Chota Imambara is the landmark of Lucknow. This monument is also known as Husseinabad Imambara in Lucknow as this place was the office of the erstwhile Husseinabad trust that owned the city once. Chota Imambara is an imposing monument located in the Old City area of Lucknow close to Chowk.
The story of Imambara is no less interesting than the Imambara itself.
It happened once in early 19th century that a persistent famine engulfed
Oudh. That famine broke the backs of lower strata and agriculture
labors. The then Nawab of Awadh named Muhammad Ali Shah commissioned
Chota Imambara under 'Food for Work' program initiated to bring respite
for the city populace. The monument that was erected in order to serve
as the mausoleum for Muhammad Ali Shah got completed in the year 1837.
Chota Imambara is also sometimes referred as 'The Palace of Light' in
British History Chronicles because its decorations during festive
The building has been designed on the Charbagh pattern with a stream
running through the middle of the garden. The design pattern used in the
monument is Indo-Islamic in nature but has rather a generous dose of
Persian crafts. The interiors have some very good Arabic calligraphy and
glassworks. The chandeliers used to decorate the interior of this
building were brought from Belgium. Thousands of laborers worked on the
project to gain famine relief.
Chota Imambara has a gilded white dome and several turrets and
minarets. The tombs of Muhammad Ali Shah and other members of his family
are inside the Imambara itself. Outside the Imambara is the watchtower
called Satkhanda or 'tower of seven stories'. It is interesting to know
that though it is called so, it has only four stories as the
construction of the tower was abandoned when Ali Shah died.