Shri Nishadraj Ghat is between Jain and Panchkot Ghats. The name is important because it also tells a lot about the demographics. Our first brush with the ghat and the locality was due to Chaubey Sir’s Coaching Centre. We, the students of class eight of Bengali Tola Inter College, around 1990’s had suddenly agreed upon one thing unanimously: in order to cross the turbulent river of Maths, we needed the boat of coaching. Chaubey Sir was the most popular and successful Maths teacher of the neighbourhood (I daren’t call him the best of the school because I’m sure, Arnab and Biplab are going to oppose and prove Chatterjee Sir the best). Moreover, he was my father’s old class mate. So, for three years, we went to Chaubey Sir’s Coaching Centre.
Rakesh used to come to my place with his bicycle and from there we used to go to our coaching centre, every morning, six days a week. I made a new friend there: Pramod. It was he who gave me the idea of using ghats for moving from one place to another in Kasi. He showed me the narrow gali from our coaching centre to Nishadraj Ghat, and opened a new world of riverside explorations. From then onwards, I started using ghats to go to the coaching centre, market (Kedar Ghat and occasionally Dashashwamedh Ghat).
But this post is about the ghat we began with. Nishadraj was a friend of Lord Ram and I think it is his temple that gives the ghat its name. The boat men, called mallah, trace their lineage from the mythical king or from the Nishad tribe of the old. The temple is in an area that has a high concentration of the households of boat men. We, as young boys, were acquainted with them and their ways when we used to go to the temple and ghat, generally when there were free periods in our coaching.
People used to play canvas ball cricket on the broad area at the end of the stairs. They still do. We used to go to the small enclosed semi-lawn of Panchkot Ghat from this ghat and used to play there too.