The Mystery of the Basil Forest

             The Magic of the Flute and Other Stories

                                               Tales of India, Untold 

 
What if I told you that just 110 miles from the capital of India, Delhi, is a garden that turns you into a tree if you stay back in it after dusk!
Horrified, no!
Welcome to Mathura, the city of the birthplace of Lord Krishna. He is the super hero of the world’s largest epic, Mahabharata and also the author of Bhagwad Gita (Gospel of the Lord).
Millions of people the world over whether they are from the United States, Great Britain, Japan, South East Asia, continental Europe, the Middle East follow him, love him, dissect him and adore him as  God, lover,philosopher or a statesman. Offcourse, his following in India knows no bounds.
Krishna was born in Mathura more than 6000 years ago on the banks of Yamuna, one of the most important rivers of the Indian subcontinent.His childhood was quite an eventful one as he had to battle the tyrant of the day, Kansa, to free his parents from their prison.
Even as a small child, his innocence attracted all and sundry to him- his flute being a magnet of sorts.
Enchanted by the lilting tunes from his flute, young maidens of his age and even older, used to sway in a manner that cannot be described in this blog. It was not a dance, it was not waltz, it was simply harmonising one’s body and soul to the tunes emanating from the flute. These movements are calledRaasa.
The flute is called a bansuri in North India and is made of bamboo.

So, what is this mystery about the garden that I mentioned earlier? This garden is located in Vrindavan, a quaint little place just 16 miles north of Mathura.

It is said in popular folklore that even in this day and age, there are certain days in an year when Lord Krishna along with the maidens , called gopis ,appears in the garden and then, begins a night long sequence of dances.
But, it is also said that if any outsider happens to watch this mystical dance, he/she turns into a stone or a tree! There is no conclusive proof behind this legend but it has stuck on for countless of centuries and the first thing that the travellers ask upon coming to Vrindavan is the location of this garden,
The trees that you see in the image are curious visitors ,actually-so the legend says.
The word, Vrindavan is composed of two parts- Vrinda, meaning Tulsi or Basil and Van or Forest.
Perhaps, Vrindavan in the ancient times was densely populated by basil shrubs. Basil or Tulsi in India is considered to be auspicious and spiritual in significance and almost every Indian household has a Tulsi shrub planted within it.
The name of the garden is Nidhi Van.
Why do you think this legend persists? Please write back to me.
Tomorrow’s postThe City of the Djinns
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