Friday, 1 June 2018

The Nizamat Imambara, Murshidabad, a historical monument of West bengal

The city of Murshidabad  located on the eastern bank of the Bhagirathi, a dis-tributary of the Ganges River was the capital of Bengal during the Mogul period, and later under the British, it remained the capital for some time.  Subsequently, Calcutta became its capital.
Nizamat Imambara of Murshidabad Murshidabad.net
Murshidabad has several monuments of historical value and is considered one of the tourist attractions of West Bengal state. This town has close links with the growth and evolution of the East India Company,  ultimately masters of Bengal. The EIC carefully used the resources of Bengal to improve the British economy and, at the same time, used this region as a Spring Board to capture other fertile Indian lands over a period of time. Coming back to Murshidabad which is replete with remains of mosque, palaces, big buildings and garden, among the tourist attractions the interesting one is the Nizamat Imambara.
Nizamat Imambara of MurshidabadClicking Photos on the Go
The Nizamat Imambara, commonly  known as Shia Muslim congregation hall in Murshidabad, is an interesting one. Nawab Mansur Ali Khan built it in 1847 in the place of the old Imambara built by Nawab Siraj ud-Daulah  that was destroyed by the fires of 1842 and 1846. This Imambara is the largest one in India and Bengal

The old Imambara became completely destroyed between 1842 and 1846.  It was completely razed to the ground by the huge fire accident on 23 December 1846. The fire was started when the  the Nawabs and  the Europeans  were in the middle of gala party  to celebrate the weaning ceremony of five-year-old Hassan Ali Mirza. The Imambara caught fire  accidentally at midnight  when the the fireworks  were going on and it reduced the building to a mound of ashes and thrash.  The fire destroyed every thing except the old Madina Mosque.

Undaunted by this mishap, Nawab Nazim Mansur
Murshidabad,W.Bengal: Nizamat ImambaraTravel Notes
Ali Khan (29 October 1830 – 4 November 1884)  built  the new Imambara in 1847  right across  the Hazarduari Palace  - a nice building with 1000 doors. The mammoth work was undertaken under the supervision and direction of Sadeq Ali Khan  at a cost of more than ₹ 6 lakhs - a huge some in those days.  The main  east-facing entrance  is just parallel to the north face of the Hazarduari Palace.The construction work did not last for a long time and the workers took 11 long months to finish the work. Apart from salary, they were given free food and also allowed to work at night.
Nawab Nazim Mansur Ali Khan  en wikipedia.org
Above image:  Nawab Sayyid Mansur Ali Khan, Nawab Nazim of Bengal and Orissa, a true follower of Shia Islam. Warren Hastings was appointed by the East India Company as the first Governor-General of Bengal and by 1793 British East India company took complete control over Bengal (former Mughal province), making Mansur Khan just a titular ruler under the British Raj. He had five wives, including two English women and 101 children!! Among them, 19 sons and 20 daughters survived..................
.........

The new Imambara, standing on the banks of the Bhagirathi river,  is 680 feet long with varied width.  The central block is equally long  - 300 feet and has  the Madina.  The gap between the shores of the river and the west wall of the Imambara is narrow -  may be a few feet.
Inside Nizamat Imambara, LalbaghMurshidabad.net

The Madina Inside Nizamat Imambara, LalbaghMurshidabad.net
The old Madina Mosque that escaped the fire accident was left as it was and a new one was  built in the newly constructed Imambara. The old Madina Mosque is between the new Imambara and the Hazarduari Palace near the Bacchawali Tope and the Clock Tower of Murshidabad.  The Madina Mosque is open to the public during the  Muharram festival but is kept closed throughout the year

The present Imambara has  three large quadrangles as follows: The central quadrangle with the Madina Mosque and the Memberdalan. The eastern quadrangle with  the Naubat Khana and  The western quadrangle with a two-storied Mosque that stands on the Mint Ghat.

The Memberdalan built in marble  is a hall for members, just close to the Madina Mosque. It has a pulpit  to recite an elegy. The hall also has a verandah and a spacious room for the women. The vat between this hall and the mosque had silver headed fountains. They would function  after the singing of the elegies was over.  The entrance of the Naubat Khana has a huge gate built in Imamia style. The mosque in the western quadrangle has impressive pillars and 
several magnificent chandeliers, most of them  were gifted to the Nawabs by the East India. It has a rich marble flooring. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nizamat_Imambara