Kids growing up in Jaipur between the 1950s to 1990s can recall having been to Ramgarh Lake picnics during monsoon season. Ramgarh Dam or Ramgarh Lake was one of the most coveted picnic places in Jaipur. The drive from Jaipur to Ramgarh lake was fabulous during the monsoon with greenery all along.
I can recall being stranded mid-way on many occasions due to the rain-fed river crossings swelling up. This caused the traffic to a standstill. People had to wait for a couple of hours until the water levels receded and they could proceed. Ramgarh Lake comprises an integral part of Jaipur history. It was initally conceived as an irrigation project. It has supplied water to the city for close to a century. It has ceased being a water source for the last two decades. The reasons are in plenty; more on that sometime later.
Having gained the knowledge of a water walk being conducted by Neeraj Doshi at Ramgarh Lake got me curious. Neeraj has been conducting water walks in Jaipur for the last couple of years starting with Jaigarh Fort Water Walk. His Nahargarh Heritage Water Walk and Amer Fort Heritage Water Walk are popular among people seeking experiences beyond the standard Jaipur tourist itinerary. Neeraj is a graduate from the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy at Tufts University, Boston, and has worked with leading institutions both in the USA and India. Ramgarh Lake Water Walk represents the most recent addition to the list of heritage water walks in Jaipur; it is one of the most exclusive among all.
I attended Ramgarh Water Walk on a balmy winter afternoon. The walk allows one to traverse through its history spanning a period of 150 years. Ramgarh Lake was an artificial lake built by damming a seasonal river- Baan Ganga.
Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh II, a strong proponent of this dam encountered immense problems in getting approval from Governor General of India during the late 1800s. Unfortunately, the dam could not be completed in his term. The difficulties were tied with the geography and politics of the region. It took a long time for things to get rolling for building Ramgarh Dam.
Neeraj explores considerable detail about the historic events that took place before and after building Ramgarh Lake. One of the most prestigious events was the rowing competition at Ramgarh Lake in Asiad Games in 1982.
The observation deck is one of the most magnificent places to observe the vast area Ramgarh Lake formerly occupied. The lake enclosed an area close to 16 sq km. This observation deck is reminiscent of the beautiful architecture of the pre-1940s.
The history of Ramgarh lake region is ancienter than the lake and dam. Ramgarh predates Amer as the capital of Dhundhar, a region administered by the Kacchawa Rajputs. While the history of Amer can be traced to 1000-1100 AD, Ramgarh is definitely older. Formerly, this region was called Manch. The Kachhawas consider Jamwa Mata as their Kuldevi or ancestral deity; this is similar to Romans worshipping Penates. Here is a picture of old Jamwa Mata Temple which has been replaced by a new temple.
Even to date, Kachhawa Rajputs visit Jamwa Mata to pay respect to their ancestral deity. It was customary for a king to visit the Jamwa Mata Temple after ascending to the throne. Here is a picture of the new Jamwa Mata Temple.
The walk culminated at the lawns of the beautiful Taj Gateway Ramgarh Lodge. The sunset experience at Ramgarh Lodge is unforgettable.
This building is built in Greco-Roman architecture during the term of Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II. In many ways, this building reminds one of the British Delhi or Lutyens Delhi. The columns are reminiscent of the ones in Connaught Place, New Delhi.
I always recommend people to visit Taj Ramgarh Lodge for a long drive from Jaipur. A sundowner or lunch overlooking the lake remains a must-have experience during the winters following the water walk. Ramgarh Lodge is a historic building managed by the Taj group of hotels.
Among the fringe benefits of attending this walk consist of a close encounter with Rhesus Macaque monkeys. The valley is full of monkeys, it wouldn’t be incorrect to say it is a monkey valley of Jaipur! The monkeys here outnumber the monkeys in Galta Ji Temple which is popularly called Jaipur Monkey Temple. Read A beautiful sunrise in Monkey Valley in Jaipur.
Why do I recommend Ramgarh Water Walk?
Ramgarh water walk is an offbeat excursion trip from Jaipur and allows one to peek into the glorious past of this region. Combined with Taj Ramgarh Lodge, it makes a compelling visit. It is an ideal weekend activity near Jaipur within 50 km.
Jaipur To Ramgarh Lake Distance
The distance from Jaipur to Ramgargh Lake is approximately 35 km and it takes an hour to reach from the walled city area.
How to book Ramgarh Heritage Water Walk
Ramgarh water walk can be done by booking the same in advance on http://heritagewaterwalks.com/