Nizamat Imambara, Murshidabad
The largest Shia congregation hall in India, Nizamat Imambara was built by the Nawab of Bengal during 1847. The building was constructed atop an older Imambara, which was destroyed by a fire in 1846. The building’s design speaks of a fine cross between Islamic and European styles.
The Nizamat Imambara is a Shia Muslim congregation hall in Murshidabad, India. The present Nizamat Imambara was built in 1847 AD by Nawab Nazim Mansur Ali Khan.
The new Imambara was built in 1847 by Nawab Nazim Mansur Ali Khan under the supervision and direction of Sadeq Ali Khan just opposite the Hazarduari Palace at a cost of more than ₹ 6 lacs. The main entrance just parallel to the north face of the Hazarduari Palace faces south. The masons took only 11 months to finish the construction as in addition to their wages they also received food which allowed them to work day and night. The present Imambara is 680 feet long, however the breadths vary. The central block that has the Madina is 300 feet long. It had been built slightly some feet away from the site of the old building in north. The Imambara stands just opposite to the Hazarduari Palace and is situated just on the banks of the Bhagirathi River. The gap between the shores of the river and the west wall of the Imambara may be a few feet.
The old Madina Mosque was left as it was and a new one was constructed in the newly constructed Imambara. The old Madina Mosque can still be seen standing between the new Imambara and the Hazarduari Palace near the Bacchawali Tope and the Clock Tower of Murshidabad.
An old photo on the main entrance of the Nizamat Imambara, just opposite the Hazarduari Palace.
The present Imambara has been divided into three large quadrangles as follows:
The central quadrangle has the Madina Mosque and the Memberdalan.
The eastern quadrangle has the Naubat Khana.
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 Memberdalan, which means hall for members, is a hall rather a corridor just beside the Madina Mosque. It has a pulpit and to recite an elegy. The hall also has a verandah. The hall, the verandah and its flooring, are all built with marble. The hall also has a spacious room for the ladies. The vat between this hall and the mosque had silver headed fountains. They worked after the singing of the elegies were over.
The entrance of the Naubat Khana is a huge gate built in Imamia style which is surrounded by this Naubat Khana.
The western quadrangle of the Imambara has a two storied mosque which stands on the Mint Ghat. It has stately pillars and spacious marble floors. The mosque has several magnificent chandeliers, most of them gifted to the Nawabs by the East India Company and several other magnificent equipments.