The Varanasi Heritage Dossier/Lalita Ghat and Temples
25º 18.547’ North and 83º 00.815’ East (Lalita Devi, in the niche).
Exact location on a map
Lalita Ghat, Lalita Devi Temple (House no. D 1/ 67).
0.02ha (the ghats and nearby area)
-- The ghat is named after the famous goddess Lalita in Kashi (Lalita Ghat, D 1/ 67), and also in Prayaga. Until the early 20th century this ghat was divided into three independent ghats, i.e. Nepali Ghat, Lalita Ghat and Rajarajeshvari Ghat. During the course of construction of the Samarajeshvara temple in 1843 the first two ghats were integrated and stone staired steps are built by the king of Nepal. The upper part, called Rajarajeshvari Ghat was built by a Babu Keshava Das in early 19th century. The southern part of the ghat was re-built by the government of Uttar Pradesh in 1965.
The important buildings include Rajarajeshvari Math and Siddhagiri Math (D 1/ 58), and Umaraogiri Math (CK 10/ 35). The last two monasteries (math) were built by householder Sadhus. The Moksha Bhavan, a hospice, was built in 1922 by Jowaharalal Khemka, of Ratangarh (Rajasthan), in memory of his father. The Siddhagiri Math belongs to Shaiva Paramahamsa Sampradaya
8.History and development (as under Col. 5 ): In the lower chamber, close to the path along the bank, are images of Lalita Devi, Varanasi Devi and Bhairava. On the upper portion in a temple complex there are shrines of Rajarajeshvari, Ganga Aditya and Ganga Keshava, dated 18th-19th century, though of course the images are mostly of the 12th century. The image of Ganga Aditya is the replica of the older one, which was broken in the past and that’s why thrown into the Ganga river. Recessed in the stone embankment, and completely covered by the river in the rainy season, is a pretty little shrine of the Ganga, represented as a female figure seated on crocodile. This is a typical and unique place where the river goddess image every year submerges into flood water.
Present state of conservation
Except by the temple organisation that taking care of its properties, there are no specific action plans, programmes and strategies for conservation and preservation of the ghats. The temple trust maintains its properties according to their own perspectives.
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 temple compound is owned by thei Trust; and the ghat area by the Municipal Corporation.