Prabhu Ghat, Kasi

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I can not remember having seen any ghat in Kasi that has no access to Gangaji, except Prabhu Ghat. There are ghats that do not allow common man to pass through their stairs to Gangaji, viz the ghats on both the sides of this ghat: Chetsingh and Nishadraj Ghat. Unlike this ghat they have direct access to the river. From the other side, there’s a big iron gate that nearly always remains closed. In my nearly three decades in Kasi, and countless visits through the gali that leads to those gates, I saw them open only a few times. That includes being open for a famous preacher’s seven days long programme.

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The stairless river-side view of the ghat does not reveal a very obnoxious fact: the stairs at the base of the wall are the only stone paved surfaces between Assi and Kedar Ghat upon which people defecate every day.  Open air defecation is a very common problem of Kasi ghats. It pollutes not only the air and water, but also mars the beauty of the ghats.

It was on the sand caked steps of this ghat that I had discovered the joy of beaches as a child: digging the sand and finding mollusc shells. The shells were deposited with the alluvium of the flooded Gangaji. Later I also found out that the boatmen used to throw the shells after having opened and eaten the clams that they used to scoop up from the river bed.

Towards Chet Singh Ghat, there are stones on the bed of the river right in front of the ghat. People are warned against entering the river there because of the risk involved. It is on this ghat in the mornings and evenings that anglers can be seen looking intently at their rods, hoping to catch something big.

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