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News from The Braj Foundation restores Chandra the land of Sarovar, the place where Lord Brahma Shri Radha Krishna

apologised to Shri Krishna

Heritage, Community, Environment www.brajfoundation.org

The Braj Foundation

VOL : 2

Lord Brahma apologising to Krishna

D

o you know that , 9km before Vrindavan on the Delhi- Agra highway is the small township of Chaumuha, named after Brahma the creator, who is said to have four heads, that look in all directions at once. It was at this village that Lord Brahma begged forgiveness of Sri Krishna for doubting his divinity. The place where Brahma prayed to Krishna is known as Chandra Sarovar. Located on the outskirts of the village of Chaumuha, the entire site, completely silted over, had become part of the surrounding fields.

Developmental plan of Chandra Sarovar

his four heads bowed at Krishna's feet as an insignia to mark the spiritual importance of the site will be installed. Landscaping with large scale tree plantation, fountains, pathways, canopies and sitting areas, to give the project it's deserved aesthetic form will

Foundation work of ghats in progress

Women are singing as the kund is desilted

also be in place. The projected cost of the project is about 1.5 crores. It will serve to show the importance and relevance of the kunds and be a scenic sacred spot for the millions of pilgrims

Inspired by Sri Ramesh Baba efforts were initiated to revive this historic site by The Braj Foundation (www.brajfoundation.org) The 8 acre site is now being developed to restore it to its original state. A solid stone foundation, one meter wide, has been constructed around the kund. This kund will be used for pilgrims to perform their ritual ablutions. A parallel water body will be left in its natural state for the needs of the local brajwasis. A Raas Mandal – an amphitheater is also being developed so that cultural events may be organized at the site on a regular basis. A diorama depicting Lord Brahma,

Construction of the main gate

Inside stories Pg-2 : Cover story continues... Pg-3 :Media reports & field action Pg-4 :Invitation for Goverdhan Mahotsav

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www.brajfoundation.org

Newsletter Vol:2 Wisdom Words “One who contributes towards the construction or restoration of kunds (water bodies) earns enormous punya and lives for millions of years in vaikuntha”. Padma Puran

From Vrindavan Dear Readers ! Thanks for appreciating the Vol.1 of our newsletter. As announced, The Braj Foundation organised the Barsana Mahotsav 2007 at the site of restored Jal Mahal and Vrishbhanu Kund at Barsana on 19th Sept. Over 10,000 people enjoyed this festival along with the Union Railway Minister, Mr. Lalu Prasad Yadav, Mrs. Rabri Devi & Union Minister Mrs. Kanti Singh, industrialists, traders and eminent saints of Braj. Mr. Yadav praised the foundation for it's tireless efforts to revive the lost glory and charm of Braj. At the Mahotsav, Padmashree, Guru Jaya Rama Rao and Vanyashree Rao mesmerized the audience by their Kuchipuddi dance based on Ashtapadi of Jaydev. Raas-leela, famous charkhula dance, mayur dance and other captivating performances were also enjoyed by all. A special dinner of Krishna Prasad, made in pure ghee was served to 500 guests and the local residents of Brasana. Amongst those who sponsored the event was, Mr. Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Industries and local entrepreneurs of Braj. Encouraged by the success of this Mahotsav, the Foundation has decided to host, Goverdhan Mahotsav, Vrindavan Mahotsav and Gokul Mahotsav during the next five months. Please join us on these festivals and enjoy the real mood of Braj. Kamla Agarwal

who visit Braj each year. In Braj, Sri Krishna performed all the simple activities of a cowherd boy. Grazing cows in the pasture lands and forests of Braj along with his friends was an activity closer to his heart. However, occasional displays of his divine powers, intermittent with childish fun and frolic would come about. One day, he bewildered Lord Brahma by licking some butter milk that was dripping from the mouth of Madhu Mangal, Krishna's intimate friend. Brahma unable to comprehend how his creator could be so familiar with a mere cowherd boy doubted that Krishna was the same Vishnu that he worshiped. In order to test his divinity, Brahma stole all Krishna's friends and cows. Krishna then expanded himself into as many friends and cows as had been stolen by Brahma and displayed his transcendence to allay Brahma's doubts. Brahma's realization of Krishna's nature came forth in the form of an memorable prayer that can be found in the Srimad Bhagavatam.

Donors of this project Mr.Lalit Gulati, Mr. Ashok Logani and Mr. Vijay Mehta at the project site

Mr. Vijay Mehta, Mr. Ashok Logani and Mr. Lalit Gulati, owners of major textile and garment export houses in Delhi, have so far contributed Rs. 16.8 lakhs for this project. In addition to this The Braj Foundation has spent about Rs. 10.2

Desilting by Foundation’s earthmovers

Lakhs in de-silting the kund. The balance is to be raised from them and their friends to complete this project" said Mr. Rajneesh Kapur, the Communications Officer of the

F o u n d a t i o n . H o w e v e r, a l l contributions towards this sacred cause are welcome This developmental work is being done entirely with the active participation of the local village community.

