Braj: Krishna bhoomi and its kunds

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Gahvar Van, the forest which Radha used to visit when she wanted to be alone, was in a miserable condition for long. The trees had all dried and a huge population of monkeys was settled there. It has now been restored by The Braj Foundation.