Sunday, 17 June 2018

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

Chhota Imambara in Lucknowid-thewanderer.com
Chhota Imambara in Lucknowen.wikipedia.org/
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 design. 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. .sid-thewanderer.com/
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. .sid-thewanderer.com/
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  origin to 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 Lucknowid-thewanderer.com
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.
 http://uptourism.gov.in/pages/top/explore/lucknow/chhota-imambaral