The Water Bodies of Kasi: Durga kund

d kund

(Photo: Mr. Biplab Goswami)

There are three bridges over the Assi river (commonly known as a nullah) in Kasi that has been one of the two defining water bodies of the city since time immemorial. The Street that comes from Bhelupura via Gurudham Crossing passes the famous Durga Temple and its Pond before meeting that third bridge. The pond is called Durga Kund. It’s a very busy street that passes by the Kund, and the traffic on it remains clogged during the peak hours.

The water of Durga Kund is green: no blue or turquoise here. It’s an inert pond, i.e. with no public access. The high iron railing can not be seen in the images anywhere, but they are there, at all the sides, packing the whole Kund in. I don’t have the technical know how about the levels of water pollution and all. To my lay man’s eyes, this sealed pond is in no way different from the open Kurukshetra Pond, their water looks equally repulsive, its colour equally dark green, and only the bravest ones will risk touching it, one mustn’t ever think of drinking it.

I am not ancient by any standards, but I remember a time when the pond area used to throb with life and activity. When I was a child, people used to talk about an underground connection between the pond and Gangaji. I don’t believe in it now, but I used to believe every word of the connection theory than. It was not a bit less attractive than the more famous and equally unsubstantiated theory of the tunnel from Raja Chet Singh’s Palace to Ram Nagar.

d knd

(Photo: Mr. Biplab Goswami)

This temple and pond form the centre of the Saawan Mela hemisphere, with the pond as the base. In this image too a yellow giant wheel can be seen to the left, between the temple wall and the trees. It’s either on Mondays or Tuesdays throughout the month of Shravan in the Hindu Calendar that a huge fair is organized in the hemisphere that once used to extend beyond Tulsi Manas Temple behind Durga Temple. By “once” I don’t mean a hundred years ago. I have enjoyed the mela in its full glory as a child.

The most interesting part of the fair used to be the zoo where various kind of animals used to be displayed. I was particularly interested in the wolves. It was my not so secret desire to emulate Phantom by keeping a pet wolf by my side. I faintly wanted a horse too, but the wolf was a must.

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