City Hangout – Riverside Ghat, Yamuna Bazaar
Remember the river.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
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. The Delhi Walla urges you to come here at least once, just to savour what could have been.
I’m at a riverside ghat in Yamuna Bazaar near north Delhi’s Kashmere Gate. The locale looks like a distant cousin of Benares; 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, I feel the scope of the river. Delhi has 32 ghats. They have no name except one — the cremation ground at Nigambodh.
I suggest you to come to ghat number 27. A small white temple stands on the other bank — it looks so alone and abandoned that I want to swim over to it and give it my company. 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 rupees. If you wish, they can also take you under the picturesque old railway bridge made of iron.
I’m, however, content sitting on the stairs. The river smells a little. But it’s still a good place to sit and wonder if another Delhi is possible.
Benares by the Yamuna