On the banks of the Ganges, we discover a stunning address

DEC 14, 2018 | By Aditi Sharma Maheshwari
A wide view of the royal lounge reveals antique hanging lamps from different shops of Varanasi and custom made furniture. A group of Rajasthani artists restored the ceiling with traditional paintings that immediately lift the look of the space. The door on the left corner leads to a rectangular balcony overlooking the calm waters.
The terrace overlooks the Ganges and a room preserving a winch machine, which was once used to hand pull the hotel’s lift.
The majestic Bhagirathi Maharaja Suite on the same level is steeped in royal flavour. The spread made of Benarasi silk covers an archetypal bed and the rose pink ceiling glistening with Rajasthani fresco artworks fills the boudoir with colour and charm.
A view of the interior balconies: The entire hotel is awashed in the light pink hue of the Chunar stone. The verandas offer a panoramic view of the hotel and this is where classical musicians settle down and play their instruments for a few hours every evening, filling the palace with beautiful harmonies.

The city of Varanasi is as quaint as it is theatrical – you can encounter endless lanes, brightly painted houses and loud sadhus with their followers in the wake…crowds and chaos have made home in every nook and corner.Brijrama Palace Hotel situated at Munshi Ghat on the Ganges, however, paints a different picture, offering peace and a promise of rest. Constructed in 1812, it was owned by Maharaja of Darbhanga, Bihar. In 1996, Arvind Kumar, a local, while passing by was taken by the beautiful brick facade and decided to purchase the property. Thus began the story of the building’s arduous revival into a 32 room, three level getaway.NEW CHAPTERSEntering the 200 year old palace on a boat and stepping inside a lift built during the 18th century by a British engineer feels surreal. Hand pulled in the past, it now operates on electricity. You can arrive from the back doors too, after trudging through a winding lane stretching easily to a kilometre or two. “I’ve entered another era”, you might think looking at the old wooden doors, massive Chunar stone columns, vintage furniture and ancient fans with long, timber blades.A veranda at the reception overlooks the historic river – a sight worth bookmarking in your memory. The hotel’s restoration constitutes a restaurant facing the Ganges, a bada aangan with large Radha Krishna idols and three levels for accommodation. It’s easy to lose your heart to the majestic Bhagirathi Maharaja suite too. Artists from Jaipur, Jodhpur and Varanasi were called to decorate the walls with paintings. All the furniture was sourced from Kolkata and chandeliers and wall brackets from Jaipur. One can find multiple design influences of different states here “because I wanted the structure to look like the royal palaces of Rajasthan or Madhya Pradesh,” adds the owner, Arvind.The sounds of classical music reverberate from the heart of the palace as local musicians settle down on two balconies situated inside. “Kashi is the centre of performing arts, which I wanted to revive here. I was always keen on building a textile museum too inside this property – soon that project will see the light of day!” he reveals