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Imambara Zadibal

One of the most ancient monuments of India, Imambara Zadibal sits proudly on the land of Jammu and Kashmir. It lies in Zadibal locality of Srinagar to the west side of the fort. Made in 1518, this shrine was erected by Kaji Chak, who was a minister with Sultan Mohammed Shah.

This two-storey building is one of the oldest historic places in Kashmir valley. Sitting on the lines of Persian architecture, this shrine looks antique and a hot tourist spot. From 1548 AD to 1872 AD, the building went ablaze eleven times and it was rebuilt each time. Of recently, the ancient Imambara was taken down in 2004 to restructure and rebuild the new structure of the shrine that stands today.

The shrine has the unbelievable capacity to accommodate more than 32,000 visitors at a time.     

Historic Factor

At the time Imambara Zadibal was constructed, it was a majestic building. Soon, it turned into a pride of Kashmir Valley. However, this shrine is witness to a horrific past. The structure was set ablaze the first time in 1548 AD. This was done by Mirza Hyder Kashgari Douglat due to communal violence. Later on in 1551, Daulat Chak took over the work to reconstruct this Imambara.

Once again in 1553, this structure was set ablaze by Zafar Kupawari for the second time. That was not all, the destruction soon followed in 1653, when the building was burnt down by adversaries of Ahlul Bayt during the reign of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan.

Later on, in 1682 AD, Imambara Zadibal went on fire again. This occurred at a time when Emperor Aurangzeb Alamgir was the ruler of the region. Then in the 1719 AD, the structure got burnt down a fifth time during the Mukhtawi Khan clash. For the sixth time, Imambara Zadibal caught fire in 1748 AD. This was done by mysterious enemies of Ahlul Bayt who set the building on fire once again in 1763.

During Afghan rule in Kashmir, on eve of Ashura event, Imambara Zadibal went into flames in June 1801. It was in July 1830 that this place saw a horrific massacre as Imambara Zadibal faced fire when Jammu and Kashmir was under Sikh rule. This same day, many Shias were cruelly murdered. This happened at Ali Park in Zadibal or Margibal.

Imambara Zadibal got reconstructed with the help of financial aid sent by a minister of Awadh’s Sultan Nasr-ud-din. This grant was sent to Haji Baqir Khan Irani, who passed on the duty to rebuild this structure to Hatim Mir.

However, in September 1872 the building was again set ablaze under the rule of Maharaja Ranbir Singh. He was a Dogra Ruler of J&K. This time the king gave away a financial aid of about Rs. 3 lakhs to renovate the Imambara to the current prosperous condition. Every time the shrine went through fire, followers of Prophet Mohammad and Ahlul Bayt were only more convinced to make it again.

Damage Caused by Fire

Immabara Zadibal carries a strong tale of destruction but each time the shrine was rebuilt again. From the period of Sultan Nazuk Shah by Mirza Douglat in 1548 AD to the reign of Maharaja Ranbir Singh in 1872 AD, this shine was burnt down around eleven times.

Architecture and Legacy

Inspired by Persian style architecture, Imambara Zadibal is a two-storey building. It is constructed of oriental bricks and this structure holds Maharaji bricks that cover an area of over 75 square meters. Antique and striking, this shrine has various sideways floor raisings known as Gulam Gardish. There’s a central ground level floor that’s called Pokhr. It also houses a large gallery of four gates.

Currently, the structure is under the supervision of All Jammu and Kashmir Shia Association, who take care of its maintenance. However, the structure that we see today is still undergoing construction work at a slow pace.

How to Reach

Reaching this shrine is easy because it is close to Srinagar, Badgam, Daachigam and Pulwama. All of these are popular tourist places. The nearest railway station for Zadibal is Jammu, which is at a distance of 282.6 km. Jammu Railway Station is well connected with all major Indian cities. Taxi services are also available from Jammu to Srinagar.

The nearest airport is at Srinagar, which is at a distance of 4.4 kilometers from Zadibal. Regular flights operate between Srinagar to Delhi, Mumbai and Chandigarh.

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