Vrindavan, 2017.10.18 (VT): Vrindavan’s picturesque Keshi Ghat is the last of the ghats to touch Yamuna as concrete rises on her floodplain. It is also one of the most iconic sights in the holy city, yet up close one finds that it is crumbling due to neglect.
On Monday night a large piece of sandstone from one of the ghat’s magestic walls suddenly fell to the ground. Luckily, no one was injured due to the time of the incident. But if the stone had fell during the day, someone may have been seriously injured or killed.
Keshi Ghat was constructed in 1760AD by Raja Surajmal’s Queen, Lachhmirani of Bharatpur. Today the ghat is still as magestic as it once was, but many elements threaten its existence. Besides the crumbling stones, the ghat is covered with graffiti both sacred and profane. Homeless people sleep rough along the ghat’s length, and criminal gangs have been known to hide out there, attacking unsuspecting devotees on parikrama.
Recently the government itself engaged in some questionable construction activity, which included laying a large sewage pipe directly in front of the ghat, and possibly damaging the ghat’s foundation. Fortunately this and other misguided projects, like the 2009 “half-moon bridge” have been brought to a halt by concerned citizens through the court system.
Locals hope that the ghat will be adopted by the Archaeological Survey of India, which is already perserving several temples in the town including the nearby temple of Shri Yugal Kishore.