Hundreds of ancient water bodies associated with the life of Lord Krishna in Mathura and Vrindavan, are on way to be restored to their ancient glory.
The Braj region had more than 1,000 water bodies called kunds or sarovars. Most of them are over 5,000 years old and find mention in scriptures and folklore.
All these kunds are associated with various legends of Lord Krishna and Gopis playing leelas around these water bodies. These kunds were primary source of fresh water in Braj during ancient times.
About 800 kunds are on the verge of extinction and dried up completely due to encroachments, rapid urbanization, lack of maintenance and prolonged negligence in the last 200 years.
The Braj Foundation, an NGO, has now taken up the cause of reviving these water bodies . Beginning in 2005, the NGO, braving initial resistance of villagers and opposition from powerful vested interests, started the process of restoring kunds in Mathura area and has so far successfully recharged 46 kunds.
Chairman of the foundation, Vineet Narain said this effort had created an additional water retention capacity of five lakh cubic meter.At present, the foundation was working on the revival of other water bodies like Ram Taal, Sankarshan Kund and Balbhadra Kund.
According to the foundation, the average cost of restoration varies from Rs 50 lakh to three crores, depending upon the size and condition of the kund. It had already spent a considerable amount on restoration of Krishna Sarovar, Jai Kund, Chandra Sarovar, Garud Govind Kund and others on NH2, since 2007.
Now the Ministry of Tourism has released substantial grant to the Uttar Pradesh Government to beautify these kunds, which would be done under the guidance of Braj Foundation. Besides, the foundation was also aiming at restoring 137 forests, heritage buildings and working with the state and central governments as consultant for the overall development of entire Braj region, Mr Narain said.
He said that the historic Brahma Kund in Vrindavan and Rudra Kund in Goverdhan were some of the prominent kunds which have been completely beautified in the recent years by the organisation.
Brahma Kund, considered to be the spiritual epicentre of Vrindavan was restored and revived in a record time of 30 months, with financial support from Mumbai-based industrialist Ajay Piramal.
The kund is now perennially filled with natural sweet water and is attracting thousands of visitors daily, he added.