- Monday, 10 March 2014

Ramnagar Fort, Varanasi, India

This seemingly nondescript fort located on the eastern banks of Ganges in Ramnagar, Varanasi does offer a little surprise. Tucked away in Ramnagar, Varanasi, this 250-year-old fort or palace has been home to Maharajas of Benaras since 18th century. Set amidst busy Ramnagar bazaar and vegetable market with a crumbling fa├žade, this fort offered me a surprise inside.
It was painted and restored and restored to an extent that it still looked like a fort and not a heritage hotel. Picturesque location on the banks of river, an amusing museum consisting of vintage cars, weaponry, costumes, jewellery and very few tourists, make it one little secret spot in Varanasi. It can be visited by boat or via Pontoon bridge (non-functional during monsoons).
With several balconies, courtyard and pavilions, it offers a great spot to spend time reading or simply sitting and looking at the river. Sunsets can be really beautiful from here. A part of the fort is still home to the current Maharaja and his family.
Incidentally it is Ramnagar where India's longest and biggest Ram Lila is performed every year for 31 days, culminating in Dussehra. That is when the palace is lit beautifully and the king, following his family tradition, still is part of the festival processions by inaugurating it and supporting it year after year.
Here are some pictures from my last visit to the palace. Not to be missed-Shivprasad Lassi Bhandar just around the corner in busy street outside :)

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