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Imambara in Gorakhpur symbolising religious harmony for years

Imambara in Gorakhpur symbolising religious harmony for years
The religious sites in India have been for long playing a significant role in bringing people of various communities together. One such example is that of an Imambara in the Gorakhpur city of Uttar Pradesh that has been for years serving as a symbol of communal harmony. Imambara basically refers to a congregation hall where Shiite Muslims gather to have religious commemoration ceremonies during Muharram. However, this religious place in Gorakhpur is of great significance as it is thronged by people of other faiths as well. Around 300 –year-old Taziya which is made from gold and silver is also kept at this Imambara. Legend goes that once when the Nawab of the then Awadh region, Asaf-ud-Daulah was out hunting in a forest in Gorakhpur, he came across a man identified as mystic Hazrat Roshan Shah. Amazed at his spiritual powers, the Nawab offered him a handsome grant but Shah refused. But when the Nawab insisted, Shah asked him to get an Imambara built for Imam Hussain. Today this religious site is famously known as Miyan Sahab ka Imambara. Miyan Sahab was the nephew of the saint who succeeded him after he died in 1805. It is also said that the saint had a great influence of a Hindu saint Gorakhnath on him and therefore he requested the Nawab to grant land for Gorakhpur Math as well. Serving as a great centre of Hindu-Muslim pilgrimage in Gorakhpur, this Imambara is a perfect example of the solidarity that has existed among various religious communities since time immemorial.