This site has special place in the hearts of those who relish famous Uddhav-Gopi Samvad mentioned in the Shrimad Bhagvatam about the niraakar (formless) God versus saakar God (with form).
Uddhav, a close friend of Krishna, had deep faith in the knowledge based spiritual path. In order to teach him the importance of bhakti (devotion) Krishna sent him from His palace in Mathura as a messenger to Gopis, His milkmaid friends of rural areas, conveying that they should forget Krishna and meditate upon Brhma i.e.Parmatman.
Udhav, considering this as a trivial job, came to Braj with his puffed up ego. It was in this forest he met Radha and other Gopis, who were always in the mood of seperation from their beloved Krishna. It was here that the famous historic debate between him and gopis took place. His effort to convert them to gyan marg failed completely. Gopis responded to his preaching in a satirist way and expressed their unconditional love for Krishna. This conversation is known as Bhramar Geet. This entire episode finds mentioned in the 10th chapter of Shrimad Bhagwatam.
This forest has now shrunk into an area of 65 acres and is under the protection of UP Govts forests department. There used to be 56 Kunjas, each of 56 Kadamb trees. They were all cut off by the local village headman some 20 years ago. Now this famous (so called) forest has not a single tree.You can see this in this picture and in the background is the Nandgaon village on top of the hill, where child Krishna lived with His foster parents. The forest site has two ponds (kunds) known as Uddhav Kund and Mohan Kund situated towards South West and East North side. In the heart of the forest a sadhu has illegally erected an ashram with semi permanent structures. Interstingly this forest is one of the protected forest of UP Forest Dept.
The entire forest land is a low line area, hence faces annual water lodging problem during monsoon. The site is not fenced hence the locals are gradually encroaching its peripheral areas.
In the year 2006, the Foundation decided to undertake the restoration of Udhav Kyari forest. A tripetite agreement was signed between The Braj Foundation, NTPC(donor) and UP Forest Dept. The developmental plan was made and the material for erecting it’s fence was sent at the site. As the work started the Forest Dept informed us that this agreement has not been approved by UP Govt. Hence we had to stop the work.
Presuming that the Govt. will be happy to encourage us to develop this forest we did not remove the material from the site for several months. The Govt. was not ready to allow us to restore this so called protected forest which did not have a single tree. Then we brought the guidelines of the Min. of Environment, Govt.of India to the notice of UP Govt, which gave clear directions to involve NGOs in the forestation programme. Though convinced with this proposal, the UP Govt. took more than 2 years to allow NGO participation in forestation. Some legal formalities are yet to be finalized before we can actually re-start the work. Meanwhile NTPC got fed up with UP Govt's delaying tactics and withdrew it's grant from us. Now we have to submit a fresh proposal to them or look for an alternate funding source, of which we are confident to get.
As per the local memory, there were 56 Kunjas, each of 56 kadamb trees, hence the Foundation proposes to retain this pattern of plantation. In addition we will have interlock wire fencing at the periphery of the forest, we will lay a wide network of drip irrigation system, create pathways, fix garden furniture, restore water bodies, both for beauty & for water harvesting and will provide proper signage etc. We need about Rs. 1.75.Crores for this project.