Gaya: The country’s largest rubber dam on holy Falgu River in globally famous town of Gaya is ready for inauguration on Thursday, a day ahead of the start of Pitripaksh Mela. Around 8-9 lakh devotees from across the globe are likely to participate and offer pind-daan to the souls of their ancestors.
The 411-metre-long dam has been constructed near the Vishnupada temple at the cost of ₹255 crore. Bihar CM Nitish Kumar is set to inaugurate the dam and foot over bridge on the river, connecting Vishnupad Temple with Sita Kund, located on other side of the river.
Water Resources Minister Sanjay Jha inspected the dam facilities and other preparations of the Government for the auspicious Pitripaksh Mela along with senior officers of the department before their inauguration.
Construction of dam on Falgu river
The need for construction of a dam on the Falgu river was felt since long, as it generally went dry after the rainy seasons. The devotees often had to dug the sand and get water flowing underneath to perform the rituals. Locals believe that the river Falgu, which flows from Mata Sita to Gaya, is cursed. It is worth mentioning that according to beliefs, the water of the river is necessary for offering pind-daan to the souls of ancestors. Locals as well as tourists face a lot of difficulties due to lack of water. After construction of the rubber dam, the water will remain water on the surface throughout the year. People who came for Pind-daan will get rid of the problem of lack of water.
Construction of dams in view of religious significance
According to Ajay Singh, Executive Engineer, Water Resources Department (WRD), the water in the Falgu river dries up faster than other rain-fed rivers. In other rivers, the water stagnates for a long time, while the Falgu river has rapid seepage. Conventional dams do not have the technology to hold water within the river. Rubber dams utilize the water retention technique to a limited distance. A rubber dam has been constructed near Vishnupad in view of its religious importance.
This land has religious beliefs
According to religious beliefs, after the death of a person, Shraddha, Pindan and Tarpan are performed to help souls of ancestors attain salvation. The land here is said to be the most sacred land in the Puranas for offering tarpan. According to legend, Lord Rama came to Gaya Ji Tirth with his family to offer the body of his father Dasaratha. It is said the soul of Kind Dasaratha appeared from nowhere and began asking for Pind from Goddess Sita, when Lord Rama and his brother Lakshman were away collecting materials for the shraddha. It is also believed that the ashes of Dasaratha’s pyre had reached the river flying. Only Mata Sita was present at this time.
Falgu-a cursed river
Legends have it that Goddess Sita had to perform Shraddh of King Dasarath in the Falgu river in presence of Tulsi, Akshaya Vat, cow and a Brahmin. When Lord Rama and Lakshman returned, Mata Sita informed them that she had to do the Shraddha as they were not around. When Rama asked for the proof for the relic donation, the river had lied. It was because of this lie that Mother Sita cursed the river Falgu. Since that time, the Falgu River has been flowing underground. In summer, water comes out after digging three-four feet deep.
Rubber used in dam to prevent seepage
As for the characteristics of the dam, the experts from IIT Roorkee have constructed the dam after taking stock of the site. According to Ajay Singh (Executive Engineer), the plan is to construct a 411-metre-long, 95.5-metre-wide and 3-metre-high rubber dam on the left bank of the Falgu river near Vishnupad temple, 300 meters downstream. The dam will stop the flow of river water and store the water. A rubber dam would prove effective to stop seepage.
1031-m long rubber sheet used
About 1031 meters long and 300 metre wide sheet of rubber has been laid at the rock-level of the river piled up to the rock label to retain water on the surface. Rainwater can also be stored in the dam. Since the height of the rubber dam is set at three feet, any amount of water flowing above will trickle down the stream. The rubber dam is like a balloon, there are also arrangements to release water from the dam in certain circumstances. Deflating the balloon will allow the water to be released easily.