Inside [Great] Imambara [compound], Lucknow.
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph with a view looking inside the Bara Imambara at Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh, taken by an unknown photographer in the 1880s, part of the Bellew Collection of Architectural Views. Lucknow on the Gomti river first attained prominence in the 15th century under the Sharqi sultans of Jaunpur. Later it was ruled by Mughal governors. By the 17th century it was a prosperous commercial centre, and continued to flourish from 1775-1856 as the capital of the independent Nawabs of Avadh (originally governors under the Mughals). The nawabs were great builders and patrons of the arts and attracted a variety of talent to their service which helped develop the city's culture. Imambaras were a significant type of religious building in Lucknow. The Nawabs were Shia Muslims and imambaras were buildings in which the ceremony of Muharram was conducted, in commemoration of the deaths of Ali and his sons Hussein and Hassan, and in which Shia tazias or shrines to Ali were stored. The most important Imambara in Lucknow is known as the Bara or Great Imambara, a colossal edifice built in the reign of Nawab Asafuddaulah, 1775-1797.