The 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 the Dravyavati Riverfront was inaugurated in the 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.
History of Jaipur and the Dravyawati River
Dravyavati river is better known as Amanishah Nalla among the residents. As per historians Dravyavati river used to flow near Jaipur at some point in time in the past. There are conflicting opinions among historians about the course of this river. The history of Jaipur is closely linked with it and the same is being mentioned in old research. We don’t have a river in Jaipur, anymore; it’s a history. All we have is a dry water channel created by the 1981 floods in Jaipur.
Here is a picture of the Dravyavati river near its origin point in Jaipur. I hiked through the route of the river from its origin, a few years ago. The river starts from the hills of Nahargarh Fort. Let me also mention that even the origin is disputed.
Bird Park is now open for the public in Jaipur as a part of the 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.
History of water supply in Jaipur
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 walls under the supervision of Col. Samuel Swinton Jacob. He was the chief engineer of Jaipur and is best remembered for the Albert Hall Museum.
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.
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 the 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 are situated in a river bed with a major road on one side and an army cantonment on the other side.
The name seems irrelevant as there are no birds in the park.
The old pump house has been converted into a cafe and the boiler and ancillary machinery is now part of the cafe.
I must mention here that the renovation of the entire plant to turn it into a cafe has been done very well. A neat job! There are enough hints about the history and heritage of the site.
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 are now part of the cafe decor.
The cafe connects with the Pump House Museum. It has a separate entry too.
Miniature models of waterwork machinery are on display along with an 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.
Dravyavati riverfront forms the other end of the Bird Park. The project is still under making and will take months to complete.
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.
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.
Check out other posts on Flora and Fauna in Jaipur
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 the 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?