Lolarka Kund near Tulsi ghat in Varanasi can be traced back to the Purans. Reference of lolarka is found in Kashi khand of Skand Puran. The description says that Lolarka is located at the confluence of Ganges and Assi.

Presently it is a pond about 15mt below the ground level and steep stairs from three sides descend to the  rectangular water pool .On the fourth side there is an arc shaped gate on a high wall. Water through this gate flows into a nearby well.

On lolark shashthi, falling on sixth day of the bright half of Bhadrapad, corresponding to later half of August devotees in large numbers throng at the kund to take a dip. The popular belief is that if issueless couples take a dip in the pond on this particular day, they certainly will be blessed with a child. The custom is that couple take bath together tying their knot and then leave their clothes and all other possessions on their body at the time of taking bath there at kund only. While worshiping at the kund they have to offer one fruit also and then they are not supposed to eat that particular fruit whole of their life. After birth on next lolark shashthi the child is brought there for God’s blessings.

The most sustainable feature of our culture is definitely faith and what varied way of expression we have got. Every thing is steeped in symbolism. The things, the customs and traditions are not just what we perceive through eyes, the meaning goes much deeper. This custom of leaving clothes and all other possessions on body there on the steps leading to kund, does it not instigates /inspires or asks the couple to leave their differences, ego and clashes there itself. It beckons for a new beginning with renewed faith in that supreme power and in each other.

Lolark Kund is located in Bhadaini near Tulasi ghat. The day we visited the place was quiet and gates leading to pond were also locked. We were told that gates are unlocked for public on Lolarka Shashthi only. Near the well is a small temple and a covered verandah. Inside the verandah earthen furnaces in a row were the mute testimonies of the activities of the festival days when people from far flung places visit the place and stay and cook here.

Lolarka is a holy seat devoted to Sun God. Literal meaning of lolark is trembling. The  story  in vamana purana which throws light on this name of lolarka aditya goes like this.

Sukeshi, the son of demon king vidyutkeshi was blessed by lord Shiva that he could neither be defeated nor slain by his enemies. Happy with his devotion Shiva allotted Sukeshi an aerial city between heaven and earth. Under the pious leadership of their devout king the demons became very righteous and holy. This was not  in keeping with the duties allotted to asuras by virtue of their birth. Besides that the glory of the aerial city of Sukeshi started to outshine the brilliance of sun. This invited Surya’s wrath. With his angry glare he sent the aerial city reeling down to earth. As sukeshi was Shiva’s ardent devotee, some celestial bodies call out to shiva telling him that his devotee is falling. Shiva’s anger was directed towards Sun. He focussed all his fire towards him proving that his single stare has more brilliance than his fire. Such was the fire of shiva’s anger that the trembling sun hid at the cool, holy confluence of ganges and assi to avoid lord shiva’s wrath. This mythological tale not only establishes Shiva’s supremacy over sun god but also postulates that Shiva did not give much importance to the rule of karmas by virtue of varna rather he believed that one’s destiny is guided by one’s karmas.

Fire and water are two most revered elements of Hindu religion, hence the place of their meeting was considered to be one of the most sacred places on earth. Both these elements are essential to fertility perhaps that lies behind the faith of boon of fertility i.e. birth of child.

The temple near the pool, on the same platform is located the well.

The Lolarka Kund and the steep steps descending to  the pool

The earthen furnaces [chulha]where devotees cook during their stay here

The Arc shaped gate through which water from the pool enters the well.

PICS: sunder iyer