When you turn off the main Panna-Satna road and you drive down the four kilometer stretch to Janwaar you will see a lake at the left hand side. Anil, one of our Open Schoolers has written something about this lake. A story that his father and grandfather have told him. Here is Anil’s folk tale about the lake in Janwaar.
Once upon a time, there were three brothers called Sataiya, Jannu and Mannu. One day they thought why don’t we build something that will remain after we die? They decided to build lakes.
Sataiya chose a place called Satabi, a little outside of Janwaar, Mannu has built a lake on the way to Khajuraho and Jannu has built the one you can see today on your left hand side when you come to Janwaar. This is what the tale is telling us.
All three men were very strong and hard working. The structure of the three lakes was made out of large, very heavy stones. It’s truly massive. It must have taken more than three or four years to build such a lake. The villagers keep saying that thousands of years ago these large stones were less heavy than they are today. I do not know why, but this is what they say.
The lake in Janwaar was surrounded by a huge jungle and there was a garden of guava trees. Janwaar was famous for guava because Janwaar’s guava were very big and sweet. In the jungle there were all kind of animals such as bears, deers, snakes, etc. and once in a while they came into the village. The animals use to come in night to drink water at the lake. Today, there is no longer a huge jungle. People even have cut the guava trees. You see a lot of plain farmland, it’s dry and there is no shadow because there are hardly any trees left.
One day a bride came with her groom and a group of people to Janwaar. She was carried in a palanquin and the groom was riding proudly on a horse. They passed the lake. The lake had no water. When the bride looked out of the palanquin, she said, “What a beautiful lake! But there is no water!”
All of a sudden the sky opened up and a heavy rain started. Everything got flooded. And the bride and groom drowned in the lake. So did some other people. But somehow other people who belonged to different communities were saved. They escaped the floods and ran away.
Since this day it is said that the god Doolha Dev does not allow the communities who ran away to live in Janwaar. Those communities are the barbers, Hindu priests and the band wallahs, the men who play the music at the weddings. It is said if they will try to live in Janwaar, they will drown.
Today the groom is known as Doolha Dev. And today there is a temple with the same name: Doolha Dev. After the bride and the groom drowned in the lake, a memorial statue was built at the lake. Many people came here to offer their prayers. One person’s prayer was heard and he thanked the gods and promised to build a temple right at this place. It`s located right next to the lake, half way down to its end. It is basically overlooking the lake and it is orange colour. Some stairs are around a platform in front of it. It looks like a semicircle and the temple is in the middle of it. And until today people are coming to the temple in Janwaar to offer their prayers.