Vrindavan, 2017.04.25 (VT): Nine kunds (holy lakes) of Braj will soon be featured on the government’s official tourist map.
Until now, pilgrims and tourists from around the world who visit Braj for a short time, only see the most famous places like Banke Bihari temple in Vrindavan and the Girirajji Temple at Govardhan. After that, most return home or move on to Agra to see the Taj Mahal.
But soon, some of the lesser-known wonders of Braj Mandal will be on every visitor’s list.
The nine kunds selected by the government will get an elegant renovation, with sandstone gateways and stairs (ghats) on all four sides of each lake. A rest area with fresh drinking water and bathroom facilities will be provided at each site, and gazebos and stone benches will be built beneath the trees.
A detailed survey of each site’s needs is being compiled, while various compaines are being courted for the implementation of this project.
The nine kunds each have their own unique significance in the religious and cultural history of Braj. The kunds are: Potra Kund, Davanal Kund, Govind Kund, Harji Kund, Narad Kund, Madhusudan Kund, Vihval Kund, Priya Kund and Vrishabhanu Kund
1. Potra Kund (Mathura): Potra Kund is next to the Shri Krishna Janambhoomi temple in Mathura. It was part of King Kans’ prison. Devaki Mata washed her clothes in this kund on the day after Shri Krishna was born.
2. Davanal Kund (Vrindavan): After Shri Krishna defeated Kaliya Naag, it was too late to go home to his family’s home in Chhatikara. So he and his brother Balram spent the night on the banks of this beautiful lake. At that time, King Kans sent his servants to set fire to the forest nearby, hoping to kill Krishna. But Krishna swallowed the forest fire (davanal), and afterwards, he soothed his burning thirst by drinking water from the kund.
3. Govind Kund (Govardhan): After Krishna lifted Govardhan Hill, Indra bathed him with water from heaven and milk from his divine cow Surabhi. With this abhishek ceremony, Krishna was given the name Govind (protector of the cows), and the water from the abhishek gathered to create Govind Kund.
4. Harji Kund (Govardhan): Harji Kund is named after one of Shri Krishna’s sakhas whose name is Harji.
5. Narad Kund (Govardhan): Devarshi Narad performed intense spiritual practice here in order to enter the lila of Radha and Krishna in the form of a gopi. Later, he wrote the scripture Narad Bhakti Sutra at this place.
6. Madhusudan Kund (Nandgaon): This kund is surrounded by beautiful trees and flowers, which attract many bees. Krishna also loves to play here. Sometimes Krishna and his friends imitate the buzzing of the bees. Madhusudan means “Krishna” or “honey-bee”.
7. Vihval Kund (Sanket): Near the temple of Sanket Bihari is Vihval Kund. This is the place where Radha and Krishna first met. Overwhelmed by each other’s beauty, tears of love flowed from their eyes and became this kund.
8. Priya Kund (Barsana): Priya Kund is also known as Piri Pokhar (the yellow lake). It is called this becuase once Krishna’s mother rubbed turmeric on Radharani’s hands, wishing Radha could become her daughter-in-law. (A turmeric pack is applied upon a bride before the wedding) Radha was very happy, but also embarassed that someone might see. And so she washed her hands in Priya Kund near her home. The turmeric from Radha’s hands turned the water yellow, and thus the lake became known as Piri Pokhar.
9. Vrishabhanu Kund (Barsana): Radharani’s father Vrishnabhanu bathed in this kund every morning. In a previous kalpa, Vrishabhanu Maharaj found Radha as a baby, floating on a lotus flower in this kund.