As promised in the previous post, this post is about Hanuman Ghat and temple. The image above is of the presiding deity of the temple: Bajrangbali Hanuman. When the snap was taken, the temple was being reconstructed. The huge bell at the centre and the smaller bells to the right have been at their place since I remember having gone to the temple for the first time. I am sure it must have been with my grandmother. She used to go to the temple in the evening for arti and keertan. There’s circumambulation path around the garbh grih. Its portion can be seen in the image above at the left hand corner. The keertan used to be on the part of the path on the right hand, behind where the two persons stand. I remember them singing “Bajrangi Hamari Sudhi Lena” very clearly. It was the time around 1980. Santoshi Mata was the most popular deity then, post-Jai Maa Santoshi boom. Kedarji and Bajrang Bali were also thought very powerful, so, were popular.
Now the actual area of keertan can be clearly seen. the long section of the wall with an ochre painted door at its centre made the permanent back and head rest for the devotees. There used to be a high shikhar upon the garbh grih, not any more. Taking a right turn at the end of the wall leads one to a narrow corridor with a wall on one side and there’s a small temple a bit farther. There’s a door that opens eastwards towards Hanuman Ghat. It’s not open for all. Only people highly placed in the temple hierarchy have access to the section beyond the door and from there to the ghat.
These bells have been in their place for at least three decades now. There are many small Shiv lings at the base of the tree that’s right in front of the Hanuman idol. There’s a universal feature of nearly all popular older temples of Kasi: Although they are dedicated to one main deity viz. Kedarji, Vishwanathji or Hanumanji, they also give places of honour to many other deities. The Hanuman Temple does the same. Moreover, how can a temple in Kasi be complete without Shivji, the Lord of Kasi?
These are the ghats of Hanuman Temple. There’s a superposition of the new over the old. The base is an old stone structure and on it has been erected a building of cement and concrete. It somehow does not fit into the general scheme. The new construction looks plain ugly in comparison to the older one, not only here but also at many other ghats of Kasi.
To prove the point, I present Panchkot Ghat. I strongly feel that the windows of the ancient building on it simply does not go with the kind of sheen the glass on the pane gives. Sheen! Can you believe that! But I maintain my position firmly. It’s true.