Shankha-kshetra Panchatirtha: Rohini Kund

BY: SUN STAFF - 20.11 2020

Rohini Devi and Mother Yasoda


A seventeen-part series on Sri Jagannath Puri Dham - Shankha-kshetra: The Holy Dham at Puri Jagannatha's five sacred bathing places.

Rohini Kund is one of the five Panchatirthas of Jagannath Puri Dham, and the daru-brahma sacred log from which the original image of Lord Jagannatha was carved is said to have been found floating in this holy tank.

This kund was mentioned in an earlier segment of this series, as being situated in the Second Fold of Shankha-kshetra. Rohini Kund is joined in the Second Fold by the abodes of four Devis (Bimala, Kamala, Sarbamangala and Uttarai), Pranitodaka Kund, two vraksha-stahlas, Sri Garuda, and the top of Nilgiri Hill.

The original Rohini Kund sits near the entrance of Bimala Devi's temple. The kund is said to contain karana, or the water of creation. Unfortunately, the tank fell into disrepair long years ago, although in 2007, the Sun published an article by Srila Prabhupada's disciple, Deena Bandhu das, who was calling for help in restoring the kund.

For the present time [at the original time of writing], a small tub representing Rohini Kund has been placed inside the Jagannath Temple. On the floor of this tub is a carved stone image of Bhusandi Kaka, a famous crow who fell into the Rohini Kund and was suddenly transformed into a four-armed devotee of Lord Narayana.

The story of Bhusandi Kaka is told in the Skanda Purana. Bhusanda Kaka was cursed by the sage Lomasa. Anticipating his death, he flew to Shankha-kshetra, going to Rohini Kund to take bath in the sacred waters and look up Lord Jagannath in His temple. The crow perched upon a branch of the ancient Kalpabata, a wish-fulfilling tree, praying for liberation from the curse. Suddenly Kaka Bhusanda died and fell into the Rohini Kund, turning into a four-armed form. Since the time of his liberation, he has been worshipped here as Bata Narayana.

Situated next to the original Rohini Kund is Nabhi Chakra, in the shape of Nilachakra, and beside it sits a four-foot tall statue of a crow, who was part of a pastime of King Indradyumna's. The pastime took place after the completion of Lord Jagannath's temple, when King Galamadhava insisted that the temple belonged to him. Lord Brahma came and settled the dispute, with the crow and chakra serving as witness on the side of King Indradyumna. The two have remained there ever since. King Galamadhava himself is said to have remained at Rohini Kund, where he eternally offers prayers to Lord Jagannatha.

In its original form, Rohini Kund was a large water tank. Vedic scriptures mention the quartz steps leading down from its banks to the water. In the Skanda Purana there is a narration about the return of Vidyapati from Nilasaila. He states to Indradyumna:

"On the top of Nilagiri there is a perennial Bata Brikhya, towards its west there is Rohini Kunda and there is a Sphatik-manimaya Vedi around it. Gada-Padma-Sankha-Chakradhari, sapphire colored, Indra-nila-manimaya, Nilamadhab, is seated on a golden lotus, on this Vedi, under the cooling shade of the Banyan tree, His lotus-like hands embrace Laxmi, who is seating on His left thigh and playing flute, Ananta Nag in backside covers Him in shape of an umbrella. Sudarshan is seen in front of Him and Garuda is seated with folded hands just in the front side."

This image of Nilamadhab and the Rohini Kund are said to have vanished, being buried under the sands during a severe cyclone, in between the periods when Vidyapati saw Nilamadhab and Indradyumna arrived at the holy place. However, Sri Narasimha, enshrined on the Nilasaila under an Aguru tree, was all along present before and after the disappearance of Nilamadhab. (Orissa Review, July 2008)

Off to the east of Rohini Kund one can see the footprints of the great sage Markanda, for whom another kund among the Panchatirtha was named – Markandeya Kund.