A ghat for the royalty | delhi | Hindustan Times
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A ghat for the royalty

delhi Updated: Sep 01, 2012 23:14 IST
Nivedita Khandekar

Is it not ironic that a memorial for a man who led an austere life is named Raj Ghat?

The simple square platform in black marble with an eternal flame surrounded by lush green tapering landscaped lawn dotted by trees - the spot where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated in 1948 - has become synonymous with the name Raj Ghat.

But not many know that this green stretch comprising several samadhi sthals (memorials) along the west bank of the Yamuna river was actually a ghat (a kuchcha or a pucca stepped embankment).

Old-timers say this area was called Raja Rani Ka Ghat or simply Raj Ghat as an embankment for the royalty residing along the banks for several centuries.

Even today, scores of fishermen, boatmen or ferrymen and even those carrying out farming activity along the banks or on islands of the Yamuna river call it the Raj Ghat.

"Raj Ghat was one of the many ghats along the Yamuna. Each of them had a different name and a different purpose to fulfil. Qudsia ghat was different and so was the ghat in front of Kotla. All that we have now is ghat numbers," Shubham Mishra, an urban planner living across the Mahatma's memorial on the Ring Road, said.

Something more for those who have not noticed: the milestone on the Ring Road right in front of the Raj Ghat entry gate reads "Delhi 0", the location from which distances are traditionally measured. Bet you didn't know this either.