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One of the most prominent sites in Sarnath, where Gautam Buddha gave his first sermon after attaining enlightenment, the original structure of Dhamek Stupa was built in 249 BCE by emperor Asoka. This structure was later replaced in 500 CE. Still withstanding some parts of the original build, this is a stunning sight and visited by pilgrims and tourists from all parts of the world. Beautiful stone carvings are visible at the base of this massive 43.6 meter (143.044 feet) structure, which was much taller in its original form. Part of the complex of Ancient Remains, the adjacent compound has a Jain Temple. Archeological Museum, Deer Park and Modern Reception Center are also nearby.
Dedicated to Veda Vyasa, the author of the great epic Mahabharatha, this temple is a must-visit location in Ramnagar. The mythological background of the temple tells the story of a conflict between Vyasa and Lord Shiva; and since Vyasa was not allowed in Varanasi, he created a temple in Ramnagar, at the eastern banks of Ganga. The shrine has three different representations of Lord Shiva. The golden Shiva Linga here is particularly eye-catching. The temple generally has a simple, unassuming stature and is visited by lot of pilgrims.
A simple shrine with the backdrop of the gigantic Fort, the Hanuman Mandir is visited by flocks of pilgrims and tourists. Located next to the peacock-hooded shrine of Shri Ram, this temple creates an atmosphere that will make you want to know the mythological tale of Hanuman's ardent devotion to Lord Ram. The temple also known as Dakshin-Mukhi Mandir, is towards the right side of the main gate to Ramnagar Fort and the area has a few restaurants and small eateries including Shiv Prasad Lassi Bhandar nearby. Include the temple in the itinerary of Ramnagar for the sheer charm of Hindu culture.
Set upon the eastern banks of the River Ganges is the imposing Ramnagar Fort which was built from red sandstone and marble in the 17th Century by Maharajah Balwant Singh. The sprawling complex also includes a couple of temples which enjoy expansive views of the river and of melancholic sunsets which get further compounded by silhouettes of the water buffaloes trudging along forlornly in the distance. A museum within, captivates visitors with its collection of Rolls Royce cars, hunting rifles and palanquins which were used by members of the erstwhile royal family. The Maharajah of Varanasi lives here in his palace which is off-limits to casual tourists. The best time to visit is probably before sunset as this is one of the few attractions in Varanasi which affords visitors sunset views. Entrance to the fort complex itself is free but charges apply for museum entry.
Every Temple in Ramnagar exudes the charm of the erstwhile kingship and the associated stories. The Shiva Temple near the King's residence is no different. The priests will offer insights into the historical importance of the shrine and the Shiva Linga (symbolic representation of Lord Shiva). This place will take you through a mystical and religious journey with the sight of passionate pilgrims bowing down in extreme reverence and the feel of a welcome breeze that has touched Ganga on its way.
With a vast collection of vintage cars, palanquins, weapons and other artifacts, the museum inside Ramnagar Fort takes you through a ride back to the glorious rule of Varanasi Kings. The museum effortlessly creates the atmosphere of royal living in tune with the general vibe felt at this nostalgic city. Like the surreal sunset that is visible from the Fort balcony, the museum creates a sense of well being and good taste through the numerous collectibles and art works. The dark corridors and the preserved courtroom tell stories of a rich past. The highlight of the Ramnagar Museum is an astrological clock which displays the phases of moon along with the correct time and date. Do not miss this awe-inspiring destination which is just ten minutes away from Assi Ghat. Also visit the few historic temples around the area like the Vyasa Temple and the Durga Temple. Admission price different for foreign nationals.