Awe-inspiring historical Hooghly Imambara, a Shia Institution, West Bengal

.. Hooghly Imambara - HooghlyYouTube

.. Hooghly Imambara - HooghlyCourtyard TripAdvisor
Hooghly Imambara  (Imam—angel,  bara —the  building  to  live  in), a Shia Muslim congregation hall and mosque in Hooghly, West Bengal, India, was built by  Muhammad Mohsin, a devout Muslim. Located on the western side of the Bagirathi-Hoogly river,  the Imambara  is a nice piece of building, an architectural splendor of the 19th century.  It is an amazing  2-story building  with a tall, attractive clock tower over the entrance gate. The interior of the mosque is quite impressive with intricate designs and Quranic  texts  nicely  engraved on the walls. The added attractions in the interior parts are decorations in marbles, candles holders and hanging lanterns.

.. Hooghly Imambara - HooghlyAlamy

Built on the the doorway in the middle of twin towers, the vaunted clock attracts the attention of the visitors and the towns people. The height of both towers is 150 feet and the top can be accessed by a circular stairway comprising 152 steps. The clock has two dials with three bells, each weighing 80 mds, 40 mds and 30 mds. Smaller bells ring at an interval of 15 minutes and bigger bell rings to signify one hour. An interesting feature of this huge clock is it needs two people to wind the clock  for roughly half an hour every week The clock that was made in London by M/s Black & Hurray Co., has a huge key weighing 20 kg  to wind it and it means the winding could be done by two able-bodied persons. Thanks to one Syed Keramat Ali, a noted architect, who bought it for 11,721,00 in 1852.  He had been  a Mutwalli, taking care of the trust created by Mohsin and decided to construct the Imambara. Though the decision was taken in 1841 after the Governor General's visit, the work began in earnest in August, 1845 and took 20 long years to complete this well embellished structure. The cost of construction was roughly Rs. Rs. 8.5 lakhs according to Hasmat Ali who wrote a biography on Mohsin. Keramat Ali handed over his authority in 1875 to Mauli Syed Ashraf Uddin, the eldest son of Nawab Amir Ali, who being pious and dedicated,  formed a committee in 1876 to run the Imambara and the trust. As long as the Imambara lasts so long  Mohamed Mohsin, a noble soul will be remembered by the patrons of this religious place. 

.. Hooghly Imambara -

The present Imambara was built on an old site that had a small one story structure built by a rich Persian  merchant one Muhammad Aga  Motahar  in  1717  A.D. He was in salt business  and was pious. For personal reasons, he dedicated the structure to almighty Allah and subsequently his sons-in-law added additional structures which later came to be called Imambara by the Muslim community living in this part of the town. The present Imambara does  not   have any trace  of  the  older  buildings and, it is believed, was built apparently on the debris of older Imambara.

 In 'A Statistical Account of Bengal', published in 1896, W.W. Hunter writes about this beautiful Imambara, a religious institution,, “The   principal   building   in   Hugly   is   the   Imambara,   a   Shiah   institution   for perpetuating  the  memory  of  the  twelve  Imams,  constructed  out  of  funds  which had  accumulated  from  an  endowment  originally  left  by  a  wealthy  Muhammadan gentle man, Muhammad Mohsin.

A well-known tourist Babu Bholanath Chandra  mentioned about this Imambara in his book, ''Travel of a Hindoo'', “One of the noblest buildings in Bengal is the Emambara of  Hooghly.  The  courtyard is  spaciousand  grand.  The through  in  the  middle  is  a  little-sized  tank.  The  two-storied  buildings,  all  around,  are  neat  and  elegant.  The great  hall  has  a  royal  magnificence.But  it  is  profusely adorned  in  the  Mahomedan  taste  with  chandeliers,  and lanterns,  and  wall-shades  of  all  the  coloursof  rainbow. The  surface  of  the  walls  is  pained  in  blue  and  red inscriptions   from   the   Koran.   Nothing   can   be   more gorgeous than the doors of the gateway. They are richly glided all over, and upon them areinscribed, in golden letters, the date and history of the Musjeed.''

Hooghly Imambara Justdial
Hooghly ImambaraFlickr
Hooghly ImambaraThe Concrete Paparazzi
This great monument is not well maintained and the color on the outer and inner walls is faded in many places as they are not white-washed regularly. The monument section of the West Bengal Government should take special interest in this dying monument of architectural beauty and see to it that it is restored back to old glory and splendor so that the future generation will get immense benefit out of this historical structure.  Imambara is in a walking distance from the Hooghly Ghat Station.