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Ghats of Varanasi on the Ganga in India The Cultural Landscape Reclaimed

Department of Landscape Architecture University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, USA


In memory of Vincent J. Bellafiore (1943-2014) Vince was the Head of the Landscape Architecture Department from 1985 to 2000 at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. In collaboration with the U.S. National Park Service, he led the team of faculty and students in developing the conservation plan for the Buddhist site at Sarnath, India in 1988 and 1990. Taj Mahal Cultural Heritage District Development Plan: Agra, India project that he initiated with the Uttar Pradesh Tourism received the Merit Award from the American Society of Landscape Architects in 2000. Vince’s empathetic understanding of the public culture of Indian cities, his ability to relate easily to people he met, and his appreciation of humanity he had in common with them, were very special and unique.


Contents

List of Illustrations

ABSTRACT................................................. 1

Figure 1.1 - Plan showing public spaces on the ghats Figure 2.1 - Mythic landscape of Varanasi Figure 2.2 - Myths of the ghats Figure 2.3 - Pilgrim movement in the sacred landscape of Kashi Figure 2.4 - Cycle of festivals on the ghats Figure 2.5 - Sensory experience on the ghats Figure 2.6 - Haptic and Kinesethetic experiences in the streets Figure 2.7 - Haptic and Kinesethetic experiences on the ghats Figure 2.8 - Map of important historic buildings and temples on the ghats Figure 3.1 - Panorama: Sarveshwara ghat - Tripura Bhairavi ghat Figure 3.2 - Panorama: Lalita ghat - Ganesha ghat Figure 3.3 - Analysis of ghat’s skyline Figure 3.4 - Analysis of ghat’s facade Figure 3.5 - Analysis of color usage on ghats Figure 3.6 - Architectural design vocabulary Figure 3.7/A - Chet Singh Palace, 1837 Figure 3.7/B - Chet Singh Palace, 2014 Figure 3.8/A - Raja ghat, 2000 Figure 3.8/B - Raja ghat, 2014 Figure 3.9/A - Dasashwamed Ghat, 1883 Figure 3.9/B - Dasashwamed Ghat, 2014 Figure 3.10/A - Kedar ghat, 2000 Figure 3.10/B - Kedar ghat, 2014 Figure 3.11 - Visual quality of the ghats Figure 3.12/A - Manikarnika Ghat, 1869 Figure 3.12/B - Manikarnika Ghat, 2014 Figure 3.13 - Viewshed analysis Figure 3.14 - Architecture vocabulary of ghats Figure 3.15 - Movement pattern along the ghats Figure 3.16 - Maps and apps for heritage trails Figure 3.17 - Site Analysis of Raj ghat Figure 3.18 - Design proposal for Raj ghat Figure 3.19 - Signage proposal for directions on the ghats Figure 3.20 - Signage proposal for information on the ghats Figure 3.21 - Narrative surfaces on the ghats Figure 3.22 - Lighting proposal for Dashashwamedha ghat Figure 3.23 - Vending typology on the ghats Figure 3.24 - Design proposal for vending on the ghats Figure 3.25 - Design proposal for performative landscape, Assi ghat Figure 3.26 - Design proposal for Dashashwamedha ghat Figure 3.27 - Site analysis of Manikarnika ghat Figure 3.28 - Design proposal for Manikarnika ghat Figure 3.29 - Site analysis of Panchganga ghat Figure 3.30 - Design proposal for Panchganga ghat Figure 3.31 - Hinduism and Islam Figure 3.32 - Proposal for peace garden at Balaji ghat Figure 3.33 - Site plan I Figure 4.1 - Analysis of site hydrology Figure 4.2 - Analysis of terrain Figure 4.3 - Mapping of soil and vegetation Figure 4.4 - Design proposal for seasonal parks on the ghat Figure 4.5 - Analysis of sources of pollution in Ganga Figure 4.6 - Design proposal for composting on the ghats Figure 4.7 - Design typology of ghat platforms Figure 4.8 - Design proposal for bathing tanks on the ghats Figure 4.9 - Site analysis of ground water contamination Figure 4.10 - Varuna rivershed reclaimation plan Figure 4.11 - Site analysis of Assi nala Figure 4.12 - Design proposal for reclaiming the Assi nala Figure 4.13 - Site analysis of east bank Figure 4.14 - Site design proposal for east bank development Figure 4.15 - Design proposal for memorial grove on the east bank Figure 4.16 - Site plan II

INTRODUCTION...................................... 3 THE BODY AND LANDSCAPE.................... Mythic landscape............................ Enacted landscape.......................... Historic landscape...........................

5 6 8 14

IMAGEABLE, LEGIBLE AND PERFORMATIVE LANDSCAPE..................... 17 Imageablity..................................... 18 Legibility.......................................... 22 Raj ghat re-design........................... 26 Signage proposal............................ 28 Narrative surfaces........................... 30 Lighting for Dashashwamedha ghat.. 31 Vending spaces............................... 32 Assi ghat re-design.......................... 34 Dashashwamedha ghat design......... 35 Manikarnika ghat re-design............. 36 Panchganga ghat re-design............. 38 Peace gardens................................ 40 Site plan - I..................................... 42 HEALTHY AND RESILIENT LANDSCAPE............................................. 43 Hydrology and terrain...................... 44 Soil and vegitation........................... 46 Pollution and solution...................... 48 Bathing tank design......................... 50 Varuna action plan.......................... 52 Reclaiming Assi nala........................ 54 Shifting landscape on east bank....... 56 Site plan - II.................................... 59 CONCLUSION......................................... 60 PROJECT CREDITS.................................... 61


Abstract The monograph summarizes the result of a site workshop in Varanasi (Jan 3-10, 2014) by faculty and students from the Departments of Landscape Architecture at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (UIUC), USA, and Bhanubhen Nanavati College of Architecture for Women (BNCA), Pune, India. The landscape planning and design proposals outlined in the workshop were further developed in a semester long studio (January-May 2014) at the UIUC campus. The goals of the project are to assess the cultural heritage of the Varanasi ghats and to develop a socially and environmentally sustainable vision for their landscape conservation. Grounded speculation from site studies on ways in which heritage appreciation can be made part of the visitor’s experience in a healthy and resilient landscape guided the process of planning and design of the ghats. The entire stretch of land-water interface was considered for developing prototypical design solutions that are then adapted to the site specific constraints at a particular ghat. Imageable, legible, and performative dimensions of landscape experience were identified as significant for heritage conservation. The ghat landscape is made legible to the visitors by organizing their movement to facilitate interpretion of myths and history. The iconic charater of the ghats is enhanced by regulating the historic and traditional vernacular character of the built environment. Performative landscapes are designed for enactment of rituals, festivals, and performing arts. The health of the ghat landscape is improved by reducing point source pollution in the Ganga and creating a clean land-water interface through public sanitation programs. The landscape is made more resilient by planning for recovery from increasing frequency of flood events. Individual site designs and prototypes were further integrated into comprehensive site plans. Site Plan I is a blueprint for an imageable, legible and performative landscape with heritage trails, visitor facilities, and spaces for festivals and performances. Site Plan II is a blueprint for a healthy and resilient landscape in which point source pollution in the Ganga is reduced producing a clean land-water interface that can recover from frequent flooding.

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

Adi Keshava Ghat

         

Gola Ghat

Gay Ghat

Mangala Ghat Panchganga Ghat

Rama Bhosale Sankata Ghat Scindhia Ghat Dattatreya Ghat Manikarnika Ghat

Meer Ghat

Dashashwamegh Ghat

Kedar Ghat Harishchandra Ghat

Assi Ghat

Figure 1.1 - Plan showing public spaces on the ghats

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Introduction Rarely has any river gathered in itself so much meaning and reverence as the Ganga has over three millennia in the Indian subcontinent. The land-water interface on the Ganga’s banks is fashioned out of the need to access the rising and falling water levels in the monsoon and dry seasons. The cultural landscape of this interface—ghats (steps and landings) lined by temples and other public buildings, pavilions, kunds (tanks), streets and plazas—is layered and kinetic, and responsive to the river’s flow. At Varanasi, where the Ganga reverses its flow northwards, the ghats describe a crescent sweep in a 6.8 km stretch. They date back to 14th century although they were extensively renovated and extended in the last three centuries to allow access to the holy Ganga from the temples and shrines of this ancient city. The narrow streets of old Varanasi end at the wide landings of the ghats, leading the residents, pilgrims, and tourists to the river where they worship, bathe and cremate the dead. The ghats are public commons, ritual spaces, and cremation sites. As such they represent an extraordinary cultural heritage in their history and as settings for continuing enactment of ancient traditions that sustain cultural memories, beliefs and values. The cultural landscape of the ghats evolved in a spatio-temporal order created from self-organized systems of worship and pilgrimage. Its structure, complex in its layering and detail and in responding to natural processes was resilient in its recovery from natural disasters as well as cultural upheavals. However as the landscape becomes increasingly stressed from intensive use and ground and water pollution, its irreplaceable heritage is being lost. The dilapidation of the urban edge due to ill-maintenance, private encroachment, pollution in the Ganga, and increasing pressures of use caused by three million visitors every year is stretching its carrying capacity and putting heritage at risk. The shift of the river and silting of banks has impacted the riverfront landscape causing alarm among conservationists who have been pressing since 2001 to have the riverfront and the old city nominated in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Varanasi ghats fit the categories of ‘an organically evolved landscape’ as well as ‘an associative cultural landscape’ in the cultural landscape criteria. The ghats on the Ganga have evolved over centuries into the spiritual center of Hinduism. Urban infrastructure (sanitation, solid waste management, and water supply) has been upgraded under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) and measures have been taken to reduce the river pollution under the Ganga Action Plan launched by the Government of India.

However the schemes already in place need to be coordinated and on-going efforts integrated into a landscape conservation plan for reclaiming and restoring the ghats. This is a common and crucial aspect of the many programs and contributes to the broader goals of cleansing the Ganga of local pollutants through urban interventions. Individual categories for heritage assessment—built, intangible, natural and cultural—are problematic when applied to Varanasi ghats as they isolate and fragment a unitary phenomena and fail to address the complex and dynamic aspect of change. A more valid form of heritage assessment would be to study the cultural landscape that integrates natural and cultural heritage and sustains intangible heritage. The transcendental view of nature in Hinduism underlies the elaborate structure of myths relating to Ganga, the archetypal divine river and Kashi, the supreme tirtha. The corpus of beliefs about cosmogony, cycle of life and death, purity and pollution, sacred and profane, are tied to reverence for nature and enacted in numerous life cycle and death rituals. The ghat landscape has evolved to support the ritual enactments and is mnemonic of mythic narratives in its built form. Thus the tangible and intangible forms of heritage are inextricably bound. Degradation of the ghat landscape, i.e. deterioration of material/ tangible heritage implies loss of cultural memory. Both natural and cultural heritage are at stake as the pollution in Ganga increases. The ghats are a thin sliver of public space between the dense city and the Ganga. There are 84 ghats on the urban edge. Their number has increased over time as ghats were subdivided into smaller sections and the natural embakment was stepped and faced in stone. The ghats were experienced first hand and visually documented in site visits by the teams. The landscape features and qualities were interpreted through site readings and mappings. The ghat landscape consisting of 300 meters wide swathe of the land-water interface, was mapped using Google Earth, Varanasi city map, Wikimapia, and photographs. This is recommended as the protected heritage zone. The heritage zone should be developed and managed within an eco-cultural frame work that addresses environmental pollution and urban degradation. Conservation becomes a tool for reclaiming public spaces and improving the quality of public life. The overarching goal of the project is to preserve cultural values by conserving the urban fabric that is a catalyst as well as a setting for their enactments.

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THE BODY AND LANDSCAPE Intangible and tangible cultural heritage encompassed by the cultural landscape of the ghats is interpreted in its mythic, enacted, and historic dimensions. The three facets are mutually constitutive—the landscape is read as a tapestry of mythic narratives and is at the same time a setting for their continuing enactments by the devotees thus keeping ancient traditions alive and vigorous. The land-water interface has been culturally significant for over two millennia. While the chronology of its evolution into the contemporary landscape has many gaps, the documented history of the last three centuries holds a clue to understanding the ways in which its built environment was shaped in response to cultural beliefs. The idea of the body and landscape underlies the mythic, enacted, and historic dimensions. The landscape is a symbol of the primeval being purusha and the great gods of Hinduism--Shiva and Vishnu. The icons and deities in the many temples and shrines on the ghats attest to their living presence on earth. Their actions in mythic time are celebrated through ritual enactments in festivals creating the spatial-temporal order in the landscape. The landscape is always in flux, its temporality a function of the Ganga’s seasonal flow and calendar of rituals and festivals determined by planetary motion. The ghats on the west bank of the Ganga are the altar to worship of the sun rising in the east every morning bringing light and life, an end to actual and metaphoric darkness. The phenomenal form of the Goddess Ganga is worshipped through an immersive engagement with the river. The body in action enacts the image of the archetypal body in the narrative landscape. The body of the pilgrim and the tourist is fully immersed in the cultural landscape of the ghats. Being there is a rich, stimulating experience, a total engagement of the proximate senses. In ritual bathing, chanting, and offerings, the acoustic, olfactory, and tactile sensations induce an awareness of the transcendent holy in the here and now. The sense of enclosure, darkness, and heaviness in the narrow lanes of the old city contrasts with openness and expansiveness of the ghats. Panoramic views of the eighty four ghats as seen from the river and the east bank contrast with focused vistas on the west bank. View sheds show the skyline of temple spires, rhythm of steps, openings, and riverside platforms, making apparent the implicit visual order. Site readings in collages represent the mythic and enacted landscapes. In myths relating to cosmic creation and dissolution, actions of gods and goddesses, descent of the river, the body is central to the visual imagery. The phenomenological experience of the body in the landscape is explored through mapping vision; kinesthetic experience of movement and haptic experience of spatial volume; and acoustic, tactile, olfactory experiences. The historic landscape is documented in mapping the street network, buildings, temples, and their design vocabularies.

