Delhiwale: Banaras by the Yamuna
At ghat no. 27, catch a glimpse of what Delhi could have been without metro coaches and honking carsdelhi Updated: Jul 17, 2017 11:02 IST
The evening sky is clear blue. The water is moving serenely. A handful of young men are sitting on the edge of the river. Two women are standing a few feet away. A blue boat seems adrift but is actually moored to a hook.
This ought to be a most ordinary scene in Delhi, a city with a great river, but it isn’t. We urge you to come here at least once, just to savour what could’ve been.
We are at a riverside ghat in Yamuna Bazaar near north Delhi’s Kashmere Gate. The locale looks like a distant cousin of Benaras; the ghat has the same sort of stairs and a similar huddle of little temples. This is a sight unfamiliar to most of us Delhiwallas — our only encounters with the Yamuna take place through pollution stories routinely surfacing in newspapers.
While many of us cross the Yamuna during our daily commutes, the river barely gets attention from inside the Metro coaches. Here, finally, we feel the scope of the river. Delhi has 32 ghats. They have no name except one — the cremation ground at Nigambodh.
We advise you to come to ghat number 27. A small white temple stands on the other bank — it looks so alone and abandoned that we want to swim over to it. But that is out of the question because the water is black and possibly toxic. The area has many boatmen and any of them can take you to the temple and back for a ₹100. If you wish, they can also take you under the picturesque old railway bridge made of iron.
We are, however, content sitting on the stairs. The river smells a little. But it’s still a good place to sit and imagine if another Delhi is possible.