The Varanasi Heritage Dossier/Rama,Jatar and Raja Gwalior Ghats
25º 18.924’ North and 83º 01.047’ East (Gwalior Ghat, centre).
Exact location on a map
Rama–Jatar and Raja Gwalior Ghats
Its reference is mentioned in the 17th century text, Giravana-padamanjari. Near Rama Ghat at the bank is the water-front puranic tirtha named Rama Tirtha, and there is a temple of Rama Pancayatana (the five images together). The name of the ghat is derived in this reference. There are three other water-front sacred spots, viz. Kala Ganga, Tamra Varaha and Indradhyumna. In 1665 the French traveller Jean Baptiste Tavernier paid visit to Varanasi and has described this ghat. It is obvious from this account that the ghat and Rama temple were built in the nearby past and were prominent in the scene. The Rama temple and the attached ghat both built by king of Jaipur (Rajasthan), Raja Savai Jaisingh. During the period of mass destruction of temples by the order of Mughal emperor Aurangazeb in late 1660s, this temple was also demolished. The present temple was built up in late 18th century. Other notable temples at this ghat are of Badri Narayana and Kala Vinayaka. Nearby to the latter one is a temple of Khandoba, a regional deity of Maharashtra, whose annual celebration takes place during 5th-8th light-half of Margashirsha (November/ December). This area is dominated by Maharashtrian people. -- In the mid 19th century the finance secretary of Gwalior Estate, Balaji Cimadaji Jatar has built this ghat with the support of the king Jiyajirao Shinde. After his name this is called Jatar Ghat. He has also built a multi-storeyed building (no. CK 24/ 33), in a portion of which exists the temple of Lakshminarayana. This temple is an example of the local craftsmanship, consisting of mosaic of colourful glasses in the large windows and light areas. At the gate there is an inscription, which reads the names of the finance secretary and the king, and their portraits are also shown there. Prinsep (1822) mentions this ghat as Chor Ghat. The name “Chor” (thief) reminds a fable about this ghat, which narrates the story that this ghat was defamed in the past for theft of the cloths of pilgrims and bathers. Greaves (1909) has mentioned this ghat as Jadau Ghat. The architectural beauty of the Lakshiminarayan temple is at the verge of danger limit; in lack of proper and immediate care this temple can be lost at any time. -- Till mid 19th century Gwalior ghat was part of Jatar Ghat. When Jatar Ghat was under construction the king of Gwalior Maharaja Jiyajirao Shinde has built this ghat; and after his name this is known as Gwalior Ghat. According to another tale one of the Peshava kings had also repaired and partly made the ghat pucca. There are three shrines containing Shiva lingas. The ghat is not important for cultural and religious activities.
Present state of conservation
Except by the temple organisations and the Estate Trust taking care of its properties, there are no specific action plans, programmes and strategies for conservation and preservation of the ghats. The temple trusts maintain their properties according to their own perspectives. [[|thumb|K 24/28 Ram Ghat That 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 (Dharhara Mosque), thereby violating the National Monument Act of 1958. Repeated FIRs filed by ASI (12.6.2000; 8.9.2001; 8.9.2003; 1.3.2004; 22.12.2004) against the owners of this illegal construction. Despite VDA issuing demolition orders for this illegal construction on 8 November 2005 and 28 June 2006, the illegal construction continues to exist since 7 years.]]
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 related and estate 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.