What comes to your mind to enjoy an eagle’s eye view of the Jaipur city’s jaw dropping skyline? Nahargarh. But did you know Nahargarh, which is one of the most beautiful and favorite places amongst Jaipurites, holds a beautiful story of Nahargarh Water harvesting structures, the story of creativity of Rajasthan’s civilization to modernization for all its needs. Sounds interesting!
Jaipur Beat took a first hand experience about one such water walk at Nahargarh Fort.
Mr. Neeraj Doshi of Rain Water (Research, Advocacy & Innovation in Water), which is supported by the Department of Archaeology & Museums and Jaipur Development Authority, was kind enough to take us along for a special walk on Saturday morning. With lots of storytelling and anecdotes about Nahargarh Fort, the story behind its name, understanding the water culture the overall experience was quite enlightening.
Nahargarh Fort was the first fort, built by Sawai Raja Jai Singh in 1734 during the reign of (1698-1740) was meant to make Amer Fort completely secure from any kind of foreign aggression. Its extensive water systems are one of the most significant features of the fort.
The fort was originally named Sudarshangarh, but it became to be known
as Nahargarh, the popular belief is that Nahar here stands for Nahar Singh Bhomia, whose spirit haunted the place and obstructed construction of the fort. Nahar’s spirit was calmed by constructing a temple in his memory within the fort, hence finally changing the name of the fort to Nahargarh.
Living in the desert state, water comes as a major source of inspiration for many centuries. We have adopted deep rooted spiritual and religious values and beliefs that support the importance of water in our lives. All this dogma plays an important role in water management. Yet, despite the water wisdom coming from our city’s ancestors, wise water management is still a bridge that will take some time to cross. Will we ever be able to cover that?
But lately, individuals and Tourism Department of Rajasthan have been rethinking their values and their roles in safeguarding creation and the earth’s resources, giving rise to the wonderful idea of organising Heritage Water Walks in cities with prominent tourists and heritage locations such as Nahargarh Fort and Amer Palace.
About Nahargarh Fort Water Walk
Water catchment for Nahargarh extends to about 6 kms surrounding the fort. A network of six closed catchments connect through small canals and aqueducts and drains are laid in and outside the fort. Small canals bring rainwater from the higher reaches of the hills. The bed of these canals is designed in such a way that it is on a gradient and also at the same time has an undulating course. Nahargarh has two large step wells (Bawri) and a smaller step well known as ‘Kund’. The large step wells receive water from the catchment in the surrounding hills. The ‘Kund’ receives rainwater harvested from the fort complex alone.
The city of Jaipur is a storyteller’s paradise and each of these stories is best discovered on foot. So get your walking shoe on and take a walk through Water Heritage to uncover history to architecture, and see the history come alive..