Najaf Ashraf is situated in close proximity of Qadam Rasool on the banks of the Gomti near Sikandar Bagh. It was built by Ghaziuddin Haider, the first Badshah (King) of Avadh. All Nawabs of Lucknow were religiously disposed towards ‘Imamia Mazhab’. The Shia Muslims pay obeisance to Hazrat Ali, the son-in-law of ‘Paigambar Saheb’ at Najaf, whereas they go on a pilgrimage to Karbala for ‘Rauz-e-Ziarat’ of Imam Saheb (Prophet). Shias consider it as a privilege to be buried in the ‘Kabristan of Najaf’. Thus Najaf is as pious to the Shias as Kashi is to Hindus.
Ghaziuddin Haider was well aware that a pilgrimage to Najaf was not an easy matter. Hence he decided to build a replica at Lucknow as Shahnajaf. Within this magnificent edifice is also placed a replica of a square silver rauza of Najaf. Shias pay their respect here by kissing the holy iron chain attached to its gateway and pray on the threshold. According to his will the mortal remains of the Badshah were buried here on 18th October 1827.
The central chamber of this Imambara is bedecked with a number of chandeliers. Amongst the four ‘mazaars’ (graves) in this hall, one belongs to the Shia Badshah, and of the remaining three, one each to his Sunni, Christian and Hindu Begums. His Khas Mahal could neither get the soil of Lucknow nor the side of her husband for burial of her mortal remains.
Source : Monuments of Lucknow, Yogesh Praveen