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Water channels from A.D. 1734

Rosamma Thomas, March 14, 2018: The Times of India

Water channels which are connected to a large tank at Nahargarh fort
From: Rosamma Thomas, March 14, 2018: The Times of India

Uncovering ancient methods of water collection at Nahargarh

JAIPUR: It is dry as dust these days, but the channels that spread over six kilometres on the hills surrounding Nahargarh Fort were carefully planned to prevent rainwater from flowing downhill. An elaborate network of water channels – open to the sky outside the fort but covered within its premises – connect to the large tank with steps on the side made famous by that leaping image in 2006 Bollywood movie ‘Rang de Basanti’. Neeraj Doshi, who has elaborately documented the rainwater harvesting systems of this fort, Jaigarh and Amber, on Tuesday offered participants glimpses into the novel features of the mechanism devised 284 years ago during the morning tour. The walk was organized by the state Department of Archaeology and Museums, which is attempting to better showcase the tourism potential of the state’s museums.

The elaborate network of channels and aqueducts was built in the reign of Sawai Jai Singh (1698-1740). It preceded the construction of the fort in 1734. The gradient of the hill is used to channel the flow of the water – and the ducts then lead the water flow to a portion of the hill that is carved to form a tank. As the water enters the tank, an elaborate swirling mechanism is in place to ensure that the gush of water can be regulated, and that the structure does not suffer damage in case of the flow being excessive.

Those taking the walk were struck by the great planning that went into its construction.

Doshi pointed out that enemies could make their way into the fort by following the water channels around it. “That is why the channels within the fort were covered – the enemy might go along with the flow, but he would be quite stuck within once the water enters the fort,” he said.

At two spots, there were slits in the covered portion of the channel. “A large stone slab could be dropped at these spots to prevent water from flowing into one section of the channel and lead the flow into the other connected channel,” Doshi explained.

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