Shah Najaf Imambara may not be as grand as the other two Imambaras in Lucknow – the Asafi or Bara Imambara and the Hussainabad or Chota Imambara, nevertheless it transports you to a world which reflects the eclectic past of Lucknow. Fewer tourists being aware of the place, it is an island of serenity just next to the typical trappings of the modern world – chaotic traffic and a huge mall.
In 1816, the Nawab of Awadh Ghazi-ud-Din Haider built Shah Najaf Imambara at a place called Paltan Ghat on the banks of river Gomti, as a token of his devotion to Caliph Hazrat Ali, the husband of Fatima, the favourite daughter of Prophet Mohammed. The white domed structure is said to be a replica of Hazrat Ali’s mausoleum at the city of Najaf in modern Iraq. The rear of the Imambara which faces the river.
Shah Najaf Imambara is also called Karbala, because within its main hall lie the mortal remains of its builder, Ghazi-ud-Din Haider, who wished to be buried here. It also contains the graves of his wives, Mubarak Mahal (a European), Sarfaraz Mahal and Mumtaz Mahal . Ghazi-ud-din Haider’s silver tomb is flanked by the tombs of his wives on either side and the golden tomb is that of Mubarak Mahal.The hall is beautifully decorated with chandeliers and a lot of memorabilia relating to the Nawabi era. You can also see the ‘ tazia’s - intricate designs of wood, bamboo and silver paper, which are carried during the celebrations of Muharam. Enjoy a leisurely stroll in its passages which offer a great view of the Gomti river. There are no designated guides unlike Bara Imambara. One of the caretakers showed us around. He informed us that the Shah Najaf Imambara presents a spectacular view when it is decorated and illuminated on important occasions.
A nice place to enjoy some moments of tranquility.