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Shri Vraja Dhama

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Keshi Ghat crumbling despite protection order

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Keshi Ghat, in disrepairVrindavan, 2018.06.05

Keshi Ghat is one of only a few Ghats left from over 36 Ghats that were built along the Yamuna. The High Court has ordered the Central Government and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to preserve all of the remaining Ghats in Vrindavan and Mathura, but, so far, the ASI has not taken action to preserve Keshi Ghat.

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Tourist publication showing Keshi Ghat, P.C. Tour My India

Up until last year, the Yamuna flowed under Keshi Ghat. Boats would pull up on the steps and people would take snan from the steps. Keshi Ghat is pictured in almost every publication designed to attract tourists to Vrindavan, and yet, the authorities are dragging their feet when it comes to preserving this iconic monument.

Many of the stones are cracked and some pieces have broken off. The stairs that led people to the Yamuna for hundreds of years are now crumbling. Last year, a large stone fell from the roof during the night causing speculation that the building is becoming unsafe.  

Social worker Madhumangal Sharan Das Shukla said that he filed a case in the Allahabad High Court on November 6, 2017 for the protection of ancient ghats of Braj. On November 10, 2017, the High Court ordered the Central Government and the ASI to preserve all the Ghats of Vrindavan and Mathura. Shukla said, that he plans to file another case regarding the issue in July.

Dr Rajesh Sharma from the Vrindavan Research Institute, points out that Keshi Ghat was commissioned by Rani Lakshmi of Surajmal, Bharatpur in 1760.

Millions of devotees have walked through this monument while on Vrindavan parikrama and the Yamuna Devi temple at Keshi Ghat is Vrindavan’s only temple dedicated to Yamuna Maharani.

Yamuna Aarti is still performed at Keshi Ghat every evening by two separate groups, but, these days, aarti is performed in front of a small pond of water that has been diverted back to Keshi Ghat after the main flow of the river was forcibly redirected away from the Ghat in the attempt to make a ‘new ghat’ that is still under construction.

In an act of complete disrespect and disregard for the historical and spiritual importance of Keshi Ghat; in 2017, sewage piles were laid in between Keshi Ghat and the Yamuna. These days, people on parikrama walk over these pipes, which are not even under the ground but on the surface.

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Yamuna aarti performed on top of sewer pipes

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