Once a witness to Awadh's tryst with the British rule, this Imamabada has modern housing facilities in its campus today.
Amid the citadels of marvellous Nawabi architecture, Lucknow is a storehouse of historical complexes that envelop within themselves astounding stories from the past. One amongst these, forgotten through the passage of time, is the Sibtainabad Imamabada housed in the city's heart, Hazratganj. Once a centre spot of multiple episodes of history, the enclosures of this fortified campus have been refurbished into the central walls of modern LDA homes!
Imambada enclosures converted into central walls of modern homes
Picture Courtesy: Anil Biswas
Anil K Biswas, an ex-army officer who dwells in the same locality, tells us, "Being one of the most recent examples of Nawabi design and structure, the Sibtainabad Imamabada was built in the year 1847. During the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857, when the Britishers advanced their troops to Awadh to retake Residency, they captured this complex first and converted it into an armoury. Given the size of the campus and an almost 2.5 feet thick boundary wall, it was a secure location for their objective."
He adds, "Now, the wall has become a part of houses encircling the Imamabada, with rooms on either side. In addition to this, the lawns and the front rooms that you see in most houses here today, are actually a part of the large verandah that was encapsulated in the Imamabada campus."
From a British residence to LDA's property
Speaking to Knocksense, Anil also elaborated on the journey of Imamabada during the British time. Like the Bada Imambada, this complex has a central hall adorned with high ceilings and ornate walls. With multiple resources available here, the British started using it as a facility for Sunday Church Services. Most of the churches present in the city today have been developed at later stages.
Anil is a third-generation member of a family that moved into this locality nearly 90 years ago in the 1930s. Talking about the renovation of the complex into modern houses, he informs, "Later, in the last days of the 19th century, the British moved out of the Imamabada while a blueprint for the modern city was being developed. It was only in the early 2000s that this establishment was handed over to the Lucknow Development Authority, which worked on the construction of separate quarters to be rented to the public."
While the current age is witnessing rapid growth and development, it is facts like these that remind us of our roots and heritage. Though this tale sounds unique, we are sure that almost every house in Lucknow has a story of its own! If you have tumbled over any such accounts from the past, do tell us in the comments below.