The Varanasi Heritage Dossier/Lali and Vijayanagara Ghats
Location[edit | edit source]
25º 17.951’ North and 83º 00.467’ East (Jyeshtha Vinayaka, Lali Ghat)
Exact location on a map[edit | edit source]
Lali and Vijayanagara Ghats
Area[edit | edit source]
Historical/cultural/natural significance[edit | edit source]
The Lali (or sometimes called Lalli) Ghat, according to folk legends was given name after a famous mystic saint of late 18th century, Lali Baba, of Champaran (Bihar) who has established his monastery here, known as Gudaradas Akhara (B 6/ 94). This can be supplemented by its recording over the map of Banaras prepared by Prinsep in 1822. In late 1770s the Raja of Banaras partly repaired and made portion of it pucca. However in ca 1890 the king of Vijayanagara (south India) together with construction of a new ghat nearby made this ghat pucca. In 1988 the irrigation department of the government of Uttar Pradesh has re-built this ghat and made fully pucca. In the upper part there are shrines of Lamodara and Chintamani Vinayakas. At the bank in a huge stone niche (madhi) there are images of Jyestha Vinayaka, Kirateshvara, Jayanta Linga and Maha Lakshmi. The stone step linking the ghat consists of several niches containing divine images. The upper part of the Lali Ghat was purchased by a monastery of Haridvara in 1990, and a completely renovated building (no. B 6/ 99) has been constructed, giving honour to the founder this ghat is called Dandi Svami Bhumananda Ghat.
The lower part of Kedara Ghat was separately developed as ghat by making it pucca and also constructing a small palatial building, in south Indian architectural style, by the king of Vijayanagaram in 1890. That is how this is called as Vijayanagaram Ghat. Greaves (1909) has already mentioned this ghat under the name “Ijanagar Ghat”, perhaps wrongly spelling the real name. Later, the king had donated this palace to a great saint Svami Karapatri-Ji, which he adopted as his residence and passed most of his life here. Presently this is known as Svami Karapatri Ashram. The western part, close to the lane contains the shrines of Nispaneshvara and Nilakantha. In 1958 the government of Uttar Pradesh has built and renovated the ghat.
Present state of conservation[edit | edit source]
Except by the Svami Karapatri Trust and Svami Bhumananda 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.
On 22 January 2007 VDA notified to Sri Vibhusit Swami a demolition orders of the illegal extensions of Bhuma Niketan.
Despite VDA issuing demolition orders for this illegal construction on 22 January 2007, the illegal construction continues to exist since 6 years, violating not only the above Government Order prohibiting construction, but also encroaching the Ghats which are public property.
When enquired by the Allahabad Court why the demolition order had not been carried out, VDA stated "that the Bhuma Niketan was not extended but only covered with new glass". (as per Serial No. 53 in the VDA report included in its affidavit dated 24 Jan 2013) The judges of the high Court of Allahabad labelled this report as "nothing but an act to protect the illegal constructions" (PIL 31229 of 2005 ' 14.03.13) 
Specific measures being taken for conserving the specific property[edit | edit source]
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.
Ownership[edit | edit source]
The two specific 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.
References[edit | edit source]
- Court order No. - Case :- PUBLIC INTEREST LITIGATION (PIL) No. - 31229 of 2005 (PDF), Allahabad High Court, March 14, 2013.