Varanasi is known for its religiousness; the architectural marvel has not been explored. These masterpieces of engineering belong to the Kingdom of Kashi era, which was ruled by the princely state of Benaras. Two major forts in Varanasi are remnants of the royal past, one of which is Ramnagar Fort and the other Chunar Fort.
The Fort at Ramnagar magnificently stands on the Eastern banks of the river Ganga and is built in Mughal style in the 18th century. Till date, it serves as a residential palace of the descendent of Kashi royal family. A part of the palace has been converted into a museum that is open for public viewing. It is a beautiful structure built of sandstone, opposite the Tulsi Ghat in Ramnagar city. The Ramnagar Fort has a pious Veda Vyasa Temple and Dakshin Mukhi Hanuman Temple which are worth visiting.
The museum at Ramnagar has an excellent collection of artifacts that belonged to the Maharaja of Benaras (varanasi), rare relics of gold and silver Palanquins, very rare astronomical clock, guns bought from Africa, portraits of kings, American vintage cars, some royal costumes (Kim Kwa silk), swords and many more.
The fort was used for cultural events, although the famous Ram-Leela which is performed during Dasara is conducted near the fort. Kashi Naresh, the present King of Varanasi is a well-known personality.A traditional ancient festival known by the name Raj Mangal is conducted inside the fort complex. Today, Ramnagar Fort is a popular movie shooting spot, hence attracts numerous tourists.
Chunar Fort is an ancient fort that dates to 56 AD, which has numerous legends attached to it as well as the place. One of the legends says that King Bali and Bawan Bhagwan, where Bawan Bhagwan comes in the form of a brahmin and asks King Bali to donate three feet of land. It is said that Bawan Bhagwan kept on foot in this region and hence called it Charanadri. This fort was in a prosperous condition during the Mughal dynasty, but today only a part remains. A citadel, houses built during the British and a bawdi (well) is located in the fort complex. Huge pathways with cobbled stones and gates are still there.
Chunar Fort is built on a rocky patch, on the banks of the Ganga River. It used to be an important location during the Mughals. A pilgrimage to Varanasi should include the Chunar Fort which is about 44 km from Varanasi.