The government is being urged to maintain the wholesomeness of Yamuna, which includes the clean and uninterrupted flow of the river, protection of and the protection of Yamuna’s ghats, aquatic life, its flood plain and cultural significance.
On Friday, Brajwasis expressed their concern on the dilapidated state of the ghats in a meeting organized by the Braj Vrindavan Heritage Alliance (BVHA) at Radha Gokulananda Temple. The attendees were optimistic that the Yogi government will understand their concerns and will bring changes to the existing plans under the Riverfront Development Project .
The speakers said that the new ghats should be built on the left bank of the river, so that the river’s flow permanently stays on the ancient ghats of Vrindavan. The BVHA raised its concern on forcefully changing the course of Yamuna from Keshi Ghat and the decreasing flow of Yamuna in general. Representatives also suggested that the new ghats being built by the Riverfront Development Project could built at the Kumbh Mela site and further down the river.
Shri Siddharth Shukla, the sevait (priest) of the Yamuna Temple at Keshi Ghat said, “Keshi Ghat is not just an embankment of the Yamuna river in Vrindavan. The entire area of Keshi Tirtha, where Lord Krishna killed the Keshi demon has religious significance. Adi Varaha Purana confirms that a bath in the Keshi Ghat is worth 1,000 dips in the Ganga. The results of bathing in all holy places await those who bathe here. Performing the ritual of Shraddha at Keshi Ghat has equal significance as of Gaya.”
Shri Acharya Ballabh ji Maharaj from Ballabh Sampradaya said, “Keshi Ghat is the favorite home of Yamuna, as an ancient Yamuna Temple is situated on this ghat. This temple is the first temple situated on the bank of the Yamuna after it flows from Yamunotri. Keshi Ghat is as important for Vrindavan as Vishram Ghat is for Mathura.
“When the course of Yamuna was forcefully changed at Keshi Ghat, it was like forcing mother Yamuna to leave home. The government must realize the religious faith, historical background and social belief regarding the ghats on Yamuna in Vrindavan,” said Shri Sudhir Shukla.
Shri Sumit Gautam said, “Despite three Aartis performed every day at Keshi Ghat, the government was so insensitive that it forced the Yamuna to leave Keshi Ghat, the last ghat where Yamuna touched the land of Vrindavan. Yamuna pujan used to be the first step to be taken by a pilgrim before visiting the temples and places of Krishna’s pastimes.”
Acharya Naresh Narayan, the National Convener of the Braj Vrindavan Heritage Alliance said that it was a complete apathy on the part of state government that the heritage of the Yamuna ghats is in shambles. Neither the State Archeology Department, nor the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) has taken interest in restoring the Yamuna Ghats of Vrindavan.
Shri Dhananjay Gautam said, “The Municipal Corporation of Mathura-Vrindavan has failed to stop the constant dumping of the debris on the Yamuna bed, which has not only covered the magnificent steps of the ghats but forced the river far away from it. The NGT has passed a judgment to stop the dumping of the debris, but the illegal dumping has continued in defiance of the court’s order.”
It was unanimously decided that the representations must be given to the government to preserve the ‘Keshi Tirtha’ and restore Yamuna at Keshi Ghat. It was also agreed that a fresh application should be filed before the court to restore the Yamuna’s course at Keshi Ghat.
Dr. Chandra Prakash Sharma, Shri Jagadananda Das, Shri Ram Narayan Brajwasi, Shri Deepak Goswami, Shri Radhe Shyam Chaudhry, Jagannath Poddar and many others participated in the meeting. (P)
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