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Figure 2.1 - Mythic landscape of Varanasi

Myths explain the sacred geography of Varanasi and the embodied practices that give it meaning and value in ways history cannot. Myths occur in absolute space and eternal time. Their enactments impart a powerful and timeless quality to the landscape. Varanasi traces its origin to Anandvana, the forest of bliss where Lord Shiva sits in a yogic posture with his eyes closed listening intently to his wife Parvati playing the veena. He creates the cosmos contained in Kashi with his yogic power and her music. He strikes his trident to hold the city and place it beyond the ravages of time. He catches the sacred Ganga in his locks as she pours down from heaven as a result of sage Bhagirath’s penance to revive the sixty thousand sons of King Sagara. She purifies and sanctifies, washing away physical dirt and moral sins. In her phenomenal form, the Ganga invites rich visual, tactile, and haptic experiences in everyday, humdrum activities and performances that carry profound meanings. The tradition of ritual bathing at festivals, in the course of pilgrimage and in life cycle events, has continued through the centuries and carries great significance.

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Immersion by as many as 70 million people in the Ganga on auspicious days is a grand spectacle, resulting from self-organized activities on a very large scale. The river and its banks are settings of performative rituals, spontaneous and choreographed. They are mimetic of archetypal acts, enacting mythic and ancestral memories, and contribute to a living heritage. Shiva and Parvati came down from the Himalayas and made Varanasi their home. Shiva presides over the mahashamshan, the great cremation ground on the banks of the Ganga, where he whispers the tarak mantra into the ears of the dying bringing them moksha. In temples Shiva is worshipped in the form of a linga, the most famous one in Varanasi and its center, being jyotirlinga in Vishwanath temple, the cosmic pillar of light that connects the city with heavenly and netherworlds. There are hundreds of lingas in the city, however Omkareshvara, Vishveshvara, and Kedareshvara lingas in temples on the three hills supported by Shiva’s trident are greatly revered.


Figure 2.2 - Myths of the ghats

The west bank is visualized as the spine of the primordial purusha. The Ganga is conceived as the kundalini power rising through the lotus chakras in his spine and Assi and Varana Rivers are nadi channels intermingling with liquid shakti of Ganga. The highest of the six chakras where enlightenment occurs is equated with Varanasi. Although Shiva is the reigning deity of the city, Vishnu and Brahma have a presence too. At the beginning of time, Brahma’s austerities resulted in a brilliant shaft of light erupting from the earth and piercing the skies and the numinous sound OM signaling the creation of the world. Dashashwamedh Ghat is named after the sacrifice of ten horses performed by Brahma in mythic time and by the Bhara Shiva Naga kings in second century CE. The strife between Shiva and Brahma resulted in Bhairava (manifestation of Shiva) cutting of Brahma’s fifth head. However the skull adhered to Bhairava’s hand until he came to Varanasi and bathed at Kapalmochan kund to atone his sin. Both, Brahma and Vishnu acknowledge Shiva’s supremacy when

they could not fathom the beginning and end of his fiery linga. Brahma flew top to the heavens on his goose and Vishnu dived into the waters of the underworld as a boar, but to no avail. Vishnu dug a lotus pond and performed austerities there for thousands of years. Shiva and Parvati appeared and gave him a boon for living forever in Kashi. When they were bathing, Shiva’s crest jewel (mani) and Parvati’s earring (karnika) fell in the pond giving it the name Manikarnika. Close by is the ghat where the dying come to be cremated on the banks of the Ganga and have their ashes immersed in the river that flows through the three worlds. The Ganga is the mother and also a young maiden, consort of Shiva, and the crocodile is her vehicle. Ganga and Shiva, as Shiva Shakti represent the masculine and feminine archetypes. In Varanasi the threads of the myths are woven into a complex tapestry. Myth and reality blur into each other and the modern world is yet another possibility out of many simultaneous multiple existences.

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Figure 2.3 - Pilgrim movement in the sacred landscape of Kashi

The meaning of Kashi as a sacred landscape rests on its image in Puranic texts as a mandala, a cosmogram or symbol of universe, charged with positive energies. Its landscape and built environment have evolved as a medium for visualization of the divine. Kashi mandala is equated with the luminosity of Shiva’s fiery linga. On the banks of the holy river Ganga, it is the domicile of Lord Shiva who is known as Avimukteshvar, one who never forsakes the city. This is the center where all journeys begin and end. It is the point of origin and of continual renewal though the body’s engagement with the landscape in the circumambulatory journeys known as yatras. In obtaining darshan in shrines and temples, bathing in the kunds, walking, performing rituals, chanting, among other activities, the sense of auspicious is enhanced. The holiness of the landscape lies in presenting wholeness through representation of the cosmos. Five circumambulatory circuits—Kashi, Varanasi, Avimukta, Antargriha, and Vishvanath— are traced in pilgrim yatras. They all begin and end with a bath at Manikarnika Ghat.

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Kashi mandala articulated in panchkroshi yatra is the largest, going beyond the city limits, while the Antargrihayatra is circumambulating only around the Vishvanath Temple complex. While the Kashi and Varanasi Yatras are loops, Avimukta circuit is a spiral reaching the center, Vishvanath Temple. The three-dimensional built version of Panchkroshi Yatra is the Panchkroshi Mandir built in the 1870s. In circumambulating the temple, the devotee sees numerous shrines and deities in niches in the outer wall including 104 visited during the yatra. Varanasi’s auspiciousness is multiplied with the residence of other tirthas of the Indian subcontinent in its territory. Char Dham, four corners of India, Jyotirlingas, the twelve lingas of light distributed throughout India, and Saptapuri, seven sacred cities, are all represented in Varanasi. The spatial transposition of sites in India’s sacred geography to Varanasi creates a complex and metonymic cultural landscape where the whole is signified in its constituent parts. Pilgrim journeys to these destinations, many of them beginning at the ghats, are through a confusing maze of narrow streets that are mapped out for ease of travel.


Figure 2.4 - Cycle of festivals on the ghats

Festivals are celebrated throughout the year on the ghats of Varanasi. They are tied to the seasons, to key moments in the solar and lunar calendar celebrating the passage of sun and the waxing and waning moon, and to the harvest cycle. The myths of Hinduism are enacted in the here and now, rejoicing in the births, marriages, and victories of gods and goddesses over demons. Cosmic time of the four yugas (epochs when the universe is destroyed and created anew) in an endless cycle is related to seasonal time in the circle, symbol of eternal time and absolute space. Myths are thus kept alive in the collective memory through traditions that are re-invented in keeping with the changing socio-economic times. The festive atmosphere is an uplifting experience for participants and spectators alike. The land water interface is celebrated in a spectacular way during the festival of Ganga Mahotsav, revering the goddess Ganga in the Hindu month of Kartik (October-November) when the stretch from Panchganga to Rajghat is lit up with earthen oil lamps. In the recently revived festival of Budhava Mangal, a week after the Holi festival in Phagun (March) musicians

perform on the river in decorated barges, and the ghats become a vast amphitheater. On Mahashivaratri celebrating the marriage of Shiva and Parvati, every temple with a linga is decorated for worship and the streets are filled with marriage processions. The famous Ramalila of Banaras enacts the epic myth of the hero god Ram, his birth, marriage, exile and victory over the demon Ravan in Ashvin (October) at various sites on the Ganga riverbank. Dusshera and Diwali mark the end of Ramlila coinciding with Navratri, the nine-day festival celebrating the goddess Durga’s slaying of the demon Mahishasur. Makar Sankranti, Holi, and Vasant Panchami are festivals dedicated to the changing season and to the harvest. The festivals of Janmashtmi, Hanuman Jayanti, and Ganesh Chautha celebrate the births of gods Krishna, Hanuman, and Ganesh respectively at various temples dedicated to the deities. Nagpanchami, festival of serpent worship and Lolarka Chath when Lolarka, the ‘trembling sun’ is worshipped, occur at ancient sacred water bodies, Nag Kuan and Lolarka Kund, close to the ghats.

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Figure 2.5 - Sensory experience on the ghats

The sensual experiences on Assi Ghat, Harish Chandra Ghat, Dashashwamedha Ghat, Manikarnika Ghat, and Panchganga Ghat are depicted in three layers showing the acoustic, olfactory, and tactile experience. Places with multiple sensual experiences are ‘hotspots’ that give visitors the strongest impressions of acoustic, olfactory, or tactile sensations. The size of hotspots stands for the extent of the stimulation, meaning the larger the hotspot is, the stronger the impression of the activity. Certain activities, such as aarti and cremation, have more than one kind of sensual stimulation and are therefore connected in this three-layer diagram. The collages capture each kind of sensual experience-- aarti and puja are stronger in acoustic stimulation while flowers, burning incense, and smoke have the strongest impression of olfactory sensation. Bathing in the Ganga, eating food, the presence of fire and water, and the breeze felt in flying kites are rich tactile stimulations.

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Figure 2.6 - Haptic and Kinesthetic experiences in the streets

The Kinesthetic experience in moving from the main road to Dashashwamedh Ghat and Panchganga Ghat is depicted in a series of spatial sequences. The haptic experience in the narrow alley is that of darkness and enclosure. Details such as texture of the wall, goods on the stalls, shrines along the road, clothes hanging near windows and many others can be viscerally felt. The movement from the building interior to the ghats entails the transition from feelings of enclosure to expansivenes as the river comes into view.

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Figure 2.7 - Haptic and Kinesthetic experiences on the ghats

The architectonic structure of the city and its spatial volumes create haptic and kinesthetic experiences. Movement on and along the ghats is through a labyrinth of walls, people, and livestock. Stairs spirals their way down a single cramped shrine located below the streets. Tanks are constructed so they are also below the street. Most alleys appear as a leftover space between the buildings and give a strong sense of enclosure. An automobile cannot enter alleys close to the ghats. If the street is wide enough for motorcycles, livestock, and pedestrians, all three will probably inhabit it. The maze comes to its end at the Ganga River. The vast river starkly contrasts with the cramped streets and crowded ghats. Upon reaching the water’s edge, the sense of relief erases the memory of confusion and claustrophobia that the streets had left. The river is the destination for many Varanasi dwellers in daily life and also in death.

