The Haryana government is all set to promote Karan Taal — a historic spot associated with Karna, the philanthropist character in Mahabharata — as a tourism destination.
Executive engineer, Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA), YM Mehra told HT on Thursday that the Karnal municipal corporation’s (MC) nod was awaited to start the renovation work as the taal falls under its jurisdiction.
The MC and HUDA would equally share the expenditure of the restoration.
“Following chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar’s directions, a water body with a dimension of 2,200 sq meters would be developed. Self-cleaning, self-flushing and low maintenance e-toilets, which will run on prepaid basis, would also be installed,” said Mehra.
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, said Mehra. He said HUDA’s role would be to develop and handover the facility to the MC.
Located in the heart of the city, Karan Taal is the only greenbelt in the old locality of Karnal. In the run-up to the last assembly elections, Khattar had promised its restoration and development as a tourism site.
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.
Popular belief associates the site with the battle of Mahabharata and legend has it that Karna, who fought on the side of the Kauravas against his half-brothers, had stationed his army near the lake. It is believed that there was a natural water body at the site, surrounded by temples. Karna used to offer prayers after bath at the steps of the sarovar (sacred tank).
A pillar raised by the erstwhile Bansi Lal government at the entrance of Karna 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 a mythical pond into a picnic spot. Old-timers recall that the majestic backdrop of the lake used to attract tourists.