Ban Ganga (Narkatali) Bhishma Kund

      Like Jyotisar, Ban Ganga (Narkatali) is also on Pehowa road. After traveling around three kilometers from Kurukshetra towards Jyotisar, we took the dusty road On our right. Another one kilometre on this road led us to Ban Ganga.

      As I got off my car, I noticed a tank, surrounded by many temples. The tank had 10 red steps on all four sides. These steps were quite steep and one wrong move would have spelt disaster. It was a pity that in spite of this tank's divine legend, it was not well-maintained and the water was not clean. This kund had been named after Bhishma, who was the grandsire of the Pandavas and the Kauravas. It is believed that Bhishma lay on a bed of arrows at this very spot during the Kurukshetra battle. It is also believed that Arjuna shot an arrow into the ground to get water for quenching Bhishma's thirst. The water that came out of the ground formed a tank which is known as Bhishma Kund.

      It is believed that Arjuna brought Ganga from the ground when he shot an arrow. So this place is also known as Ban Ganga (Ban means 'arrow). Since Bhishma had the boon to decide his date and time of death, he continued to live in spite of being grievously injured and lying on a bed of arrows. He waited for the sun to change its position and enter the Uttarayan phase before giving up his mortal body.

      Right opposite this tank is the Sri Bhishma Pitamah Ban Shaya Temple. As the name suggests, at the centre of the sanctum sanctorum is an idol of Bhishma, lying on a bed of arrows (Ban Shaya means 'bed of arrows'). He can be seen drinking water from the Ganga which has been brought from the earth by an arrow shot by Arjuna. The idols of the Pandavas are kept behind the idol of Bhishma. To the left was Ram Darbar, which had white marble idols of Rama, Sita, Lakshmana, and Hanuman. To the left of these idols is a pink idol of Sri Ganga Mata. The idol of Ganga was installed here to symbolise Arjuna bringing the sacred river to quench Bhishma's thirst. To the right of the idol of Bhishma is an idol of Hanuman, known as Panchamukhi Hanuman since the deity had five heads. To its right is an idol of Sri Durga Mata. There were many pictures that presented the legend of Ban Ganga. The priest was a very generous soul who gave me prasada and a booklet which narrated the legend of this place.

      To the right of this temple is the Sri Tarkeshwar Mahadev Temple. This temple had a black Shiva Linga mounted on a platform of white marble. Behind the Shiva Linga were idols of Shiva, Parvati, Ganesha, and Nandi. On the right is an idol of Santoshi Mata.

      To the left of Sri Bhishma Pitamah Ban Shaya Temple is a very huge orange-coloured idol of Lord Hanuman. A board proclaimed that the height of the idol is 26 feet but it looked much more than that. This huge idol was kept inside an enclosure. A priest sitting in front of this idol applied a red tilak on my forehead and gave me prasada of puffed rice.

      On the other side of the tank is the Sri Krishna Bhagwanji Vishwa Viraat Swaroop Darshan Temple which means the Temple of Sri Krishna which shows His Cosmic Form. This beige coloured temple has walls with Bhagavad Gita verses written in simple Hindi. The entire floor is covered with colourful mats. The serene atmosphere allowed me to meditate here for a long time.

      The sanctum sanctorum had two blue idols of Lord Krishna. One showed Krishna holding a chariot wheel and the other showed Him displaying His Cosmic Form at the beginning of the Kurukshetra war. To the right is an idol of Bhadrakali Mata. I expressed my surprise on seeing the Bhadrakali idol in this temple.

      The priest explained, "Arjuna had prayed to Goddess Bhadrakali before the commencement of the Kurukshetra war, so this idol is installed here to commemorate that incident"

      As I came out of this temple and headed towards the car park, I heard verses of the Bhagavad Gita in Hindi coming from a nearby shop. Hearing and seeing different events related to Mahabharata transported me back to the era of Krishna. Instead of walking towards the car park, I began to walk towards the kund. My driver saw me walking in the wrong direction and began to call out to me, and broke my trance!

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