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H19. Jalasayi Ghat

Ghat

H28. Hanuman Gadi Ghat

H28. Hanuman Gadi Ghat T7. Jain Mandir

T7. Jain Mandir

H1. Ganga Mahal

H10. Vijayanagram Ghat

H2. Building beside Ganga Mahal

H11. Raja Ghat

T17. Temple at Someshwar Ghat

T17. Temple at Someshwar Ghat

T26. Bhutnath Temple

T26. Bhutnath Temple

H3. Tulsi Ghat

H20. Manikarnika Ghat

ika Ghat

H29. Gai Ghat

H29. Gai Ghat T8. Temple at Nishad Ghat

T8. Temple at Nishad Ghat

T18. Temples at Raja Ghat T27. Krsna and Manikarnikavinayaka Temple

T18. Temples at Raja Ghat

H12. Digpatiya

T27. Krsna and Manikarnikavinayaka Temple

H4. Janaki Ghat

H21. Ganga Mahal Ghat

Mahal Ghat

H30. Trilochan Ghat

H30. Trilochan Ghat T9. Temple at Panchkota Ghat

T9. Temple at Panchkota Ghat T19. Temple at Digpatiya Ghat

T19. Temple at Digpatiya Ghat T28. Tarakeshwara Temple

T28. Tarakeshwara Temple

H5. Chetsingh Palace

H22. Bhonsale Palace Palace

H31. Nandeshwar Ghat

H31. Nandeshwar Ghat T10. Temples in Chetsingh Fort

T10. Temples in Chetsingh Fort T20. Temple at Munshi Ghat

T20. Temple at Munshi Ghat

Ghat

H32. Teliyanala Ghat

H32. Teliyanala Ghat T11. Temples at Niranjan Ghat

T11. Temples at Niranjan Ghat T21. Temples at Ahaliyabai Ghat

T29. Ratneshwar Temple

T21. Temples at Ahaliyabai Ghat

hat

H33. Excavations at Raja Ghat

H33. Excavations at Raja Ghat

T12. Temple at Shivala Ghat

T12. Temple at Shivala Ghat T22. Temple at Dasashwamedha Ghat

T30. Durga Temple

T22. Temple at Dasashwamedha Ghat

T2. Jagannath Temple

Historic Buildings - H 1 - H 33 T2. Jagannath Temple T13. Hanuman Temple Hanuman Ghat

at

Temples - T 1 - T 37

T13. Hanuman Temple Hanuman Ghat T23. Temples at Dasashwamedha Ghat

T31. Temples at Panchganga Ghat

T23. Temples at Dasashwamedha Ghat

Figure 2.8 - Map of important historic buildings and temples on the ghats. 14

H16. Domraja Palace

T31. Temples at Panchganga Ghat

H8. Mandakini Ghat

H25. Balaji Ghat

H15. Manmandir Observatory

T30. Durga Temple

H7. Akhada at Niranjan Ghat

H24. Rama Ghat

H14. Darbhanga Ghat

T29. Ratneshwar Temple

H6. Maharaja Chetsingh Fort

H23. Ganesh Ghat

H13. Rana Mahal

H17. Nepali Ghat

T35. Ravidas Temple

T35. Ravidas Temple

H9. Karnatak State Ghat

H18. Lalita Ghat


H19. Jalasayi Ghat

H28. Hanuman Gadi Ghat

H20. Manikarnika Ghat

H29. Gai Ghat

H21. Ganga Mahal Ghat

T7. Jain Mandir

T17. Temple at Someshwar Ghat

T26. Bhutnath Temple

T8. Temple at Nishad Ghat

T18. Temples at Raja Ghat

T27. Krsna and Manikarnikavinayaka Temple

H30. Trilochan Ghat

T9. Temple at Panchkota Ghat

T19. Temple at Digpatiya Ghat

T28. Tarakeshwara Temple

H22. Bhonsale Palace

H31. Nandeshwar Ghat

T10. Temples in Chetsingh Fort

T20. Temple at Munshi Ghat

T29. Ratneshwar Temple

H23. Ganesh Ghat

H32. Teliyanala Ghat

T11. Temples at Niranjan Ghat

T21. Temples at Ahaliyabai Ghat

T30. Durga Temple

H24. Rama Ghat

H33. Excavations at Raja Ghat

T12. Temple at Shivala Ghat

T22. Temple at Dasashwamedha Ghat

T31. Temples at Panchganga Ghat

H25. Balaji Ghat

T2. Jagannath Temple

T13. Hanuman Temple Hanuman Ghat

T23. Temples at Dasashwamedha Ghat

T35. Ravidas Temple

H26. Panchganga Ghat

T5. Anandmai Mandir

T15. Temples at Harishchandra Ghat

T24. Shiva Temples at Dasashwamedha Ghat

T36. Adi keshava Temple

H27. Lal Ghat

T6. Vachharaja Ghat

T16. Kedareshwar Temple

T25. Samrajeshwara Temple

T37. Vishwanath Temple

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Historic landscape The historic character of the ghats is most evident in riverside palaces and temples built in the last three hundred years. Royalty and nobility from different parts of Indian subcontinent built palaces for extended stay by elderly family members who wished to spend their last days in the holy city of Varanasi. The earliest surviving palaces are those built by the rulers of Rajasthan. Man Mandir was built by Raja Man Singh of Amber in 1586 CE and its rooftop houses an astronomical observatory built by another Amber king Sawai Jai Singh in 1710. At Rana Mahal Ghat, is another historic palace built in 1670 by Rana Jagat Singh of Udaipur. Eighteenth century palaces by the Maratha rulers include those built by Peshwa Baji Rao I and Raghoba Balaji in 1735, by Raghuji Bhonsale in 1795, and Indore State Palace by the Holkar queen Ahilyabai in 1778-85. Nineteenth century palaces include those built in 1830 by the Raja Dipatiya of Champaran, by Jiyajirao Sindhia, ruler of Gwalior in 1864, by the Vijayanagar ruler on Kedar Ghat in 1890, and by Rana Shamsherbahadur of Nepal at Gaya Ghat. Ministers of the Maratha kingdoms of Nagpur and Gwalior built palaces on Darbhanga and Jatar Ghats. The local rulers of Banaras also built on the Ganga—Chet Singh built a small fortress in the mid-eighteenth century and Prabhunarayan Singh constructed Ganga Mahal on Assi Ghat in 1830. Palaces continued to be built until the beginning of twentieth century—they include one on Assi Ghat by the queen Radhakunwar of Sursund and by the industrialist Baldev Prasad Birla on Tulsi Ghat. Many of the palaces are no longer in active use and can be adaptively re-used as public facilities. Together with temple spires, they contribute to the iconic view of the Varanasi ghats popular worldwide.

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The Hindu temples commemorate acts of cosmogony, sacrifices, and austerities of gods and goddesses. Often associated with a holy water body or local divinities, they celebrate the numinous power of the site. Monumental temples were in existence before the arrival of Islam in India in eleventh century—their repeated destruction resulted in the oldest surviving Hindu temples on the ghats to date only from the eighteenth century. The temples are a significant part of the historic built fabric of the ghats. Their preservation program has to take into account that they are living sites of worship and as such they are renovated and repaired as needed and as per resources of the temple trusts responsible for their maintenance. A number of temples are built in the panchyatana style with the central shrine surrounded by four smaller shrines at four corners of a square. The shikhara tower surmounts each shrine—the one over the central shrine dominates over others. The shikhara tower curves toward the amalaka and kalasha finial and has half-shikharas in relief superimposed over it resulting in a clustered effect. Examples include Shiva Durga Temple on Manikarnika Ghat built in 1850 and Lakshminarayan Temple near Assi Ghat built in 1902. Domed or pyramidal vaulted roofs over the mandapa in front of the sanctuary with the shikhara tower are also common as in Vishvanath Temple built in 1777 and Tarakeshvara Temple on Manikarnika Ghat built in 1792. Other regional styles are represented as in the Samrajeshvara Temple on Lalita Ghat with carved wooden panels and sloping roofs sheathed in copper built in the Nepalese style in 1843.


IMAGEABLE, LEGIBLE AND PERFORMATIVE LANDSCAPE Myths are re-enacted and homage to gods and goddesses offered on a daily and episodic basis, invigorating memory and renewing values, in the process generating fluid space. The Ganga and its ghats become sites of spectacle and performance in a temporal rhythm derived from the rising and setting sun and the changing flow of the Ganga in the dry and monsoon seasons. Death and its rituals on cremation ghats offer a macabre spectacle to the voyeurs. The ghats are the iconic image of Varanasi and of Hindu India. They are highly imageable in that they can be viewed in their entirety from the Ganga. The distant and near views generate a strong mental image in the observer. The ghat panoramas have been popular since the eighteenth century and have influenced a ‘way of seeing’ the cultural landscape. Their strong image, evoked from a consistent design vocabulary used in the past, is threatened by incompatible building structures, visual clutter of signs and billboards, and dilapidation. Design regulations of building facades and materials are prescribed to preserve their aesthetic character. Although the ghats are richly imageable, they are not legible in that they are confusing and disorienting, especially to the first time visitor. Legibility is defined as the attribute of the landscape that allows for comprehension of its structure, i.e. easy recognition of its parts and their organization into a coherent pattern. The ghats are envisaged as a legible and interpretive landscape by developing the following visitor facilities: way finding map to the ghats, heritage trails, informational and directional signage, ghat lighting, boat parking, and vending kiosks. Consolidating the dispersed vending and combining it with provision of essential goods will reduce the congestion and visual clutter of the ghats. The proposed heritage trails with directional and informational signage aid in way finding and understanding their spatial structure. Poorly lit areas lanes in the old city and stretches of ghats are illuminated to increase safety and encourage movement along the river. Visual aids such as maps, logos, and narrative walls depicting myths and legends, interpret the history and mythology of the ghats, reinforcing their role as sites of cultural memory. At Manikarnika Ghat, the proposed spatial organization and screening promise privacy and dignity to the bereaving. Amphibian space is created at the ghats’ edge through the proposed floating docks thus augmenting performative spaces. Peace gardens are designed to offer the possibility of diffusing communal tensions between Hindus and Muslims.

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Figure 3.1 - Panorama: Sarveshwara ghat - Tripura Bhairavi ghat (2005-2013) Source: Michael Aschauer

Figure 3.2 - Panorama: Lalita ghat - Ganesha ghat (2005-2013) Source: Michael Aschauer

Figure 3.3 - Analysis of ghat’s skyline

Figure 3.4 - Analysis of ghat’s facade

Figure 3.5 - Analysis of color usage on ghats

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Figure 3.6 - Architectural design vocabulary

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Figure 3.7/A - Chet Singh Palace, 1837 Artist - unknown Courtesy - British Library

Figure 3.9/A - Dasashwamed Ghat, 1883 Photographer - Prasad Babu Jageswar Courtesy - British Library

Figure 3.7/B - Chet Singh Palace, 2014

Figure 3.9/B - Dasashwamed Ghat, 2014

Figure 3.8/A - Raja ghat, 2000 Photogapher - Stanislaw Klimek Source: Gutschow, 2006

Figure 3.10/A - Kedar ghat, 2000 Photogapher - Stanislaw Klimek Source: Gutschow, 2006

Figure 3.8/B - Raja ghat, 2014

Figure 3.10/B - Kedar ghat, 2014


Figure 3.11 - Visual quality of the ghats

Figure 3.12/A - Manikarnika Ghat, 1869 Photographer - unknown Source - http://www.oldindianphotos.in

Encountering Varanasi ghats is a sublime experience of the Ganga in all seasons and in many moods. The landscape is an assault on the senses and holds the possibility of a visionary experience. James Prinsep engravings of the Varanasi ghats in the 1830s depict a picturesque view of the landscape that romanticizes decay through passage of time. These images influenced subsequent representations of the ghat skyline that is inextricably linked to the identity of the city. The visual culture of ghats is rich with a variety of architectural forms and religious iconography. Color, textures, spires, fenestration, steps, platforms, vegetation, boats, among other elements, are repeated at irregular intervals and form the unifying element in a very complex visual structure. The iconic image of the ghats is threatened with visual clutter from encroachments and billboards resulting in loss of aesthetic value, most evident at Dashashwamedh Ghat. New buildings visually incompatible with historic structures cause visual dissonance as seen at Kedar Ghat.

Figure 3.12/B - Manikarnika Ghat, 2014

The historic fabric is deteriorating and endangered as evident at Raja Ghat and Chet Singh Ghat. Some of it is already extinct. These historic buildings are in varying degrees of disrepair, the ramification of which is a disappearing history. Making legible the past has the effect of exponentially enriching the visitor experience. This is an important rationale for preservation. Varanasi ghats are in need of a comprehensive set of design guidelines for visual management. Historic buildings must be preserved in accordance with the historic design palette of temple spires, burjes, chattris, arched doorways and windows, and jharokhas. The height of new buildings must not exceed that of the tallest building—Alamgir Mosque on Panchganga Ghat. Rich vibrant colors are part of ghat identity. However an excess of color adds to the visual clutter. A color palette in harmony with the prevailing colors should be prescribed for painting the public buildings and ghat steps.

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

 

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Figure 3.13 - Viewshed analysis

Panoramic views of the ghats are obtained along the length of the Ganga Riverfront and the river itself is a magnificent view. It is difficult for visitors to see the entire stretch of the river from the ghats as they are stages for ritual activities and crowded with buildings. Sights from the Ganga are mapped with the boats as a moving viewshed and from specific locations at higher points above the ghats. Building structures on the ghats become viewing points for observers. Finding spaces to frame the view will enable visitors to appreciate the magnificence of this holy landscape. Boat travel is the best way for visitors to understand the entire ghat landscape. The east bank of the Ganga with panoramic views of the river and the ghats contrasts with the liveliness of the builtup west bank.

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


Reading from the River:

Dening an Architectural Vocabulary for the Ghats of Varanasi Oranate Examples: 1|A Assi Ghat

3| Reewa Ghat

34|Digpatiia Ghat

37-38|Rana Mahal & Munshii Gh hats

44|Man Mandir Ghat

19-20|H Hanuman & Prachina Ghats

33|Sarvesvara Ghat

62|Ram Ghat

67|Pancaagang anga Ghat

Vernacular Examples: 7-8|Mata Anandami & Vaccharaja Ghats



-

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 Beni Singh Booksellar, 1911

ELEVATION

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Figure 3.14 - Architecture vocabulary of ghats

When experiencing the ghats on foot, the proximate senses are fully engaged but the interpretation of visual elements is hindered. The visitor on a boat on the Ganga, away from the hustle and bustle of the city, has the opportunity to see the panoramic skyline of the ghats. The skyline holds significant architectural value with its temple spires, fort like palaces with bastions, protruding balconies, platforms, and cubicles just above water. The layering of structures adds depth and serial repletion of forms provides the unifying thread in the architectural diversity of the ghats. To identify repeating forms, walls, stairs, vegetation, platforms and prominent spires on each the 84 ghats were systematically represented in a graph format. The frequency with which each of the elements occur on the ghats is mapped. Although the elements are not spaced at regular intervals, their erratic repetition sets up a syncopated rhythm. The ghat architecture responds to the changing water levels of the Ganga. The lower floors of palaces are opaque and built solid with octagonal or circular towers to resist the thrust of the rising waters.

