Vrindavan, 2016.02.16 (VT): The other day I had to visit Rajani Baba’s ashram near Govinda Kund, which amazingly enough I had never visited before. I was a bit dismayed to see that despite the nicely restored ghats, walls and so on, the water was dirty and there was a great deal of garbage accumulating in the water and the surrounding areas.
There are several temples and ashrams around the Kund and it seems most unfortunate that it is in such a degraded condition. Some local people told me that the Braj Foundation (TBF) had done work there just a few years ago, but that the situation had deteriorated since then.
I looked up Govinda Kund on the TBF website, where the story of what is going on has been told. Vineet Narain, the CEO of TBF, has often told me of the kinds of obstacles he has to surmount in his work. It seems that further progress at Govinda Kund is being stymied by various forces such as greed and lack of cooperation.
Govind Kund is one of the eight kunds in Vrindavan. It is a historic site situated in the Gaura Nagar Colony at Vrindavan near the banks of river Yamuna.
It was here child Krishna would take His afternoon nap after grazing the cows. His friends will set up a bed of flowers and leaves for His comfort and would massage his feet. The whole area was dense with trees.
A decade back UP Tourism Department (around 1996) restored the four pucca ghats and side walls around the kund. Yet it could not bring water to fill it. As the water table had gone down and the kund had silted up considerably, it was pretty much dry.
Its catchment area had been converted into a residential colony and no greenery was left behind. Moreover, several deep water bores had sucked out all the water which could have helped the retention of water table. The locals were throwing garbage into it and it had become a dirt and unpleasant site.
The Braj Foundation took over the task of desilting the kund in August 2006 and finished the work within six months. A deep well was made in the centre of the kund to help maintain its water table.
Financing for the project was provided by Mr. Kamal Morarka of Mumbai. The Foundation incurred an expenditure of around Rs 3 lakh towards the desilting operations of this kund.
The foundation laid a pipe line of more than 3.5 Kms to fetch Yamuna water into the kund with the help of heavy duty pumps. After the kund was filled, the water was treated organically and through sprinklers.
The people of Vrindavan was extremely happy to see water in this kund after 35 years. However. since the water table of the whole area had gone up leading to uncontrolled pumping from bore wells in the houses of people living around the kund, it soon dried up again.
Meanwhile, the silt that was excavated had been used to fill the adjoining low lying land so that it could be developed into a small theme park. Overnight some local land mafia grabbed this land and built some structures. These need to be demolished by the District. Administration before the Braj Foundation can again take up the restoration work.
As the Kund is located amidst heavy habitation, there is a need for fencing the entire complex so that it can remain free of litter and other garbage. There is also need for a drain to stop sewage water from entering into it.