Kokilavan / Kosikalan 2016.09.24 (VT): Shani Dev temple located at Kokilavan is among the top four prime shrines of the Lord in India, and biggest in North India. Thousands of devotees visit the place every Saturday, and the number is increasing continuously. But due to poor infrastructure, devotees find it real hard to reach the temple. Lake and Bird Sactuary plans of Government are still waiting to come out of files.
Kokilavan is associated with the pastimes of Lord Krishna and Shani Dev, and is trusted a lot by devotees who seek a solution for their problems. The number of devotees visiting the temple every Saturday has crossed the mark of one lac, which was 40,000 a decade back. Devotees from Haryana, Delhi, Punjab, Rajasthan, etc. start thronging Kokilavan from Friday evening itself, which is spread in an area of 56 hectare.
But the devotees face the problem of lack of facilities and infrastructure to sustain large number of people. There is no proper management of traffic, which usually gets halted on weekends due to road jams. This forces devotees to walk miles to reach the temple, creating trouble for old people, children, women and differently abled devotees.
The situation even gets worst during rainy season as the rain water from the surrounding villages gather in the area. City administration declared Kokilavan as “wet land area” few years back, but no measures had been taken since then to develop facilities for rainy season. As a result devotees have to make their way through the water logging, to reach the temple.
The area also doesn’t have any decent place where devotees can stay for some time, as the nearest suitable guest houses are in Kosikalan only which is 45 kilometres far from the place.
Government plans, which are still to be started
Five years back, local administration planned to develop a lake (as the area is a declared wet land), and a bird sanctuary, but none got approved by the Mathura Head Office. Plantation of traditional trees with cultural value and developing tourist guest houses are also on hold. Shri M. K. Tiwari (Kosikalan Sub Forestrial Area Incharge) says that we develop so many plans and send it to Mathura every year, but none has been approved so far by the head office, as a result devotees are still suffering.
Shani Dev temple and Kokilavan
When Lord Krishna was born, all the gods visited the home of Nanda Maharaj, to see the lila of the lord. But Yashoda stopped Shanidev as he might frighten the baby. Hearing this, Shanidev felt disappointed that he was seen as a frightening figure who could not come into Krishna’s presence. So he exiled himself to the forest and started to do penance.
After some time Lord Krishna appeared in front of him and asked why he was doing such austerities. Shani cried out to him, “Oh Lord! Why do people think I am malignant and cruel? I am only doing my dharma and giving them the results of their own karma. But people are so afraid of me they avoid even my shadow. And so I was refused your darshan because of it.”
Krishna smiled and comforted him by giving him the boon that whosoever will visit this holy place will be freed from all worries and afflictions and would also be turned to bhakti.
Then Lord started playing his divine flute and turned himself in the form of a cuckoo (Koyal or Kokila in Hindi) bird, before the gopis could find him. Since then the forest is known as Kokilavan and the place where Shanidev did penance is the site of the current temple.
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