These are aligned with square, rectangular, octagonal, and circular platforms built over well foundations that divide the steps into bays and protect them from erosion. The platforms are occasionally hollowed out into cubicles that house shrines. Smaller structures are also built opening into the river--these are private spaces for bathing and meditation. The upper floors of mansions are porous with windows, balconies, and galleries for views of the riverfront. The steps set up an interesting rhythm especially as they cascade down from streets and buildings located at higher levels. The riverfront becomes greener towards the north with unbuilt embankments and greater tree cover.

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 

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Figure 3.15 - Movement pattern along the ghats

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




Figure 3.16 - Maps and apps for heritage trails

Movement is studied at three levels: from urban transportation hubs to the ghats, from adjoining neighborhoods to the ghats, and between the ghats themselves. Streets follow topography—those perpendicular to the riverbank connect parallel streets to the ghats and drain stormwater into the Ganga. The street network shows a dendritic pattern with the major thoroughfares broad and straight, while the pedestrian lanes of the old city are narrow and winding. They are crammed with people, animals and vehicles, dark and unlit. Views and space for movement open up in the ghats, but the ghats too become crowded on festive occasions and have their own circulation problems with the boats, as there are few docking points. Walking along the ghats takes about 4-5 hours. The five destination ghats for tourists and pilgrims include Assi, Dashashwamedh, Manikarnika, Panchganga, and Adi Keshav. It takes 10-15 minutes to drive from one to another, depending on traffic, or 20 minute by boat. At peak times in the evening, vehicular movement can be even slower than walking. The ghats are about 1540 minutes to the train station and airport, by cars

and auto-rickshaws. There are bridges that cross the Ganga, but with narrow shoulders. The way finding map of Varanasi Ghats is designed for aiding tourists when they are walking to and along the ghats. It shows the traffic routes from the airports and railway station to the ghats and its attractions. It also shows the street network, walking and boat trails, and significant sites. Heritage trails proposed on six ghats: Assi Ghat, Kedar Ghat, Dashashwamedh Ghat, Manikarnika Ghat, Panchganga Ghat, and Adi Keshava Ghat and the historic buildings and temples are marked on the detailed maps. Each ghat has its own small loop of heritage trail that connects its historic buildings and temples. Trail-heads are at entry streets from the city and boat docking points. The wayfinding map can be made available as an app for smart phone. Visitors can scan the QR code on the way finding map brochure and download the App. It has the map of Varanasi Ghats, local weather, facilities nearby, myths and legends associated with each ghat, as well as historic and sacred sites.

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 

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���        

   

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Figure 3.17 - Site Analysis of Raj ghat

The Rajghat Trail connects the 83rd and 84th, ghats on the Rajghat Plateau at the confluence of the Ganga and Varana. The sites are of immense archaeological and religious significance offering lessons in both history and myth. On Rajghat Plateau and further upstream along the Varana were the earliest settlements in the region dating back to 11th BCE. Excavations in 1940s and 1990s revealed the growth of rural hamlets at Akatha and Sarai Mohana into an urban center by fourth century BCE in the Mauryan period. The historic city flourished under different dynasties, its uninterrupted exitence coming to an abrupt end with Islamic invasion. The site has the remains of fort of the Hindu Gahadvala ruler, Jaichandra who was defeated by Qutb-ud-din Aibak in 1194-95 CE. The Gahadvala rulers worshipped at the Adikeshava Temple at the confluence of the Ganga and Varana using its ghat for bathing in the Ganga.

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Their fort was never rebuilt and the city moved southwards but the sacred significance of the site located on the Panchkroshi pilgrimage circuit did not diminish. Adikeshava Temple was rebuilt at the end of eighteenth century and other smaller shrines containing linga such as Sangameshvara (god of river confluence) commemorate the presence of gods. The archaeological and sacred sites representing history and myth respectively are juxtaposed in space but their lack of physical connection precludes their reading as an integrated narrative and a historic timeline by the visitor. Ferryboats for trade used this part of the riverbank until 1887 when the bridge across the Ganga was built. Today Raj Ghat is accessed from the city through a major street and has new shrines including one to the medieval saint Ravidas above stone steps built in the 1980s. On its north a major storm water outlet from the city empties into the river and a squatter community lives close by.


 

 

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     

Figure 3.18 - Design proposal for Raj ghat

To make the sites more accessible jetties are proposed at Raj Ghat and Adikeshava Ghat for visitors who choose to visit the sites in boats. A cultural heritage trail with interpretive signage is designed linking Adikeshava Temple with the proposed Archaeological Park around the ancient ruins of Varanasi. The areas along the trail open up to expansive views of the Ganga. The heavily eroded river embankment is redesigned as green terraced ghat to stabilize the soil and encourage vegetable and flower gardens.

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Figure 3.19 - Signage proposal for directions on the ghats

The proposed signage system will increase landscape legibility by identifying ghats clearly and aiding orientation. Two kinds of signs are proposed: informational and directional. Informational signage covers public service, caution and educational. Tourist center, emergency aid, drinking water, hotel, restaurant and restroom, among others will be displayed as public service signage. Examples of caution signage are no smoking and no littering. Educational signage covers historic buildings, temples, sacred sites, myths and legends and ritual ceremonies such as aarti. Directional signage will be placed on walls of the buildings and streets to show the way from the city to the ghats and the Ganga. In addition signage will illustrate the location of the ghat and its name as well as boating areas.

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According to one legend the five most sacred ghats represent different body parts of Lord Vishnu: Assi is the head; Dashashwamedha is the chest; Manikarnika is the navel; Panchganga is the thighs; and Adikesava is the feet. The five elements of all gross matter are sky, ether, fire, water and earth. Thus the five most sacred ghats can be identified in the following way: Assi as the sky, Dasashwamedha as ether, Manikarnika as fire, Panchganga as water, and Adikeshava as earth.


Figure 3.20 - Signage proposal for information on the ghats

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Figure 3.21 - Narrative surfaces on the ghats

The urban landscape of Varanasi is replete with vibrant folk art created by local artists. It can be found on building facades, street walls, water tower, steps, and on the boats. There are different types of art including paintings of gods and goddesses, murals, and sculptures. The themes, style, and color palette for narrative art depicting myths and legends that give identity to the ghats are modeled on urban folk art. Rest platforms, lights, and planters are proposed as narrative surfaces for local arts on Assi Ghat, Dasashwamedh Ghat, Panchganga Ghat, Manikarnika Ghat and Adikeshav Ghat.

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 



From overly bright Ghats to mysterious dark corridors of the city, the lighting system in Varanasi is very sporadic. The new lighting system works to evenly spread light along the Ghats, creating a safer space that is easily accessible. Path Lighting

Signage Lighting

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Corridor Lighting

Step Lighting

Emergency Lighting

Historic Lighting

Figure 3.22 - Lighting proposal for Dashashwamedha ghat

Lighting of the ghats is uneven as there are hotspots that are brightly lit in an otherwise poorly lit riverfront. Certain ghats are lit during the evening aarti but travel between the major ghats at night time is difficult as there is no lighting. From overly bright ghats to mysterious dark corridors of the city, the lighting system in Varanasi is very sporadic. The new lighting system works to evenly spread light along the ghats, creating a safer space that is easily accesible. The lighting proposal includes bollard lighting for the trails between the ghats, hanging lights for the narrow lanes in the old city, step lighting so people can see their way down to the river, spot lighting for the heritage buildings as well as for signage, and evacuation lighting in emergency. The levels of ghat illumination, existing and proposed, show where the light is most and least concentrated. The section cut shows signage, path, and step lighting.

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Figure 3.23 - Vending typology on the ghats

Vendors selling a myriad of items ranging from colorful silks to fruits to items used for worship, add to the chaotic atmosphere of the ghats both visually and physically. Though the vendor system may seem overwhelming and even disorienting at times to newcomers, it promises livelihood to many people. Stimulating to all of the senses, Varanasi’s commercial landscape offers a compelling experience. Many commercial activities move, following the flow of pedestrian traffic. Merchandise overflows from carts and tables lining the streets. Standing shops entice with colorful displays of their goods, often hanging at eye level or above. Commercial activities create a dynamic landscape laden with color, texture, odor, and sounds, adding vitality to the scene. Although vending appears very haphazard initially, closer examination reveals a hierarchical arrangement of commerce along the street system and the ghats. This hierarchy is particularly apparent at Dashashwamedh Ghat, a popular tourist destination where many religious celebrations occur. Standing shops, often integrated into the lowest level of larger

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buildings, are set back the furthest from the flow of pedestrian traffic along the streets leading into the ghat. These merchants’ locations are more or less fixed. Carts, items laid out on blankets to be packed up at the days end, and make-shift tables, all semifixed vendors, are a step closer to the passers-by. Mobile vendors carry their goods with them, moving easily with the changing tides of people.


VENDING IN VARANASI AN INTENTIONAL COMBINATION OF COMMERCE AND TOURISM PROPOSED VENDING LOCATIONS

first aid

Varanasi vendors can be given a purposeful space to occupy and become trail information an asset to the tourists and pilgrims rather than a point of stress. By providing maps available small interventions along unused wall space on the Ghats themselves, ventransportation dors are given a place to display goods near major channels of foot traffic in-

stead of clogging the narrow lanes, enhancing their visibility in the process. A proposed coding system (left) for street vendors increases legibility and identifies tourism resources. This color coding system would be further explained in tourist maps (below).

water

Water

Transportation

Trail Information

Maps Available

First Aid

VENDOR TOURIST ASSISTANCE

CODING SYSTEM TO PROVIDE TOURIST INFORMATION

VENDOR TOURIST ASSISTANCE First Aid Trail Information Maps Available Transportation Water

GHAT VENDING FURNITURE AND KIOSK The vending kiosk (right) would provide tourist information and offer a storage location for the collapsible stands shown below.

VENDOR TOURIST ASSISTANCE First Aid Trail Information Maps Available Transportation Water

VENDING DETAIL

Water

Transportation

Trail Information

Maps Available

First Aid

VENDOR TOURIST ASSISTANCE

All of the ghat vending furniture will be:

Vending along wider lanes and on the Ghats. Narrow lane commerce limited.

• Made from local materials like reclaimed lumber from boats. • Flooding resistant. • Secure • Close to vending hotspots. • Regulated by a vendor collective. Wall-mounted folding tables

0m

100m

200m

Collapsible/stackable stand

Garbage ring

GHAT FURNISHINGS IN PLACE

Figure 3.24 - Design proposal for vending on the ghats

Congestion near the steps makes the narrow lanes leading to the river nearly impossible to successfully navigate and vendors selling their wares are overlooked when they form makeshift markets made from tarps and posts. The more mobile vendors should be given a space to occupy and become an asset to tourists and pilgrims of Varanasi rather than a source of stress. Through small interventions along unused wall space on the ghats themselves, vendors are given a place to display goods near major channels of foot traffic instead of clogging the narrow lanes. Wall-mounted folding tables, garbage rings that hold plastic bags, and collapsible tables that can be stacked and stored at the day’s end all give merchants an opportunity to better market their merchandise. Vendors can use these furnishings by signing up through a vendor collective, being assigned a table of their choice, and becoming responsible for the maintenance and security of the table. The furniture can be collapsed and locked on the ghats when vendors have finished their activities. Collapsible tables can be housed in a semi-mobile vending kiosk

that offers tourist maps and assistance to visitors. A coding system can be outlined in the tourist map to show travelers where maps, first aid, tour information, or transportation assistance available. When tourists access this information via vendors they will perceive them as a resource for their navigation through the city rather than a source of harassment. VENDOR TOURIST ASSISTANCE First Aid

Trail Information Maps Available Transportation Water

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ASSI GHAT

REST AREA & AUDIANCE AARTI PERFORMENCE RITUAL AREA GREEN SPACE

AARTI PERFORMANCE EVERY NIGHT HOLY BATHING

WORSHIP OF LINGA UNDER TREE

WORSHIP IN MONSOON SEASON

BOAT DOCKING & LARGE SILT AREA

SILT AREA GANGA RIVER BOAT DOCKING FLOATING BIRDGE & STAGE STEP & PLATFORM BUILDING

DRY SEASON SECTION

MONSOON SEASON SECTION WATER LEVEL DIFERANCE 16FT.

WATER LEVEL DIFFERENCE 16FT. Silt Area 120 ft.

Silt Area 120 ft.

