Varanasi has buildings that I find fascinatingly beautiful, totally un-exotic, merging with their environs and appealing to my non-specialist aesthetic sense. These buildings are all in danger of passing into oblivion, not even on to the pages of history. I don not think that ASI cares for what it does not see of national importance. I do. All the buildings in this post are of central and supreme importance to my Kasi, to our Kasi. I don’t exactly know what and how, but something must be done. Think.
The first two images are of one of the many graceful stone buildings that one can see on the ghats of Varanasi. One has to actually experience the rays of rising sun playing on the ochre of the stone and intensifying its majesty and beauty in order to fully appreciate the full strength of the fear of loss that their present condition engenders. Yes, it’ll take a lot of money and expertise. But then, the point from where the search for money and experts begins is when like minded people experience with same intensity the love and the real fear of loss.
The third building in white is the most beautiful structure on the banks of Ganga. My claim may be challenged and proven to be invalid or wrong, but the sublime effect of the combination of the colour, proportions and designs can never be denied. It’s on Rani Ghat, very close to Raj Ghat. It must be saved from the fate that the houses on ghats from Meer Ghat to Assi Ghat share: conversion into some kind of hotel or restaurant.
One passes this quiet, old, hidden and neglected building of the next image by the side of another river that runs parallel to Gangaji, one of the busiest roads of Varanasi, the road joining Bans Phatak with Chowk. There used to be a cinema hall inside. A couple of decades ago, there also used to be the shop of a very famous Chaat waala in the same building. I am quite sure that it’ll soon submerge in the flood of Malls that has already run over several old and beautiful “heritage” buildings of our Varanasi.
The last image is important for two reasons. It’s the front of Satya Narain Temple. It also gives access to Adi Vishweshwar Temple whose natural and ancient stone floor has been replaced by the more chic marble.