India has been ruled by many mighty rulers of great dynasties, due to which each and every corner of India has a few legends to recite and numerous tales to pass on. Through these ancient legends, one can assuredly fathom the greatness of the country.
One such history is that of the Chunar fort, it is one of the most attractive places near Varanasi situated on the bank of the river Ganga in Mirzapur district at a distance of 45 Km from Varanasi.
It is also known as Chandrakanta Chunagarh, Nainagarh, and Charanadri. This lofty fort proudly stands on the rock of the Vindhya range at an altitude of 280 feet above sea level.
Chunar fort is a silent spectator to the 2500 years of history and has undergone major changes based on the preferences of each every ruler who held the fort. It has always been of sytrategic importance to every ruler because of its location.
Chunar fort has many legends associated with it, it is said that Lord Vishnu comes in front of King Bali in his Vamana incarnation and requests him for three feet of land and the generous king agreed. After that, God left his footprints on the Adri hill of Chunar Fort. It was also well known as Nainagarh.
The Chunar Fort was established by Maharaja Vikramaditya, the King of Ujjain, in honour of the stay of his brother Raja Bharthari. It is believed that Raja Bharthari left his body and took Mahasamadhi at this fort, a servant disciple is still taking care of the place and offers deepam dhupam to the Raja everyday.
It is said that, Novel Chandrakanta was also inspired by the adjoining area and this fort is part of the story as Chunargarh.
As per Alha Khand in 1029 AD. King Sahadeo made this fort as his capital and established the statue of Naina Yogini in a cave of Vindhya hill and put the name as Nainagarh. King Sahadeo built a stone umbrella based on 52 pillars in the memory of the victory on 52 other kings, inside the fort which is still preserved.
He had a brave daughter who got married with Alha the then King of Mahoba whose marriage place is still preserved with the name of Sonava Mandap. Besides this some other stories are also related with the fort as Magna- Deogarh, Ratan Deo’s Burj (tower) and King Pithaura who named it Patthargarh as well.
It is also said that, Babar had also stayed in the Chunar fort 1525 AD and many other kings had taken the possession of the fort.
There is also a legend which says that there was a temple inside the fort and Aurangzeb during his rule, wanted to destroy the temple. Although, he managed to destroy the temple, he could not destroy the deity. When the army tried to destroy the deity, a swarm of bees came out and started attacking them. Aurangzeb ordered to pour hot oil inside the rupture but instead of dying the bees doubled in number. He realized that it is a holy place and ordered his army to stop the attack. After this incident Aurangzeb did not dare to harm any othyer temples of India.
In 1772 AD this fort was captured by East India Company who established in it a depot of Artillery and ammunition. Later it was taken by Maharaja Chet Singh of Benaras temporarily and after Chet Singh outbreak in 1781 AD.
Warren Hastings retired for safety to Chunar where a force was collected by Major Phophan, which expelled Chet Singh from his stronghold in his neighbourhood. Hastings liked the situation and climate, his residence is still standing. Near it, there is a sundial bearing the inscription.
Well, Chunar fort is located at a high hill on the southern bank of river Ganga it must have been a tough target for the enemies to attack the fort. Hence, it attracted many mighty rulers. Situated close to Varanasi is best approachable from there, though its not very frequently visited by tourists it is certainly under rated jewel from ancient Indian history.