Water is treasure. Water is essence of life, if we can make water clean and drinkable the surroundings automatically become clean, green and thriving with juice of life.
The state of Rajasthan is an enormous region of arid/semi arid desert landscapes. The widely dispersed towns and cities have always suffered from water scarcity but were enabled to exist as a result of unparalleled skills in the harvesting of scarce rainfall and the often deep aquifers.
We are mindful of this unique heritage and have designed a short tour which will enable visitors to visit and study the unique features of these water and storage facilities.
The step wells and lakes of Jodhpur including various cities and towns are a focus for our ‘Water Safari Tour’ designed to encompass the main types of water bodies common in Rajasthan like
Jhalras – step wells
Bawaries – Deep underground storage cisterns
Sagars – Open rechargeable lakes
Water was always the key to survival in the Thar and Rajasthan regions, domestic animals required a regular source and human population was utterly dependent on the often sporadic rainfall patterns that came in June, July and August, bringing the sweet monsoon rains to the parched landscapes and population.
Until recently this situation applied but with the advent of electric pumps and introduction of Indira Gandhi canal most water harvesting systems are allowed to become derelicted and even were polluted with public refuge.
Our experience is that these public water facilities no longer play a useful role within the community, to remedy this problem we are intending to clear and maintain each Jhalras and bawadies one by one and bring them back to their former grandeur and utilitarian beauty.
Volunteer workers and youth groups will participate in the endeavour and will be paid to undertake the labour in small groups. As these buildings are renovated they will be made available to visitors and the local community with some limitations for public safety and under supervision by our guides.
The special potential of these water storage buildings for public education regarding all aspects of water has been the guiding principle behind our efforts and will generate interest and concern for water and in many ways it affects our lives especially amongst the young.
Water safari as eco tourism will enable Grow Sansthan to generate the finances for this operation and we hope to expand our work for water systems beyond Jodhpur itself.
- Jodhpur is surrounded by hills and it is like a bowl full of water. Jodhpur probably being the India’s first city that have created the premeditated rain water harvesting system. There are beautiful lakes, Jhalras, Bawadis, wells, ponds and most of them are monumental structures. They have served us for centuries and are in a derelict state. They are epitome of our culture & heritage and at the same time environmental need of the hour.
All these water treasures like lakes and Jhalars etc. should be cleansed and maintained in top order. They should be turned into structures to be used for classical music concerts, meditation centres, sound and light shows, flower exhibitions, science shows, environment awareness programmes, student tours, swimming lessons etc.
- The surroundings should be well painted and well marked.
- Little gardens should be developed around.
- Combination of Fountains and flower pots to be set up.
- Roads must be clean and tidy. Walkways connecting all the water bodies should be developed.
- The toilets and water points must be there.
- Small shops depicting local culture and life should be installed.
- Small cafes can be installed but should be in restricted numbers.
- Bicycle pathways and parking lots to be built and no motor vehicle should be allowed.
- People residing in the area can be given a motor pass to be pasted on vehicle so it can be allowed with some restrictions.
- Any vehicle carrying old/sick or children may be allowed on the roads.
- Flower pots to be planted where ever necessary.
- Streets must be lit with not so bright lights with solar lanterns.
- Trees and benches should be planted.
- Dustbins and garbage boxes painted by children should be installed.
- Pedestrians should be made with stones and the road sides should be having graffiti on walls.
All the residential houses should preferably be painted in blue.
The aim of water safari is to create awareness among the citizens/students/tourists about the water and built heritage of our country and safeguarding it from natural calamities and human vandalism.
Water is foundation of our planetary life. The blue planet as seen from space is accurate. We have in modern times lost the loving touch with our environment and water is the need of the hour and should be preserved and treasured. It is high time we should consider looking at these water bodies as one of our future saviours.
In order to acquaint and inspire a feeling of pride for water and built heritage we would be working towards:
- Sensitizing the youth who are future decision makers and inculcate in them a healthy value system towards their own heritage and resources.
- We would work to encourage citizens to actively contribute by participating in the preservation of cultural heritage.
- Providing a platform to schools and students to come out with new innovations and ideas in order to protect our cultural resources.
- Educating and engaging children, youth and tourists about water, vegetation and ecosystem.
Please make this dream a reality and we will be helping our level best.