The Varanasi Heritage Dossier/Niranjani and Mahanirvani Ghat
25º 17.631’ North and 83º 00.400’ East (point between Niranjani and Mahanirvani Ghats).
Exact location on a map
Niranjani and Mahanirvani Ghats
There is a famous monastery of the Naga sect of ascetics (house no. b 3/ 155), called Niranjani, one among the ten Dashanamis, that is how the got is given the present name. It is obvious from an inscription near ashrama that this “akhara” was established here in 1897. Before this period this was the part of Chet Singh royal compound, which later on donated by the king to the Naga mendicants. There exists the temple of Karttikeya, the only in Varanasi, a divinity known as the son of Shiva and military commander of the gods’ army. The history of worshipping Karttikeya goes back to the period of king Kumaragupta- I (CE 413-455), who himself was devotee of Karttikeya. The seals and icons found in the archaeological excavations at Raj Ghat justify the worship of Karttikeya and his wife (!) Shashti. There are three temples in the compound of Niranjani Akhara, containing the footprint of the great sage-Guru Niranjani and Durga, Gauri-Shankara and the Ganga. For the common mass this ghat has no importance with respect to religious and cultural festivities. In the northern part of the Niranjani Akhara is another group of akhara of the same sect of Naga Dashanamis, called Mahanirvani, that is how the name of the ghat. Like Niranjani Ghat this was earlier part of the royal compound of Chet Singh. In 1915 this akhara was established at this site. This ghat was made pucca first by the king of Pancakota in the same year. The upper part of the ghat was repaired by the government of Uttar Pradesh in 1988. In the inner part of akhara there are four shrines built of the king of Nepal. According to oral sources in the historical past the mythic sage Kapila, ca 7th century, was living here. Folk legends tell that the Buddha had taken bath once at this site. During and after the kumbha Mela, Dashnamis and Naga ascetics take rest and stay here. Nearby to this ghat there is the Mother Teressa Home to support and help the poor, handicapped and sick people. Even today an open sewerage drain is flowing near this ghat. This ghat has no religious and cultural significance.
Present state of conservation
Except by the two monastery trusts which are directly taking care of their ashramas, 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 specific properties along the ghat are owned by the two respective trusts and the persons living there; and the ghat area is owned by the Municipal Corporation.