A dollop of Bengal – Imambara (Murshidabad)

There were so few words with the letter I that it was getting difficult to pick up a relevant word for the day. The heritage Indian museum in Kolkata, the iconic educator and reformer Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar who worked towards upliftment of women’s status in the society and ISKON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness)  in Mayapur – the Kirtan capital of the world with devotees of Lord Krishna gathering from various continents. However, in my quest to bring out some more interesting facets of the state, I have decided to continue with Murshidabad diaries with the featured subject for today being Imambara.

Imambara (Nizamat Imambara) –

Panoramic view of Imambara
Imambara and the old Madina Mosque in one frame

Imambara in Murshidabad is names as Nizamat Imambara. It is located in the same campus of Nizamat Kila right opposite to Hazarduari Palace. It is a Shia muslim congregation hall. This was built by Nawab Siraj ud-Daulah in the Nizamat Fort Area. It was built with wood and had soil brought from Mecca. It caught fire and nothing was left of the place except the old Madina Mosque. The new Imambara was built in 1847 during the era of Nawab Nazim Feradun Jah under the supervision and direction of Sayed Ali Khan just opposite to the Hazarduari Palace and very near to the banks of Bhagirathi river. This is 680 feet long and is the largest Imambara in Bengal. A new Madina Mosque was constructed within the Imambara.

Imambara from the side of Hazarduari
Panoramic view of the Imambara

Imambara has been divided into three equal blocks,each with a large quadrangle:

  • The central quadrangle has the new Madina Mosque and the Memberdalan (hall for members that includes an upper balcony and are built with marble).

    Central view of Imambara
    Central exterior view of the Imambara 
  • The eastern quadrangle has the Naubat Khana, the entrance gate to which is built in the Imamia style.

    Imambara - right sided view
    The right hand exterior view of the Imambara
  • The western quadrangle has a two-storied Mosque. The mosque stands on the Mint Ghat and rises almost from the Bhagirathi River as the distance may be a few feet. The mosque has stately pillars, marble floors and beautiful chandeliers.

    Imambara - left sided view
    The left hand exterior view of the Imambara

The Imambara is open to public only for select few days in the month of Muharram. For the remaining days of the year, the grand view can only be enjoyed from the outside.

Madina Mosque –

Madina mosque infront of Imambara
The old Madina Mosque

The old Madina Mosque is located between the Hazarduari Palace and the Nizamat Imambara while the new Madina Mosque is built inside the Imambara. The old one is very near to Bachchiwali Tope. The old mosque was built by Siraj – ud – Daulah and had soil from Mecca so that the local muslims could have an experience of Hajj. It is smaller as compared to the new mosque which is built on a raised platform decorated with ornamental china tiles with the foundation soil from Karbala. The arches and the walls of the mosque are ornamented with texts from the Quran.

For details related to travel, stay and food in Murshidabad, please visit my post related to Hazarduari Palace here.

The personal angle –

Though Murshidabad was the first place that I had ever visited as a toddler in the eighties, it wasn’t until this January that I decided to do a full-fledged series on the city. I spent three weekends collecting information, clicking pictures and doing research. BlogchatterA2Z challenge gave me the perfect forum to begin Murshidabad Diaries and this post on Imambara is the second one in this series.

Here’s another gorgeous view of Madina Mosque on a cloudy day. Happy reading until we meet with a new feature tomorrow.

Madina Mosque
Madina Mosque

Source of information –

  1. Wikipedia
  2. Tourist guide
  3. Imambara - ASI.jpg
    ASI board outside Imambara

Author: Sonia Chatterjee

Who am I? Ex-Banker turned Blogger/Writer/Solopreneur. Any qualifications? A Post graduate degree in Chemistry followed by Post Graduate Diploma in Management. I am still trying to figure out how and when I can connect all these dots to what I do presently. Have I done any real work? If two years in Market Research and six years in Banking (three different Banks though) as Branch Head can be considered as real work. Where do I live? After a nomadic sixteen years in Delhi, Bangalore & Mysore, I am back to where it all started from - Kolkata. My favorite things - Food, travel, books and my two and half year old toddler son What is this blog about ? Sonia's musings is an attempt to channelize emotions through words and pictures hoping they touch a chord with my visitors.

29 thoughts on “A dollop of Bengal – Imambara (Murshidabad)”

  1. Though I’ve never heard of this place prior to this, I loved the pristine white of the place… contrasts well with the surroundings and the green.

    Godyears.net

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The pure brilliant white simply looks dazzling. The images show a magnificent structure. And wow! Soil brought from Mecca for a realistic experience of Hajj. That really makes one think of the difference between modern and medieval times. Just think transporting soil is no great deal these days. But it must have been quite a task in those days. Great article.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Islamic history is marred by violence and plundering but boy are they good at architecture. Imambara seems to have design similar to the Red Fort. I may be completely wrong but reading this suddenly made Red Fort pop up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So happy to see your comment. I do agree with you – the entire history of Murshidabad is soaked in blood and that’s why I exercise caution in what I write. The idea is to bring out the beauty of an unknown place and its hidden gems in terms of architecture, not to endorse the means to achieve it.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hazar duari seems more intriguing but you captured this place really well. The mosque sitting ahead makes for a perfect click indeed. Thanks for sharing. Didn’t know about this place at all.

    Liked by 1 person

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