Chhota Imambara
Chhota Imambara
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4.0
4.0 of 5 bubbles318 reviews
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101
Very good
156
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JoyBose
Bengaluru, India377 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2020
This imambara was built in early 1800s by the nephew of the Nawab who built the bada imambara. Entry is Rs 20 for Indians and hiring a guide costs Rs 200. It is worth hiring a guide to understand the intricacies of this building and its history and significance.

This complex comprises the main building, the Taj mahal replica tomb of the nawab's daughter, the shahi hamam for baths and the "jawab" of identical building to the daughter's tomb. The main building has the shrines of the emperor and his mother.

The main tomb is a holy building, of Shia muslim holy significance. It is of more significance during the muharram procession, when people of all religions can get the holy blessing.

One must take off the shoes before entering the main imambara tomb. It costs Rs 2 per shoe to keep them.

The shahi hamam is where the nawab used to bath, it had arrangements for both hot and cold bath, in Persian style of hamam.

There is also near the entrance a fish structure denoting the emblem of the Lucknow nawabs.

The architecture of the main buildings and white tomb and its jabab are most beautiful.
Written 24 November 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

gpradeepshenoy
Bengaluru, India1,075 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2021 • Solo
A walk of 15 -20 minutes from bara Imambara through roomi darwaza is required to reach chota Imambara. Or there are auto's/tongas available in front of bara Imambara which can be hired to reach chota Imambara.

Entrance ticket for chota Imambara can be taken at bara Imambara (Rs 50 combined ticket for visiting bara Imambara, bowli,bhul bhulaya & picture gallery) or taken at chota Imambara (I think rs 20 is the cost of entrance ticket to chota Imambara if taken at chota Imambara).

Guide charges are fixed and displayed at entrance. I did not take guide here.

Chota Imambara complex has a hamam and mausoleum too.

One cannot enter inside the mausoleums here . Footwear has to removed only when we want to enter Chota Imambara. Chota Imambara is beautiful. On the day I went photography even with mobile phone was not allowed inside chota Imambara because of Muharram.

A beautiful place not be be missed while in Lucknow.
Written 24 August 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ShikshaC
Gurugram (Gurgaon), India2,047 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020 • Couples
Chota Imambra is a religious place and thus women are required to cover their heads inside. You get scarfs at the entry in case you do not have something to cover your head. The complex has a worship area, replicas of Taj Mahal and a shahi imam (royal bath) within the complex. You can take a guide who will give you details about the outer complex. There is another guide inside the worship area.
Written 2 January 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

silva s
Kolkata (Calcutta), India235 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2022
We do not know why everyone discouraged us to visit this place. we visited in afternoon and it was a nice experience. it is like a hidden gem. the intricate work on the imambara is a treat for eye for heritage lovers. it also has exquisite collection of candelabra.
Written 31 January 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

flyingwish
Westminster, MD166 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2022
Most visitors skip the chotta imambara. They should not. I found it to be equally impressive as its big brother and it is located less than a Km away. A simple and cheap rickshaw ride can be done between the two monuments.
Written 30 July 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

James c
Oklahoma City, OK381 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Solo
The visit here was part of my tour of lucknow. This is smaller than the bara imanbara but more colorful with its gardens and inside decor and is not as old. The gardens are typical islamic style with fountains in the middle but were not operating. The inside is a mix of European and Indian styles. I enjoyed and don't skip waist in lucknow if you're not on a tour
Written 15 May 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Anuradha Manjul
Lucknow, India405 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2019 • Family
When a tourist, a history lover thinks of various destinations in India, does the name Lucknow ring a bell? One may have heard of Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh for various political reasons, but Lucknow as a tourist destination or secret haven for history lovers is a rarity.

A city which played an important role in India’s first war of independence; the revolt of 1857 (for freeing India from the clutches of Colonial Rule), a city which has traditionally been known for its rich cultural heritage, a city which was known for its Adab (good manners) and Tehzeeb (good breeding, politeness). Capital of erstwhile Awadh or Oudh, Lucknow sure deserves a bigger chunk in the tourist map of India and more space in the heart of history lovers.

It is unfortunate that the Tourism department and the government is not keen on focussing in this area. The city has everything which can make it an ideal tourist spot – good connectivity with all the major cities in India and the world (due to the presence Chaudhary Charan Singh International Airport), hotels for all ranges - from luxury to budget, you name it and the city has it, major international hotel chains like Taj group, Marriottt, Radisson, Hilton etc. are present here, ample transportation options in the city, excellent shopping opportunity, food joints dishing out some mouth-watering local cuisine and yes a rich cultural and historical heritage. What else you can ask for?

In this series we would talk about some the interesting, must visit destinations in Lucknow. Have just half a day to spend in Lucknow, don’t miss out on Bada Imambada, Chota Imambada, La Martiniere boys and the British Residency.

