Hooghly Imambara, an architectural brilliance in Islam style of architecture of the 19th century, is a holy shrine not only to the people of West Bengal but also to the entire Muslim community of India. Hooghly Imambara dignifies the western bank of river Bhagirathi-Hooghly with waning opulence whispering the story of its glorious past.
Construction of Hooghly Imambara
Hooghly Imambara was originally set up by an eminent Persian merchant Muhammad Aga Motahar in 1717 A.D. He is supposed to have arrived at Hooghly in the very first decade of the 18th century with his salt business. Aga Motahar established a simple one-storied building on the land of present-day Imambara with the aim of residing with his family for the rest of his life. Being a rich person he probably maintained a sophisticated lifestyle.
Built in the year 1861, on the land given by Mir Keramat Ali, this huge building reflects the glorious past of Bengal architecture. The entrance of the building has a huge tower, approximately 150 ft tall, with a clock placed in between these towers. Mir Keramat Ali bought this clock from England, at a price of Rs. 11,721.
Grand Clock Tower in Hooghly Imambara
There is a grand clock in Hooghly Imambara, which signifies the sway of time and history. The huge clock with two dials, placed on both side of the towers is run by a single central machine and is working perfectly till date. The clock is winded once a week and needs two persons to carry the key, which itself weigh around 20 Kg. Just above the central unit, three bells of different sizes are present weighing around 80 "mon', 40 "mon" and 20 "mon" respectively. The small and medium sized bells chimes every 15 minutes and the bigger one every 1 hour. A mosque is situated at the northern corner of the building, the walls of which are decorated with scriptures from Quran.
Prayer Hall in Hooghly Imambara
Inside the mosque, there is a beautiful prayer hall called "Jari Dalan", the interior ceilings of which are decorated with lanterns and chandeliers made of Belgian glass. The floors are made of high quality granite and marvels. At the centre of this prayer hall lays a wooden throne where the Moulabis (Muslim priests) usually sit and recite sermons from the holy Quran. But only male devotees are allowed to sit in this prayer room. For female devotees, there is a complete separate room called "Bibi Khana" from where they can sit and pray or listen to holy sermons. Now This prayer Hall is under renovation.
Fountain in Hooghly Imambara
There is a beautiful fountain is situated at the center of the main building compound. At the southern part of the building lie the grave of Haji Moahasin and his family members. People believed that there is an underway passage that leads to the Ganga River. It is also believed that this passage was once used to escape from the external attacks.