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Environment
Brajbhoomi and its ‘divine’ kunds
September 18, 2014
Brajbhoomi and its ‘divine’ kunds

Kunds or water bodies in Braj, near Vrindavan in Uttar Pradesh, are believed to be divine. Shown in this picture is a pilgrim who drinks water from Radha and Shyam Kund. Folklore says that these kunds have water from every pilgrimage place in the world  (Photograph by: Soma Basu)

Environment
Brajbhoomi and its ‘divine’ kunds
September 18, 2014
Brajbhoomi and its ‘divine’ kunds

A temple in Jait village in Vrindavan and built near Jai Kund, a pond, is dedicated to Kaliya Mardan. It is believed that when Krishna defeated Kaliya, the snake, and banished him from Yamuna, he told Kaliya to run for his life. It is also believed that the moment Kaliya would look back at the Yamuna, he would turn into a stone. This is the place where Kaliya is said to have looked back and turned into stone. The black stone worshipped in this temple is actually in the shape of a snake’s hood (Photograph by: Soma Basu)

Environment
Brajbhoomi and its ‘divine’ kunds
September 18, 2014
Brajbhoomi and its ‘divine’ kunds

Jai Kund had silted up and had become a flat land that was on the verge of being encroached when residents of Jait approached Braj Foundation, a non-profit working to rejuvenate lakes, ponds, hills and groves in the Braj area (Photograph by: Braj Foundation)

Environment
Brajbhoomi and its ‘divine’ kunds
September 18, 2014
Brajbhoomi and its ‘divine’ kunds

According to folklores, these are the groves where Brahma undertook penance and asked for forgiveness from Krishna. These groves are now known as Brahma Van, says the priest of a Brahma temple in Chomuha village near Vrindavan. Presently, both the grove and Chandra Sarovar (a pond in the village) are in a pitiable condition  (Photograph by: Soma Basu)

Environment
Brajbhoomi and its ‘divine’ kunds
September 18, 2014
Brajbhoomi and its ‘divine’ kunds

Shown in this picture is Yashoda Kund. It is said that Yashoda, Krishna’s mother, used to bring him and her elder son Balaram to bathe here. Braj Foundation now desilts the kunds in the area and has divided them into two parts. While one part is used to bathe animals and wash utensils, the other part is used by the villagers and pilgrims to bathe and perform puja (Photograph by: Soma Basu)

Environment
Brajbhoomi and its ‘divine’ kunds
September 18, 2014
Brajbhoomi and its ‘divine’ kunds

Near Yashoda Kund, a few old stone replicas of animals can be seen. Mythology says that these are Hao and Bilao demons who had come to Nandgaon, the village of Nand (father of Krishna), but were turned into stone before they could enter the village (Photograph by: Soma Basu)

Environment
Brajbhoomi and its ‘divine’ kunds
September 18, 2014
Brajbhoomi and its ‘divine’ kunds

Remnants of ancient temples have been placed in a corner where people come to offer prayers to them. While a few say these are old statues, others say these are from Nand’s house, where Krishna was brought up. Even though the statues and carvings are very old, a few locals say that the Archeological Survey of India has never visited the site to inspect them  (Photograph by: Soma Basu)

Environment
Brajbhoomi and its ‘divine’ kunds
September 18, 2014
Brajbhoomi and its ‘divine’ kunds

Vrishbhanu Kund, a water body where Radha used to play with her friends, has also been revived by Braj Foundation. Vrishbhanu Kund, Kirti Kund and Jal Mahal in Braj were made by Vrishbhanu, Radha’s father  (Photograph by: Soma Basu)

Environment
Brajbhoomi and its ‘divine’ kunds
September 18, 2014
Brajbhoomi and its ‘divine’ kunds

Gahvar Van, the forest which Radha used to visit when she wanted to be alone, is now in a miserable condition. The trees have all dried and a huge population of monkeys is settled there  (Photograph by: Soma Basu)

Environment
Brajbhoomi and its ‘divine’ kunds
September 18, 2014
Brajbhoomi and its ‘divine’ kunds

People of Barsana, Radha’s village, believe that Radha still comes to Roop Kund, another water body in the area, every night to take a dip in water before performing Raasleela with Krishna. This kund was last restored in the medieval age by Raja Todarmal, the finance minister of Emperor Akbar.  The kund was in good shape till two decades ago when a devastating flood in the village left it covered with sand and silt after the water receded (Photograph by: Soma Basu)

Environment
Brajbhoomi and its ‘divine’ kunds
September 18, 2014
Brajbhoomi and its ‘divine’ kunds

Brahma Kund, a pond in middle of Vrindavan, was restored by Braj Foundation. It is a major centre of attraction in the city today (Photograph by: Soma Basu)

Environment
Brajbhoomi and its ‘divine’ kunds
September 18, 2014
Brajbhoomi and its ‘divine’ kunds

One of the ancient pillars of the Brahma Kund had been left intact during the renovation to tell people how old the kund is (Photograph by: Soma Basu)

Environment
Brajbhoomi and its ‘divine’ kunds
September 18, 2014
Brajbhoomi and its ‘divine’ kunds

Kusum Sarovar near Govardhan parvat (hill) is an architectural marvel. The ghats at this kund and the buildings above the kund were built by Jawahir Singh, the king of Bharatpur, around 1764 (Photograph by: Soma Basu)

Environment
Brajbhoomi and its ‘divine’ kunds
September 18, 2014
Brajbhoomi and its ‘divine’ kunds

Since a large number of tourists visit Mansi Ganga, another kund and a pilgrimage site in the area, its water has become highly polluted. Though bathing in the kund is prohibited, its water is lifted with the help of pumps so that pilgrims can take shower in the water from the kund. The dirty water flows back into the kund  (Photograph by: Soma Basu)


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