Near Sikandrabad, on the bank of the Gomti River, there is located a mausoleum – Shahnajaf Imambara that was built in the 19th century. It was the first king of the Awadh clan – Ghazi-ud-Din Haider, who constructed this historical site in Lucknow. He built the Imambara as a token of his devotion to Hazrat Ali, who was the son-in-law of Prophet Muhammad. Shah Najaf Imambara is a replica of Ghazi-ud-Din’s own tomb in Iraq. At present, Shahnajaf Imambara is one of the main tourist attractions in Lucknow mainly because of its historical significance and impressive architecture.
Near the Imambara, a house and a mosque for Mumtaz Mahal (his wife) were also constructed by Ghazi-ud-Din Haider. However, in the year 1913, the house was torn down to construct a road on the riverside. Inside the Imambara, there lie the remains of him as he wanted to be buried here. Along with that, the graves of his wives Mubarak Mahal, who died in 1849, Sarfaraz Mahal who died in 1878, and Mumtaz Mahal, who died in 1896. On 13th of Rajab (birthday of Hazrat Ali) and between 7th and 9th Muharram, the Imambara is beautifully decorated.
Most Lucknowites only know about two of the prominent Imambaras i.e., Bara Imambara and Chota Imambara. Matter of fact there is many more Imambaras in Lucknow. And one remarkable among them is Shahnajaf Imambara!
Imambaras are the holy places built for the avatars of Allah. Shanajaf Imambara was built by the first king of Awadh, Ghazi-ud-Din Haider, in the memory of Hazrat Ali, the son-in-law of the prophet of Islam, Hazrat Mohammad.
The path from the main door to the Imambara gate is made of white marble. Lakhori bricks and almond lime have been used mainly in their design.
As we entered the building, the shapes and textures of the verandah kept drawing our eyes. We were surprised to see that our city of Lucknow reflects such great wonders of history and architecture.
Entering inside we found some walkways and doors and a long way to the verandah. There was a large hall under the center dome of Imambara, where the remains of Ghazi-ud-din Haider have been kept at his will. The hall was very beautiful and decorated with the artistry of the mirrors.
Apart from Ghazi-ud-din Haider, his three queens, Sarfaraz Mahal, Mubarak Mahal, and Mumtaz Mahal has tombs here.
The Shahnajaf Imambara is a replica of Hazrat Ali’s burial at Najaf in Iraq. The building is settled near river Gomti, on Rana Pratap Marg in Lucknow, and is made up of Lakhauri bricks. The most remarkable landmark today would be Saharaganj Mall which is in front of the Shahnajaf Imambara.
Some important points
- It is very nice in the evening around here, you can go for a walk.
- There is a beautiful garden around the building.
- There is adequate parking.
- Take special care of your things.
- This is a legacy, so you are requested to help keep it clean.
- The surrounding gardens have a walk option. The fresh breeze of the evening will erase all your fatigue.
Entering inside you can see some mesmerizing pathways and a long stretch of doors and verandas. Reaching the center of Imambara, there is a hall under the dome where the remains of Ghazi-ud-Din Haider were put as per his wish.
The hall is beautiful and decorated with lots of glass artistry so as to reflect maximum light. Apart from this, there were graves of the king’s three queens namely Sarfaraz Mahal, Mubarak Mahal, and Mumtaz Mahal.
Shah Najaf Imambara is also referred to as Karbala in Lucknow. Inside the main hall of the Imambara is the grave of Nawab Ghazi-ud-Din Haider, as it was his wish to be buried there. The graves of his three wives, Mumtaz Mahal, Mubarak Mahal, and Sarfaraz Mahal are also present in the Imambara complex.
The entrance of the Imambara leads the visitors to the main Hall through a picturesque garden, which is wonderfully decorated with a variety of flowers and plants. In the middle of the Imambara lies the wonderful silver mausoleum of Ghazi-ud-din Haider. The silver mausoleum is located very close to the gold tombs of Mumtaz Mahal, Mubarak Mahal, and Sarfaraz Mahal.
Shah Najaf Imambara – Today
The majestic Shah Najaf Imambara is beautifully illuminated and adorned with colorful lights on the birthday of Hazrat Ali. According to Muslim calendar, the birthday of Hazrat Ali falls on the 13th day of the Islamic month of Rajab.
The Imambara is open for visitors from 9:00 AM through 5:00 PM on all days of the week. The conservation of the monument is undertaken by the Hussainabad Trust Board and Archeological Survey of India (ASI).
In stark contrast, you would be able to see the city’s medieval heritage at the Shah Najaf Imambara on one side and a modelesque view of the Sahara Ganj Mall across the street.