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Chota Imambara, also known as Imambara Hussainabad Mubarak is an imposing monument located in the city of Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India. Built as an imambara or a congregation hall for Shia Muslims, by Muhammad Ali Shah, the Nawab of Awadh in 1838, it was to serve as a mausoleum for himself and his mother, who is buried beside him.
The significance of Panjetan, the holy five, is once again emphasized here with five main doorways. This Imambara consist of two halls and a Shehnasheen (a platform where the Zarih of Imam Husain is kept.) Zarih is the replica of that protective grill or structure which is kept on the grave of Imam Husain at Karbala, Iraq. The large green and white bordered hall of Azakhana is richly decorated with chandeliers and a good number of crystal glass lamp-stands. In fact, it was for this profuse decoration that the Imambara was referred by European visitors and writers as The Palace of Lights. The exterior is very beautifully decorated with Quranic verses in Islamic calligraphy .
It is situated near the Bara Imambara and on the connecting road stands an imposing gateway known as Rumi Darwaza. The building is also known as the Palace of Lights because of its decorations and chandeliers during special festivals, like Muharram.
The chandeliers used to decorate the interior of this building were brought from Belgium. Also housed within the building, is the crown of Muhammad Ali Shah and ceremonial tazias. Thousands of labourers worked on the project to gain famine relief.
It has a gilded dome and several turrets and minarets. The tombs of Muhammad Ali Shah and other members of his family are inside the imambara. This includes two replicas of the Taj Mahal, built as the tombs of Muhammad Ali Shah's daughter and her husband. The walls are decorated with Arabic calligraphy.
Tomb of Princess Zinat Asiya, daughter of King Mohammad Ali Shah Bahadur (3rd King of Awadh)./ Taj Mahal Replica
This structure 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. This is the small-scale copy of the Taj Mahal.
This other structure facing the tomb was built for the architectural symmetry and balance of the Imambara. It was used as a treasury.
This mosque is built on a high platform with two grand minarets on the edge of the platform. This mosque is very beautifully decorated with floral designs and Quranic calligraphy.
Outside the imambara is the watch tower called Satkhanda or tower of seven stories. Though it is called Satkhanda, it has only four stories, as the construction of the tower was abandoned when Ali Shah died. Satkhanda was built between 1837–1842 in the time of Muhammad Ali Shah. He wanted to make it the same as Qutub Minar of Delhi and the leaning tower of Pisa. Its main purpose is lunar observation.
The building has been renovated; however, the process has been criticized. In 2016 The Economist wrote that "[this building] was recently “repaired” with modern cement, wrecking its subtle plasterwork".
An anemometer in the form of fish at main gate
The name of The Twelve Imams in Arabic language
The word "Allah" written in the form of Pigeon, an example of Islamic calligraphy
A model of Chota Imambara made with Elephant ivory
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Chhota Imambara.|
- Bara Imambara
- Roomi Darwaza
- Chattar Manzil
- Imambara Shah Najaf
- Imambaras of Lucknow
- Azadari in Lucknow
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