Lucknow's widely popular Bada and Chhota Imambadas are a part and parcel of the city's heritage tourism but going beyond them, there are more than a dozen of such structures which require our equal attention. Once teeming with flocks of people for a variety of events and gatherings, these archaic establishments have lost their significance through the course of time. Repositories of forgotten days, here are 7 lesser-known imambadas from the City of Nawabs, that guarantee you a finer exploration of Lucknow's legacy!
Established in the year 1847, the history of Sibtainabad Imambada reverberates through the Mughal and colonial times. Standing tall in the neighbourhood of Lucknow's Hazratganj, the monument was constructed by Nawab Wajid Ali Shah for religious and social functions. Later, when the British advanced their troops to Lucknow, they used its vast complex as a storehouse for their arms and ammunition. Though the grand structure stands hidden from the public eye today, a look at its exquisite interiors embellished with ornate designs will definitely transport you to its splendid past!
Location: Capper Road, Lalbagh
Shah Najaf Imambada
Resting on the banks of River Gomti, Shah Najaf Imambada is claimed to be as old as the Awadh dynasty itself. Built by Ghazi-ud-Din Haider, the first ruler of the Awadh clan, this mystical place entwines countless semblances from the past. Fusing colossal architecture with a chronicled history, this grand edifice is an exemplary symbol of the erstwhile golden times. With its dome-shaped central hall and gardens replete with fresh blossoms, this memorial can take you on a trip of your innate musings!
Location: Rana Pratap Marg, Hazratganj
Imambada Mughal Sahiba
Obscured amid the densely populated areas of Old Lucknow, Imambada Mughal Sahiba is a treasure for all with an eye for rare and matchless things. Asserted as a stirring example of 'stucco adornment', this artistic building lies in the remote location of Wazir Bagh, ahead of the famed Dargah of Hazrat Abbas in Rustam Nagar. Amalgamating Nawabi designs with a European appeal, the fine and intricate detailing of its walls captivates everyone who watches it. Though it is a victim to ravages of time, the rooms and the doorways of this imambada still resound with cosmic feels!
Location: Mehboob Ganj, Lucknow
Imambada Kaiwan Jah
It is believed that this monument was erected by an unfortunate mother who wished to immortalise the memory of her deceased son. Emblazoned with well-crafted artefacts and Lucknow's ancient calligraphy, this imambada is a symbol of love and attachment. Amongst the highlights, the mystifying depictions of Quranic verses on its walls are a sight to behold for all devotees. Despite being a small structure, its soulful appeal is appreciated by visitors even today!
Location: Karbala Tal Katora. Rjajajipuram, Lucknow
Imambada Agha Baqar
Nestled beautifully amid the city's bountiful endowments from the past, Imambada Agha Baqar is famed as the second oldest citadel of its type in the city. Thanks to the preservation and restoration works, it caters as a central spot for umpteen spiritual assemblies and congregations today. Decked up with bright lights on special occasions, the imambada paints a spectacular picture of its majesty and grandeur. While a number of historical spaces are losing their charm in present times, this structure stands as a guiding example for reviving faded glory!
Location: Raja Bazar, Yahiyaganj, Lucknow
Also known as 'Haji Begum's Imambada', this astounding piece of architecture was set up by Nawab Mirza Ali Khan, a relative of Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula. Resplendent in black, the imambada gets its name from the colours of its walls. It is said that the interiors of this impeccable structure were designed by artisans from Delhi. From its enclosures to its halls, every part of this grand mausoleum is unparalleled, in its own way! In the beauty of its surroundings, lies the shrine of Peer Bukhara, embellished with a plaster prepared from clamshells.
Imambada Ghufran Ma'ab
Ideated by revered Shia cleric Ayatollah Syed Dildar Ali Naseerabadi, this memorial got its present form in the last days of the 18th century. It gets its name from its founder, who was popularly known as Ghufran Ma'ab. Managed by the family of Ayatollah Ghufran Ma'ab, the place hosts multiple events around the year. Amongst them, the Shaam-e-Ghariban majlis (an Islamic gathering) organised here has garnered attention from regions outside the country!
Location: Maulana Kalbe Hussain Marg, Raja Bazar, Chowk
Lucknow ke imambad'on mein, Awadh ki jaan basti hai!
If you are thinking who said that, well, we did and so would you, once you tour through these expansive buildings and their archived stories. Regal and divine, these imambadas are exceptional narrators of Lucknow's equally exceptional days of yore! So the next time you are free to wander on Lucknow's streets, away from the scares of the ongoing pandemic, don't forget to pave your way to these enchanting spaces.