The Varanasi Heritage Dossier/Kshemeshvara - Manasarovara and Narada Ghats
25º 18.082’ North and 83º 00.397’ East (Kshemeshvara temple)
Exact location on a map
Kshemeshvara - Manasarovara and Narada Ghats
A 19th century temple of Shiva near the ghat is believed to contain the linga established by one of Shiva’s associate, Kshemaka Gana, that is how the name of the temple is Kshemeshvara which has been accepted as name of the ghat. Till the 19th century a sewer drain was meeting at this ghat, therefore the name Nala Ghat in earlier references, e.g. Prinsep (1822) and Sherring (1868). This drain has later been connected to the sewer pump station at the Cauki Ghat. The upper part of the ghat was purchased by the monastery of Kumarasvami in 1962 which has constructed a building with shrines and rest houses for pilgrims. In 1958 the government of Uttar Pradesh has built this ghat pucca. There is notable significance of this ghat with respect to religious and cultural performances. As a natural site of bathing and sacred spot the ghat has been mentioned in the Giravana-padamanjari (early 17th century). During late 17th century Raja Man Singh, the king of Amber (Rajasthan), has built a water pool (kunda) called Manasarovara Kunda in the nearby area and made the ghat pucca. The importance of the water pool has been eulogised that it gives the same merit like that of Manasarovara Lake in Tibet. With this perception the ghat is called Manasarovara ghat. Late again in 1805 the king family has repaired the ghat and renovated the area. However, in passage of time with the urban sprawl and population expansion the water pool was transformed into a well, called Manasarovara Kupa, presently existing into Andhra ashram. The ghat was deserted during the early 20th century; however in 1958 the government of Uttar Pradesh has re-built and made it fully pucca. -- According to legend the linga of Naradeshvara was installed by the great mythical sage Narada. Narada Ghat was mentioned as Kuvai Ghat by Prinsep (1822). This was constructed by Svami Sativedananda Dattatreya, a monastery chief of south India, in ca 1888. The same Svami has built temple of Dattatreyeshvara, Dattatreya Math and several nearby buildings. During 19th century the old shrine of Naradeshvara has been renovated, and ghat received the name Narada Ghat as mentioned by Greaves (1909). The important images, existing in the upper side, are of Naradeshvara, Atrishvara, Vasukishvara and Dattatreyeshvara. There is a huge holy fig tree under its roots there are fragments of images belonging to 12th-13th century. In 1965 the government of Uttar Pradesh has made repairing and built the ghat pucca.
Present state of conservation
Except by the monastery and trust directly taking care of their properties, there are no specific action plans, programmes and strategies for conservation and preservation of the ghats. The trusts maintain their properties according to their own perspectives without specific plans.
Specific measures being taken for conserving the specific property
It is expected that by the support of active people participation, awareness to save the age-old rich heritage, and development under the Master Plan (and its judiciary control) the ghat heritage will be protected and conserved for the better befit to the society.
The monastic properties along the ghat are owned by the respective trusts; the houses and other properties by the inhabitants; and the ghat area is owned by the Municipal Corporation.