those days, one can expect a long line of climbers.

19.  with the advent of commercialisation  There are companies that offer  guided climbs on Everest for prices which start from $50,000. The peak is no longer  a difficult frontier.

In the wake of more and more climbers willing to summit covetous Everest, the environment around Everest has taken severe beating and the environmental degradation and its impact on the water sources is not only a challenge to the Nepal government but also to  countries who send a large number of climbers to the roof of the world.

Monday, 18 June 2018

St. Matthias, the second oldest Anglican Church in India where Robert Clive got married!!

St. Matthias' Church, Vepery, Chennai.
During the British rule under the English company, a few churches came up in Madras, the then capital city of madras Presidency to serve the European community. 

St. Matthias' Church, Vepery is 195 years old and Since St. Matthias died a martyr, the Patronal festival is not celebrated here. However, the festivities are held on the day's eve, March 23, every year.
St.Matthias is the second oldest Anglican Church in this side of the Suez after St.Mary's Church which is in Fort St.George on the Marina, Chennai. Built in 1828, it was consecrated by the  officiating Bishop of Madras Spencer on St. Matthias day in 1842.  The ownership of this church changed  a few times in the past - earlier it was  referred to as  - the English Church because  it had passed hands from the French to the Portuguese and finally to the English (Protestants). In 1821 Major De Havilland of the Madras Engineers was asked to expand the church  to allow more people to sit and to carry on necessary repair work in the church; however, it was beyond resoration, The church was  called  the "High Anglican" for the reason that the communion was kept in the Tabernacles, a tradition not  common in the protestant churches. And it was  kept there for 24 hours for the healing of the sick.
It was decided to have new church built at a reasonable cost and one John Law, an Anglo-Indian  came up with a design that could cost Rs.31,600, for which the SPCK offered to provide Rs.20,000. The Madras Government under the English Company was willing to meet the difference, on condition that church would offer religious services and worship according to the rites of the Church of England. 

A generous Armenian merchant, Coja Petrus Uscan, gave lots of funds and helped finish  the church between 1730 and 1740. Uscan also had  the  stone steps built to access St. Thomas Mount. He died in 1751 and his tombstone is in front of the porch of St. Matthias' bearing his epitaph in Armenian and Latin.

When the construction of the church was on wife of Gov. Thomas Munro, lady Munro took a personal interest in the church work.  It was the congregation of St.Matthias which helped build St.Pauls which is  close to this church. During the French occupation, Roman catholic services were held by the French priests when the church was repossessed by the English it became popularly known as  the English Church. While under the French, Hyder Ali gave a donation of Rs. 300 in the year 1779 for building a chapel.
It is quite interesting to note the wedding ceremony of Robert Clive and Margaret Maskelyne was solemnized here officiated by the Danish missionary, John Fabricius.  St. Matthias was brought under the management of CSI and still the Angelo Indian tradition of worship is being strictly followed here, besides, holy Communion is served everyday at 7 a.m.

Historical Armenian Church, Chennai - a legacy of Madras Armenian traders

Armenian church, Chennai, India. TripAdvisor
During the early and late colonial period, the Armenians from West Asia and Armenia made a solid contribution to the growth of trade in Madras, then the capital of Madras Presidency.  This city then  boasted of a  highly religious and thriving  business community. To meet their spiritual needs, they built a Church in George Town in Chennai (Madras).

Armenian church, Chennai, inside.
Armenian Church, located in George Town - Chennai
built in 1712 and later rebuilt in 1772, is one of the oldest churches of the Indian subcontinent. In 1746, the church was demolished during the brief French occupation.  Also known as the Armenian Church of Virgin Mary, it is located on the Armenian Street, Chennai and is famous for its belfry of six bells. It is difficult to notice the church from outside because it is  behind buildings,  hidden from the madness and chaos of Armenian Street  once a vibrant busy business quarter close to the port.
Bells of the Armenian Church in Madras.
During the early colonial period, when the East India Company  was busy with mercantile trading activities, lots of Europeans moved into Madras to try their luck in business. Along with them also arrived the Armenians  and later Jews  for trade in Madras (Chennai). It is quite interesting to note that the  a select group of  adventurous Armenian settlers from Armenia, Persia, etc.,  came to Madras on foot throughgh Hindukush mountains, thus taking a long and arduous journey in the hope of finding their fortune in South India.  Armenians  focused their trade activities in  fine silk, expensive spices and gems, whereas the British were controlling cotton cloth. They were quite religious and made good contributions to the church.  St Mary's was built to seat 130 people of the Orthodox tradition, plus a choir in its gallery. So, it is a small church catering to the Armenian community.
Armenian Church .Madras Heritage and Carnatic Music -

Presently it is not functioning as a church and it is declared as a heritage site and from  9 am to  2 pm it is open to visitors. Services are still held here four to six times a year, when a priest visits with a group of Armenians from Calcutta, where there are 140. The Armenian Apostolic Church is funding and maintaining the church under the  The Armenian Church Committee in Calcutta. The Belfry adjacent to the main Church building houses six large bells which are rung every Sunday at 9:30 am by the caretaker to remind us that the old historical church is being taken care of regularly, though there are no Church services, prayers, etc.