DRY SEASON PROPOSED PLAN

MONSOON SEASON PROPOSED PLAN

DRY SEASON PROPOSED SECTION

MONSOON SEASON PROPOSED SECTION

Figure 3.25 - Design proposal for performative landscape, Assi ghat

Assi Ghat is one of the most popular ghats with easy access from the city. It received the patronage of Marathas in the 18th-19th c. The Jagannath Temple on the ghat is the replica of Jagannath Temple in Puri. Below at the footsteps is the linga of Kundodareshvara Shiva under a Pipal Tree. In the aftermath of Assi Nala being diverted a kilometer to the south in 1980, the Ganga flow has receded from Assi Ghat, leaving a large exposed silt area. Located in the south end of the ghat stretch, it has relatively large open space with potential to be developed. However, the site is covered by large expanses of silt extending up to 120 feet from the steps. As a result, most activities occur on the unstable and uncomfortable silt-bed. Besides, the space between buildings and steps is not large enough for rituals. Seasonal flooding increases the water level resulting in lack of public space. The main activities include bathing in the holy Ganga River, worship of linga under the tree and in the temple, boat landing, praying and meditation, and the traditional aarti ceremony every evening.

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Strategies for creating amphibious space including: redesigning the ghats, inserting a floating stage for daily performance, and linear floating piers connecting the steps and water edge. The main objective is to enlarge the performance space and provide boat docking. The platform size around the temple and sacred tree is extended. Curvilinear shapes replace the original acute angle of the steps, thus preventing further silt deposit. A floating stage on the hard revetments wall extends the stage area for the aarti performance. In the dry season the stage is supported by the wall, while during the monsoon season, it floats up with the water level.


Figure 3.26 - Design proposal for performative landscape, Dashashwamedha ghat

The floating dock consists of plywood 10’ x 10’ platforms supported by styrofoam buoyancy billets. For it to be stable for six people on board, the floatation capacity needs to be at minimum of 1300 lbs. For example the 10’ x 10’ platform would weigh 400 lbs (100 x 4 lbs per sq. ft) and 6 people at 150 lbs each equals 900 lbs. Therefore floatation required is 1300 lbs (900 + 400). With the use of only four (7” x 20” x 8’) billets (425 lbs each equals 1700 lbs floatation), the platform can at minimum bear six or more people on board without capsizing. Also it can be combined and adjusted to create more spaces. As more platforms are added, boat parking will also increase.

The linear floating bridges, supported by two extra revetments walls, connect the steps and water edge, on which people are able to walk on both dry and monsoon seasons. On the west side of bridges, there are several tall octagonal terraces for various activities during the dry season and connect the bridges to the platform when steps are under water in the monsoons. Dycel concrete revetments reinforce the embankment and prevent silt from accumulating on the ghats. The boats will park along the concrete revetment in the dry season and berth beside the floating bridges during the monsoon, thus adding space for the large crowds that gather to watch the aarti ceremony in the evenings.

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 Histrorical photos are from www.oldindianphotos.in/.

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Figure 3.27 - Site analysis of Manikarnika ghat

Manikarnika Ghat is the most popular site of cremation where the funeral pyres are never extinguished with about 28,000 bodies burnt every year. Cremation can be interpreted as the symbolic sacrifice essential for regenerating the cosmos—the ghat is therefore the site of recurring dissolution and recreation of the universe. It is associated with both Shiva and Vishnu, eternally present at the site that is absolute space and where time stands still. Here moksha, liberation from the cycle of rebirths is promised and the Ganga washes away the pollution of death. Circumambulation of Varanasi, the Panchkroshi Yatra, begins with a bath at Manikarnika Ghat.

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The ghat is mentioned in a 5th c. Gupta inscription, rebuilt in 1302 CE and renovated by the Marathas in 1735 CE and 1872 CE. The Holkar queen Ahilyabai in 1795 CE built Tarakeshvara Temple where Shiva is worshipped as Tarakeshvar, one who whispers the Taraka Mantra in the ear of the dying. Early photographs of the ghats in 1922 and 1947 show cremation occurring on tiers of the embakments. Today the process of cremation is haphazard and spilling on to the floodplain. Stacks of wood in the narrow lanes interfere with the mourning processions, and crowds of voyuristic tourists in boats gape at the spectacle of death. The redesign of Manikarnika Ghat organizes space by introducing 21 new cremation platforms in front of Bhuthnath Temple with circulation spaces for mourners. A separate loading zone for wood transported by boats is demarcated and movable screens for privacy are proposed.


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



        



C

  

   

      

A



 

















C 

B

  





A

 





  





 



 



























 

Figure 3.28 - Design proposal for Manikarnika ghat



37


Figure 3.29 - Site analysis of Panchganga ghat

This ghat marks the confluence of five rivers—Ganga, Yamuna, Saraswati, Kirana, and Dhutpapa and has been popular among the faithful since the 11th12th Gahadvala period. The great Bindu Madhav Temple, described by Tavernier in 1665 CE, was an awe-inspiring structure, built by Man Singh, ruler of Amber in 1585 CE. It was demolished by the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb in 1673 CE and the imposing Alamgir Mosque built at the site. The Vishnu deity was housed in small house nearby that came to be known as Bindu Madhav Temple. The Maratha Peshwas repaired the ghat in 1735 CE, first constructed in 1580 CE. Panchganga Ghat is associated with the Ramananda, the teacher of Vedanta, Kabir, the bhakti poet and the great author Tulsidas wrote his book Vinaya Patrika on this ghat. In October-November every year during the Hindu Karttik month, devotees bathe in the Ganga here in large numbers, as this is an auspicious time. The ghat is lit up with tall bamboo poles with lamps to commemorate ancestors.

38


Figure 3.30 - Design proposal for Panchganga ghat

The viewsheds to and from the Ganga are striking with domes of the mosque and steep flight of stairs adding to the picturesque effect. The Panchganga Ghat is difficult to access from the city as the streets leading to it are narrow and labyrinthine plus there are encroachments on public space and signs are lacking. Public space on the ghat too is inadequate especially in the evenings when the aarti to the Ganga is performed. In the redesign proposal performative space is added by linking the platforms extending into the Ganga. The plaza at the higher level between the mosque and the temple overlooking the ghats is redesigned as a peace plaza to bring the Hindu and Muslim communities together. Signage and lighting enhance the legible quality of the public space.

39






   

Mosque

Place of Worship

Temple



Communal Violence Time: Nov. 8, 1991 Death: 15-50

Not permitted to Image as both depict the image embodiment of of God nor any gods and gods prophet. themselves Use of Statues and Pictures

Rioting began on Election Day when the Hindus allegedly prevented the Muslims from voting.





God (Allah) is the only god Monism, Kathenotheism, and is all-powerful and Monotheism omniscient. Concept of Deity A constant cycle of reincarnation Eternal life in until moksha paradise or hell. is attained. Views on the Afterlife Belief vary. Some say the path they describe is the only path to God and All other religions are false, salvation. Some believe but muslims should not that all spiritual paths lead disrespect them. to the same God. View on Other Religions

Hindus



  

Islam came to India

Settment in Varanasi

Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb’s reign

Muslims 320 CE

Construction of Gupta temple



Weaving

Figure 3.31 - Hinduism and Islam

Varanasi periodically witnesses communal violence between Hindus and Muslims. Public spaces are potential sites of conflict and terrorist activities. Although Islam and Hinduism are antithetical in many respects, yet inter-faith dialogue can bring out the common ground and universal message of both religions. In our proposal the ghats are conceptualized as spaces of negotiation and reconciliation. Peace garden is proposed as a design prototype for encouraging communication and promoting activities that lead to greater understanding of shared humanity beyond religious differences. Between the eleventh and seventeenth centuries the temples of Varanasi were destroyed at least four times but the remarkable resiliency of the sacred sites is attested in rebuilding of temples. The history of repeated destruction of temples and building of mosques at the sacred sites of Hinduism can be read in the cultural landscape of Varanasi even today. Although it may be difficult to overlook reminders of

40



The blast started at the Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple. Hundreds of pilgrims were in temple as it was a holy day devoted to Hanuman.

800 BC …………

Other



Bombing Time: Mar. 7, 2006 Death: 28 Injured: 101

900 CE

1193 CE

Demolition of Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple and Kedara temple

1658 CE

The Muslim armies of Qutb-ud-din Aibak destroyed almost 1000 Hindu temples. Including Temple of Adi Keshava, the temple of Konarak, and Vishwanath Temple

1767 CE

……

Reign of Queen Ahalyabai Holkar, who patronized numerous Hindu temples

the past, this history should be put into perspective and read as chronicle of not just conquest and destruction but also harbinger of the hybrid Indo-Islamic culture in music, arts, cuisine, and myriad economic transactions. In spite of occasional conflicts, residents of Varanasi with different religious backgrounds share an easygoing life style, marked by bonhomie. Although a minority forming about a quarter of the population, Muslims plays an important role in the urban economy. Weaving is one of the largest industries in Varanasi, and about 70% of weavers are Muslims.At Balaji Ghat, the historic palace with the Balaji Temple built by the Peshwas in 1735 CE is now being renovated for public use. It is adjacent to the Alamgir Mosque built on a site dedicated to Bindu Madhav Temple first built in the eleventh century and then again in the sixteenth century, finally demolished a century later.


   













 

Festival



Community Feast



Interfaith Dialogue



Viewing



Figure 3.32 - Proposal for peace garden at Balaji ghat

This juxtaposition of Hindu and Muslim religious sites is as an ever-present reminder of the diversity and pluralism of Varanasi. Balaji Palace has an open terrace offering a panoramic view of Ganga where a public plaza/garden is proposed. The peace garden uses traditional Indian weaving patterns, heritage common to all living in Varanasi. The garden design does not use religious symbols —it is simply a community space that brings people together for interfaith dialogue and shared meals on Hindu and Muslim festivals. The prototypical peace garden can be inserted at several sites along the riverbank where communal violence has occurred in the past such as Gola Ghat, Kedar Ghat, and Assi Ghat.

41


Figure 3.33 - Site plan I

42


HEALTHY AND RESILIENT LANDSCAPE The physiography of the Ganga’s banks is mapped in site hydrology--Ganga and Varana flow in summer and monsoon, flood and drought conditions, inland water bodies; terrain of ridge, hills, floodplain; and soils and vegetation. Ganga, the archetypal river of purity washing away physical dirt and moral sins, is now polluted because of the large amount of waste generated at the ghats and by the city. Ritual worship and bathing, cremation, and sewage cause the Ganga water to be contaminated and a health hazard. The ghats in Varanasi are envisaged as a healthy landscape by reducing point source pollution in the Ganga and creating a clean land-water interface through public sanitation programs and design prototypes such as non-polluting bathing tanks, compost gardens, biofiltration basins, and ghat recycling center. Natural cleansing systems, such as wetlands and phytoremediation treat wastewater and increase biodiversity. Local composting and recycling are proposed to reduce the biodegradable waste. Bathing tanks are designed with bio-filtration basins for decreasing contaminants in the water, thus promoting the health of the river and of those who engage with it. Dumping sites near the ghats are reclaimed as waste management facility in a landscape of marshy lagoons for phytoremediation. The urban sanitation and composting programs should aim to limit river BOD (biological oxygen demand) to a safe level by 2030. Education through the use of on-site murals and other media to promote proper waste disposal and recycling will positively engage the community in ensuring a clean environment. The Ganga is flooding more often because of deforestation upstream and constriction in its flow locally caused by silt deposition on the east bank. Frequent flooding negatively impacts the ghats and the city above them. Their resiliency, i.e. their ability to recover rapidly from disaster and prepare for as well as prevent future catastrophes from recurring, is increased through site planning and design. By reclaiming inland water bodies, and restoring Varana River and Assi Nala watersheds as greenways, resiliency of the urban landscape to cope with flood events is improved. In this ecological approach, on the northern stretch of ghats, planted edges and constructed wetlands are recommended. The width of the river is increased by silt removal thus allowing the rising waters to spread on the east bank. This shifting fluvial landscape is reclaimed as public space that can be used intensively in the dry season for recreational activities thus alleviating the stress on the ghats. Building wetlands that act as biofiltration basins and planting memorial groves that recycle cremation ashes as fertilizer in sediment fills in upland areas stabilizes the landscape.

43


Figure 4.1 - Analysis of site hydrology

The Ganga meanders through the Indo-Gangetic plains of Northern India leaving traces of erosion and deposition of sediment transported by the river. The holy city of Varanasi and its majestic ghats on the western bank sit on the erosion edge while the east bank is the deposition edge. On the highly constructed west bank there is visibly less erosion. The water level of Ganga fluctuates through the year affecting the ghats; however the normal water level is 65.37 meters, allowing the various rituals and other activities to occur. In drought the water level is around 60 meters above the mean sea level that results in exposing the silt bed. Due to climate change the frequency of flooding is increasing, occurring now at every five years interval. The highest level of flood recorded as 73.90 meters is well above the 71.26 meters considered to be the danger level completely submerging the ghats. The 100 year flood will cover all parts of the ghats, including temples and historic buildings.

