Imam Bara

Popularly known as 'Baradari', 10 yards of south of 'Qadam Shareef', was built by Ishrat Ali Khan in 1223 A.H. (1808-09 A.D.). Ishrat Ali Khan was an employee of Mughal emperor Akbar Shah Sani. Akbar Shah Sani was the son of Shah Alam II and Nawab Qudsiya Begum Zamani and the father of last Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar. An inscription in three sentences, on a marble slab fixed on the left side of the arch at S.E. corner of the Imam Bara describes the history. It reads as-

Translation "(1) At the court of the emperor of both the words, Ali, the king of heroes and the friend of God" (2) By order of the renowned king Akbar, when Ishrat Ali Khan adorned the place. (3) I enquired of the Sayyed the year of its foundation and he wrote 'Nazir' built it, 1223 A.H. (1808-09 A.D.)"

It clearly establishes that Akbar Shah Sani belonged to ‘Shia' faith and had a firm belief in 'Qadam shareef'. He had ordered to build this structure, which was built next to 'Qadam Shareef'.

This masonry building measuring 54' by 43' contains three verandas divided by columnar arcades and with a set of three rooms on each wing. It is covered with a flat roof. It has five arched doorways facing north, two in the east, and three in south and one towards west. It has 14 stairs in the west for terrace. The terrace has three arches in the west, which is a clear sign that the terrace was used as a mosque. It had four minarets on each corner, which do not exist now.

Imam Bara was refurbished by Sayyed Wazir Ali Nawab in 1302 A.H. (1884-85 A.D.). An inscription on the right hand side of the same arch refers to its repair and reads as-


Bashiruddin Ahmad Dehlvi in his book ‘Waqiyaat e Darul Hukumat, Delhi', (vol. 3) writes, that Syyed Wazir Ali Nawab is the same person who repaired 'Dargah Panja Shareef', ‘Imambara' and a mosque built by Syed Agha Haider Raza in Kashmiri  Gate, Delhi. These three properties still exist in Kashmiri Gate and are in very good condition.

In 1227 A.H. (1812 A. D.) Ishrat Ali Khan died and was buried in the centre of the hall of this 'Imam Bara'. An inscription on the middle arch of the central hall reads as-

Translation "(1) When Ishrat, who is one of the slaves of the emperor Ali, succeeded in kissing the foot of Ali (as).  Sayyed indulge in reflection, and he wrote the year, 'God gave Ishrat (the honor of) kissing the foot of Ali (as)."

Later many people from Royal Family and the 'Khadims of Dargah Shah-e-Mardan were buried inside the 'Imam Bara'. A large number of small inscripted stones set in the arches or pillars of the hall  or in the side rooms can be seen inside.

However currently Imam Bara is in very good and modern conditions. Regular majalis (religious lecture) are being organized in this historic building.





Monuments of Delhi, compiled by Maulvi Zaffar Hassan, Vol.1 (2008 A.D.) Originally Published in 1916 A.D.

Fall of the Mughal Empire by Jadunath Sarkar, Vol. 1 (4th Edition, 1991) Originally Published in 1932.

Aasar-us-Sanadeed by Sir Sayyed Ahmad Khan, (2014 A.D.) Originally Published in 1847 A.D.

Waaqiyaat-e-Darul Hukumat by Bashiruudin Ahmad Dehlvi, Vol. 3, Published in 1919 A.D.

Dilli ki Dargah Shah-e-Mardan by Dr. Khaliq Anjum, Published in 1988 A.D.

Archaeological survey of  India (ASI) reports.

National Archives of India, New Delhi.

British Council Library, New Delhi.

Encyclopaedia Britannica.


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Gerald de Gaury on Hazrat Ali

(1897 - 1984) A distinguished soldier and diplomat.

q       “He had been wise in counsel and brave in battle, true to his friends and magnanimous to his foes.  He was to be for ever the paragon of Muslim nobility and chivalry.”

[Rulers of Mecca, London, 1951, p. 49]