We would start our exploring with Chota Imambada or Hussainabad Imamabara.

Imambada is a building used by Shia Muslims, the practitioners of Shia Islam (2nd largest branch of Islam) for the purpose of Azadari – azadari, the practices/rituals related to mourning and lamentation commemorating the martyrdom of Imam Hussain (Husayn ibn Ali) grandson of Prophet Mohammed in the battle of Karbala, which takes place in the period of Muharram.

Nawab was a title given by the Mughal emperors to semi-autonomous Muslim rules of princely states. The Nawabs of Awadh (Oudh) were Shia Muslims and belonged to a dynasty of Persian origin from Nishapur, Iran. Saadat Khan, Burhan-ul-Mulk (Mohammad Amin) was a Persian nobleman who was appointed the governor of Awadh (Oudh) in 1722 AD. His court was in Faizabad near Lucknow. The weakening of Mugal Empire in Delhi gave him an advantage in carving out the state of Awadh (around 1724 AD) with its capital both at Faizabad and Lucknow.

Nawab Muhammad Ali Shah (1837-1842) built the Hussainabad Imamabara (1838), which is popularly known as Chota (small) Imambada. It is located in the Heritage Zone of Lucknow; after the Bada (big) Imambada (Asafi Imambada), cross the majestic Rumi Darwaaza (gate), on the same road after almost ½ a kilometre on the left.

There are many Imambadas in Lucknow, each Imambada in Lucknow has different architectural style. This holds true for Hussainabad Imambada also. True to its name Chota Imambada is not large in size. After Satkhanda, there is a 3 storeyed gate (made of brick, painted in white), the boundary of the Imambada start just after that, but not recognisable now as there are many commercial establishments. There is a sign installed by the Tourism department which announces that one has arrived at Chota Imambada – there is a small grilled enclosure which leads to a non-descript looking entrance.

There is an entry charge for this monument. One can either use the combined entry ticket (purchased at Bada Imambada) or pay an entry charge for Rs. 20.00. The females need to cover their heads while inside this monument. Head scarves are available on rent at the entry.

On entering through this gate (which is 3 storeyed) the first thing which is visible is a small arched gateway (not in use), on top of which is a bronze fish (with open fins- making it look like a flying fish). This is an anemometer (a scientific instrument used for measuring wind speed). The use of fish figure could be because the emblem of Nawabs of Awadh (Oudh) was two fishes (mahi muratib – the order of the fish).

The second unique thing which one can see are two life size female figurines (European influence is clearly visible here) on either sides holding chains which are connected to spikes at the top of the gate one had entered. This is another scientific device – this is a lightening conductor device and the female figurines are serving as earthing equipment.

The non-descript gateway through which one had entered, from this side is an architectural marvel, 3 storeyed; painted in white, an example of a mix of Islamic and European architectural style. The top most level reminded me of many Gothic churches I have seen. Once inside one can see the beauty of the gateway. Decorated with Islamic calligraphy and symbols in black this is just not a gateway – it’s the Naubat Khana.

The Chota Imambada has many different structures in the complex.

There is a small waterbody in the complex which starts right after the gateway with Fish shaped anemometer and ends just before the platform of Azakhana (the main congregation hall). This water body in a way divides the complex into right part and left part. There are small iron bridges to cross over (now not in use).

A structural balance has been created on both sides.

The first building on the right is a small mosque, again painted in white. It is built on a high platform, again decorated with Islamic Calligraphy and symbols.

One look at the next building and one can easily realise the love or impact Taj Mahal had on the Nawab and the architects. It’s an attempted miniature replica of Taj Mahal again painted in white (no this building is not made in marble, but of Lakhori bricks, plastered and painted in white). There are 4 graves in this building – that of Princess Zinat Asiya, daughter of Nawab Muhammad Ali Shah or as many would call him the 3rd king of Oudh (Awadh), Nawab’s son, son-in-law and one lady from royal family.

Just opposite to this building on right there is a building on left which is popularly known as ‘Jawaab’ or answer or reply. It’s an attempted mirror image of the building on the right – thus in a way reply to the building on the right. This building served as the Treasury.

Then one can see the Duldul Khana (stable for Duldul). Duldul is a spotless white (it has been referred as glowing by many writers – but we didn’t see that glow) horse which is a living replica of Zuljanah – the faithful mount of Imam Hussain Ali (grandson of prophet Mohammad). This is linked to the martyrdom of Imam Hussain in the battlefield of Karbala, the main theme of mourning rituals of Moharram. The horse in Lucknow remains mainly in isolation and is brought out in public during Moharram celebrations. This horse in Lucknow unlike other areas is especially raised for this purpose, its upkeep is paid by Hussianabad & Allied Trust (HAT) which was set up in 1838 by the Nawab himself. The horse has and would never be mounted. (P.S. – the horse is replaced on its death, there is no progeny).

