The 2200 years old Agam Kuan is located in the capital of Bihar at Patna or Pataliputra which was once the capital of the mighty empire of Magdha Dynasty. This is actually a huge well present in the temple complex. This well is shrouded in mysteries and still has few questions unanswered.
In 1995, the state machinery of Bihar State tried all means to pump out all the water of the Agam Kuan to study the bottom surface. Like earlier two attempts, this also failed as water level came back to its original level within few hours of draining of water by modern pumping machines. No one knows what lies beneath the water of this well. This well was discovered by the British Explorer Laurence Waddell in 1890 when he was excavating the ruins of the Magdha Empire. Agam Kuan is revered and worshipped by the local people despite its horrific past.
1. It was the Chamber of Death.
It was infamously called the chamber of death as the well has dome shaped covering on its top. It is said that King Ashok used this well to torture his opponents by burning them alive and then throwing them into this well. The myth is that he threw 99 heads of his half-brothers to ascend the throne. He was not the legitimate choice to be the king and his father Bindusara didn’t like him much. After much blood shed he became the king and this Agam Kuan was silent spectator of his horrific crimes. It is also said that King Ashok became peaceful and kind person after he embraced Buddhism.
This Well of Death was also mentioned by the Chinese traveler Fa Hien who had visited the world famed Nalanda University adjoining Patna in the 5th century AD. Besides local folk stories also mention such stories. But there are no official records of such blood sheds in any government records of that time.
2. Mystical water connections with Ganga Sagar and River Ganga.
It is said the water of the well has secret connection with Ganga Sagar, a holy place in the Bay of Bengal which is about 1800 km away from Patna. Once a walking stick of a British man fell in the waters of Ganga Sagar. This stick was found floating on the waters of Agam Kuan. No one knows how this wooden stick travelled such a long distance and ended up in the confinement of this well. This stick is on the display in the Kolkata Museum today.
This is also believed that the water of the well and the nearby Ganga river are internally connected by some unseen channels. Due to this people use the water of this well in the religious rituals.
3. Constant water level even during drought and floods.
It is noticed that the level of water is more or less same throughout the history. Being on the banks of river Ganga, this area is prone to seasonal floods. During the high rise of water level in the city, the level of water in the well hardly exceeds to 1.5 feet than its original mark. Even during the worst Bengal famine of 1873, the water level went down slightly. Earlier Bihar was part of Bengal Presidency. It is believed that there are seven sub wells inside this huge well due to which the water levels remain constant irrespective of outer conditions.
4. Healing properties of its water.
Since it is a part of a temple complex, people consider Agam Kuan as a sacred well. This temple belongs to the Goddess Sitladevi who is has power of healing chicken pox and measles. The water of this well is considered for health. Devotees visiting this temple often take this holy water back home. Originally there was no idol and the Goddess was worshipped in form of Pinds or the mass of energy. Local people come to seek the blessings of the divinity prior to the marriage ceremony and draw the holy water from the well as par the traditions followed by their ancestors.
5. Doorways to Patal Lok or the Netherworld.
It is believed that the bottom surface of Agam Kuan has secret doorways which leads to the netherworld or the Patal Lok present beneath the earth surface. It is often asked that why such a deep well was dug? Patna has high level of underground water table as it is situated on the banks of River Ganga. In ancient times water emerged after digging for 15-20 feet while digging for wells. Then what was the purpose of digging 105 feet well at that times? It definitely had some other purposes besides catering to the water needs of the local population. People living around this well, claim that the color of the water changes with the seasons. Many people have also claimed to hear strange sounds from the well.
It is also said that King Ashok had a secret chamber constructed in this well to hide all his wealth and some Patal Lok God used to protect all his treasure.
My childhood sojourn to Agam Kuan during the marriage ceremony of my uncle is still vividly etched in my memory. I was made to sip its holy waters after the Pooja at the temple. The stories told by my grandfather about the cruel king made me hold his hands tightly or else the ghosts of slain brothers of the great King would take me to the Patal Lok. Whenever you happen to be in Patna, don’t forget to visit this mysterious place which is located at the outskirts of the city near Gulzarbagh railway station.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Nidhi Gautam
Ishita Gautam on November 09, 2020:
Sujith Naidu on November 09, 2020:
This article is really interesting ma'am , found it helpful ma'am
D Arun Prasad from Chennai on November 09, 2020:
Honestly very interesting...I don't know anything about this place before but by reading your article... Atleast once I want to go there and see for myself.
Your style is very unique and keeps the readers very engaging as about what's next... Keep up the great work
Preeti Shah from Delhi on November 09, 2020:
Very informative and interesting article. I have heard stories about the king Ashoka, but this is something I never heard before. Keep doing the great work.
Pooja Sri on November 08, 2020:
Madam lovely article
Ashna Gautam on November 08, 2020: