A few days ago, my friend invited me for an interesting & unique heritage walk in Jaipur – Nahargarh water walk. This water walk was conducted by water management and conservation expert based in Jaipur. Nahargarh heritage water walk tries to uncover the methods of ancient water collection and rainwater harvesting system of Nahargarh Fort. There are two huge Baoris/ step-wells in Nahargarh Fort. Water walk uncovers the system of collection and channelizing rainwater into these water storage systems or Baoris/ stepwells.
During the last few years, Rainwater Harvesting has become a buzz word. Rainwater harvesting techniques and water conservation have become very important in recent years. So much so that without rainwater harvesting process in place, construction of a new building or house is not permitted by the urban governing authorities in Jaipur.
Neeraj, the conductor for this water walk has been conducting Jaigarh water walk for the last few years. He completed his post-graduation from the USA; worked with the World Bank on water conservation. After shifting to Jaipur, he now focuses on consultancy services and also conducts water walks at Amer, Nahargarh & Jaigarh Forts. His family hails from western Rajasthan, which is a rain deficit region. Incidentally, water resource management is quite strong in the western region of Rajasthan.
Nahargarh water walk is being developed in association with the Government of Rajasthan.
This heritage water walk in Jaipur focuses on the entire system for collecting the rainwater and its storage, which was used a few centuries ago. A large part of this system i.e. catchment area is still intact and functional. The water walk is an eye-opener as to how people in those times conceived & developed the concept of water collection & storage systems. Some components of this system share similarity with the ones used in Europe during a similar time frame, especially in Southern Europe!
The water conservation program was completely dependent on rainfall. Once collected, the quantum of water could be used for more than a year and thereby making it easier to survive during rain deficit periods.
Although the major part of water collection and conservation system is still intact and functional, some sections have been damaged, which seem to be a work of human element rather than efflux of time.
The water collected through these channels accumulates in Nahargarh Fort water reservoirs or storage tanks popularly called Nahargarh Baoris. Here are a few pictures that explain the system.
A close up of this Nahargarh Fort water channel.
Here is a panorama shot of the Nahargarh water storage tank or reservoir commonly called Nahargarh Baori. It is impossible to capture this Baori in a single shot!
Nahargarh water walk was a great experience and proves how people used to work in tandem with nature in ancient days. Despite living in this city for many years, certain sections of water conservation system especially the catchment area had escaped my attention too. While, we all have seen water storage in Jaigarh, Amer and Nahargarh Forts, the modus operandi was unknown.
The current generation is unaware of ancient water conservation systems but it’s important to spread awareness about this forgotten technique.
Here is a picture of the Nahargarh water channel during the monsoon. This picture shows how water collects in water channels.
Recently, an organization has started offering Nahargarh water walk on Segway to the public which I feel is a bad idea. These ancient water channels are in a need of repair; operating segway ride will surely cause further damage. Segway ride at Nahargarh Water collection structures comes at a hefty price. Apart from this, some individuals are offering water walks with no knowledge or background in water management. I feel an expert in water management can do justice to a water walk. Check credentials of the conductor of water walk in Jaipur before undertaking one.
I recommend Nahargarh heritage water walk in Jaipur for the heritage lovers and “knowledge seekers”. Nahargarh water walk will not interest everyone though. To know more about this water walk and how you can undertake one, you can email me -Jaipurthrumylens@gmail.com. Nahargarh Water Walk made its appearance first on Jaipurthrumylens – the best blog on Jaipur.