Chunar, located on the banks of the Ganges, 35 kilometers from Mirjapur, has witnessed a glorious history. The Chunar Fort is a major attraction in that area. This place, which was associated with mythological stories like Vamana-Vishnu, is mentioned in ancient literature by the names Charanadri, Nainagarh etc. The distinctive attraction here is the magnificent Ganga-onshore and hill fort, which was built by King Vikramaditya for his brother Raja Bhartrihari.
Fort Architechture and Design
The fort was built from sandstone which were also used during Maurya period. The fort covers an area of 1850 yards. The fort has many gates out of which the west gate was built during Akbar’s reign. Some of the structures inside the fort are Bharthari Samadhi, Sonwa Mandap, Bawan Khambo ki Chhatri, and Residence of Warren Hastings. Chunar is an ideal place from the point of view of climate. According to the local elders, whenever there was a severe flood, people have taken refuge in this fort. It is interesting to know that due to being adjacent to the Ganges, the water of the Ganges collides with the fort and becomes north facing. After this, Ganga goes directly towards Kashi. It is said that this fort is thousands of years old. Later this fort was renovated by King Vikramaditya of Ujjain. The historic fort of Chunar is not only responsible for the safety of the city but also the survival of the city.
Chunar Garh and Chandrakanta novels
The fort of Chunar Garh in the Chunar Tehsil area refers to King Bhartrihari (colloquially Bharthari) mentioned in the Puranas and the oldest history. Later, it is also found in the Akbar carpet historian Sheikh Abul Fazl's mirror Akbari. Devkinandan Khatri is believed to have given the background of mystery-thriller-Aiyari in his popular novel 'Chandrakanta', influenced by the experiences of these areas.
Dargah of Shah Qasim Sulaimani
The dargah or tomb of Saint Shah Qasim Sulaimani is situated in the southwest direction of the fort. The origin of the saint was Afghanistan and he lived here during the reign of Akbar and Jahangir. At the age of 27 he went for pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina. After returning, a lot of people became his disciples.
Akbar was displeased with him as the saint did not agree with the king’s view on religion. The saint was sent to Lahore. When Jahangir ascended the throne, he thought to kill the saint but after counselling with is wazirs, he imprisoned him in Chunar fort where the saint died and his followers built a tomb for him.
How to reach
Chunar is a small place which is connected to nearby cities through road and rail but there is no connectivity by air. Varanasi, Mirzapur, and Allahabad are well-connected through all the modes of transport and tourists can easily reach Chunar from these cities.