The present Nizamat Imambara
was built in 1847 AD by Nawab Nazim Mansoor Ali Khan Feradun Jah, who succeeded his father Nawab Nazim Humayun Jah in Murshidabad, India. It was built after the fires of 1842 and 1846 which burnt the wooden Imambara built by Nawab Siraj ud-Daulah. This Imambara is the largest one in India and Bengal.
Old Nizamat Imambara
The old Nizamat Imambara was built by Nawab Siraj ud-Daulah in the Nizamat Fort Area. He bought bricks and mortar, and laid the foundation of the building in his own hands. The plot where this Imambara had been built was dug to a depth of 6 feet. It was refilled with the holy soil of Mecca so that the poor people of the Muslim community could experience the Holy pilgrimage of Mecca.
The original Imambara which was made of wood caught fire first in 1842 AD and was partly destroyed. Then again it was completely destroyed when a fire ragged the Imambara on December 23, 1846. That day the Nawabs along with the Europeans threw a party to celebrate the weaning ceremony of five year old Hassan Ali Mirza. The Imambara caught fire at midnight due to the fireworks left off and completely burnt down. Nothing was saved except the Madina Mosque.
New Nizamat Imambara
The old Madina Mosque was left in its place where it stood in the old Imambara and a new one was constructed in the newly constructed Imambara. The old Madina Mosque can still be seen standing between the Imambara and the Hazarduari Palace near the Bacchawali Tope and the Clock Tower and is fondly known with its old name, Madina; this is the reason why many confuse this mosque with the new Madina inside the Imambara.
The new Imambara was built by in 1847 AD by Nawab Nazim Mansoor Ali Khan Feradun Jah under the supervision and direction of Sadeq Ali Khan just opposite the Hazarduari Palace at a cost of more than INR 6 lacs. The main entrance just parallel to the north face of the Hazarduari Palace faces south. The masons took only 11 months to finish the construction as in addition to their wages they also received food which allowed them to work day and night. The present Imambara is 680 feet long, however the breadths vary. The central block that has the Madina is 300 feet long. It had been built slightly some feet away from the site of the old building in north. The Imambara stands just opposite to the Hazarduari Palace and is situated just on the banks of the Bhagirathi River. The gap between the shores of the river and the west wall of the Imambara may be a few feet.
This grand Imambara is the largest one in Bengal and India.This Imambara has been divided into three large quadrangle as discussed below:
- The central quadrangle has the Madina Mosque and the Memberdalan.
- The eastern quadrangle has the Nowbat Khana.
- The western quadrangle has a two-storied Mosque. The mosque stands on the Mint Ghat and rises almost from the Bhagirathi River as the distance may be a few feet.