After decades of neglect, Karan Taal - a historic spot associated with Karna, the philanthropic character in Mahabharata - is all set to get a new lease of life as a tourist destination.
On Sunday, chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar will formally launch renovation work of the taal in his constituency of Karnal.
The Karan Taal falls under the jurisdiction of the Karnal municipal corporation (KMC). However, owing to its expertise, the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) has been made the nodal agency for the facelift programme and it will jointly bear the estimated cost of about `3 crore with KMC.
According to popular belief, the site is associated with the battle of Mahabharata and legend has it that Karna, who fought on the side of the Kauravas, against his half-brothers Pandavas, had stationed his army near a lake.
A pillar raised by the erstwhile Bansi Lal government at the entrance of Karan Taal states that it was the place where Karna used to donate 125kg of gold every morning. Sanjay Gandhi, son of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, had inaugurated the new park project that had converted the pond into a picnic spot.
Once considered a landmark of the city with musical fountains and a lake, it has been in a state of neglect and has become a safe haven for anti-social elements and stray animals.
Restoration and promotion of the historic lake remained a hot issue during the last three state elections.
In the run-up to the last assembly elections, Khattar had promised its restoration and development as a tourism site.
Old-timers recall that the majestic backdrop of the lake used to attract tourists.
According to the executive engineer, HUDA, YM Mehra, a water body with a dimension of 2,200 sq metres will be developed. Self-cleaning, self-flushing and low maintenance e-toilets, which will run on prepaid basis, would also be installed.
Besides a cafeteria, craft and bookshops, HUDA has earmarked a special gaming and recreation zone for children. However, there will be no boating facility in the lake. Jogging tracks and thick vegetation would also be developed at the spot.
HUDA has also planned to develop two parking lots to facilitate the visitors. Official sources said HUDA's role would be to develop and handover the facility to the MC.