dravyavati-bird-park-river-front-jaipur

Dravyavati Bird Park

Dravyavati Riverfront project has been in the limelight of late. It is one of the most ambitious projects undertaken by the ruling political party in the current session. Inspired by the Sabarmati riverfront in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, the project is executed by TATA projects. A section of Dravyavati Riverfront was inaugurated in Mansarovar area by the chief minister in haste because of the upcoming state elections. The ruling party was under massive pressure not wanting to lose an opportunity to take credit in the election campaign. The irony is that not even 50% of the project is completed to date.

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The entrance of the Bird Park

Dravyavati river is better known as Amanishah Nalla among the residents. As per historians Dravyavati river used to flow near Jaipur at some point of time in the past. There are conflicting opinions among the historians about the course of this river. The history of Jaipur is closely linked with it and the same is being mentioned in many old records. We don’t have a river in Jaipur anymore, it’s history. All we have is a dry water channel created by the 1981 floods in Jaipur.

Here is a picture of Dravyavati river near its origin point in Jaipur. I hiked through the route of the river from its origin, a few years ago. Well, this reminds me that even the origin is disputed.

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Dravyavati river bed near its origin point in Jaipur

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Bird Park is now open for the public in Jaipur as a part of Dravyavati River Project. It is in close proximity to the famous Bani Park area but far from the riverfront section that was recently inaugurated in Mansarovar. This park is at a historic site – Amanishah waterworks which was a source of water for Jaipur city for years.

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The broken dam wall is now used for landscaping

In 1848 Ram Sagar Dam was created for water supply to Jaipur but breached in 1853 AD. In 1884-85, a dam was constructed by erecting 800 feet long and 60 feet high wall under the supervision of Col. Samuel Swinton Jacob. He was the chief engineer of Jaipur and is best remembered for the Albert Hall Museum.

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The old dam wall has been intelligently used for beautification

Ram Sagar Dam was built under the rule of Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh II. The developments in 1884 were under the rule of Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh II. Coincidentally, the ill-famed Chhapaniya Akaal or the Indian Famine of 1899-1900 took place soon after. A steam engine imported from the UK was installed to supply water to the city. Prior to the piped water supply, the residents would fetch water from any of the three Chaupars in the walled city area of Jaipur. Unfortunately, two of these Chaupars have been destroyed for Jaipur metro stations.

Read Jaipur then & Now – Choti Chaupar

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An expansive view of Metro construction site – Chhoti Chaupar

Amanishah waterworks didn’t serve long. A bigger water supply at Jamwa Ramgarh near Jaipur was constructed at the start of the 20th century. It is better known as Ramgarh Dam. During the last 20 years, this dam has dried up owing to manmade factors. Currently, Jaipur gets its water supply from Bisalpur Dam which is in Tonk district.

The Amanishah waterworks has been converted into a museum and a cafe. The area allocated to the park is quite small. The park and the plant house is situated in a river bed with a major road on one side and an army cantonment on the other side.

 

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The area for the garden is small due to lack of flat section in the Bird Park

The name seems irrelevant as there are no birds in the park.

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Old trees near the Amanishah pump house in the Bird Park

Old pump house has been converted into a cafe and boiler and ancillary machinery is now part of the cafe.

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Shed housing the steam engine is closed for the public
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The steam engine on the right was imported from the UK in the 20th century
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Old gate in the pump house

 

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I must mention here that the renovation of the entire plant to turn it in a cafe has been done very well. A neat job! There are enough hints about the history and heritage of the site.

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The boiler is part of the cafe decor
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Ain’t this pretty? The way to the pump house museum from the cafe

 

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Attention to detail. Old style switchboard
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The way to Pump House Cafe
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The Pumphouse cafe

The main pump was installed in 1891 AD. The boiler manufactured by Babcock & Wilcox in the UK was commissioned in 1911 AD. A coal shaft and lift shaft is now part of the cafe decor.

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The stamping on the boiler manufactured by Babcock & Wilcox, UK in 1911 AD

The cafe connects with the Pump House Museum. It has a separate entry too.

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Old and new blends in beautifully
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A hint of the past!

Miniature models of waterwork machinery are on display along with information board depicting the history of water supply in Jaipur state. The Pump House museum is small but a great attempt to showcase its history. Anyone interested in the history of Jaipur must visit this site for infographics. I can’t think of a better way to do this place.

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Inside the Pumphouse Museum, Jaipur

 

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Pictures of the site before the renovation started

 

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Dravyavati riverfront forms the other end of the Bird Park. The project is still under making and will take months to complete.

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Dravyavati River Front in the making
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Work in progress, Dravyavati River Front, Jaipur

I’m sure a new park will definitely provide residents with a good option to get some fresh air and stretch out. Parks like these are popular among the couples in Jaipur.

