Lucknow is full of stellar examples of Nawabi architecture, but there are few that compare to the Chhota Imambara, built by Nawab Muhammad Ali Shah in 1838. The Nawab’s mausoleum, as well as his mother’s, are present here.

The complex comprises of the tomb of Princess Zinat Algiya, the daughter of the king of Awadh, a watchtower known as Satkhanda, a ceremonial gateway called Naubat Khana, and the Husainabad mosque. The Chhota Imambara boasts a gilded dome, several turrets and beautiful chandeliers. It comprises five doorways and Islamic verses have been carved into its exterior walls. There are two main halls, namely Shenasheen and Azakhana. The latter is embellished with gilt-edged mirrors and colourful stuccos, as well as exquisite chandeliers that are said to have been brought from Belgium. It is because of these lamps and crystal chandeliers that this iconic building is also known as the palace of lights. 

The Imambara stands to the west of the Bara Imambara, with the exterior of the building boasting a golden dome with fine calligraphy. It is at its finest during festivals and other special occasions, when the whole structure is lit up and glimmers like a jewel.

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