The Varanasi Heritage Dossier/Raja Ghat and Temple compound

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Detailed description of each heritage Site - Chauki Ghat to Chausatthi Ghat

Raja Ghat and Temple Compound

Raja Ghat, Varanasi

Location[edit]

25º 18.245’ North and 83º 00.521’ East (Raja Ghat palace, centre).

Exact location on a map[edit]

Raja Ghat

Area[edit]

0.30ha (the main sacred area, ghat and temple complex)

Historical/cultural/natural significance[edit]

-- The ghat was transformed with levelling and some built structure by Rajirao Balaji in ca 1720. This was rebuilt with stone slabs by Amrit Rao Peshva during 1780-1807, who was living in Banaras as exiled by the British authorities. Amrit Rao has also built the four temples of Amriteshvara, Vinayakeshvara, Narayaneshvara and Gangeshvara, and four auxiliary shrines, and also renovated the Prabhasha Tirtha in 1780. Earlier the ghat was called Amritarao Ghat as referred by James Prinsep (1821 and 1831) and Edwin Greeves (1909), but this was described under the name of “Raja Ghat” by Motichand (1931). === Description and History ===: The northern side is the palace, and the southern part is the Annapurna Math. These two sections are divided by the stairway. Till 1980 there was a tradition to feed Brahmins, Sanskrit students, ascetics, etc. but when the INTACH started its programme and the Clarks Hotel took initiated to use it for promoting a special group of tourists, the earlier traditions vanished. In 1965 the Government of Uttar Pradesh has renovated this ghat and built the steps made of red stones. At the main entrance area, a refectory is built that exclusively reserved for the Brahmins. The refectory is a two-storeyed building with a terrace roof. On each floor are a kitchen, a storeroom and a large hypostyle hall lit in the centre by a square courtyard. Presently the Clarks Hotel organises various cultural evenings, Ganga Arati Ritual (“oil lamp celebration in honour of the Ganga”). There are three temples in the building compound, on the terraces: of Annapurna, Lashminarayana and Shiva.

Present state of conservation[edit]

The building is under the control of the INTACH, which look after its preservation, conservation and maintenance, using traditional techniques.

Specific measures being taken for conserving the specific property[edit]

Specific measures are taken by the INTACH to conserve and preserve the palace and temples therein.

Ownership[edit]

The Peshva Temple Trust; the ghat area by the Municipal Corporation.