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Old Dam wall

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There are other questions that I find difficult to answer. Given the fact that these parks attract people from all walks of life, a cafe with a pricy menu will be difficult to run. Instead,  an affordable eating option like Masala Chowk would have been a better choice.

Read What Makes Jaipur Masala Chowk So Popular?

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The park area is quite small, a large part of which is not on a flat level. The authorities should not choose random names like a bird park when there are no birds in the plan. This can be developed as a great place for bird watching in Jaipur as this is the only bird park in the Pink City. Probably, the JDA authorities are hoping that water and trees will attract migratory birds. Migratory birds can be spotted during October- February in the water bodies near Jaipur like Chandlai and Sambhar; but what about rest of the year? The name Bird Park is surely misleading.

Dravyavati Bird Park Entry Fee – It is currently free.

What are your thoughts on repurposing an old site for the benefit of the public at large? Do you feel that renovating or tempering an old site ruins its essence?

bird-park-jaipur-dravyavati-river-front #jaipur #park #travel

 

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52 thoughts on “Dravyavati Bird Park

  1. Lovely post, as always. You must be like walking encyclopedia for Jaipur, Arv. You filled us with abundant information about the beauty of the city. It was too bad knowing that politicians nowadays just used whatever available to promote their parties. By the way, I’ve just known by reading from your post that there’s no river at all in Jaipur. I know that you have a dam for water. But is there any other water sources to cover the needs of population? Do you have water shortage there for particular season?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nurul, politicians are same everywhere. They always work with the hidden agendas. Party, country etc is immaterial. Yes, there is no river in Jaipur. At least a natural one. we depend a lot on groundwater, therefore, a good rainfall during the monsoon is important. Bisalpur dam supplies water to the city, Nurul. Even then it is not enough. With deficit rainfall this year, we can expect a water shortage in the coming summer season. what about your city? Do you have a river flowing by?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The province where I come from, North Sumatera, has a lot of rivers, Arv. What I could remember now, we have more than twenty rivers. And some of them are used as power plants. But, some rivers are also not managed well. During the monsoon, we’re expecting some floods too..

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I think any construction and building can cause changes to the ecology. But the change could be small or big, bad or good. Well,I think the water plants give us more benefits compared to the damage it causes. It’s just personal opinion since I don’t do deep research about it.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I agree. I’m happy that all this has led to people being more happy. It is fine, you don’t need to do any research. Ultimately, if it leads to people being more happy and very little damage to ecology, it is worth it. Isn’t it so?

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This is an interesting History lesson arv, the story of the so called Dravyavati river could be true if there are signs of river bed…Is that an old picture that shows the origin point?
    Bird park without any birds is hilarious! How misleading! It only exposes the lack of sensitivity and bankruptcy of creativity on the part of authorities. Thanks for sharing the facts about this park.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have walked through the supposed origin point of the river till it takes a shape of a river channel through ravines. It was an interesting place and certainly a wild territory. This was a few years ago. Historians vary on the origin and the course of the river. Many of them place the river course some few 50-60 km away. So it is a debatable topic.

      It is hilarious and funny that name doesn’t reflect the purpose or use of the park. Thanks for sharing your views.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I was looking for birds only to realize there aren’t any! Hopefully the idea of migratory birds will materialize. The cafe renovation is awesome. Wish the river had water though. Repurposing old sites is a good idea but maintaining its history in some way is great too. Perhaps this one achieves that to a certain extent.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m hoping that this place lives up to its name. While migratory birds are okay, resident species are even more important. I’m not sure if water flowed perennially in Dravyavati river in the past because rain was a major source for water. I agree this site has come up quite well. Do you love birding, Neel?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Loved the cafe interiors and how the old blends in with the new. Well done. But with no birds, it seems less exciting at the moment. Hope it is developed into a birding destination soon. Having a green cover inside the city is a boon!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree that this place doesn’t have a strong USP. Although Jaipur has many parks only one of them offers birding opportunity since it was created from a jungle and has many old trees. Do you love birding, Divsi?

      Like

  5. This is a fascinating post with detailed historical evidence and current facts. It’s a shame the bird park is minus any birds? Any reason why? Lack of a water body maybe…

    The cafe looks delectable.

    You indeed are a living encyclopaedia like someone said here. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Natasha, I have no clue why it is so. The water is yet to flow in this section of the river front. I don’t think I deserve that tag, I keep finding out new things everyday about this ciy, Natasha!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. You have a knack for encyclopedic knowledge gathering Arv! I hope the park soon sees some of its supposed residents! Interesting to read about the history of this place. The biggest draw is of course the wonderful cafe and museum. Glad to note how beautifully they’ve blended the old artifacts into the decor, giving it that added quirk.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Kala. I agree the name is a misnomer. Yes, the cafe is a charming place. I was not aware of the existence of all this machinery even though I heard about an old pumping station. I’m glad I visited. I’m sure you love exploring, Kala!

      Like

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