44

The flooding and silting is a threat to the cultural landscape and design intervention should take into account the flooding cycle as well as the process of erosion and deposition. The mild slope of the east bank is continuously covered with layers of silt deposition every year. With deforestation in the Himalayan foothills, sediment loads in the Ganga are increasing. The sand bed formed in the flood plain expands laterally and increases in height with the downstream flow, the maximum elevation being Prahlad Ghat. In the absence of sand mining on the east bank the width of the river is constantly decreasing. Due to this decrease there is constant pressure on the built edge that may result in collapse of the Ghats in future.


  

98M 91M

96M

80M 65M Contours are at a 5m interval





 

 

Figure 4.2 - Analysis of terrain

Mapping the terrain of Varanasi at 15 meter intervals revealed the high ridge on the west bank marked by three hills associated with the trident of Shiva. The promontories are the nuclei of three sacred regions of Varanasi—Omkareshvara Khanda in the north close to the confluence of River Varana with Ganga, Kedareshvara Khanda in the south close to Assi Nala, and Vishveshvara Khanda in the center. The high elevation of the west bank has made it suitable for urban settlement.

45


Bodhi

Ashoka

Bel

Banyan

Sandalwood

 13% Bodhi

Ashoka

Bel

Banyan

Bodhi

Sandalwood

Clay

Clay Loam

Sandy

25% 16%

Ashoka

Bel

Banyan

46%

Sandalwood

  Rabi Crops Harvested

13% Bodhi

25% 16%

Ashoka

J

Bel

Banyan F

Sandalwood M A

13%

25% 16%

Rabi Crops Sown

46%

Monsoon Season

J

M

J

A

S

O

N

D

Sandy Loam

Clay

Clay Loam

Rabi Crops Harvested

Sandy Loam

46%

Clay

Clay Loam

Sandy

Sandy

Clay

Clay Loam

Sandy

Sandy Loam

SandyKharif LoamCrops

13%

25% 16%

Sown

Kharif Crops Rabi Crops Sown Harvested

46%

Monsoon Season Bodhi

Ashoka

J

Bel

Banyan F

Wheat

Sandalwood M A

Bodhi

Bodhi

Ashoka

Ashoka

Bel

J

Bel

Banyan F

Banyan

Wheat

Sandalwood M A

J

A

J

Sandy

F

M

A

Barley J

M

Clay

Clay Loam

Mustard N

Lentil

D

Sesame

Monsoon Season

J

J

A

Pearl O Millet N

S

25% 16%

46%

Pearl

13% J

Pearl Millet

Kharif Crops

Mustard

25% 16% J F MMillet A S O

Rabi Crops Sown

Sandy Loam

Kharif Crops Rabi Crops Harvested Kharif Crops Harvested Sown Greengram Rice

A

D

M

Monsoon Season Lentil J

46%J

A

S

O

N

D

Kharif Crops Rabi Crops Sown Harvested

Kharif Crops Sown

Sesame

N

Sesame

Mustard

N

Lentil

D

Monsoon Season Wheat

O

Rabi Crops Sown Harvested 25% 16% Greengram Rice 46%

Kharif Crops Rabi Crops Harvested Kharif Crops Rabi Crops Sown Harvested Sown Greengram Rice

13%

S

Kharif Crops Sown

Barley

M

Sandalwood

Rabi Crops Harvested

J

13%

Rabi Crops Harvested



Barley M

N

Monsoon Season Wheat

Barley

J

Rabi Crops Harvested Greengram

F

M

A

A

Barley Mustard J

M

Lentil J

A

J

J

Kharif Crops Sown

Rabi Crops Harvested

O

Pearl Millet

Mustard N

Lentil

D

N

Sesame

Monsoon Season

Barley M

S

Kharif Crops Rabi Crops Sown Harvested Greengram Rice

Kharif Crops Sown

Sesame

Rice Wheat

J

Wheat

Pearl MMillet

F

A

S

O

Kharif Crops Rabi Crops Sown Harvested Greengram Rice

Pearl Millet

Mustard N

Lentil

D

N

Sesame

Monsoon Season Wheat J

Sandalwood

F

M

A

Barley J

M

Rabi Crops Harvested

J

13%

F

Wheat

M

Barley

A

J

Kharif Crops Sown

M

25% 16%

J

S

J

Kharif Crops Sown

A

Pearl Millet

S

46%

Rice

Mustard N

Lentil

D

Rabi Crops Sown

N

Sesame

Mustard

N

Lentil

D

Kharif Crops Harvested

Pearl Millet

Greengram

O

Pearl Millet

N

Sesame

Rice

Barley

O

Kharif Crops Harvested Rice

Greengram Monsoon Season

Greengram

Wheat

A

Mustard

Lentil

N

Sesame

Figure 4.3 - Mapping of soil and vegetation

J

Kharif Crops Sown

Soils and vegetation mapping of east and west banks of the Ganga points to several problematic issues. The soil is mostly sandy or a sandy loam and not an ideal medium for vegetation growth. Furthermore, it is not appropriate for building, as it does not have much support. The west bank of the Ganga is densely built up with the ghats and has only a sparse number of trees struggling for Rabi survival. In the northern Crops Sown section of the ghats, there is denser vegetation due Monsoon SeasonRiver and far fewer building structures. to the Varana Many trees found in this section such as banyan and J A S sacred O associations. N DThe farmland peepal trees have across the river is located on higher ground. Seasonal farming isKharif done on the northern part of the Crops Harvested the southern part of the east west bank and towards bank where the flood plain soils can support vegetables andPearl fruits. Mustard Lentil Millet

reengram

46

Rice

Sesame

N


Figure 4.4 - Design proposal for seasonal parks on the ghat

Stretches of the west bank with a hard slope between the ghats are currently unused or just being used for drying. The land in these areas can be terraced opening up new possibilities. Pocket parks with small areas for vegetable gardening and clean bathing tanks are proposed. Furthermore, drying areas for washermen can still be provided. This will help create a more sustainable community space and add more greenery along the ghats. It could potentially lessen congestion from the more dense areas as well. Additionally, green terracing will help with erosion problems on the unbuilt slopes caused by flooding. In the vegetated semi-hardscape local sandstone will be used to construct the terraces and native trees and grasses will be planted.

N

47




 

SAHARANPUR

HARDWAR MUZAFFARNAGAR

MEERUT NEW DELHI

MATHURA

BAREILLY ALIGARH

LUCKNOW

AGRA FIROZABAD

Ga

KANPUR

nga

RAE BARELI

ALLAHBAD

GURGAON-DELHI-MEERUT

FARAKKA

PATNA ARA

Rive

AGRA

BHAGALPUR

r

BAHARAMPUR

VARANASI MIRZAPUR

KANPUR Ga nga R

iver

BARDDHAMAN KOLKATTA

GUJARAT

HALDIA

HUGLI

BHOPAL

yas

yas

Vindh

Vindh

  (contribute to river pollution in the form of domestic waste)

rice two predominant crops wheat bajra (millet)

cities along Ganga River cities along Ganga’s tributaries

’ 

toxic fertilizers and pesticides used in surrounding farmland contribute to Ganga river pollution

major industrial centers

 contributes contamination in the form of

point source pollution

toxic metals dumped into the river from manufacturing centers contribute to Ganga river pollution

heavy metalsand air pollution

  sewage treatment plants

BOD before:

BOD after:

5-8 mg/L

20-50 mg/L

servicing the city of Varanasi:

water pollution levels

before and after passing through

the city of Varanasi

Dinapur

sewage treatment plant

the permissible limit of BOD for bathing is

 requires inputs of fertilizer and pesticides

less than 3 mg/L.

Water Pumping Station- Gola Ghat

that cause a decrease in dissolved oxygen levels in the

river and pollute water supplies with harmful toxins.

Much of the farming occurs along the water’s edge, making contamination even easier.

Even without the waste of the city, the Ganga is too polluted for any rituals or human activity.

Water Pumping Station- Jalasen Ghat Water Pumping Station- Dr. Rajendra Prasad Ghat

Water Pumping Station- Pampuwa Ghat

DLW Complex

sewage treatment plant

Bhagwanpur

sewage treatment plant

3 mg/L

BOD before treatment

BOD after

treatment

BOD before treatment

BOD after

treatment

BOD before treatment

BOD after

treatment

A 2001 study by India’s Central Pollution Control Board found that

two of the three STPs in Varanasi are operating over capacity.

BOD

safe level

Dinapur

DLW Complex

This water, though improved, is still far above safe BOD levels for human contact.

19 mg/L

28 mg/L



10.5 mg/L

  (BOD) is the amount of dissolved oxygen in a body of water needed by microorganisms in to decompose organic matter. It is a measure of the degree of pollution in a given  order ecosystem.

STPs in Varanasi discharge treated wastewater directly into the Ganga.

ritual activities, including cremation cutting of haircontribute to pollution in the Ganges, along with materials used for offerings





and

and

daily activities, including laundering eatingcontribute to pollution in the Ganges, along with large quantities of trash

non-biodegradable waste on the ghats of Varanasi:

plastic bags

food packaging

soap from those bathing along the shore

colorful aluminum foil papers used during ritual celebrations

animal waste

lumber from old boats and structures

detergent from those laundering along the shore

biodegradable and recyclable waste on the ghats of Varanasi:

food waste

clay pots from chai, offerings, and other food items

flower offerings

bodies and animal carcasses

Figure 4.5 - Analysis of sources of pollution in ganga

The ghats are littered with rubbish and it is not uncommon to stumble into rotting piles of offerings. Some of this waste finds its way into the Ganga, littering the shoreline and bobbing along with the current. Occasionally the horrifying sight of a floating half-cremated body can be seen. This calls into question the purifying powers of the holy river. Although industrial waste from the upper Ganga basin in Uttar Pradesh can account for some of the contamination of the Ganga, Varanasi city contributes to 350 million liters of sewage each day. Sewage and domestic waste drains into the river with only about one third of it processed by sanitary treatment facilities. The biochemical oxygen demand in the Ganga, a measure of contamination, increases by more than 500 percent after passing through Varanasi. Sewage treatment plants are operating over-capacity and waste management programs are not effective. Point source pollution from the street sewers pours into the river at locations shown on the map while non-point source pollution from industry and agriculture adds to the overall contamination levels.

48

Ritual offerings and the plastic bags they are carried in, washing of clothes and bodies, animal waste, 7000 tonnes of ash released from about 88 cremations every day and 300 tonnes of charred human flesh have made the Ganga unhealthy. Biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste products generated on the ghats should be properly disposed of in an effort to reduce the amount of waste entering the river. Without urgent measures to mitigate pollution this cultural, natural, and spiritual resource will threaten the safety of those who interact with it.


GHAT WASTE RECEPTICLES

PROPOSED COMPOSTING LOCATIONS

ht

COMPOSTING IN VARANASI COMPOSTING INtransforming VARANASIwaste into viable fertilizer transforming waste into viable fertilizer PROPOSED COMPOSTING LOCATIONS

OVERVIEW

GHAT WASTE RECEPTICLES

PROPOSED GHAT WASTE RECEPTICLES COMPOSTING LOCATIONS

Overflow compost moved via boat to waste centers. Overflow compost moved via boat to waste centers.

OVERVIEW

T

Tumblers built Tumblers built from reclaimed materials

On-ghat compost tumblers.

Overflow compost moved via boat to waste centers.

On-ghat compost tumblers.

On-ghat compost tumblers.

COMPOSTING INPUTS

THE COMPOST SYSTEM

COMPOSTING INPUTS

Implementing a compost program in VaNITROGEN WASTE

OTHER ADDITIVES ash (for odor)

Implementing a compost program in Va- ti ranasi a productive use for the bio- G THEoffers COMPOST SYSTEM Implementing waste a compost program inpolluting Va- tion would so degradable currently thehapp ranasi offers a productive use for the bio- Ghats themselv e Ghats. Ritual animal waste, tion would happen at two scales: onofferings, the waste ma degradable waste currently polluting the solid Ghats themselves and as part of and aofferings, larger of overflo Ghats. Ritual animal waste, event mac food scraps other compostable solid waste management system the compostable ma- composting. food scraps andinother terials rot on the steps, but it is possible event of overflow from terialsthe rotsmaller on thescale steps, but it is possible T The site-specific composting. forforthis be transformed into a this refuse refuse to to be transformed into a lize landings lia productive growing medium. growing The site-specificproductive composting would uti- medium. gardens, and p g lize landings as miniature community The components shown on this board ceptacles, and c The components shown thispoints board gardens, and place tumblers, waste re- to along the would be introduced create aon viable ceptacles, and rolling bins at system. strategicCompost produccomposting would be introduced to create a viable p points along the 7-kilometer stretch. composting system. Compost produc-

COMPOSTING INPUTS THE COMPOST NITROGEN WASTE SYSTEM

CARBON WASTEranasi offers a productive use for the biocurrently polluting the CARBONwaste WASTE NITROGEN WASTE woodchipsdegradable Ghats. Ritual offerings, animal waste, woodchips sawdustfood scraps and sawdust other compostable maCARBON WASTE vegetables vegetables cotton woodchips steps, but it is possible cottonterials rot on the fruit silkrefuse (sari fabric) sawdust for this to be transformed into a fruit OTHER vegetables silk (sariADDITIVES fabric)productive growing food scraps papermedium. cotton OTHER ADDITIVES fruit scraps marigolds ritualfood baskets silk (sari fabric) paper shown on this food scraps holy board basil ash (for odor)The components shells paper marigolds ritual baskets would be introduced to create a viable marigolds ritual baskets Compost producholy basil ash shellscomposting holy basil shells(for odor) GHAT TUMBLERS & system.

