Project: small garden in an ISKCON farmland,
Type: Small Garden and water body
Size: 220 sq. mts .
Status: Unbuilt Work
Mehul and Neha Sanghvi, from blueKrit, an amazing design firm) approached me for some guidance regarding a design for a garden which would be a tribute to the Govardhan hill, the Vrindavan and the Kunds of Vrindavan.
There is a special significance to visiting the Vrindavan, the place where Lord Krishna was born and the circumambulation around the Govardhan Hill. the Krishna devotees who go there, in their devotion, see the lord and his consort Radha in the places where they were born, once played and lived out their lives. The gravity of these two places lies in the fact that this hill you see and the forest (which is supposed to be there) and the kunds are all physical artifacts of the story of Krishna and thus the story of the Mahabharata as well. In a sense these parts of the landscape may be considered even deeper than cultural landscapes. They could be called ‘Mythos landscapes’.
To see Sri Krishna’s mythological and legendary antics of the past in its original physical space, that has survived into the present certainly gives meaning to that physical space.That idea lends itself to deep awe. A feeling, surpassed only by the state of indifference that actual physical environment seems to be left in. The Vrindavan Forest which should have been a national heritage is all but wiped out. the Radha and Krishna kunds have fallen victim to the pangs of tourism and modernism. The govardhan hills are all that remain.
Here we were working on a plot of agricultural land in karjat, where a guruji wanted to grow a garden which would be a tribute to the vrindavan, the govardhan hill and the radha and Shyam kunds.
The stories of the Radha and Shyam kunds are very interesting, especially considering certain environmental technicalities. One is dug with bangles by Radha and her friends and the other is kicked in by lord Krishna who then has a bath in it. (One really interesting detail is that both kunds although side by side should, according to lore, have very different water qualities.) Radha kund’s water is brought in by ghamlas from manasi ganga kund about 10km away. The Shyam kund is fed by a spring and sometimes overflows into a stream.
At this point , we can imagine two partner kunds on the karjat garden. One is the Radha kund. It is finished in white cement which will make the water fair in complexion. On the bed and along the sides bangles are embedded in the concrete that were offered by the gopis in digging this kund. (The bangles could be donated by actual devotees). A fair kund with bangles embedded in them will be the symbolism for Radha.
The other kund is the Shyam kund. It is darker in complexion because lord Shyam(dusky/ dark complexioned) has lent his colour to the kund. The material finish for this would be kadappa stone or a black basalt stone bed. There are artifacts strewn over the ledge, the flute, an impression of a peacock feather in the ledge. All these are signs of Krishna’s passing that area and should help the devotee in connecting to the kund and the actions of Krishna there.
There is also a small over flow detail. When in the rains, the kunds flow over, but the Radha kund does not over flow, it only receives water. The Shyam kund’s spout gives water to a stream that flows out into the farmland.