Kosi Kalan (Mathura), Aug.30 : Hundreds of thousands of devotees have converged at the famous Shani Dev temple at Kosi Kalan in Uttar Pradesh's Mathura district on the occasion of "Shani Amavasya" or "Kali Amavas" as it is described by the local villagers.
The significance of this month's Shani Amavasya increased manifolds for the devotees of the Saturn God due to this day falling on Saturday.
Spread over 20 acre area in Kokilavan Dham, the main Shani Dev temple complex comprises Shani Dev temple, Shri Dev Bihariji temple, Gokulesh Maharaj temple, Giriraj temple, Nav Grah temple, Barkhandi Baba temple.
Besides, the complex has two large Kunds (bathing pools) cow shelter for a thousand cows, and a school being run under Sanskrit Vidhya Peeth here. The management of the temple is handled by a Trust.
"Legend has it that Shani Dev, who visited Gokul Dham on learning about Lord Krishna's birth, was denied to have a glimpse of the newborn by His mother Yashodha. But later when Krishna became a young man, he personally arrived at this place to give Shani Dev a personal audience with him," said Giriraj Prasad, the temple priest.
Every Saturday, thousands of devotees before entering the temple take a four-kilometer Parkirama or a round around the main temple. The entire stretch is dotted by hundreds of beggars. All devotees keep chanting "Jai Shani Dev" in the praise of Saturn God.
However, despite its huge popularity and major attraction lakhs of people, the temple appears in a bizarre condition.
Temple authorities regret the bad road that leads to the temple and poor conditions prevailing around it. Absence of basic arrangements for parking or provision for organizing community lunch by devotees, are some of the prominent discouraging factors here.
Thousands of devotees converge every Saturday from across Uttar Pradesh and neighbouring States in private vehicles or local tempos.
But most of them complain about the 10 kilometres uprooted trek of Nand Gaon road from the highway taken up for traveling by the devotees while approaching the temple. Heavy plying of trawlers and no upkeep has almost finished it.
Devotees also complain about a kilometer of stretch leading to the temple, which is just about 8 to 10 feet wide. It makes things really difficult for devotees due to long traffic snarls at times every week.
"Visualise the situation if even one vehicle develops technical fault in the middle of the road, there would be many kilometers long traffic snarl for hours, making life difficult for thousands of people arriving here from far off distances at night. The trek leading to the temple from highway is impossible during rainy days. Do you think it would motivate anyone for a revisit?," said Brij Sharma, a regular devotee.
"This temple needs proper management so that more tourists could come here without facing discomfort. It is disturbing for any religious minded to see a holy place in such a neglected state due to bad local arrangement.," said Rajesh Sharma, a visitor from Delhi. y Sandeep Datta