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This crumbling 17th-century fort and palace, on the eastern bank of the Ganges, isn't worth coming out to if you only have a few days in Varanasi, but it is a beautiful place to watch the sun set over the river. It also houses an eccentric museum. There are vintage American cars, jewel-encrusted sedan chairs, a superb weaponry section and an extremely unusual astrological clock – along plenty of dust and evidence of rodents.

The current maharaja, Anant Narayan Singh – still known in these parts as the Maharaja of Benares despite such royal titles being officially abolished in 1971 – continues his family tradition of attending the annual month-long Ram Lila drama festival held in the streets behind the fort.

From October to mid-June, you can reach the fort via a somewhat steady pontoon bridge, or take the long way round on a rickshaw (₹200). A new bridge, under construction now for years, means most folks will just drive across – if it's ever finished. You can also hire a boat for the round-trip from the ghats (about ₹500).

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