Legends of Chunar Fort

 Apart from the architectural beauty what makes the fort interesting is that the fort is replete with legends. Sharing a few interesting stories and legends about the famed Chunar Fort near Varanasi.

Perched atop Adri hill, Chunar Fort is one of the prime attractions of Chunar town which is 45km from the city of Varanasi. The fort is situated on the banks of the river Ganges at a height of 80-175 feet from the ground level and is spread across 34,000 square feet.

Chunar fort has been a silent spectator to the 2500 years of history and has undergone major changes based on the preferences of each and every ruler that has held this fort. Due to its unique location, it has always been of strategic importance for every ruler. The fort has been rebuilt several times by the different rulers who have controlled the fort. As a result, the architecture of the fort is a unique blend of different styles and cultures.

Legend has it that the fort was built by King Vikramaditya for his hermit brother Bharthari, a follower of Goraknath, who spent rest of his life at this fort and was later given Zinda Samadhi, in the premises of the fort, which is now a temple.

Later, the fort was conquered by Babar followed by Sher Shah Suri, Humayun, Akbar, Aurangazeb and finally the Mughals occupied the fort from 1532 until the British occupied it in 1768. The British had control of the fort thereafter till India’s independence. The British used the fort mainly as a warehouse to store weapons. The thick walls of the fort also have slanted apertures which were used to attack approaching enemy.

The dilapidated structure today doesn’t even look anywhere closer to the ones that we have seen in Rajasthan but it does offer stunning vistas of the adjoining Ganga and the rolling hills.

Legends of Chunar Fort

Mythological Twist

The fort has been witness to a long history of bravery, battle and yes, the fort has a mythological connection too. Legends has it that Lord Vishnu in his Vamana incarnation appeared before King Bali in the form of a Brahmin and begged for three feet of land. The generous king granted the wishes of the Brahmin and donated three feet of land as his Dakshina. Lord Vishnu placed his first step on the Adri hill and left his foot-mark there, since then it is known as Charnadri ( Charna – feet and adri – the name of the hill).

Samadhi of Bharthari

There was a beautiful temple which was constructed inside the fort for the Saint Bharthari. Arungazeb, during his rule, ordered for the demolition of the temple. The temple was demolished but he was unable to demolish the deity. When the army tried to destroy the deity, a swarm of bees came out of nowhere from the rupture and attacked them. To stop the attack Arungazeb decided to pour hot oil inside the rupture but instead of dying, the attack intensified and the number of bees doubled. He soon realized that the place was a holy place and he ordered his army to stand down and stopped the destruction of the temple. Post this incident Aurangzeb never laid a finger on any other Hindu Temple.

Legends of Chunar Fort

It is still considered to be a holy place where the wishes of the worshipers are granted.

Nainagarh

Legends of Chunar Fort

The fort is also famous as Nainagarh. Raja Sahadeo established the statue of Naina Yogini in a cave of Vindhya hill and christened the fort as  Nainagarh.

Sonwa Mandap 

The mandap was built by King of Nepal, Sandeva (1333) for his daughter Sonwa. She was a beautiful princess with golden hair. Locals also believe that she was a magician and used to transform humans to parrots with her magic. The king wanted to get her daughter married to someone who was brave enough to defeat him. In this process, 52 kings lost their head and their heads were hung on the 52 pillars near the fort. But the search continued until one fine day, a Knight from the nearby village kidnapped Sonwa to Mahoba. Later, they got married and lived happily in Sindora. Though the Mandap never saw any marriage function but it still stands as a testimony of the yesteryear tales of bloodshed for the sake of love.

Chandrakanta Twist

Legends of Chunar Fort

The hugely popular show of 90’s Chandrakanta based on the novel written by Devaki Nandan was shot here, hence the fort is also known as Chandrakanta Chunargarh.

Hanging Place

 

There is also a place near the fort where capital punishment was given. The king used to give instructions by a thumbs up or down from a vantage point that overlooked the hanging place and the beheading was carried out followed by throwing the body into the Ganga.

Well of Love

Legend has it that the well which is 15 feet (4.6 m) in diameter was constructed by King Vikramaditya for his wife. The well was used by the queen for her ablutions. There is also a dungeon and underground changing rooms.

( PS: Dungeon is closed now due to security reasons )

Bungalow of Warren Hastings

The royal court of Sher Shah Suri was also the bungalow of Warren Hastings during the British rule. As of today, the bungalow has been re-purposed as PWD guesthouse. Near the guest house, there is also a splendid Jharokha (balcony) of Fathema Begum. The queen used to hold and participate in the royal sessions from the balcony.

Underground Tunnel

There is also an underground tunnel from the fort which connects to Raigarh & Vijaygarh. But due to security reasons, the tunnel is closed.

Underground Jails

The fort also boasts of dungeons ventilated only by small air holes which were built by Sher Shah Suri to keep the rulers who he had defeated in battles as hostages. Humayun was kept in one of the dungeons.

– Best Time to Visit –

Any time of the year but preferably in winters

Visiting hours – 10 am to 4 pm.

Opens on all days.

 

– Places To Visit in Chunar –

  • Temple: Gangeswar Nath Temple, Goddess Durga Cave Temple, Durga Khoh
  • Dargah Sharief
  • Baragaon – It is a 23000 years old stone –quarry site.

What To Shop

Special Pottery Ware

How To Reach

Air: Nearest airport is Lal Bahadur Shastri airport

Rail: Chunar is well connected by major cities.

Road: From Varanasi – 40km, Mirzapur – 40 km, Allahabad – 130 km

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26 Comments

  • Reply
    Deepika
    December 13, 2016 at 4:41 am

    Interesting find. Had never really heard about it. Will check this out the next time I head to Varanasi 🙂

  • Reply
    Niranjan
    December 13, 2016 at 6:20 am

    Glad to know more about this fort.

  • Reply
    Destination Wedding jodhpur
    December 13, 2016 at 7:02 am

    Very interesting , nice pictures.

  • Reply
    Pooja Bhatt
    December 19, 2016 at 10:09 am

    Loved the Pics, The Well of love looks Splendid 🙂

  • Reply
    Paula - Gone with the Wine
    December 19, 2016 at 5:28 pm

    Very cool looking place. I have never heard of this before. So many stories around this place that make it even more interesting. For example the Well of love, and how it was built. I hope no one ever fall in it, looks scary deep.

  • Reply
    Sandy N Vyjay
    December 21, 2016 at 2:23 am

    The Chunar Fort is majestic and the legends associated with it add an intriguing allure to the place. I did not know about it and that it was so close to Varanasi. Hope to visit the next time we are there in those parts.

  • Reply
    Zwitsy
    December 25, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    It’s quite interesting to see historic buildings and the like still standing up to this day. What interests me more are its origin and its past. I am not really particular of the place but sure it gave me a new learning about this Chunar Fort.

  • Reply
    TheRedRidingHood
    January 9, 2017 at 10:12 am

    Usually the part with the punishments is the most interesting one. But beside the legends, there is a huge strategic importance of every castle! Just love it!

  • Reply
    Christine K
    January 9, 2017 at 2:24 pm

    Such a contrast….love and punishment. I especially liked the photo of the bells as they look so ancient. What a special place to visit with all its incredible history. I really enjoyed reading about the history and the information you provided on how to get there.

  • Reply
    Hra
    January 9, 2017 at 2:39 pm

    I haven’t heard anything about this fort!! Its so interesting to know now 🙂 Great post.. so informative and awesome photos !! Thanks for sharing with us

  • Reply
    NowThatsAHoneymoon
    January 9, 2017 at 3:27 pm

    Interesting post! I have never heard of this place before so it’s nice to be learning it for the first time here. Cool pictures, too.

  • Reply
    george
    January 9, 2017 at 4:14 pm

    I love the arched doorways of that fort, very reminiscent of a small town in Greece I used to visit every summer. As always, always fun to see so many little visuals, thank you for bringing this post to us and for sharing your experience at the Chunar Fort .

    PS: I like your blog design!

  • Reply
    The Common Wanderer
    January 9, 2017 at 5:07 pm

    This looks absolutely stunning. We were planning on visiting India last year and that fell through. For our next plans, we’ll definitely include Chunar!

    Thanks for sharing.

    Mark and Mim x

  • Reply
    GIORGOS SPYRIDAKOS
    January 9, 2017 at 8:16 pm

    Such a great history! I come from Greece and I love such historical places! These columns under the balcony remind me of the columns of Acropolis! So pity that the underground venues are closed…!

  • Reply
    Fiona Maclean
    January 9, 2017 at 9:13 pm

    The Chunar Fort does look stunning. Is it UNESCO listed? It seems to have such a rich heritage

  • Reply
    Scarlet
    January 10, 2017 at 4:08 am

    Interesting information and good writing 🙂 looks like a great place

  • Reply
    The Travel Ninjas
    January 10, 2017 at 6:23 am

    Chunar is so epic. The elaborate carvings are amazing. And the rich history is captivating. We have to see this place for ourselves.

  • Reply
    Joi
    January 10, 2017 at 7:11 am

    athough I dont believe in legends this is a good article; I love places full of history. Id like to see Baragaon

  • Reply
    Iuliana Marchian
    January 10, 2017 at 8:22 am

    It is not the first fort that I read about from India. I’ve never been there, but India seems to be a place where one can find anything. I love medieval architecture and this fort seems to be the kind I like.

  • Reply
    neha
    January 10, 2017 at 4:24 pm

    This sounds like a place, perfectly fitting my taste. I love historical places and those filled with legend are even more interesting. I particularly liked the story behind the mandap which never witnessed a wedding

  • Reply
    Aubrie
    January 11, 2017 at 12:16 am

    This place looks so amazing and I especially love learning the legends behind it!

  • Reply
    Nastja Novak
    January 11, 2017 at 9:41 am

    Really interesting place. I lvoe the photos and i can’t wait to visit India! Hopefully this March. I would love to buy some special pottery here!

  • Reply
    Brianna
    January 13, 2017 at 5:43 pm

    What a gorgeous structure with some really interesting history. It looks like a really quiet, and uncrowded place to visit too. I do have one question that maybe you can answer. In your Mythology section- do Hindus see these stories as mythology too, or do they believe in these stories? Just curious 🙂

  • Reply
    Wanderlust Vegans
    January 13, 2017 at 8:29 pm

    Looks like a pretty incredible fort and a interesting place to holiday and learn about history. The Well of Love looks cool but a bit scary. I wouldn’t want to fall in.

  • Reply
    The Untourists
    January 15, 2017 at 6:54 am

    That’s a gorgeous fort. Hadn’t heard of it…

  • Reply
    Subhadrika Sen
    January 17, 2017 at 11:02 am

    Its very interesting to read about the Chunar fort especially when I am going to Varanasi this week. Im not too sure that i would be able to make a quick detour and visit this place as i Have sarnath planned as well. But I hope we can make it and see this fort for ourselves.

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