The Varanasi Heritage Dossier/Lolarkeshvara and Lolarka Kund
25º 17.474’ North and 83º 00.356’ East (Lolarkeshvara Temple); 25º 17.480’ North and 83º 00.355’ East (Lolarka Kunda, centre).
Exact location on a map
Near Tulasi Ghat, in the upper part, well known water pool and temple.
Lolarka (“Trembling Sun”) is one among the two oldest sites mentioned in the Mahabharata (ca 1500 BCE), and is one among the twelve Solar deities. According to the Skanda Purana, the water of Asi river (now no more) and the fire power of the Sun god Lolarka work together to destroy any sin. Lolarka Kunda (sacred water pool), together with steps, is triangular in shape, measuring 23m from north to south and 15m from east to west. Three long staircases descend into the Kunda on the west, north and south. After 35 steep steps one reaches to the pool 17m below. The eastern side is a wall, which is bifurcated by a wide cut that allows water to flow from the Kunda into the adjacent well to the east and eventually into the Ganga River. The buff-red stone architecture of the well was the work of Rani Ahilyabai, King of Cooch Bihar and Amrit Rao who made repairs and extensions in different periods during mid to late 18th century. In the niche on the stairs is disc of the Sun. On the nearby platform in the northwest corner there is a standing form of Ganesha.
On the upper part of the space under the holy fig tree there are images of the Sun god, the one new and other an old replica In the southern part stands the shrine of Bhadreshvara Shiva, also known as Lolarkeshvara, a large linga like the Svayambhu (“Self-manifested”). During the month of Bhadrapada (August-September), in the light fortnight, a great celebration is held here. Would-be mothers perform a sacred bath and worship Lolarka to obtain the blessing of the birth of male child, and later follow up with a visit for the well being of their children. Passing 150m along a narrow lane in the northwest, is a shrine of two folk goddesses, protecting the city from the south, named Carmamunda, ‘leather-headed goddess’, and Maharunda, ‘mutilated goddess’ (attached to the house of Munnar Panda, No. B 2 / 62). About 21m east is a shine of Svapaneshvari (locally called Mahisasuramardini), which attracts a good number of devotees every day and during navaratris (March/April, and September/October) a huge crowd. In the puranic text, She is called Camunda, one among the eight mother goddesses (matrikas), who bear skull-necklace and was eulogised as the killer of the two brother demons named Canda and Munda. 8.History and development (as under Col. 5)
Present state of conservation
Lack of civic sense, public awareness, and lack of knowledge of the ancient rich heritage, resulted to several ugly construction, nearby scattered garbage, half-burnt wood used by pilgrims, and similar scenes. The local priests are interested into more rituals and donations, and no way preservation and maintenance of the ancient glory.
Specific measures being taken for conserving the specific property
No specific measures are taken to conserve and preserve the temple and Kunda, except to continue and maintain the daily religious activities by the Pujari’s family living therein, and sometimes some devotees donate for the cleanness and repairing.
The Kunda and temple are owned by individual trust and looked after by local committee.