The Varanasi Heritage Dossier/Shivala – Gularia and Dandi Ghats
25º 17.652’ North and 83º 00.410’ East (south point of the Gularia Ghat).
Exact location on a map
Shivala–Gularia and Dandi Ghats
In the historical past Shivala Ghat was wide spread over the nearby ghats, and by the mid 19th century this area got divided into five ghats. First of all the king of Banaras, Balwant Singh had made this ghat pucca in 1767, and later in 1770 Chet Singh extended it during the period when his palace was under construction. One of the important palaces close to the ghat is built by the king Sanjay Vikram Shah in the late 19th century, who has also built a Shiva temple. For the well being of the pilgrims from south India the king of Banaras has built a monastery named Brahmendra Math. In the upper part neighbourhood there are shrine of Hayagriva Keshava, and temple of Svapaneshvari, Svapaneshvara and Hanuman. Till mid 20th century this ghat was part of the great celebration of Budhva Mangal (“the old Tuesday”), on which occasion the area between Chet Singh Ghat and Shival Ghat was full of decorated boats where different parties of musical concerts performing their art. This tradition is now no more. However, a few years ado the cultural division of Uttar Pradesh has started this festival, of course at Rajendra Pasad Ghat, and more inclined to attract western tourist. The present structure of the ghat was made in 1988 by the irrigation department of the government of Uttar Pradesh. -- The extended part of Shivala Ghat is called Gularia Ghat. In fact, earlier this was part of the Dandi Ghat. In 1819 a rich merchant of Banaras, Lalluji Agrawal had made this ghat pucca. After the well known old and huge gular tree, type of fig, the ghat is called Gularia Ghat. Attached to the ghat is a place of traditional wrestling. This ghat is in deserted form. -- A rich merchant of Banaras, Lalluji Agrawal has built it in1821 with a joint effort of Babu Sagaramal. Further renovation and re-structuring was done by the government of Uttar Pradesh. in 1958. In the upper part of the ghat are a temple and a wrestling place. A branch of the Sharadapith of Dvaraka is here where lives the Dandi ascetics who carry stick in their hand and use ochre coloured cloth. After this centre of Dandi ascetics the ghat is called Dandi Ghar.
Present state of conservation
Except by the temple and 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 respective temples and the trusts and the persons living there; and the ghat area is owned by the Municipal Corporation.