Lolark Kund, a rectangular water tank of 15m in height, is one of the oldest sacred places in Varanasi. This structure might date back to around 1000 AD. The word ‘Lolark’ means ‘trembling sun’. The kund displays a wavering image of Sun God, Suryadev, in the water of the tank.
Historically, its importance can be traced to the patronage of Gahadavala kings who took bath here, worshipped, and made charitable offerings. Situated on a raised platform immediately south of Lolark Kund, is Sri Lolarkeshwar Mahadev temple or Lolark Aditya Mandir. Other important nearby temples are Arka and Bhadra Vinayaka, Bhadreshvara, Amareshvara, and Chamunda Devi.
Lolark Kund is one of the two oldest sites mentioned in the Mahabharata and is one of the 12 Solar deities. Along with its stairs, the kund measures 23m from north to south and 15m from east to west. Three long staircases descend into the Kund on the west, north, and south. After 35 steep steps, one reaches the pool 17m below. The eastern side is a wall, which is segmented by a wide cut that allows water from the Kund to flow into the adjacent well towards the east and eventually into the Ganga.
The work of brownish-red stone architecture of the kund was done by Rani Ahilyabai, King of Cooch Bihar, and Amrit Rao who repaired and extended the structure in the mid to late 18th century. You may find a few epitaphs engraved with “Cooch Bihar” written on them.
It is noticed that water of this kund is clear throughout the year, even during the floods. Legends have it that the water here has a special power of fertility and the couples who bathe here are blessed with a child. Also, taking a dip in its holy water cures various skin diseases.
Lolark Shashti is celebrated on the sixth day of the bright half of the Hindi month of Bhadrapada. It occurs in the month of September during the monsoon. Thousands of devotees come here to worship the Sun God. Would-be mothers from Varanasi and nearby places pray to Lord Lolark Aditya. They perform religious rituals to obtain the blessing of the birth of a male child. The culture is modifying with time and couples now take a holy dip here in the hope of being blessed with a child. Later, they follow up a visit for the well-being of their children.
A part of the ritual includes devotees leaving their clothes and a fruit or a vegetable after performing the sacred bath in the Lolark kund. The intriguing thing here is that the fruit or vegetable they choose to leave in the kund is for life (which means they swear not to eat that food item thereafter). The crowd on this day represents the real significance of Lolark kund.
How to Reach Lolark Kund
Take an auto/rickshaw to Assi road and reach the destination either through the lanes or through the ghats. Once you reach Tulsi ghat, you can use the staircase to go up and follow the lane beside tulsi akhara or ask any local for directions.
- Ark Vinayak Temple
- Mahishasur Mardini/ Chamunda Devi Temple
- Tulsi ghat
- Tulsi Ashram