Location: Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
Built In: 17th or 18th century (Year not known)
Built By: Kashi Naresh Raja Balwant Singh
Dynasty: Bhumihar Brahmin
Tags: Home to the Banaras Kings
The Ramnagar Fort is a gigantic fortress that is now disintegrating in many parts today. The stately appearance of the fort combined with its sophisticated architecture and the fascinating museum make it a perfect tourist destination. The Fort is situated 14 kilometers towards the inland segments of Varanasi and on the opposite side of the River Ganga. Built by Kashi Naresh in the early periods of the 17th or 18th century, the fort has been home to the Kings of Banaras and is still occupied by the current king and occupant Anant Narayan Singh. The fort is home to a temple and a museum. The Temple was built and dedicated to an archaic figure known as Ved Vyasa, who penned the Mahabharatha. The legends state that the famous, Ved Vyasa lived at the Ramnagar Fort for a brief period. Along with the temple, the museum contains all sorts of artifacts, ranging from vintage cars, to clocks, weaponry and palanquins.
Ramnagar Fort, Varanasi
History Of Ramnagar Fort
Kashi Naresh Raja Balwant Singh built the Ramnagar Fort with dominant Mughal influences that can be seen in areas around the fort even today. It was marvelously built with the red sandstone. The Ramnagar Fort was built within the former Kingdom of Kashi and since then, has been the abode of Kashi Naresh who is also considered to be the reincarnation of the ‘Lord Shiva’. According to certain legends, Ved Vyasa, the popular mythical figure who has a temple erected in his name at the Ramnagar Fort, is also said to have stayed at this fort.
The fort is a colossal structure that marked the opulence of the 17th century. A large part of the fort is out of bounds for tourists and visitors. The Ramnagar Museum is accessible to tourists all year round, but not other parts are open to the visitors, as the king still lives in the fort even today. Most of the architecture is dominated by Mughal designs with intricate, open balconies, large courtyards and perched pavilions. The effects of the red sandstone are slowly wearing off the walls of the Ramnagar Fort, but the sheer size and the sophisticated wall patterns and motifs make tourists look past beyond certain degenerated points. The Ramnagar Fort is said to contain the temple of Ved Vyasa, the Ramnagar Museum, the Saraswati Bhavan and the Durbar. These were some of the signs of a rich heritage and also depicted the harmonious coexistence of Muslim and Hindu. The museum, which is open to the public all year round, displays a lavish collection of vintage automobiles, furniture, weaponry, costumes and silver.
- Kashi was under the rule of the Mughal dynasty, and with the decline of the Mughal Empire, the Bhumihar Brahmin military started an uprising.
- Backed by the Rajas of Banaras they established themselves in Varanasi and other parts such as Gorakhpur and Azamgarh.
- With stiff oppression from the Nawab of Awadh in the early 1750’s, a war happened around the Ramnagar Fort, and the fort was used as a passage or for shelter.
- When the Nawab and his forces retreated, the Ramnagar Fort was rightfully deemed the home to the Banaras royal family.
- The Kashi Naresh, believed to be a progeny of Lord Shiva, is still believed to visit the Ramnagar Fort today. The King Anant Narayan Singh lives in the fort even today.
- The fort has now become a popular hot spot for film shootings. A popular Bengali movie called ‘Chokker Bali’ shot at this location went on to become a visual masterpiece. Many of the scenes were shot at the Ramnagar Fort, because of its scenic location against the backdrop of the Ganges.
- The fort is now maintained by the present ruler with the support of the Uttar Pradesh government.
Best Time To Visit
The best time to visit Varanasi would be the period between October and March, when the climate is quite pleasant. The fort is open to public between 9 am and noon and then reopens at 2 pm and closes at 5.30 pm for all 365 days in a year.
How To Reach
- The city is well connected by rail and domestic air networks. For the tourists who prefer coming by flight, the Lal Bahadur Shastri Airport or the Varanasi airport is the closest airport.
- The city is also well connected to all parts of India through railway. The three important railway stations here are the Varanasi junction, Manduadih railway station and the Kashi railway station.
- In Varanasi tourists and visitors can opt for any local bus transport or hire personal cabs, vehicles and even tempos to visit the Ramnagar Fort.
Around The Fort
Varanasi is filled with religious and historical tourist spots. Apart from the Ramnagar fort, tourists can also visit the Ganga Ghats for religious activity, the Alamgir mosque, the Durga temple, the Bharat Mata temple, the Archaeological Museum and the Buddhist Stupas.
Built by Kashi Naresh Raja Balwant Singh in the early 18th century, the Ramnagar Fort has been a historically spot situated on the banks of the Ganges. Its sheer size against the traditional Varanasi backdrop and ancient Mughal architecture, makes this a must see for every history-lover.