Kushavrata Ghat: No Longer a Community Place on Ganga Bank

Walking downstream from the Har-ki-Pauri on the right bank of the Ganges, the first place one can find the holy cow is at Kusha Ghat. It is also known as Kushavarta Ghat, and this place is hardly 500 metres apart from the Brahmakund. Here, the two holy mothers—Ganga and Gau (cow)—are worshipped together as a daily ritual. In addition to that certain specific rites for the departed souls are performed here, and the priest community of Hardwar continuously maintains this tradition for ages.

In terms of traditional value, Kushavarta Ghat is a highly religious place in Hardwar for the Shraddha rites offered to the dead ancestors. The Hindus from all over the world reaches here every day. That’s why this place is equally crowded round the year. The enlightened master, Guru Dattatreya visited this ghat for meditation and contemplation by the holy river. As thus, this is a very special place for his followers, especially the Nagas of the ancient brotherhood known as Juna Akhara. Today, this holy place turned into a battlefield, crooked conspiracy and criminal investigation.

Kushavrata Ghat is a place that Hindu community owns for ages. No one raised any voice for its ownership and possession until recently when certain people claiming to be the buyers of the property applied for mutation in their names in the municipality records. The so-called buyers quote a deal that took place in 2009. The district administration ordered an inquiry by the Additional District Magistrate (Administration) into the reported sale of the public place. According to local reports, it was sold for fifty million rupees in 2009. The initial investigation reveals that some of the trustees are senior bureaucrats and powerful people so the district administration requested the chief minister to appoint an investigation headed by a senior officer. As thus the state ordered an inquiry headed by a senior officer from the state secretariat.

The philanthropist queen Ahilyabai Holkar built the concrete stairs for the benefit of the Hindu community in 1780 during her pilgrimage. It is pertinent to mention here that the stone inscription mentions that the queen realized the difficulties of the devotees and pilgrims while staying at Panchpuri and ordered her army for the reinforcement and consolidation of the ramshackle of the rest house and Kushavrata Ghat. The generous queen is also known for her numerous other public welfare projects including her great contribution for the construction of many of the temples and shrines including the golden temple at Banaras. The Ahilyabai Holkar Trust has taken care of the many structures she had built centuries ago, the said ghat was also managed by the same trust. It is pertinent to mention here that the surreptitious and illegal sale of community property was done by none other than the same trust. The priests and pandas of Hardwar raised such issues of acquisition and conversion of community properties such as dharamshalas and trusts into lucrative business enterprises.

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