Have You Been To These 5 Gorgeous Imambaras & Tombs In Bengal?
Interested in old architectural wonders? Follow this trail of imambaras and tombs to track down the most interesting Islamic structures in Bengal.
Bada Imambara, Hooghly
Hooghly’s Bada Imambara is the second most well-known imambara in the state. It was planned by Haji Mohammed Mohsin, who made all necessary arrangements for it, but died before construction could begin. A nobleman from Jaunpur, Rajasthan, Keramat Ali began planning the Hooghly Imambara in 1841. Completed in 1861 with a total cost of INR 2,17,413, the special attraction here is the magnificent Zaridalan. The walls are covered in beautiful calligraphy of lines from the “Hadees”, texts sacred to Islam. Beautiful Belgian glass chandeliers and lampshades hang from the ceiling. Five elegant and beautiful tazias are stored inside the Zaridalan. But the most spectacular attraction are the 80-foot tall twin towers on both sides of its main gate. Within each of them is a spiral staircase leading to the top. If you climb the 152 steps to the top, you will be rewarded with some spectacular views of the surrounding countryside.
Shahi Imambara, Garden Reach
The biggest reminder of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah in Metiabruz today is the Sibtainabad Imambara. Built in 1864, this is a replica of the Bada Imambara of Lucknow on a much smaller scale. Inside, on the eastern side of the main hall, lies buried Nawab Wajid Ali Shah. Along with his tomb, this enclosure also accommodates a number of tazias, ceremonial tomb replicas which are taken out for Muharram processions. Pictures of the nawab, verses of his poetry adorn the walls. A number of colourful chandeliers hang from the ceiling. On the western end of the room is a large display case containing a variety of memorabilia related to the Nawab, including a Qur’an said to have been copied by Wajid Ali Shah himself.
Nizamat Imambara, Murshidabad
Located in Murshidabad, opposite and parallel to the Hazarduari Palace, is the Nizamat Imambara – the largest in India. It was built in 1847 by Nawab Nazim Mansur Ali Khan and cost more than INR 6 lakhs. The Nizamat Imambara is 680 feet long and was completed in 11 months. The attractions inside include the spectacular Madina and the Naubat Khana, apart from the stunning chandeliers and decoration.
Fateh Khan's Tomb, Gauda
Opposite the Qadam Rasoul Masjid in Gauda is Fateh Khan’s tomb. Fateh Khan was the younger son of Aurangzeb’s general, Diler Khan who was dispatched by Aurangzeb to subdue his younger brother Shah Shuja (then the governor of Bengal). However, legend has it that as soon as Diler Khan reached Gauda’s city limits, Fateh Khan vomited blood and dropped dead. Ironically, Fateh Khan’s tomb is in the Hindu “chala” style and resembles a Bengal village hut. It is one of the earliest surviving structures to feature this style.
Sher Afghan's Tomb, Burdwan
The Pathan Sher Afghan was the first husband of Mehrunnisa, who came to be known as Noor Jahan, after her marriage to Mughal Emperor Jahangir. Sher Afghan was married to Mehrunnisa in 1594, but Jahangir fell in love with her. When Akbar sent Jahangir as the governor to Bengal the two got into a spat and Sher Afghan was killed in a battle with Mughal forces. In the same compound lies the tomb of Pir Bairam, which looks a lot like the Qadam Rasoul Masjid of Gauda.