View of Surajkund
|Location||Surajkund village, Faridabad district, Haryana|
|Surface area||40 hectares (99 acres)|
|Settlements||Delhi, Faridabad and Gurgaon|
Surajkund (सुरजकुण्ड) is an ancient reservoir of the 10th century, 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) away to the south west from a more ancient dam of the 8th century called the Anagpur Dam; both are located in Haryana, India. Surajkund (literal meaning is 'Lake of the Sun') is an artificial Kund (‘Kund’ means “lake” or reservoir) built in the backdrop of the Aravalli hills with an amphitheatre shaped embankment constructed in semicircular form. It is said to have been built by the Tomar king Suraj Pal of Tomar dynasty in the 10th century. Tomar was a sun worshipper and he had therefore built a Sun temple on its western bank.
Another 'kund' by the same name as ‘Suraj Kund’ existed in Sunam city, famous for surajkand mela, tahsil and sub division of the Sangrur District in Punjab. This was sacked by Mahmood Ghaznvi or Taimur Lane. The temple is now in ruins.
Surajkund is located near the Surajkund village between the villages of Baharpur and Lakkarpur in Faridabad district of Haryana. The lake's drainage basin is part of the Aravalli hill ranges. It is fed from the north western side by a local nallah (stream) that initially feeds the Anagpur dam on the upstream.
The storage in the tank or lake has been seriously affected since the catchment area contributing flows into the Surajkund (lake) from villages such as Anangpur, Lakkarpur, Ankhir and Meola Maharajpur has been used for extensive mining and for large habitations, which has disturbed the drainage system and thus obstructed the gravity flow of rain water from the basin into the reservoir. This situation is stated to have also affected the flora and fauna of the area.
- Stone Age link
In the Aravalli hill ranges, which spreads over Delhi and Haryana, where the Surajkund and the Anagpur Dam are located, ancient Stone Age relics have been revealed. The Aravallis, which strike out in two directions from Delhi exhibits a topography of low and rugged hills. The stratigraphy in the area is considered to consist of reddish rocks and scrub and has the luxuriance of the Stone Age progression. Stone Age material have been unearthed in the region at 43 sites on the road from Delhi to Surajkund and south of the Suraj Kund-Faridabad road, Anangpur hills and Ankhir pahari on the road on the low ridge from Faridabad to Surajkund. The Stone Age relics comprise Microliths and lower Paleolithics.
From a study of the prehistoric findings along the ridges of Surajkund reservoir, Anagpur Dam, and around Delhi and adjoining parts of Haryana, it has been inferred that the southern hilly area of Delhi and Haryana was environmentally suited for pre-historic man to settle here.
According to bardic tradition (a tradition steeped in the history and traditions of clan and country) the Tomar kings who initially lived near the Aravalli hills shifted to the Surajkund area near Lal Kot, which was built by the Tomars. Lal Kot was renamed as Qila Rai Pithora, after Prithvi Raj Chauhan (the second last Hindu king of Delhi). Archeological excavations have revealed existence of a Sun temple here based on ruins that can be seen even now. Certain carved stones were recently recovered from the reservoir. Some stones have also been re–used in subsequent restoration works. Some historians also claim that it was named after King Surajpal himself who built it. It is also said that Suraj Pla built this lake for his daughter.
During the Tughlaq Dynasty rule of Feroz Shah Tughlaq (1351–88), the reservoir was refurbished by rebuilding the steps and terraces with stones in lime mortar. On the western bank of the reservoir, a garhi (cave like structure) was built close to the ancient site of the Sun temple.
Though historians have not specifically alluded to this tank, it is also said that it was built in 686 AD by Suraj Pal (after whom the tank is probably named) son of Anang Pal I. It is in the form of a segment (semi circular) with the chord on its west side. Another theory for the name 'Suraj' suffixed to the kund (lake) is that it was named after the Sun Temple that existed on the east side of the lake.
Even though the Tomar dynasty vanished in the 12th century, the Surajkund has not been affected. It attracted the attention of the Haryana Government to develop the area as a tourist spot by introducing an annual crafts 'Mela' or "fair" titled "Surajkund Crafts Mela" in the precincts of the lake, which over the years has attracted wide publicity and become an iconic event.
