The Varanasi Heritage Dossier/Vaccharaja and Jain Ghats
25º 17.578’ North and 83º 00.398’ East (Jain temple, Jain Ghat)
Exact location on a map
Vaccharaja and Jain Ghats Close to the turning towards Asi Ghat, on the right is the entrance gate to the temple.
It is believed that a rich merchant of Varanasi has built this ghat in 1790 and in his memory the ghat is named Vaccharaja Ghat. The present structure was made by the government of Uttar Pradesh in 1965. From the bank of the Ganga towards the upper side there are stone steps. In between the upper part and the bank, there are layers of platforms containing the temples of Shiva and Ganesha. In 1931 Babu Shekhar Chanda had made repairing and also built a shrine of the goddess Ganga. On the upper part there are temples of Gopal Mandir (built in 1968 by Anandamayi) and Akrureshvara Shiva. Rarely some special festivities performed here, except daily bathing. The affiliated ghat to the preceding one is Jain Ghat, named after the 7th Jain Tirthankara Suparshvanatha who was believed to be born in the neighbourhood. In commemoration a temple of Surapshvanath (Svetambara sect) was built in the upper part in 1885.Prior to 1931 this was part of Vaccharaja Ghat, but when Babu Shekhar Chanda has built this part separately and given the name with the support of Jain monks, that is how it is called Jain Ghat. The ghat renovated and re-constructed in 1988 by the irrigation department of the government of Uttar Pradesh. The nearby area is inhabited by boatmen who were responsible for polluting the area, but in the recent past the civic sense and mass awakening have prevailed in better way to improve the situation.
Present state of conservation
Except by the temple trusts directly taking care of the three properties, 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.
B- 3/15 Jain Ghat. Not only the ground floor illegal construction (stated as illegal and demolished at Serial no. 46 in the VDA affidavit dated 2 Dec 2012 and 24 Jan 2013) but the whole building is illegal and the owners reconstructed the building after it was punctured, illegally re-constructing all floors.
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 trusts; and the ghat area is owned by the Municipal Corporation.