What is Imambara?
An Imambara is a building with a common hall where people assemble for mourning congregations(locally known as ‘ Majlis’. Imambara is different from the mosque because it’s a basically ‘ Shia Muslim’ congregation hall, but one can offer ‘ Namaj’ in Imambara. It is extensively used during ‘Muharram’.
After listening to the word Imambara the picture of ‘Bara Imambara'(situated in Lucknow), comes to our mind but there is an equally beautiful, magnificent Imambara located in Hooghly, a district of West Bengal.
Hooghly Imambara is a 159-year-old structure. It is situated on the western bank of the Hooghly River in Chinsurah. Firstly Imambara was constructed by Aga Motaher but later on, the present Imambara was built under the funding of Mohammad Mohsin on the debris of the older one.
It has taken 20 years to complete the structure, construction was started in the year 1841 and completed in 1861. It is a two-storied building with a wide entrance, consisting of various rooms. There is a ‘Zaridalan’(prayer hall) at the east end of the building with a black and white checkered marble floor. There are five elegant ‘Tazias’ kept inside the ‘Zaridalan’.
Photo Credit: Outlook India
Main attractions of the Imambara
- The prime attraction of Imambara is the grand clock tower of Imambara. The clock tower is placed in between the twin towers. The height of each tower is around 150 ft and it takes 152 steps to reach its top. The gigantic clock has two dials with three bells, running by a single central machine. Once it was considered to be the world’s second-largest clock after Big Ben. The most striking fact is the clock still works perfectly.
- The next most attractive thing is the Sun Dial. The sundial is constructed on a concrete table with fixed hands. It shows the accurate time.
- The rectangular tank located in the middle of the courtyard attracts the eyes. There is a fountain in the middle of the tank.
- The next attraction is the beautiful lanterns and chandeliers hung from the roof. It is made of Belgian glasses.
- In the backyard, the wall of the ‘Zaridalan’ is engraved with the last will of Haji Md. Mohsin.
- Last but not the least, the spectacular view of Ganga, surrounding areas, and sunset from the top of the tower.
Timings for Visiting the Imambara
- 8 am to 6 pm from April to August.
- 8 am to 5 pm from September to March.
The entry tickets are available just at the entrance of the gate. It costs RS. 10/-.
How to reach
One can take any suburban train to Bandel station from Howrah/ Sealdah railway stations. Chinsurah Hooghly is well connected by roads to any part of West Bengal.
You can click pictures on the premises but photography inside the Zaridalan is strictly prohibited.
Some unknown facts about Imambara
- It is believed by local folks that if two lovers or a married couple will look at each other through the openings of the twin towers, it will bring good luck to them.
- It is believed that the fountain of the rectangular tank has an underground connection to the Hooghly River.
The boat ride from Dakshineswar to Belur Math is very famous in Kolkata but I highly recommend everyone to take a boat ride from Bandel Church to Imambara. From my personal experience, I can say that it’s way more beautiful, calming, and soothing. At least once in your lifetime, you should experience this boat ride.
Our next blog is going to be on one of the gemstones of Hooghly. That is one of the most underrated yet beautiful places to visit, so keep guessing and check in the next blog whether your guess was right or not…