The reservoir has been built in the shape of the rising sun with an eastward arc. It is enclosed within a steep embankment made in semi-circular shape made of stepped stones. Rain fall was intercepted here to create a reservoir of 130 m (427 ft) diameter to meet the water shortage in Delhi. It has an area of 40 ha (99 acres). The reservoir provides a grand spectacle, and in the past it was the hunting forest resort. It abounds in dancing peacocks. The reservoir is filled up during every monsoon season but remains dry during summer, before the onset of the monsoon rains. The tank underwent major repairs in the 1920s during the British times.
A natural spring called the Siddha–Kund, held in reverence, is seen about 600 m (1,969 ft) to the south of Surajkund, which is frequented by pilgrims.
- Asola Bhatti Wild Life Sanctuary
Asola Bhatti Wild Life Sanctuary is on the Southern Ridge of the northern terminal of Aravalli Hills, close to the Surajkund. It acts as the green lung & carbon sink for Delhi. A trail of 2 km (1 mi) exhibits floral & faunal diversity along the topography of the area of Aravalli Mountain Range which is now a protected area. Anogeissus, Balanite & riparian belt of Aravali are seen in small reaches. Mine pits in this area are proposed to be developed as wetland habitat, which is likely to improve the ground water regime in the area.
- Suraj Kund in Sunam
A large Sun Temple called the Suraj Kund, located to the east of the Sunam city (dated to the Vedic period), about 1.5 kilometres (1 mi) away in the tahsil and sub division of the Sangrur District, was destroyed by Timur or Mohammad Ghaznavi. It is also said that Saraswati River was flowing nearby. The Suraj Kund is now in a dilapidated condition. It is situated on the Ludhiana-Hisar railway line, and is connected by road with Patiala (64 kilometres (40 mi)), Sangrur (19 kilometres (12 mi)), Bathinda (114 kilometres (71 mi)), Ludhiana (90 kilometres (56 mi)), and Chandigarh (120 kilometres (75 mi)).
- Ecological issues
The ecological disaster that is causing the rapid depletion of ground water in the Aravalli hill range between Tughlaqabad and Gurgaon via Surajkund due to indiscriminate mining has invited the attention of the Supreme Court of India through the efforts of environmental activist. This activity is also stated to be affecting the adjoining Asola Forest and Wildlife Sanctuary. Consequent to a writ petition filed by the Delhi Ridge Management Board, the Supreme Court has asked the Haryana Government “to stop all mining activities and pumping of groundwater within a (5 kilometres (3 mi)), radius of the Delhi-Haryana border in the Haryana Ridge and in the Aravali hills.”
In the backdrop of the lake, during the spring season, every year from February 1–15, a colorful traditional craft festival of India is held in the precincts of Surajkund. This fair was first started in 1987. Traditional craftsmen (artists, painters, weavers and sculptors) from all parts of the country participate in this annual celebration named as the “Surajkund Crafts Mela” or "Surajkund designer’s Village”. Designer items created by 50 best designers and craftsmen in wood, metal, bamboo, iron, glass, textiles and stone can be seen here. This Mela (fair) is visited by lovers of arts and crafts from all over the world. The fair is held with a different theme every year on Indian culture and crafts.
The theme, specific to a state of India, is depicted at the entrance to the Mela grounds and provides an ambience of that particular state with characteristic colors, materials, architecture, furniture and decorations. The crafts on display in the stalls (400) is of particular crafts of that state. The Mela also includes a food festival covering some of the popular cuisines from different parts of the country. Entertainment in the form of famous rhythms and dance of folk theatre are also held here during the festival.
During 2009, with Madhya Pradesh as the theme state, 50 crafts' persons from SAARC countries, Thailand and Egypt also participated in the Mela. The show was titled "Hemvati-Khajuraho" as a part of the 23rd annual Surajkund Crafts Fair event. Sanchi Stupa, (a world heritage site in Madhya Pradesh) formed the backdrop for the festival.
Surajkund, also called the Peacock lake, because of its delightful beauty is now a well known tourism destination in Haryana state. Activities of water sports such as Kayaking are also an attraction at this lake. It is 8 kilometres (5 mi) by road from South Delhi and 20 kilometres (12 mi) from the heart of the New Delhi city. It is well connected to all parts of the city. The nearest airport is the Indira Gandhi International Airport, 25 km (16 mi) away. The nearest railway stations are the New Delhi Railway Station and the Nizamuddin Railway Station, 22 kilometres (14 mi) and 21 kilometres (13 mi) respectively by road. It is also approached by road and rail from Faridabad (headquarters of the district) and Gurgaon cities. It is 11.5 kilometres (7 mi) from the Qutub Minar and 3 kilometres (2 mi) Tughlaqabad, two historical.
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