COMPOST GARDENS

GHAT TUMBLERS & GHAT COMPOST GARDENS

TUMBLERS & COMPOST GARDENS

RANA PRATAP GHAT - Precedent

RANA PRATAP - Pre

RANA P

https://swamanthan.wordpress.com/2014/02/15/how-young-socially-cosnciso

A community ghat garden b

https://swamanthan.wordpress.com/2014/02/15/how-young-socially-cosncisous-oar-boys-created-an-example-on-ghats-of-varanasi/

A community ghat garden built by local oar-boys.

https://swamanthan.wordpress.com/20

A community g

Potted pla

GHAT GARDENS - Section

Potted plants provide another use for compost.

GHAT GARDENS - Section 0m

0m

100m

200m

100m

200m

https://swamanthan.wordpress.com/2014/02/15/how-young-socially-cosncisous-oar-boys-created-an-example-on-ghats-of-varanasi/

https://swamanthan.wordpress.com/2014/02/15/how-young-socially-cosncisous-oar-boys-created-an-example-on-ghats-of-varanasi/

Figure 4.6 - Design proposal for composting on the ghats

GHAT GARDENS - Section

0m

100m

200m

Implementing a compost program in Varanasi offers a productive use for biodegradable waste currently point source pollution for the Ganga. Ritual offerings, animal waste, food scraps and other compostable materials rot on the steps when they could be transformed into a productive growing medium. In the proposed system compost production would happen at two scales: at a smaller scale on the ghats themselves and as part of a larger solid waste management system. Site furnishings for composting include waste receptacles that sort garbage, recyclables, and compost materials, a well as compost bins, compost tumblers, and solid-waste transport boats that collect the sorted waste and take it to the solid waste management center on the north and east banks. The waste management center would handle garbage incineration, recycling, and compost production for nearby fields. The site-specific composting would utilize landings as miniature community gardens, and place tumblers, waste receptacles, and rolling bins at strategic points along the ghat stretch.

https://swamanthan.wordpress.com/2014/02/15/how-young-socially-cosncisous-oar-boys-created-an-example-on-ghats-of-varanasi/

A precedent for community members reclaiming ghat space for plant production exists already on the Rana Pratap Ghat. The compost gardens would be similarly socially engaged involving local community members. Compost site furnishings must be made from local materials. The tumbler barrels can be reclaimed from nearby industrial plants. Wooden frames to house trash bags, bins, and the tumblers themselves can be made from recycled lumber from old boats. The low, stacked-brick growing beds like those on the Rana Pratap Ghat garden can withstand flooding if properly constructed and filled in with new soil at the beginning of each new season. Tumblers, bins, frames and trash bags, on the other hand, are all sufficiently mobile to be moved during the monsoon. With the proper utilization of local materials, education, and community engagement, composting can be a community resource and a long-term sustainable solution for waste management.

49


Figure 4.7 - Design typology of ghat platforms

Bathers in the Ganga are exposed to contaminants through direct contact with water that has untreated effluent and waste. Pollutants are released into the Ganga when pilgrims bathe due to the use of soaps, or other detergents that contaminate the water. The prototype of the private bathing tank with filtration systems is designed to solve the water contamination problem. Bio-filtration systems under the two octagonal platforms improve the water quality by pumping and releasing clean water from and to the Ganga. This ensures that the Ganga is not further contaminated, but most importantly, to keep the bathing tank clean for pilgrims. The private bathing tank is most needed in Dashashwamedh Ghat as well as in many other ghats that are bathing hotspots along the sacred Ganga. The form is derived from existing design typologies of bathing structures on the ghats. The private bathing tank fulfills the crucial need of having a clean bathing environment in the Ganga.

50

N


BATHING TANKS ALONG GANGA DASHASHWAMEDH GHAT

• ACCESSIBLE

ROOF

• P R I V A T E B A T H I N G A R E A

• FILTRATION SYSTEM TO AND FROM BATHING TANK

• SUPPORT PILINGS

• E X I S T I N G STEPS REMAIN UNCHANGED

SECTION ALONG GHATS

• WAT E R F R O M GANGA RIVER

MASSING DIAGRAM

• PRE-TREATMENT_ SETTLING BASIN

• T R E A T M E N T _ SAND FILTRATION

• WATER PUMPED VERTICALLY INTO BATHING TANK

FILTRATION SYSTEM DIAGRAM

Figure 4.8 - Design proposal for bathing tanks on the ghats

51


GROUND WATER CONTAMINATION & DEPLETION WATER BODY LOSS OVER THE PAST 200 YEARS

1822

1972

2014

Historic Data Boundary LIne

1 km

Historic Data Boundary LIne

1 km

Historic Data Boundary LIne

1 km

EXISTING WATER BODIES & OPEN SPACE

IDENTIFIED SOURCES OF GROUNDWATER & RIVER CONTAMINATION

Heritage Water Body Unidentified Water Body

Sewage Treatment Plant

Built Over Water Body

Community Dumping Area

Agriculture

Inner City Dump GW Test Sites

Park

Direct Discharge Sites

Road Rail

Road Rail

1 km

1 km

Figure 4.9 - Site analysis of ground water contamination

There is an acute shortage of water in Varanasi because the water supply system is over a century old and the distribution system is inadequate.About 55% of water supply needs are met by tube wells and hand pumps leading to ground water depletion. The adequate solid waste management and absence of sanitary water treatment plagues the ghats landscape and increase pollution in the Ganga . The city’s high resident and floating population strains current municipal facilities far beyond their functioning capacities, which leads to large amounts of untreated waste water being expelled directly into Varana and Ganga Rivers and the failure to collect approximately eighty six metric tons of waste in the city every day. The combination of intermittent power loss, fluctuation in the Ganga velocities, rising and falling levels as well as outdated, poorly managed treatment facilities has resulted in deterioration of public spaces and increasing groundwater pollution.

52

The region once had an extensive system of natural and manmade water bodies called talabs and kunds respectively. In ancient times, these water bodies were constructed and used strategically to collect and store water for times of drought while unintentionally providing a natural groundwater recharge and filtration system for the city. As Varanasi expanded, these water bodies were encroached upon, depleted for drinking and irrigation water as well as filled in for urban development. The present situation of amassing uncollected garbage has forced the community into establishing large-scale community dumping grounds on the outskirts of the city, as well as filling the low lying areas and ponds, i.e. what remains of the ancient water body network within the city with rubbish. Studies on groundwater quality in Varanasi show that the most vulnerable points for groundwater contamination were in public areas filled with waste.


VARUNA RIVER ACTION PLAN PASSIVE GROUNDWATER RECHARGE AND FILTRATION SYSTEM IN VARANASI OPEN WATER SHALLOW EMERGENT MARSH OBSERVATION TOWER H2O INFILTRATION

H2O INFILTRATION

OIL BEARING CROPS: H2O INFILTRATION HEAVY METAL SEQUESTRATION

DEEP MIXED EMERGENT MARSH VARUNA RIVER HORIZONTAL H2O FILTRATION H2O INFILTRATION

a

KACHHA BAGH

VARUNA RIVER

a'

STORMWATER MANAGEMENT/ FILTRATION NETWORK: OPEN WATERBODIES & CONNECTING GREENWAYS

MODIFY AGRICULTURAL PRACTICES AND ESTABLISH RIPARIAN BUFFER ALONG VARUNA

IMAGE SOURCE: GOOGLE MAPS

IMAGE SOURCE: FLICKR.COM

SUB-GRADE INFILTRATION TRENCH

RECLAIM INTERSTITIAL URBAN VOIDS AND REMEDIATE POLLUTED WATERBODIES

b

b'

RECLAIMED PUBLIC SPACE

GREENWAY

WASTEWATER DISCHARGE SITE INTO GANGA

RECLAIMED WATERBODY

nts

OIL BEARIING CROPS

LIMIT AMOUNT OF UNTREATED WASTEWATER ENTERING RIVERS AND OPEN WATERBODIES

b'

FLOODPLAIN PROTECTION ZONE

b

RETENTION PONDS

CONSTRUCTED WETLAND RECREATION AREA -OBSERVATION TOWERS -TRAILS

a'

STUDENT PHOTO

a

LIMESTONE LINED CELL

WASTE MANAGEMENT FACILITY

heritage water body

55m 0m

220m 110m

COMMUNITY PARK WITH OIL BEARING CROP FIELDS TO SEQUESTER HEAVY METALS

unidentified water body

proposed green network

existing park

contaminated site

oil crop agriculture

20m 0m

ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE & CONNECTING TRAIL

80m 40m

Figure 4.10 - Varuna rivershed reclamatio plan

The main objectives for the Varana Action plan are: 1. Reclaim interstitial urban voids and remediate existing polluted water bodies into a green and blue network to generate a rediscovered public domain. 2. Limit the amount of untreated wastewater directly entering the rivers and open water bodies. 3. Modify current agricultural practices along the Varuna River to establish a riparian buffer corridor and utilize oil-bearing crops to sequester heavy metals in the soil and avoid public consumption of crops laden with toxins.

The site design includes a connected system of passive stormwater management strategies: subterranean infiltration trenches, greenways, and a waste water treatment recreation area comprised of retention ponds for settling and a constructed wetland organized specifically for treatment of water contaminated with heavy metals and sewage. The large former community dumping area will serve as a potential space for a waste management facility as well as a site of extensive phytoremediation. This recreation area will connect the currently underappreciated archaeological site with the proposed cultural heritage trail and the main transportation hubs of the city.

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Figure 4.11 - Site analysis of Assi nala watershed

In ancient times, inland water bodies dotted the watershed of Assi Nala, and they drained and stored water. During monsoons the overflow from the talabs drained into the Ganga. As the water level of the Ganga increased the overflow and the river mixed. A few years ago, Assi Nala was diverted southwards, so part of original Assi Nala lost its capacity to drain water to the Ganga. The new Assi drain has more strong drainage capacity, and the flow of the water is faster; however the inland water system is destroyed, and the city floods frequently in the monsoon season. Currently the watershed of Assi Nala is heavily encroached, and the urban hydrology is disturbed. In order to deal with city floods, it is proposed to reintroduce the original hydrology by changing the street section and increasing the street capacity to hold overflow during the monsoon season. The important historical and sacred sites in the area can be linked by the proposed heritage trail along this part of Nala.

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Street

Street + Basin 25m

KURUKSHETRA POKHRA

Heritage route proposal: REORGANIZATION Heritage route proposal: REORGANIZATION Heritage route proposal: REORGANIZATION

HKAR TALAB

Extreme monsoon case

Inland water system proposal: REINTRODUCTION Inland water system proposal: REINTRODUCTION Street

DURGA KUND

Railway Station Road

KURUKSHETRA POKHRA

25m

KURUKSHETRA POKHRA

25m

S

Street + Basin

KURUKSHETRA POKHRA Dry

10m

Dry

Dry

SI

PUSHKAR TALAB

NALA ASSI

PUSHKAR TALAB

NALA ASSI

PUSHKAR TALAB

10m Railway Station Road Railway10m Station Road 10m

Dry Dry

Lanka-Godaulia Road

Street section proposal: CHANGE IN VERTICAL NALA ASSI

bank Vertical bank

Buildings

New heritage route

Nala Assi Nala

Dry

PUSHKAR TALAB

Extreme monsoon Extreme case monsoon case

100m 100m

New heritage route New Vertical heritage route Assi Buffer

Extreme monsoon case

Extreme monsoon Extreme case monsoon case

Railway Station Road

Extreme monsoon case

00m

Buildings

Dry

Street + Basin

Street

DURGA KUND DURGA KUND

Inland

100m

Lanka-Godaulia Road

Extreme monsoon case

Lanka-Godaulia Road Visiting sites

bank Buffer bank

Street section proposal: CHANGE IN VERTICAL Street section Lanka-Godaulia proposal:Road CHANGE IN VERTICAL

Visiting sites

oon season water level

Normal water level

Vertical bank

Assi Nala

Durga Kund

Buffer bank

Visiting sites

Anand park

Kurukshetra pokhra

Street section proposal: CHANGE IN VERTICAL

Lanka-Godaulia Road Monsoon season water level

Durgakunt (by Pass) - Railway Station Road

Dum Rao Park

Normal water level Monsoon season water level

Kurukshetra pokhra

Normal water level

Kurukshetra pokhra

Durga Kund

New park

Pushkar Kund

Anand park Durga Kund

Lanka-Godaulia Road

Anand park

Lanka-Godaulia Road

Durgakunt (by Pass) - Railway Station Road

Dum Rao Park

100m

Durgakunt (by Pass) - Railway Station Road

Assi Nala

Dum Rao Park

New park

Monsoon season water level

Pushkar Kund

New park

Normal water level

Pushkar Kund

Kurukshetra pokhra

New heritage route Durga Kund Anand park

Buildings

New heritage route New heritage route

Vertical bank

Assi Nala

Buffer bank

Assi Nala Assi Nala

Lanka-Godaulia Road

Visiting sites

Stree

Durgakunt (by Pass) - Railway Station Road

Dum Rao Park

New park

Pushkar Kund

Assi Nala

New heritage route

Monsoon season water level Normal water level

Durga

Anand

Durgaku

New p

Figure 4.12 - Design proposal for reclaiming the Assi nala

New heritage route 55


ACTIVITIES

low land basins

medium deposition



FLUVIAL PROCESS

PATTERN

hight deposition

DEPOSITION



Figure 4.13 - Site analysis of east bank

The east bank is a flood plain flooded with water as the Ganga swells in monsoon leaving layers of silt and sand deposition along the convex shoreline. The higher sand mounds and lower alluvium is a shifting landscape changing with the season and with the Ganga’s flow. There is seasonal farming of watermelon and bitter gourd. The flood plain offers panoramic views of the ghats and is used for recreational activities such as pony rides and picnics. Aghoris have set up camps and have made sand lingas for worship. The east bank is redesigned with the fluvial process of successive deposition. The low-lying areas are proposed as retention ponds planted with grasses for bio-filtration to occur. The intermediate level with rich alluvial deposits is designated for seasonal farming.

