Vrindavan, 2017.01.27 (TOI): Several citizen groups of Vrindavan have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well as Archaeological Survey of India requesting adoption for the heritage ghats of the holy city. In the letter, the groups stated that there are 48 heritage ghats on Yamuna in Vrindavan, but due to neglect by successive governments, they lie in a dilapidated state.
ASI superintending archaeologist Bhuvan Vikrama said he would look into the matter and provide all possible assistance in their restoration.
Notably, both the National Green Tribunal and the Allahabad high court have already put a stay on all sorts of construction near these heritage ghats after cases were filed in the respective courts.
The letters were written by Friends of Vrindavan (an NGO) and Braj-Vrindavan Heritage Alliance (a civil society organization).
“These heritage ghats, once the signature of Vrindavan, have been neglected by residents and successive governments. There were altogether 48 Ghats on Yamuna in Vrindavan, which were built by the different princely states of India, and the zamindars in commemoration of the pastimes of Lord Krishna. Therefore, they have been a spiritual heritage for the millions of Krishna devotees across the globe since the 16th century,” said Acharya Naresh Narayan, president of Braj-Vrindavan Heritage Alliance.
These ghats have stood as refuges for bhakts to come and remember the specific pastimes celebrated in those exact spots for more than four hundred years. The ancient pillars, arches and jharokhas were built to evoke the significance of the sacred monuments. The steps of these ghats carry the foot dust of our saintly ancestors – the Six Goswamis, the Haritrayis, and so on, – and continue to commemorate the beloved meeting place where Yamuna ji originally touched the land of Vraj.
Seeking the PM’s intervention in salvaging them, organization members wrote that whereas the ghats in Varanasi are known for their grandeur, the Vrindavan ghats are more artistic in nature, having miniature carvings, and their unmatchable architecture and timeless panoramic beauty can never be replicated by modern-day architecture.
They alleged that several ghats have been destroyed and buried under the debris illegally, since none of them are protected either by the Archeological Survey of India or by the State Archeology department.
“Furthermore the UP state government and the municipality have built a road on top of the debris, which have buried several of these ancient heritage ghats. The Irrigation Department of Uttar Pradesh initiated a riverfront development project, completion of which would obstruct the natural flow of the Yamuna river and forever separate her from these iconic holy ghats. However, this project was stayed by the Allahabad high court and National Green Tribunal,” wrote Jagannath Poddar of Friends of Vrindavan.
Interestingly, the two groups have voluntarily excavated one of these ghats, Vihar Ghat, which was buried more than 24 feet deep. They have requested ASI to adopt this ghat especially, if adopting so many ghats at one go is not possible.