After Taj Mahal, now Bada Imambara, built by Awadh’s Nawab Asaf-ud-Daulah, finds no mention in Uttar Pradesh tourism booklet

To make matters worse, the Imambara, also doesn’t even feature prominently in the calendar for 2018. A small photograph has been included along with many other monuments in the form of a collage.

Published: 30th October 2017 08:16 AM  |   Last Updated: 30th October 2017 09:22 AM   |  A+A-

The Bada Imambara, a shrine built by Awadh’s Nawab, Asaf-ud-Daulah, draws visitors in droves and is a must-visit for tourists.

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: It is not just the Taj Mahal that does not feature in the latest Uttar Pradesh tourism booklet. Lucknow’s landmark monument, the Asafi Imambara, popularly known as the Bada Imambara, also does not figure in the same booklet.

To make matters worse, the Imambara, also doesn’t even feature prominently in the calendar for 2018. A small photograph has been included along with many other monuments in the form of a collage.

The Bada Imambara, a shrine built by Awadh’s Nawab, Asaf-ud-Daulah, draws visitors in droves and is a must-visit for tourists.

The Taj Mahal not featuring in the tourism booklet titled Apaar Sambhavnaye or ‘Boundless Possibilities’, released by the UP Tourism Department had kicked up a huge controversy a few weeks back. But the irony of the Imambara not finding place in the tourism booklet cannot be missed. 

More than two centuries ago, Nawab Asaf-ud-Daulah had donated a piece of land to members of a Hindu religious sect, Gorakhpanthis. It was on this land in Uttar Pradesh that the Gorakhnath Math was built, around which the Gorakhpur city came up. Now, the UP government, headed by the chief priest of the Math, CM Yogi Adityanath, has refused to give due recognition to a monument built by the Nawab. 

Disappointed with the turn of events, Sahebzada Wasif Mirza, a descendant of Nawab Asaf-ud-Daulah, who lives in Kolkata, has written a letter to the UP chief minister, requesting him to accord due respect to the monument.

The 83-year-old Nawab said it appeared that the Imambara was being denied the glory it deserved just because it had religious significance for the Muslims. Pointing out that Awadh’s Nawabs were truly secular rulers, the letter says: “I would request you to be fair to history and in the true Indian tradition… order the department concerned to include the Asafi Imambara as a great tourist destination of UP.”

Historians also expressed shock at the decision to exclude the Imambara from the tourism booklet and the calendar. Lucknow-based historian Ravi Bhatt said: “Bada Imambara should have been included in the state’s tourism booklet because of its historical significance and architectural beauty. However, the magnificence of the monument is such that it can attract lakhs of visitors on its own. It does not need the promotion of the state government.”

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