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The highest level is planned for public use with the maidan (large public space for multifunctional use) in axis with Dashashwamedh Ghat on the west bank. During monsoon flooding the high points are still usable. Sand dredged from the shoreline can be used to fill the low-lying area below the farmland where a memorial grove is proposed. Sand dredging will increase the width of the Ganga flow by 300 meters and lessen the pressure on the west bank. Walking trails are proposed on ridges formed by accelerated natural process where the sand on the site is mixed with the bacteria Bacillus pasteurii forming into sandstone.


SEASONAL FARMS+PUBLIC SPACES PUBLIC SPACES+VIEWING BIOFILTERS+FARMS CROSS SECTION PROCESS+LANDFORM

memorial grove

Dredging_ increase river width

High Deposition_ forest+public spaces

Medium Deposition_ seasonal farms

Figure 4.14 - Site design proposal for east bank development

Low land basins_ biofilters

Sand+Bacteria_ trails

Flooding condition

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East Bank current conditions at Manikarnika Ghat

Ganga

TYPES TREES USED THE MEMORIAL GROVE TYPES OFOF TREES TOTO BEBE USED ININ THE MEMORIAL GROVE

 neem tree

mango tree

proposed line of fill banyan tree existing level

 Memorial Grove *approximate number of bodies cremated daily in Varanasi 





ber tree

pipal tree

*approximate weight of the ashes of a single proposed line of fill cremated body existing level proposed line of fill

alternatively, cremated ashes and compostable materials can be used to fertilize soil that helps trees grow

topsoil rich with composted material these memorial groves can serve as places of worship, remembrance, good health, and educational centers that teach the importance of green space and wildlife habitats

subsoils with cremated ashes incorporated

proposed line of fill existing level bedrock

compost education & ritual activity

Figure 4.15 - Design proposal for memorial grove on the east bank

Approximately 300-400 bodies are cremated every day on the banks of the Ganga. The ashes of a cremated body weigh roughly between 1.8 and 2.7 kilograms, or 4-6 pounds. Each day, as these bodies are cremated at ghats such as Manikarnika, a startling amount of ashes accumulates (between 544 and 1088 kilograms, or 1200-2400 pounds) at these sites, and much of it is dumped in the Ganga. Though intended as a positive spiritual act to ensure the soul’s passage into heaven, these ashes are contributing to the Ganga’s unbelievable levels of pollution. To reduce the pollution the concept of the East Bank Memorial Grove where ashes would be preserved was developed. The soil construction of the Memorial Grove applies the Biourn system at a much larger scale. Biourns are composed of two layers of soil- one upper organic layer housing tree seeds and a second layer that incorporates cremated ashes of loved ones. These layers are encased in a biodegradable “urn” that is planted in the ground. As the seeds germinate in the first layer of soil, the growing roots penetrate the ash layer and use the ash as fertilizer.

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TYPES OF TREES TO BE USED IN THE MEMORIAL GROVE

cremated ash layer

proposed line of fill existing level

proposed proposed lineofoffillfillline of fill proposed line existing level existinglevel level existing

proposed line of fill existing level

TYPES OF TREES TO BE USED IN THE MEMORIAL GROVE

soil nutrient layer

TYPES OF TREES TO BE USED IN THE MEMORIAL GROVE

*approximate amount of ashes produced daily at Varanasi’s cremationproposed ghats line of fill existing level

TYPES OF TREES TO BE USED IN THE MEMORIAL GROVE

existing level

The idea of the Memorial Grove system is to use composted materials in topsoil to create a suitable environment for seeds to germinate, and then penetrate the deeper ash layer of soil as the roots grow. Because the Grove lies in a low-lying area of the East Bank, sediment fill from the shoreline into this area is proposed along with the planting of several banyan trees in order to stabilize the area and help it withstand flooding. The Memorial Grove design incorporates a series of elevated platforms and walkways created from recycled wood. These large platforms allow for various activities including prayer, rituals, picnicking, and other recreational activities. These platforms act as openings in the grove, and are in the vicinity of one large memorial tree and a few smaller trees, or a small grouping of three memorial trees. The East Bank Memorial Grove is a site for remembrance, spirituality, recreation, and education.


 Composting Terraced landscape along the ghats Bathing tanks

Biofilteration ponds Floodplain landscape 84 - ADI KESHAVA GHAT

Conserved farmlands Existing green Ghats Seasonal farms on east bank Memorial grove on east bank Maidan on east bank Nature trail on east bank

83 - RAJA GHAT

81 - NAYA GHAT

79 - SAKKA GHAT 78 - NANDU GHAT

76 - TRILOCANA GHAT 75 - BADRI NAYARANA GHAT

71 - SITLA GHAT 70 - BUNDI PARAKOTA GHAT 68 - DURGA GHAT 69 - BRAHMA GHAT 67 - PANCHGANGA GHAT 63 - JATARA GHAT 62 - RAMA GHAT

52 - KHIRKI GHAT 51 - JALASAYI GHAT

45 - TRIPURA BHAIRAVI GHAT 44 - MANMANDIR GHAT 43 - RAJENDRA PRASAD GHAT 41 - DASASHWAMEDHA GHAT 42 - PRAYAG GHAT 40 - SITLA GHAT

32 - PANDEY GHAT 31 - KHORI GHAT 28 - MANASAROVARA GHAT 27 - SOMESVARA GHAT 26 - CAOWKI GHAT 24 - VIJAYNAGARAM GHAT 23 - LALI GHAT

18 - DANDI GHAT 17 - GULARIA GHAT 16 - SHIVALA GHAT 15 - MAHANIRVANI GHAT 14 - NIRANJANI GHAT

9 - JAIN GHAT 8 - VACCHARAJA GHAT 5 - BHADAINI GHAT

4 - TULSI GHAT 1 - ASSI GHAT

Figure 4.16 - Site plan II

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Conclusion The Ganga Action Plan has not been completely successful so far in part because it is guided by a top-down planning approach. In this engineering approach, cultural practices, folk beliefs, and local community traditions are ignored. The multiplicity of stakeholders, widespread encroachment of public land, and ineffective and inadequate local ordinances are some of the challenges in conserving the Varanasi ghats. Site planning and management should take into account what is today considered non-essential knowledge—the esoteric language of myths, hidden meanings of rituals, and sanctity attributed to nature evident in everyday practices— so that a new culture specific, participatory model for solving complex problems can emerge. This bottoms-up eco-cultural approach advocates the use of appropriate technology, local materials, and renewable energy sources. Programs such as vending collaborative and on-site composting will engage the local communities and improve the local economy. Greening of the west bank embankment and seasonal farming on the east bank of Ganga and Varana banks are ecologically sensitive land uses. Recycling cremation ashes in the memorial grove is an invented cultural tradition for environmental remediation, in keeping with the ethos of sacred landscape. Amphibian space created in floating platforms responsive to fluctuating water levels and bio-filtration bathing tanks promote cultural traditions gradually being abandoned. Public spaces reclaimed as peace plazas and reclaiming surfaces as narrative spaces have the potential for healing communal strife and reviving urban art folk practices. Heritage conservation can thus become an empowering tool for local communities and for the visitor an opportunity for spiritual growth.

Bibliography Chandramouli, K. Kashi—The City Luminous. Rupa & Co., 1995. Dodson, Michael (ed.) Banaras: Urban Forms and Cultural Histories. Routledge, 2012. Eck, Diana. Banaras, City of Light. Alfred Knopf, 1982. Iravati. Rajghat: A Glade of Wisdom and Beauty. Kala Prakashan, 2012. Jayaswal, Vidula. Ancient Varanasi: An Archaeological Perspective. Aryan Books International, 2009. Gutschow, Niels. Benaras: The Sacred Landscape of Varanasi. Axel Menges, 2006. Hertel, Bradley and Cynthia Ann Humes (eds.) Living Banaras: Hindu Religion in Cultural Context. State University of New York Press, 1993. Gaenszle, Martin and Jorg Gengnagel (eds.) Visualizing Space in Banaras: Images, Maps, and Practice of Representation. Heidelberg Studies in South Asian Rituals, volume 4. Harrassowitz Verlag, Wiesbaden, 2006. Lannoy, Richard. Benaras Seen from Within. Indica Books, 1999. Michell, George and Rana P.B. Singh (eds.) Banaras: The City Revealed. Marg Publications, vol. 57, no. 2, December 2005. Jonathan Parkinson and Ole Mark. Urban Stormwater Management in Developing Countries. IWA Publishing, 2006. Parry, Jonathan. Death in Banaras. Cambridge University Press, 1994. Singh, Anoop, A.K. Upadhyay, U.K. Choudhary, and J.P. Sonkar, ‘Interrelationship between River Sedimentation and Meandering: A Case Study of Ganga at Varanasi’, Indian Journal of Research Anvikshika, April 2012. Singh, Rana P.B. (ed.). Banaras (Varanasi): Cosmic Order, Sacred City, Hindu Traditions. Tara Book Agency, 1993. Singh, Rana P.B. and Pravin Rana. Banaras Region: A Spiritual and Cultural Guide. Indica Books, 2006. Singh, Rana P.B., ‘Urban Heritage and Planning in India: A Study of Banaras’, Ashok Dutt et al (eds.) Spatial Diversity and Dynamics in Resources and Urban Development. Springer 2013, pp. 201-221.

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PROJECT CREDITS Department of Landscape Architecture College of Fine and Applied Arts University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, USA

Site Workshop Participants BNCA College, Pune, India

Faculty Amita Sinha

Faculty Shubhada Kamlapurkar

Students Samuel Baner Elizabeth Barr Philip Burke Austin Chalkey* Ya Chen* Kathleen Ferrero Heena Gajjar* Xinnan Jiang Min Kang Jiwon Kim Qianyu Li Xiaoying Li* Pongsakorn Suppkittpaisarn* Matthew Reynolds* Madeline Schuette* Xinyue Sui Jacob Trompler Zhu Ya Yang Shurui Zhang*

Students Tejal Bapat Prajakta Barhate Shreerekha Gandu Karishma Kallbhor Saudamini Inamdar Anagha Mhatre Priyanka Lokhande Renuka Patil Divya Verma Kekti Tendulkar Shruti Saitwal Priyanka Kulkarni

Ting Hsuan Chang* Justin Vitkus*

Special Thanks to Professor Rana P.B. Singh, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, and Ajay Ratan Bannerjee, Varanasi chapter, Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH)

*Participated in Varanasi Site Workshop, January 2014

Ross Uebergang Swinburne University, Australia Manasi Saxena CEPT University, Ahmedabad, India

Graphic Design: Heena Gajjar Supported by: Wadsworth Endowment, Department of Landscape Architecture Campus Research Board; Center for Global Studies, University of Illinois- Urbana Champaign, USA

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Shiva explains in Kashi Purana “My lingas are everywhere there, like little sprouts arisen out of sheer bliss. Thus it is called the Forest of Biss.� A forest with Shiva lingas as thick as the fresh sprouts of spring: this is the vision of the sacred city as the Forest of Bliss, the Anandavana. -Diana L. Eck, 1982, p. 29 c 2014 by the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois, USA


Ghats of Varanasi on the Ganga in India; The Cultural Landscape Reclaimed