By Swami Harshananda
Bindusaras literally means ‘lake of drops of water’.
Places associated with gods or saints or saintly kings or other holy persons have been the favorite pilgrim resorts over the centuries. One of the less known places of pilgrimage is the lake Bindusaras, also known as the Bindu- sarovara.
- The Mahābhārata describes Bindusaras situated between the mountains Maināka and Hiraṇyaśṛṅga. It is here that the king Bhagiratha practiced severe austerities to bring the river Gaṅgā from the world of gods to the world of men. The place, even now known by the same name, is situated near Gaṅgotri (birthplace of the river Gaṅgā) about 3 kms. (2 miles) to the south. A small temple dedicated to the river goddess Gaṅgā stands at the place where Bhagīratha is said to have practiced austerities. When the river goddess Gaṅgā acceded to Bhagīratha’s request to descend to this earth, Śiva arrested her ferocious flow with his matted hair and then let the water out in drops which formed this Bindusaras (bindu = drop). The river Gaṅgā then emerged out of this in seven streams.
- The lake Kapālamocana-tīrtha at Vārāṇasī or Kāśī (modern Banaras), where Śiva is said to have bathed and got rid off the sin of decapitating one of the five original heads of Brahmā, is also sometimes called as Bindusaras.
- The Brahmapurāna describes one Bindusaras created by Rudra (Śiva) by collecting drops of water from all the holy places and filling the lake with that. It is said to be situated in the Ekāmraka-kṣetra.
- Two big tanks situated at the below mentioned places are also called as Bindusaras:
- Tank at Siddhapura near Ahmedabad (Gujarat)
- Tank at Bhuvaneśvara (Orissa)
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore