Apr 24, 2015

Ramnagar Fort and Museum- An amazing collection of weapons!

Ramnagar Fort Varanasi
Ramnagar Fort
Apart from the popular Buddhist center Sarnath there is another half-day excursion from Varanasi and that is Ramnagar Fort. Built by a Kashi Naresh Ramanagar fort is the residence of the Royal family of Varanasi even today. The fort built in mughal style using chunar sandstone stands high above the flood levels of River Ganga. Only a part of the fortress is accessible to the public. Sarswati Bhavan which was the durbar hall those days is converted into a museum. The fort also houses a temple dedicated to Veda Vyasa.

Apr 20, 2015

Pontoon bridge from Varanasi to Ramanagar

Pontoon Bridge connecting Varanasi and Ramnagar
Pontoon Bridge Varanasi end

During my trip to Varanasi few months ago I visited Ramnagar for its popular fort museum. More than the fort and the interesting collection of weapons in the museum I was thrilled at the pontoon bridge across River Ganga. This pontoon bridge is available only during winters when the river recedes. When the river is swollen during summers the only mode of travel is by boat. The new bridge stands high but, is too very far from being completed. From Bharat Hindu University I took a shared autorikshaw to the fort and I went on this bridge! Though everyday thousands of people travel to-and-fro this bridge I was taken aback to see an autorikshaw front wheel stuck in the broken wooden plank of the bridge! I am sharing few pictures as only pictorial narration of my experiences and not being judgemental about anything. I sometimes get amazed by how makeshift arrangements effectively work though with some degree of danger involved!

Apr 8, 2015

Sarnath- where Buddha turned the wheel of Dharma

Dhamekh Stupa at Sarnath Buddhist ruins
Sarnath archaeological ruins and Dhamekh Stupa in the background

Most popular excursion from Varanasi is Sarnath. Another sacred place where Buddha turned the wheel of Dharma. Buddha delivered his first sermon in a deer park just outside of city of Kashi. He probably chose this place as it was an important crossroads of that time, an established religious and commercial hub of those days. People who visit Sarnath doesn't realize it was an important place for the believers of Lord Shiva. Sarnath- as it is called today is the short form for Saranganatha which means Lord of deer, ie another name of Lord Shiva. Though Sarnath is popular as Buddhist pilgrim center the name came from a small shrine dedicated to Saranganatha which is a KM away from the popular imposing Dhamekh stupa. That is how there was a deer park in this place. On Hindu auspicious days this temple gets many visitors otherwise is a very quiet place.

Apr 2, 2015

Kashi Yatra- Tales of the ancient temples!

Ancient temples of Varanasi
Durga Temple and Durga Kund of Varanasi

Tales of ancient temples in Kashi! That means- this post is a long read! Hope it keeps you interested!

Visit to Kashi is much more than collecting pictures of skinny bearded old men bathing in river Ganga, or ash clad Naga sadhus or the prevailing dirt. It is much more, at least for Hindus. And that is the reason I always mention I was visiting Kashi- to behold the image of divine, not Varanasi for sightseeing. People talk about disordered, crowded, unhygienic jungle of temples called Varanasi. But, for Hindus who's vision is beyond the lanes and ghats of the city, Kashi is an ordered and structured universe with Vishwanatha temple as the center. Every temple here occupies the right place in that sacred geography. Well, that structure is a bit twisted by the destruction during muslim rule but sanctity prevails.