The Varanasi Heritage Dossier/Raj Ghat Kshetra

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Detailed description of each heritage Site - Prahalad Ghat to Raj Ghat

Raj Ghat Kshetra and Heritage Sites

Location[edit | edit source]

25º 19.434’ North and 83º 01.909’ East (Raj Ghat, eastern centre of Ravidas Temple).

Exact location on a map[edit | edit source]

Raj Ghat

Area[edit | edit source]

0.07ha (the temple and ghat area)

Historical/cultural/natural significance[edit | edit source]

In the Mauryan inscription this ghat is described as sacred spot and a ferry point. Archaeological evidences support the settlement life in the nearby areas during 8th century BCE. Its importance as ferry ghat was maintained till 1 January 1887 when Lord Duffrin Bridge (road-cum-rail) was built. In 1948 the bridge’s name changed to Malaviya Bridge. In the Gahadavala inscriptions too this ghat is described as a sacred spot and also as ferry point. Till 12th century this was a very active ghat for religious festivities and transport, however since then the city spreads southwards and in span of time the other ghats became more prominent. Close to this ghat lie the remains of the Gahadavala fort where shrines of Rajaputa Vinayaka and Bhainsasura are present. The northern part of this ghat was referred in earlier puranic mythologies as Vedeshvara ghat, where now are many tress and a wrestling site, and the scene is dominated by water buffaloes owned by milkmen.

=== Description and History ===: Till 1988 the ghat was of open natural clay, but in the same year the government of Uttar Pradesh has made it pucca. Even today, the northern part is as such. At the top a grand temple of cobbler-saint Ravidasa (CE 1388-1518), who was born in the southern edge of the city in a village Sir Karahia, is made in 1986; at this place his birth day is celebrated on the full moon day of Magha (January-February). There are four water-tirthas affiliated to this ghat, viz. Sankha, Uddalaka, Hayagriva and Nilagriva. In the northern part of the ghat are two monasteries and a temple of Badri Narayana. Close to the present Ravidas temple is a small shrine of Mahisasura, “a buffalo-demon” killed by goddess and soon transformed into a divine associate. According to folk legend, later the demon’s spirit worshipped Shiva and goddess, that is how the tradition is to worship him.

Present state of conservation[edit | edit source]

Except by the temple trust and the local public organisations, those work on their own ways, there are no specific action plans, programmes and strategies for conservation and preservation of the ghats.

Varanasi, Gopal Govardhan Puja Sansthan, Raj Ghat. The construction of this building is illegal not only because it is built on the Ganga riverfront ghats in Varanasi after the year 2000 but primarily because it is built within 100 metres of an ASI protected monument (LalKhan ka Roza/Maqbara), thereby violating the National Monument Act of 1958. Despite two FIRs filed by ASI (dated 10.10.2000 and 30.10.2003), VDA has not taken any concrete action to demolish this illegal structure. Due to lack of effective action by VDA, the owners even managed to lodge a case in the Divisional Commissioner’s court on 31 March 2011.

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 temples are owned by their Temple Trusts; the ghat area by the Municipal Corporation.