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Chet Singh Ghat

Varanasi Ghats

Varanasi is historical pilgrimage of Hindus. It is located in Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Varanasi is globely well known for his temples and Ghats. It is also famous for the Banaras Hindu University and Banarasee Sarees. This city has many names like Kashi, City of Shiva, and Banaras and now as Varanasi. This city is ancient living city and also mentioned in Purans and Holy books. Varanasi is situated on the bank of River Ganges so it is also called the city of Ghats. This city has approximately 90 Ghats. We are discussing here about Chet Singh Ghat of Varanasi.

It is a historical fortified Ghat. The place has witnessed a fierce battle between the troops of Warren Hastings and Chet Singh in 1781. The fort and Ghat were taken from British by Maharaja Prabhu Narayan Singh in the later half of 19th cent. Originally this Ghat was know at ‘Khirki Ghat; Now it has four parts known as Chet Singh Ghat, Niranjani Ghat, Nirvani Ghat and Shivala Ghat, has three Shiva Temple belonging to 18th cent. The name of this ghat is derived from King of the fort Raja Chet Singh.

This palatial building of Chet Singh Ghat was built by Chet Singh (1770-1781) in mid the 18th century as a small fortress. This Fort was witnessed the fierce battle between the troops of Warren Hastings and Chet Singh in 1781. In this battle Chet Singh faced the defeat. The control of Chet Singh Fort has gone in British hands. In late 19th century the King Prabhunarayan Singh had again took the possession of this fort. The northern part of it was donated to Naga group of ascetics who late on built their monasteries and ghats, called Niranjani Ghat and Nirvani Ghat.

Rafa'at wa Awal-i-Martabat Raja Sri Chet Singh Sahib Bahadur, a Maharaja of the Narayan Dynasty that had ruled Benares (Varanasi) since the year 1000. Chet Singh ascended to the throne as Raja of Benares in 1770 and was soon constructing his palace on the ghats. In a decision that would later save his life, he fashioned it in the form of a fortress. At the time, Benares was not yet part of the British East India Company, but the English had long lusted for control of the area.

This palace was the principal residence of Raja Chet Singh. This building composed of in three parts (a) a palace with pavilions, built on the terrace overlooking the Ganga, (b) a group of buildings for the women (demolished), and (c) a Mughal garden with darbar and water tower. The palace has a particularly favored relationship to the Ganga. It opens out onto the ghat which is a continuation of the palace and reached by means of monumental gateways. A stairway is there in gateway, they give access to the terrace. There, a central pavilion stands for the glimpse of the Ganga, on which the Maharaja appeared for glimpse. The terraced level is defined at two corners by two massive structures tapped by octagonal domed pavilions. There are three state temples of Shiva in the compound, built in 18th-19th century.

Once upon a time there used to be a brave king in Kasi. (He was Lord Dalhousie’s contemporary). An Indian nationalist, and a true son of Baharat Mata, he had some difference of opinions with the East India Company. The East India Company sent one full army to take the great king prisoner and he was forced to retreat to his palace at Sivala Ghat. His palace was surrounded by the Army and he was in peril of being imprisoned. Ganga was flooded and was flowing not very far below the balcony. The king mounted his faithful horse and jumped with it into Ganga. They crossed the river and he reached Ramnagar Fort safe, to continue his resistance against the foreign invaders.

There’s another equally popular and interesting ending to this legend: The Palace had underground tunnel that lead to his fort in Ram Nagar. Obviously, the tunnel went through the river bed and was well maintained till then. So, the brave king entered (with or without the horse) the tunnel, crossed the river and he reached Ramnagar Fort safe, to continue his resistance against the foreign invaders.

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