The church has a big graveyard and there are graves of about 350 Armenians here. It is of particular interest to History buff that the founder, publisher and editor of the world's first Armenian periodical "Azdarar", Rev. Haroutiun Shmavonian's mortal remains are in the grave. The Armenian population after India's independence declined drastically to a tickle. The last ones left Chennai in 2004 and presently the church is being taken care of by one Michel Stephen who, besides keeping the church well, I understand, is showcasing the legacy of past Armenian traders of Madras.
Belfry of the Armenian Church in Madras.
 Any  visitor to the Church will be much impressed by the six bells in the belfry.  The are all of different sizes, varying from 21 to 26 inches, and weigh around 150 kg each, They are  said  to be the largest and heaviest bells of Chennai. One interesting fact is these bell were cast at different times:   One bell, with Armenian inscription dates back to 1754. This  bell was recast in 1808 for unknown reasons and also bears Tamil inscription.  Another bell's inscription suggests that it dates back to 1778. Inscriptions on two bells suggest that they were donated by an Armenian trader  to the church  in memory of his 19 year old son Eliazar Shawmier, buried in the Church’s garden. It is on his  private chapel ground the present Church stands. With respect to remaining two bells, they  date back to 1837 and were cast by the White chapel Bell Foundry, then known as Mears & Stain bank, with inscriptions reading "Thomas Mears, Founder, London". They created the bells for Big Ben in London and the much older Liberty Bells in Philadelphia, PA - USA.

This church is in proud possession of a massive Bible, printed in 1686, in fine Armenian script with woodcut prints, which is used on certain occasions, according to the Church keeper Michael Stephen. The stepped wooden altar is  inlaid with rare  and fine oval paintings depicting various events from  the life of Christ, surmounted by a painting of the Assumption.,_Chennai

Sunday, 17 June 2018

"Satkhanda” and Mini Taj at Chota Imambara, Lucknow

Satkhanda, Lucknow, UP.  Pinterest

In the city of Lucknow, besides the Bara Imambara and Chota Imambara, there are other Islamic structures that can not escape our attention. They are beautiful and attractive  and in terms of artistic work and decorations, meticulous care had been taken to bring out the salient features of Muslim architecture relevant to that time. 

Lunar obsevatory. Satkhanda
Right across the road in Hussainabad  Chota Imambara, a unique building attracts our attention and it appears to be incomplete. It is a blend of  French and Italian architecture. This  incomplete monument does not have seven floors as it was originally planned, but is called the “Satkhanda”. What is the purpose of this strange structure that has only four floors? What about the remaining floors? It is said the structure was built with a view to taking a clear view of the Moon during the holy month of Ramzan, besides, it is said, it served as a Watch
Tower.The builder  already had spent 5 years on this structure and , unfortunately, could not complete all the seven floors because of his unexpected death on the 7th of May 1842.  With his death,  work on the tower - Moon Observatory  came to a grinding halt. 

Under normal circumstances, the successor to the throne would normally resume the work where it was stopped and proceed to complete it. In the case of this tower, the next heir and later others were not allowed to resume the work on the tower  as it was considered unlucky and the ruler would run into all kinds of unnecessary problems if would venture to resume the work on the tower.  That is the reason why there are four tiers, each built in different styles.  This strange structure is under the control of the ASI who carries out periodic repairs.The height of the octagonal ground floor is 10 feet and the successive floors decrease in height as well as breadth. The total height is about 35 feet. Each face of the structure on every floor has triple-arched windows and compartments. The higher level from the ground floors can be accessed by a spiral flight of steps. From the top of the structure you have a good view of the adjacent places. 

 Mausoleums - Mini Taj:

chota Imambara,
Mosque at chota Imambara, Lucknoow.
Mini  Taj.chota Imambara
Among the other structure in Chota Imambara, the small, but beautiful structure that serves as a mausoleum for four graves  of the son, daughter and son-in-law of the King Mohammed Ali Shah and one of the lady. is an interesting one. This simply a small version of the Taj Mahal  at Agra built by Shah jahan in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal.

