Chunar Fort, Bhadohi
About Chunar Fort
Settlements have been recorded here since 56 BC, from the time of Vikramāditya of Ujjain. Chunar's earliest recorded history is from the sixteenth century, traced to a garrison of Babar, when in 1529, many of his soldiers were killed; some of their tombs in Chunar are still venerated. In 1532, Sher Khan (later known as Sher Shah Suri after he captured Bengal), a highly ambitious Pathan of Afghan descent but born in district of Narnaul in the present day state of Haryana in India, took control of the fort with high ambitions of becoming the King in Delhi. He acquired Chunar Fort by strategic marriages to enhance his reputation, first with a childless widow (the wife of the deceased Governor of Chunar), and by marrying another widow, he acquired wealth. With these acquisitions, he became very powerful within four years and established a "state within a state". It is also said that the fort was not vital for Sher Khan as he had moved his harem and treasure to Rohtas (a newly won fort in the upper reaches of Son River) during his campaign to win Bengal. When Emperor Humayun attacked the fort and held it in siege for four months, he had proposed to Sher Khan that he would not claim Chunar and Jaunpur and any other place of his choice, provided he gave up Bengal, which Sher Khan had won. Humayun also demanded from Suri the surrender of his treasure which he had taken to Bengal and a precious (chattar) umbrella and throne, and also to agree to be under the protection of the Mughal Empire. He finally succumbed to pressure and signed a deal with Humayun. However, Sher Khan recaptured it when he Humayun marched towards Bengal. After Sher Shah's death in 1545 it remained under his son Islam Shah until 1553. The last of Suris dynasty Adil Shah remained confined to the fort till 1556 handing over the entire administration and military powers to the Hindu Prime Minister Hemu. Hemu launched many attacks from this fort winning several battles across north India and even captured Delhi after the Battle of Tughlaqabad in 1556 and declared independence from the Sur Empire and crowned himself as king. Adil Shah remained in this fort, who lost life in an attack by king of Bengal in 1557. Fort came under the control of the Mughals in 1575. Akbar, the 3rd Mughal Emperor, had visited Chunar for shikar (hunting) in 1575. He acquired it as he considered the fort strategically located to guard the Ganges and the major land routes to eastern India. Abul al Fazl described this victory over the fort by Akbar an important event. It is believed that much of the fort as seen now was built during Akbar's reign. During his rule, the west gate was built in the fort entrance, with the date 1586 having been engraved on the stone archway. During the Mughal rule, Emperor Jahangir had nominated Iftikhar Khan as the fort's nazim. During the reign of Emperor Aurangzeb, his appointee for Governor of the fort, Mirza Bairam Khan, constructed a mosque here in 1663, near the Bharion Burj. In 1760, following invasion by Ahmad Shah Durrani, the fort was captured by the troops of the Nawab. The British East India Company, under Major Munro, attacked the fort; though initially they lost ground, they subsequently breached the south west part of the fort and annexed it. The fort with all its territory was formally ceded under a treaty to the East India Company in 1768. For some years, the fort was the main artillery and ammunition depot of the Northwestern Provinces. Maharaja Chait Singh of Benares had taken possession of the fort temporarily but was evicted. In 1781, he raised a rebellion in Varanasi and near the villages around the fort when Warren Hastings, the first Governor-General of India (1773 to 1784) took shelter in the Chunar Fort. A small armed force was collected under Major Home Riggs Popham and Chait Singh was eventually evicted from his control of neighboring areas. In 1791, Chunar Fort became the headquarters of an invalid battalion of European and Indian troops serving in India; those officers and men who were considered medically unsuitable for field duty were shifted to this fort and given light duty. From 1815, the fort also housed the state prisoners. In India's first Freedom struggle, also known as Sepoy Mutiny of 1857–58, the fort was the safe ground of the artillery and infantry company of the European invalid Battalion and all also to the officers and European residents of the district. The Bhartri Nath's shrine here was also used for some time as the civil treasury. After 1890, troops were withdrawn from the fort. The building's complex within the fort became the property of the civil administration who used this place as a convalescent jail. Subsequently, it became a religious centre.In 1849, Maharaja Ranjit Singh's wife, Rani Jind Kaur was incarcerated in Fort Chunar after the British usurped the Sikh kingdom. She escaped from the fort in the disguise of a maid servant and went to Kathmandu where she was granted political asylum.Chunar Fort was on the hit list of the Naxalites as it was the recruitment training center of the PAC, and has a large amount of arms and ammunition stored in its armoury. Hence, the state government has directed the police to give particular care to protect the fort and the facilities within it.There is also a paranormal history connected with Chunar Fort i.e. the King of Chunar had buried his rich treasure because he knew that the British people would take it from them. Also he connected aatma with it.