A Walk Through History - Metiabruz: Visual Art: Flavours of Cities, Towns or Villages

Nishi Pulugurtha

Nishi Pulugurtha

In the summer of 1856, a steamer docked at Calcutta. Aboard this steamer was Wajid Ali Shah, the Nawab of Awadh who was on his way to London to seek an audience with the Queen. What was to have been just a halt became the place where lived till his death. Living on the banks of the Hooghly must have reminded the nawab of his days in Lucknow. A turn of events saw that he could neither make his forward journey nor go back to Lucknow. 

It is in Metiabruz in Calcutta that he lived, creating a mini Lucknow or a mini Awadh, a home away from home. Tailors, shopkeepers, paanwallahs, and many more came from Awadh to Metiabruz. Cockfights, kabootar baazi, kite flying, tailoring, kathak, thumri and Awadhi cuisine, all followed in the Nawab's footsteps to Metiabruz. 

Little remains of the glory of the past. The Shahi Masjid on Irongate Road still remains and is in use, a shadow of its glorious days. The Sibtainainabad Imambara, an imposing structure, relatively well maintained, houses the grave of Wajid Ali Shah. Right next to it is Umda Imambara, possibly built by one of the Nawab’s wives. The Royal Family Burial Ground is beside the Hindustan Unilever factory. The Bait-un-Nijat Imambara is in terrible state now, a mere shadow of its glorious days. What was once upon a time the Shahikhana is now a series of warehouses, nothing of the glory of the Nawab remaining there. Nothing of Wajid Ali's zoo remains. The Qasr-ul-Buka is also referred to as the “ladies' imambara” is probably the first imambara to be constructed here. 

Taking a walking tour of Metiabruz, listening to wonderful tales about its history and exploring the place was a fascinating experience. The culture, the history, the stories and its wonderful heritage remain with me, a part of the history and heritage of my city.

The Bait-un-Nijat Imambara in a bad shape now

Another ruin near the Bait-un-Nijat Imambara

This was the location of the Shahikhana. Now warehouses dot the place

The warehouses and the group out on the walk

Qasrul Buqa Imambara

The Shahi Masjid

Inside the Shahi Masjid complex

Another view of the Shahi Masjid

Inside Sibtainabad Imambara

Sibtainabad Imambara

Grave of Wajid Ali Shah inside Sibtainabad Imambara

Inside Sibtainabad Imambara

Sibtainabad Imambara

Inside Umda Imambara

Umda Imambara

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