Ram Nagar Museum

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Ram Nagar Meseum4.5


A repository of the history of the kings of Varanasi, the Ramnagar fort and museum is located opposite Varanasi’s Tulsi Ghat. This crumbling 17th century fort and palace on the eastern banks of the Ganga is a beautiful place to watch the sunset over the river. Built with red sandstone by the Maharaja of Banaras, the fort houses a temple and a museum within its compound. Carved balconies, open courtyards and intricate pavilions highlight its Mughal style of architecture and the most important construction inside the fort is the famous ‘Durbar hall’ which is a hall dedicated to the public audience.

Lonely Planet

This crumbling 17th-century fort and palace, on the eastern bank of the Ganges, isn't a prime attraction, but the eccentric museum has some interesting displays and the attached Vyas Temple is a beautiful place to watch the sun set over the river. There are vintage American cars, jewel-encrusted sedan chairs, a superb weaponry section (including a lion trap and a sword with two pistols attached) and an extremely unusual astrological clock – along with plenty of dust and evidence of rodents.

The current maharaja, Anant Narayan Singh – still known in these parts as the Maharaja of Benares despite such royal titles being officially abolished in 1971 – continues his family tradition of attending the annual month-long Ram Lila drama festival held in the streets behind the fort.

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Rough Guides

South of the ghats, on the opposite side of the river, the residence of the maharaja of Varanasi, Ramnagar Fort looks down upon the Ganges. The best views of the fortifications – especially impressive in late afternoon – are to be had from the bridge to the fort, which is reached by a road heading south from the BHU area. This was previously a seasonal pontoon bridge, but that is now being replaced with a new permanent bridge. The fort can also be reached by chartering a boat from Dashaswamedh Ghat.

Inside, the fort bears testimony to the wealth of the maharaja and his continuing influence. A dusty and poorly kept museum provides glimpses of a decadent past: horse-drawn carriages, old motor cars, palanquins, ornate gilded and silver howdahs (elephant seats), hookahs, costumes and old silk in a sorry state are all part of the collection, along with an armoury, some minute ivory carvings, an astronomical clock and hunting trophies.

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