Seriously I couldn’t understand how my 3days tour to Varanasi passed so fast and one day I went to Ramnagar. After the tour I realized that 3 days weren’t suffice to explore the city and it’s surroundings. I had no choice to extend my tour but have plan to get back there one more time in future. Ramnagar is a small city in Varanasi district, Uttarpradesh, India and only 14km away from main Varanasi town. Main attraction of the Ramnagar is fort of Kashi Naresh.
This is small but elegant fort and it’s not that grand compared to India’s other forts but
worth a visit. Ramnagar Fort was built by King of Varanasi Raja Balwant Singh in the year of 1750 and currently, residence of present Maharaja of Varanasi, Anant Narayan Singh. Although the Royal title “Maharaja of Varanasi” has been abolished since 1971.
Most of the architectures that I have seen in Varanasi and in the surrounding areas were constructed with Chunnar sandstone. This fort was built with creamy colour Chunnar sandstone in Mughal Style with decorative balconies, pavilions and huge courtyard. The buildings inside the fort are made high above ground level to protect from flood. One portion of the fort is open for the visitors and rest of the portion is a private residence of Maharaja. The palace has two big white towers and the private residence of Maharaja is on same side of towers, while the Durbar Hall is on the other side.
Places to See
The fort houses a Museum, Veda Vyasa Temple and Private Residence of Maharaja.
Museum – The Durbar Hall, what used as public Audience Hall of the fort, which is converted to Museum. The museum also known as Saraswati Bhawan. Photography is prohibited inside the Museum. When I went there, the whole museum was not fully covered with CCTV cameras, as usual instincts of photographers are to take photographs of prohibited places. So I took some photographs inside the museum, I am really feel sorry now to broke the rule. It has wide collections of American vintage cars, Palanquins, bejeweled sedan chairs,gold and silver jewelries and costumes woven in special Banarasi brocade that belongs to the Royal family. It has huge armory collection with swords, old guns and many guns are foreign made. Different kinds of daggers, Ornate hookahs, black musical instruments are also there in the Armour hall.
There is a another very impressive and rare astronomical clock. The clock shows the time, day, year, months and week. Also shows the astronomical details of the Sun, Moon and various planets but it’s very difficult to read. At least I have tried it for sometime but couldn’t understand how to calculate, may be it will easy for you. One very much important and valuable thing is in the museum that is precious handwritten manuscript by Goswami Tulsidas.
Keep in mind the entire hall is under CCTV surveillance.
Veda Vyasa Temple – Just after crossing the ghat, which is attached to the fort, can reach to the Veda Vyasa temple. As all we know that Veda Vyasa, the author of the Sanskrit epic Ramayana and the temple is dedicated to him. There are three Shivalingas and all are covered with copper. One Shivalinga is belongs to Veda Vyasa.
Festivals of Ramnagar
Ram Leela Festival – This is the biggest festival in India in the season of Ashwin (September -October) but Ramnagar celebrates Ram Leela in a very unique way. In other parts of India during this festival Ram Leela enacted in a single stage but in Ramnagar the whole city is transformed into huge Ram Leela ground. Permanent structures are built for Lanka and Ashoke Vatika in different places of the city.
During Ram Leela the entire fort beautified and looks very vibrant. Maharaja of Varanasi take active participation in the festival, specially when different episodes of Ramayana are enacted. The annual month-long Ram Leela festival held in the streets behind the fort and The Maharaja continues his family tradition by attending the festival. Procession of various antique displays of Royal possessions during this festival.
Raj Mangal Festival – This is a another festival held in the fort with a procession of boats with people dancing and singing on the boats. The procession starts from Asi Ghat and goes along side of the bank of river Ganga. This festival celebrate between the months of February and March (Phagun) each year.
Other Activities –
Food – Ramnagar is famous for Lassi, which is also famous as “Lassi of Ramnagar“. Outside the fort, across the road are several shops sell Lassi. Lassi was good but unfortunately I didn’t liked it. Although, it’s not at that bad, just try it once.
Hotels in Ramnagar
Hotels accommodations are easily available except any special occasions like Ram Leela and Raj Mangal Festivals. All kinds of Hotels are available in Ramnagar. I suggest you, there is no point to stay back. It will be more logical to stay in Varanasi or Sarnath.
Entry Timing:- Museum timing 10am to 5pm and it opens daily.
Indian – 20 INR (Adult/Children)
Foreigner – 150 INR
How to reach
This fort is situated just 14km away from Varanasi and 2km from BHU, via Pantoon Bridge, Varanasi, U.P., India and there are several ways to reach Ramnagar fort like By Road, By Boat ride. But I suggest here take a boat ride because of the scenic beauty of the fort from the western bank of the river Ganga offers mesmerizing views with its shadow reflecting on river.
Ramnagar Fort is very well connected to Varanasi. You will get Auto/Car from Varanasi. Auto will cost you 1000 approx including all site seeing and Sarnath Tour. Private cars are also available and cost you for a day trip around 1500INR to 1180 INR.
It is situated just opposite of Tulsi Ghat and it starts from the Assi Ghat. So you can hire a boat and can view of along River facing of the fort. It will cost you inclusive view of all Ghats, 1000 INR to 1200INR approx. You must bargain for the rates.
Nearest airport is Varanasi airport known as Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport. It is located at Babatpur, about 18 km north-west of the city, Varanasi.
Nearest railway station is Varanasi Cant and then take a auto/taxi/rental car to reach.
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Special Thanks to Samrat Dey Sarkar, Without his help it couldn’t be possible for me to explore the fort.
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