Agra: The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has begun excavation work at the 2,000-year-old Kushan-era pond, which was discovered by an NGO a few years back, in Vrindavan. The water body known as Ram Taal is located in Vrindavan’s Sunrakh village, which is accessible from National Highway-2 at the Chatikara turning.ASI superintending archaeologist Bhuvan Vikrama told TOI, “Two archaeologists have been stationed at the site. In the first phase, the excavation will continue for two weeks. We will decide from there on the next course of action.”
Earlier in January, ASI had written a letter to the NGO, Braj Foundation which has been carrying out restoration work at the site, as well as to its head office to extend expertise to the organization in not only restoring this Kushan-era relic, but also conduct further investigations to locate other such historical sites in the area.
Vikrama added that the NGO accepted our proposal subsequently. The official said there was a high probability of making new discoveries at this site.
“The pond could not have existed in solitary, there must be a temple or monastery in its vicinity. But, this can only be proved through further investigations. Although the site is currently not under ASI, given its historical importance, we are ready to make efforts to conserve it,” Vikrama added.
Vineet Narain, chairman of Braj Foundation, had earlier informed TOI: “Through scriptures we knew that there was a water tank in the area. The excavation process started in December 2011, with financial assistance from Kamal Morarka, head of Gannon Dunkerley Group. After finding the walls of the tank, we thought we would not do any modern construction at the place, but restore it to its original look. We welcome the assistance of ASI in restoring it.”
Narain added that surprisingly an iron sheet was used at the base of the tank. “The reason behind this could be to prevent seepage, as Yamuna flows very close to the site. There was no iron ore in the area during that period, so it is quite possible that iron was bought from traders passing through the area and the sheet was created through moulding”
The wall is 1.27m thick and its dimensions of the site are 51.6m by 34.35m.