This tomb  was built on the model of the Taj by the Lucknow's Nawabs to  impress on the Moguls that construction of the Imambaras was a prestigious issue for them and they would rather build many Imambaras for the benefit of the people, rather than wasting money on highly embellished huge and luxurious tombs for their own selves like the Moguls. The message was quite clear:  For the Lucknowi Nawabs the holy prophet of Islam and his family  are close to their heart and more   important than themselves. They would build many structures that were useful to the pious people. This magnanimous attitude of the rich rulers helped them gain the trust of their subjects.

Mausoleum of the King and his mother: The Imambara building is flanked on the two sides by two white buildings which look a lot like mini Taj Mahal. The tomb of Princess Zinat Asiya, daughter of King Mohammad Ali Shah Bahadur is quite attractive.  These are actually the mausoleums for the King, his mother and his family members and the architect got the inspiration from  the iconic Taj Mahal.They though lack any decorative works of arts, embellishment and attractive calligraphy, etc., have their own aura about them. Yes, they stylishly simple and opulent.

Awe-inspiring Chota Imambara - a symbol of Lucknow's Nawabi legacy

Chhota Imambara in
Chhota Imambara in
Chhota Imambara in Lucknow.The Concrete Paparazzi

The city of Lucknow, UP is well-known for numerous Islamic monuments  of exceptional beauty  and artistic excellence, this is the reason why lots of tourists visit this city that is steeped in history. Among the various historical structures, the Imambaras attract our attention. Of particular interest to us are the Chota Imambara  and Bara Imambara.  Bara Imambara is an amazing piece of architecture, a rare kind in the world and a proud symbol of Lucknow's Nawabi heritage and legacy. The Nawabs of Lucknow were originally from Iran and followers of Shia 
sect. The story of the Nawabs of Lucknow, the capital of the erstwhile state of Oudh or Awadh, begins in 1722 and they were all great builders of beautiful buildings rich in art work and stylish in style. More often  than not, Lucknow is called a Shea city and festivities of this city are  closely associated with the Remembrance of Muharram. Once under the Moguls, the Nawabs of Awadh later became independent rulers when Mogul's influence declined.
Naubat Khana or ceremonial gateway Chhota Imambara.wikipedia

Not many visitors to this city of Nawabs realize that Chota Imambara is equally and, in some way,  more beautiful structure than Bara Imambara. The amazing beauty of Chota Imambara is overshadowed by the massive and ornate Bara (Bada) Imambara.
Chhota Imambara in Lucknow.
Chota Imambara also called as Hussainabad Imambara standing to the west of Bara Imambara,  was built by Muhammad Ali Shah (1837-42), the Nawab of Awadh in 1838. Located in the prime location of the city, it was constructed as  an Imambara. Imambara is a place of worship or congregation for Shia Muslims. In Lucknow these also house the Tazias built during Muharram. Later it served as  his own mausoleum and his mother as well who  was buried  by his side. It is an highly embellished, ornate structure with  gilded dome, several turrets, eye-catching chandeliers  specially imported  from Belgium, gilt-edged mirrors and colorful  stucco works  which adorn the interiors.
A truly unexceptional monument of Islamic style of Mogul design accentuated by a golden dome and fine calligraphy on the exterior of the building that, when it is lit up on festive occasions, comes alive. It is opulent in its own way and no comparison is needed.
Chhota Imambara in Lucknow.
This Imambara has  two halls and a Shehnasheen (a platform where the Zarih of Imam Hussain is kept.) Zarih refers to the  protective grill or structure which is placed on the grave of Imam Hussain at Karbala, Iraq. Azakhana is a richly decorated large hall bordered in white and green with stunning chandeliers and a good number of crystal glass lamp-stands. No doubt, Chota Imambara is called the palace of light by Westerners as it is nicely embellished. The highlight of the exterior is beautifully decorated holy Quranic verses in Islamic calligraphy. The holy five  Panjetan,is given due importance with five main doorways. The Chota Imambara, as it is called, not only consists of the Imambara, but also other structures.  As mentioned earlier,it owes its  originto the 9th Nawab, Abul Fateh Moin-ud-din, a.k.a. Muhammad Ali Shah. It was to serve as his final resting place as well.
Chhota Imambara in
It  is a heritage building under the ASI, but, worship  is allowed at the site under the care of the Hussainabad Trust. To access  the Bara and Chota Imambaras and the Picture Gallery, , visitors have to purchase admission tickets.