The Varanasi Heritage Dossier/Hanuman Ghat and Rameshvara Temple

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Detailed description of each heritage Site - Prabhu Ghat to Kedara Ghat


Hanuman Ghat and Rameshvara Temple

Prachin Hanuman Ghat, Varanasi
Rameshvara Ghat, Varanasi

Location[edit]

25º 17.877’ North and 83º 00.454’ East (Hanumadishvara at the Ghat); 25º 17.838’ North and 83º 00.425’ East (Rameshvara Temple).

Exact location on a map[edit]

Pancayati Juna Akhara, Hanuman Ghat.

Area[edit]

0.19ha

Historical/cultural/natural significance[edit]

the earlier name of the ghat was Rameshvara Ghat, after the famous image of the same name lying there. The ghats were made stone staired (pucca) by Mahant Hariharanath in 1825. The ghat having also affinity of a great bhakti saint Vallabha (CE 1479-1531), who laid the philosophical foundation for the Krishna devotion. There are eight temple and shrines at the Hanuman Ghat and Prachin Hanuman Ghat area. Most of them are of the 18th century. In course of time many temple built as auxiliary during 19th century. According to oral history it is believed that the shrine of Hanuman was built by Tulasi (early 17th century). The Pancayati Juna Akhara (House no. B 4/ 43) consists of around hundred images and statues of different periods and of different deities. Outside, along the ghat in a cave-like niche is the image of Hanumadishvara, eulogised in the various pilgrimages. A little further, at the steps of Karnataka (Mysore) Ghat is a small shrine of Ruru Bhairava; the present image of black stone is the new at the place of the old one which was broken about fifteen years ago. The Rameshvara Linga in the inner courtyard is of special importance because of its entry into several pilgrimages. This image is also counted as one among the list of 12 Jyotira lingas of Varanasi, and symbolises the famous temple in Ramanathpuram in Tamil Nadu (southern India). The built form is based on inner sanctum and half-pavilion, and about 1m platform. The main building is in the Dorika style, but the upper part is in Nagara style characterised by amalaka, water pot and trident. In the inner courtyard and in the niches there are images of Surya (sun-god), Vishnu, Shakti, Ganesha. In a separate flat-roofed shrine is an image of Vishnu, made of black stone, and dated to 12-13th century. The Ghat and the temple derived their names after Hanuman, whose shrine is in the inner courtyard in a flat-roofed building, consisting of 2m high statue of Hanuman. The wall in the sanctum sanctorum is depicted with paintings of the Ramayana story in the Banaras styles of frescos. Also written there are lines from the Ramacaritamanasa. The entrance is from the west

Present state of conservation[edit]

Lack of knowledge of the ancient rich heritage, resulted to several ugly construction, and repairing. The ascetics living there, or the incharge looking after the temple-monastery are conservative people and never listen to others. Moreover, taking benefit of loose rules and loopholes so many addition in built area added which threaten the aesthetics and ancient glory of heritage.

Specific measures being taken for conserving the specific property[edit]

No specific measures are taken to conserve and preserve the temple and monastery, except to continue and maintain the daily religious activities by the ascetics living therein, and the appointed pujaris for ritualistic work and cleaning the temples.

Ownership[edit]

The Pancayati Juna Akhara (House No. B 4 / 53), a registered sect, dominated by the South Indian ascetics called Vairagis.