The next structure which lies right next to Azakhana is the kitchen area, we could see logs and logs of wood. The inside looks like a simple old style kitchen area with good drainage area.

The Azakhana or the main congregation hall is the most beautiful building. It’s located on a raised platform and one has to climb stairs to reach the courtyard. Entry with shoes is not allowed – there are shoe stands on the left side and one has to pay a fee of Rs. 2.00 (current rate) for the services. The single level structure has gold plated dome. The exterior of this building is beautifully decorated in Islamic Calligraphy which is painted exquisitely in white on a black background. This is one of the most unique feature of this building. The Azakhana is divided into two halls and a Shehnasheen (a platform where Zarih, a replica of Zarih of Imam Hussian, is kept).

The interior of the building is in shades of green bordered with white. Once inside the hall area one is transformed into a magical land – with numerous exotic chandeliers which had been brought from Belgium (way back in the time of Nawab), mirrors (brought all the way from Europe) and crystal glass lamp stands. It’s because of these the imambada has also been called as Palace of Lights by various European writers.

The Imambada also served as a mausoleum for the Nawab and his mother who are buried side by side inside the Azakhana.

There are many antiquities which one can find inside the Azakhana; the royal throne of Nawab Muhammad Ali Shah, his crown (similarities with European crowns), a Parisian clock, a fish tank which had travelled all the way from Europe, Quran verses written in Islamic calligraphy in the shape of tiger, horse, bird etc. and many other such artefacts. Other than these one can find numerous Tazias (a representation of tombs of Imam Hussain and Hasan, grandsons of Prophet Mohammed, used in Moharram processions), made up of ivory, silver, sandalwood, wax etc. each a beautiful work of exquisite craftsmanship.

One would find many people inside the Azakhana who would be willing to act as guides, they would say that they would require no fee for that, one may pay whatever one feels good. It’s entirely up to an individual to decide if one wants to go ahead with these self-styled guides or not. We refused and post our refusal were told that we couldn’t do photography inside the Azakhana (though there is no official notification for the same). On being questioned on this, they replied if you have any issues you can call up the office. We informed that we had taken photographs earlier also, they told that earlier it was allowed, now it is not. (Again there is no official intimation for the same).

The Hussainabad Imambara or the Chota Imambada is under Hussianabad & Allied Trust (HAT). Unlike the Bada Imambada, where the restoration, repair etc. is under the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), HAT manages the affairs here. This is has resulted in improper restoration. There are numerous solar lights installed (by various individuals with ugly looking boards announcing their names), but the installations and the wires etc. are done in such a way that they have marred the beauty of the monument.

This monument is worth a visit for many things; to understand the historical importance of an era where the East India Company was gaining its control over India, to understand the impact of European architecture & traditions over the royalty in Awadh/Oudh, to understand the impact of religion over period architecture, importance of proper restoration to save heritage etc.

Few things to understand: please don’t expect this monument to be similar to the Mughal monuments, it’s neither comparable in architecture finery nor comparable in its grandeur. But one needs to admire the craftsmanship - the monument is built using locally available Lakhori bricks (Lakhori bricks were kiln baked, only 19 mm thick and normally about 10 cm x 15 cm. These bricks because of their small size were extensively used for creating finer details on the wall and column surfaces). Religious activities still happen in the complex – this complex plays an important role during the month of Moharram, so one needs to respect the religious sentiments.
Written 8 January 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

sid54321
Lucknow, India152 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2015 • Friends
Nice and cool building, built by a nawab, 1 km from hazarat ganj. Shara Ganj a big mall with PVR cinemas is adjoing place to hangout if you do not like tis place.
Written 5 February 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Manjusree N
Manjusree N
Nainital, India1,855 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2015 • Solo
This monument displays a mixture of Persian and Islamic structural designs.built in the year 1837 it looks astonishingly awesome with its golden dome,gold-edged mirrors and silver throne, very neatly designed monument where a placid stream runs through middle of the garden shows the miracles of brilliance and structural grandeur.Interiors are ornamented with Arabic calligraphy and intricate glass work beautiful to watch Belgium chandeliers.It looks beautiful to watch in the night time on the occasion of Muharam festive.
Tips- Non-Muslims are not permitted to enter the Chota Imambara mosque.
Written 11 November 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Anil K
Mumbai, India108 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2015
Why are the Lucknowis and the local authorities not proud of there heritage? They should preserve it or they will lose it forever. This Imambara is surrounded by filth!!! It puts you off!
Written 8 March 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Chhota Imambara - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024) - Tripadvisor

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