Vrindavn, 2014.08.31 (TOI): Many of the kunds or sarovars (water bodies), integral to the lilas of Lord Krishna, are set to get a facelift. Plans are afoot to renovate and beautify as many as fifty kunds associated with Krishna lila in Mathura and Vrindavan. The renovation will cost Rs 9.15 crore.
Work is in progress at ten such water bodies in the first phase of the project being carried out by the UP tourism department.
According to officials, work is in varying phases of completion ranging from 30% to 80% at Pootna kund, Kamal kund, Shyam Talai, Sudharshan kund, Ter Kadamb and Lalit kund.
“The government has already released Rs 5 crore from the sanctioned amount and we will very soon complete the restoration work at these sites,” said regional tourist officer Dinesh Kumar.
Under the project, silt which has accumulated over the years is being removed. Besides, new stairs are being laid surrounding of the ponds. Tree plantation is also being done in the vicinity of sarovars.
Kumar said that in the Braj region, especially in Mathura and Vrindavan, kunds hold a special significance and many stories of Lord Krishna are related to these water bodies. “The aim of the project is to re-establish the value of these mythologically significant water bodies among tourists.”
Vineet Narain, CEO of The Braj Foundation, an NGO which has also been pursuing revival of kunds in the area, said, “For us, Krishna continues to be present not merely in the grand temples but in the groves and water bodies of this holy land. It is these water bodies and their adjoining green patches that reiterate the fact that water is a finite source that needs to be protected — the way Krishna had nurtured these thousands of years ago.”
“They (kunds) have a significance that goes beyond the social and the spiritual. There were more than 1,000 kunds, all of which were a source of fresh water in Braj during the bygone days. The water was used for multiple purposes such as irrigation, domestic use, drinking purpose, for cattle and bathing,” he added.
Narain lamented that due to rapid urbanization, lack of maintenance and prolonged negligence, 80% of the kunds had been choked by silt and were on the verge of extinction. He said the foundation has identified and documented more than 400 kunds and completed revival of 46 such water bodies.