chunar-fort

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The Chunar Fort (also known as Chandrakanta Chunargarh and Charanadri) is located in Mirzapur district of Uttar Pradesh, in India. Along with Chunar town, situated below the fort, the two are historic places with common history and legends. It is located 14 miles (23 km) south west of Varanasi. The southeastern part of the fort is on the rocky bank of the Ganges River.

The fort’s history spans from 56 BC and then between Afghan decedent Sher Shah Suri’s (1532) rule, the Mughal Empire rule (Humayun, Akbar and many others including Nawab of Awadh) up to 1772, and finally the British Raj up to 1947 till India gained independence.Chunar railway station is on the Mughalsarai-Kanpur section of Howrah-Delhi main line.

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.

The impregnable citadel is built with huge ramparts overlooking the river and built in tiers. They were built of local sandstone quarried in the area.[6] Chunar’s quarries, notable since the Maurya period, were used in building the fort, and skilled masons were available locally. The external walls of the fort were not strong and hence it was breached when British forces attacked the fort with a battering train. The area bounded by the fort covers a length of 750 yards (690 m) in the north-south direction, with a maximum width of 300 yards (270 m) on the northern face, close to the river bank. The peripheral length of the fort is 1,850 yards (1,690 m). The ramparts of the fort have towers built at regular intervals with heights varying from 10–20 feet (3.0–6.1 m).Entrance to the main compound of the fortOf all the gates, only the fort’s west gate has inscriptions, which ascribe to its construction during Akabar’s period by Muhammad Sharif Khan, who is presumed to be the son of an artist. He is said to have served under Munim Khan who was granted the fort and the surrounding lands since it yielded a lot of revenue, in 1567. Munim Khan died here in 1575. The west gate has the least ornamentation but has calligraphy engraved slabs. Other gates of the fort have carved panels and brackets.

Shooting of Anurag Kashyap’s 2012 film, Gangs of Wasseypur, took place in Chunar