Heritage of ‘Shiv taal’ cries for attention in Mathura

The present condition of the kund gives a deserted look, as hardly any devotee or tourist visit here. It looks like that the steps, ghats and chhatris have not been cleaned for several months. Dirt is gathered in the corners of the Chhatris and steps of the ghats. The tank is dry, full of silt, dirt and the bottles of used alcohol bottles. It seems no one is using the water for rituals or any other purposes.

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There are many ‘kunds’ in Braj which needs attention from the government. Many of these kunds have disappeared due to the lack of maintenance.  Shiv Taal in Mathura is one of such kunds, which needs immediate attention.

Located in the heart of the city of Mathura the heritage tank is crying for a face lift. The pond which is one of the best architectural masterpiece of Braj has been left in neglect for several decades.

The present condition of the kund gives a deserted look, as hardly any devotee or tourist visit here. It looks like that the steps, ghats and chhatris have not been cleaned for several months. Dirt is gathered in the corners of the Chhatris and steps of the ghats. The tank is dry, full of silt, dirt and the bottles of used alcohol bottles. It seems no one is using the water for rituals or any other purposes.

The surrounding of the kund is encroached upon by the unplanned construction of buildings. The architectural ghats, chhatris, steps are still protected due to the four walls around it. However, stone of the Chhatris and ghats are falling down in some places.  Moreover, the tedious drive through the alleys of Mathura, engulfed in broken and encroached road cause obstruction en-route reaching to the site is not encouraging.

The Shiv taal is a water reservoir, which has steps on all sides reaching to the water.  The ‘kund’ assume great spiritual and cultural significance in the history of Mathura.  It is mentioned in Varaha Purana that Lord Shiva performed penance here for 12000 years.  There is a Shiva temple of Lord Achaleshwar outside the four walls of the kund.  The locals informed that the first stop of the 84 kos Braj Yatra is at Shiv taal.

It used to be a kuccha water reservoir before Raja Patnimal of Banaras constructed the embankments with Dholpur stone in the 17th century.  It is believed that these water bodies around the sites of the religious significance, are a perennial source of water that also helps to recharge ground water and harvest rain water. The structure of the tank is designed to conserve water for the city.

F.S. Growse, who used to be the collector of Mathura during the British rule gave a beautiful description of Shiv taal in his memoirs. He said that pilgrims from distant places came here and took bath. A big fair used to be organized here. Every year thousands of devotees visit here on Shivratri. 

Shri Maheshwar Chaturvedi, who claims to be the owner of this place said, “We have been maintaining this place with our limited capacity. Philanthropists and heritage lovers must come forward to restore this heritage kund.”

If the attention is not given now, the heritage will be disappeared like many of the kunds, the glory of which can be read only in books.  Cultural events should be organized in time to time in these sites to create interest among the people for our heritage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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