Thousands throng to see Yamuna in full flow at Agra

September 24th, 2008 - 2:13 pm ICT by IANS  

Agra, Sep 24 (IANS) Thousands of people have been flocking to see the river Yamuna flowing with full gusto right next to the magnificent Taj Mahal - a rare sight in Agra as the river is mostly dry and is often described as an ‘open drain’ or the ’sewage canal’.The river is in spate and people can be seen spending hours at the banks admiring the natural beauty and the return of aquatic animals to the Yamuna.

“It’s so exciting to watch as ripples and whirlpools form, the gushing water dances and tortoises, which had long disappeared, can be spotted now and then,” says Nandan Shrotriya, a resident of the Yamuna Kinara road here.

The Taj Mahal too looks more majestic with the gushing river flowing by its side.

For most of the year, the Yamuna remains a dry eyesore with islands of garbage and floating carcasses providing an ugly contrast to the beautiful Taj.

“How one wishes the river remained full round the year, just as it must have been when (Mughal emperor) Shah Jahan chose to build the Taj here,” said Abhinav Jain, another Agra resident.

An Australian tourist, who introduced himself as John, recalled that the Yamuna was a barren patch with dusty winds hitting the Taj from all corners during his earlier visit in May.

“But this time the whole ambience of the area looks divine,” he said.

All along its 30-km route from Keitham Lake to Dassehra Ghat near the Taj, groups of people now spend hours watching the river in its pristine glory. Further upstream, the ghats in Mathura and Vrindavan are full.

“After so many years you are witness to such a spectacle, Kalindi (Yamuna), the consort of (Hindu god) Krishna, is a divine river, along whose banks flourished history, culture, politics and mythology for thousands of years. Yamuna has a rich history and a valuable contribution to the enrichment of architecture, culture and the romantic lores of Krishna-Radha,” said Pandit Gopi Ballabh Shastri of Vrindavan.

But many who live near the river banks fear impending floods. Those in the villages in the Yamuna ravines or along the banks are scurrying for safety, as the water level in Agra started rising Tuesday evening.

All the gates of the Gokul Barrage in Mathura have been opened. The administration, while keeping a close watch and preparing disaster management plans, said there was no reason to panic.

“The water level could touch the danger mark Wednesday, but the pressure will not last too long to cause panic,” said a Jal Nigam (water supply board) official.

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