Foundation walls of the ghats constructed

The Project coordinator of the foundation, Mr. Raghav Mittal, stressed the need for the concerned governments of UP, Rajasthan and Haryana, under whose jurisdiction the cultural area of Braj falls, to come together and develop a combined comprehensive model for the Braj development. In furtherance of this cause Mr. Vineet Narain, CEO has already held meetings with the Cabinet Secretary, Govt. of India, Cabinet Secretary of UP Mr. Shashank Shekhar and Chief Secretary of Rajasthan, who have assured that there will be prompt action on their parts. The Foundation has taken up several similar projects to bring back the lost glory of Braj, which falls within the Golden Triangle. It is a pity that millions pour into Braj in the name of dham sewa but practically nothing is spent in protecting, restoring and decorating the real leela sthalis of the Divine Couple. The land of Braj is swiftly becoming a land of residential colonies and town ships. This initiative and drive of The Braj Foundation comes as a relief and a ray of hope for all those who value the rich cultural heritage of this divine land. If you want further information or a visit to this site on your next visit to Vrindavan. Please feel free to contact us: H.O: The Braj Foundation, C-6/28 SDA, Hauz Khas, New Delhi- 110016 Tele: (011) 2656-6800, 2651-9080. Vrindavan Off. Tel: (0565)-2540084 Email; brajfoundation@gmail.com Web: www.brajfoundation.org

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Newsletter Vol:2

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Action in field

Restoration work starts at Mohan Kund, Restoration of sacred grove, Gahvarvan, Barsana

Gahvarvan in Barsana is considered to be the favourite forest of Sri Radha Rani. It is her private estate, where even Lord Krishna may not enter without her permission. This 3 acre area was declared protected forest by the UP Forest Department, after 46 years' of struggle by the revolutionary saint Shri Ramesh Baba. However, due to lack of resources, it remained in a state of overgrowth and neglect. The Braj Foundation made an appeal to Mr. S. Behuria, Chairman Indian Oil Corporation who liked the power point presentation of the foundation and sanctioned Rs. 10 Lakhs for its revival and beautification. The foundation added a few lakhs of it's own and the kunja or sacred grove, is almost fully restored and ready for a formal inauguration.

A 32 acre sacred site at Mohan Kund, vill. Vanchari, Hodal (Faridabad) Haryana, falls within Braj 84 Kos. Lord Krishna used to graze his cows here. Braj 84 Kos yatras do a night halt at this place. There is a samadhi of most the revered Mohan Baba, where an annual fair is held. Thousands of people visit this site, during the festivity season. Just off the NH-2 on Delhi Agra route, this site remained neglected. On the request of local villagers, The Braj Foundation has desilted the 200mt. X 200mt. kund with the financial support of Mr. Kamal Morarka. The Foundation's architects are preparing a development plan for the whole complex to make it a pilgrimage destination. Mrs. Keshni Anand Arora, Secretary Tourism, Haryana Govt. has assured substantial financial assistance from her govt. for this wonderful project.

Media report Barsana Mahotsav 2007 organised by The Braj Foundation on 19th Sept 2007 at Barsana attracted wide media coverage. Zee News channel did a live coverage of the show, while Star News, Sahara Samay, ANI and several other publications did a good coverage with coloured photographs of the event. Here are some glimpses of the Barsana Mahotsav.

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www.brajfoundation.org

Newsletter Vol:2 Top Industrialists of Kolkata enjoy the power point presentation of The Braj Foundation

For t hc om in g Eve nts

Goverdhan Mahotsav

A power point presentation on the Integrated approach to Braj Development by The Braj Foundation has touched the hearts of many of Kolkata's uppermost industrialists. In a special presentation hosted by Mr. Suresh Neotia, Chairman Gujarat Ambuja Cement, over 75 informative prominent industrialists, their wives and families gave a standing ovation to Mr. Vineet Narain, CEO of the Foundation for the excellent

presentation. Mr. R S Agarwal Joint Chairman, Emami Group of Companies, said that “this has been a real eye-opening account on Braj.” “Visually pleasing and very informative” that is what the viewers say about our power point presentation. We will be most glad to give this presentation for any one who requests it.

Nicholas Piramal Group donates field survey equipments to the Foundation

Mr. Ajay Piramal MD Nicholas Piramal Group

The Research Wing of The Braj Foundation is actively involved in scientific survey and mapping of all the heritage sites of Braj 84 Kos. This includes the survey of Kunds (ancient water bodies), groves, hills, heritage buildings etc. Mr. Ajay Piramal, MD, Nicholas Piramal Group has generously donated some equipments for the Research Wing of the Foundation. The equipments include; One Tata Sumo equipped with inverter. Two Hero Honda motorcycles. One Leica Total Station Machine for survey. One HP Laptop One Kodak digital camera (Please see the picture in the box)

! ! ! ! !

The total market value of these equipments is Rs. 12.51 Lakhs. (Nicholas-Piramal Group’s name is prominently displayed on these products.)

From this year onwards The Braj Foundation has decided to organise an annual Goverdhan Mahotsav at Goverdhan (Mathura) soon after Deepawali. The same will be organised with the backdrop of beautiful heritage buildings. Goverdhan leela will be enacted by the most popular Raas-leela troop of Braj. Famous dancer, Ms. Geeta Chandran will present the choreography. A 56 course, chappan bhog dinner will be served after the event to all guests. Your suggestions are welcome and appreciated. Please join hands in making it a memorable event. Sponsorship of this show will be much appreciated. For further information please feel free to contact our Delhi office.

For your kind consideration !The de-silting wing of the foundation needs donations of mud pumps, tractor trolleys, earthmovers etc. We have to desilt over 800 sacred kunds of Braj and to achieve this target in the next 5 years we need 22 more units. Our present strength is of 4 units. ! We also need decent accommodation in Vrindavan, for our professionals on loan on a short term basis. Those interested in helping us may please contact our offices. Published by Rajneesh Kapur for limited private circulation only. Media colleagues are welcome to use this material for their stories.

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Braj Foundation News Letter 2