This article is about the modern Kingdom of Kashi-Benares that later became the Princely State of Benares, not about the ancient Mahajanapada Kingdom of Kashi. Maharaja of Kashi khandam in telugu pdf with his courtiers in the 1870s. An alternate flag of Benares State. Benares or Banaras State was a princely state in what is today India during the British Raj.
On 15 October 1948 Benares’ last ruler signed the accession to the Indian Union. The state was founded by the local zamindar Raja Balwant Singh, who assumed the title of “Raja of Benares” in 18th century, taking advantage of the Mughal Empire’s disintegration. His descendants ruled the area around Benares as feudatories of Nawab of Awadh and East India Company.
In 1910, Benares became a full-fledged state of British India. He is a religious leader and the people of Varanasi consider him an incarnation of Shiva. He is also the chief cultural patron and an essential part of all religious celebrations.
The ruling family claims descent from the God Shiva and benefits greatly from pilgrimages to Benares. As the Mughal suzerainty weakened, the Benares zamindari estate became Banaras State, thus the rulers they regained control of their territories and declared themselves Maharajas of Benares between 1739 and 1760. The region eventually ceded by the Nawab of Oudh to the Company Rule in India in 1775, who recognized Benares as a family dominion. Benares became a princely state in 1911.
It was given the privilege of 13-gun salute. Most of the area currently known as Varanasi was acquired by Mansa Ram, a zamindar of Utaria. Balwant Singh, the ruler of Utaria in 1737, took over the territories of Jaunpur, Varanasi and Chunar in 1740 from the Mughal Emperor Muhammad Shah of Delhi.
The Kingdom of Benaras started in this way during the Mughal dynasty. Other places under the kingship of Kashi Naresh were Chandauli, Gyanpur, Chakia, Latifshah, Mirzapur, Nandeshwar, Mint House and Vindhyachal.
With the decline of the Mughal Empire, the Bhumihars under the leadership of Kashi Naresh strengthened their sway in the area south of Avadh and in the fertile rice growing areas of Benares, Jaunpur, Gorakhpur, Basti, Deoria, Azamgarh, Ghazipur, Ballia and Bihar and on the fringes of Bengal. The strong clan organisation on which they rested, brought success to the lesser Hindu princes. There were as many as 100,000 men backing the power of the Benares rajas in what later became the districts of Benares, Gorakhpur and Azamgarh. This proved a decisive advantage when the dynasty faced a rival and the nominal suzerain, the Nawab of Oudh, in the 1750s and the 1760s.