Photos, Illustrations and other Images

  • As temple tanks go, this one is quite beautiful. It is a rectangular masonry-lined tank, about the size of a badminton court. Brick steps lead down to the water. On one of its longer sides is a lovely old temple, shaded by mango trees. Groups of men and women sit and gossip in the coolness. Facing t...
    chicuposted 6 years 11 months agoread more
  • Kalaivani, a single mother of three, took to farming after the loss of her husband almost two decades ago. Since then, she has grown all the crops on her farm without using chemical or synthetic pesticides or fertilisers. Over the last few years, she has focused her time and energy in growing organi...
    Seethaposted 6 years 11 months agoread more
  • Nitrogen and phosphorus are essential for plant growth – that is common knowledge for farmers. Cow dung contains nitrogen – that is also common knowledge for farmers. Then why is it that many farmers look for costly solutions rather than use the abundant cow dung they have in their far...
    Seethaposted 6 years 11 months agoread more
  • Sea turtles, a globally endangered species, have been around since even before dinosaurs roamed the earth. They survived both the frigid and the scorching climatic extremes 64 to 66 million years ago that caused the extinction of around seventy per cent of all plants and animals including dinosaurs....
    Amita Bhaduriposted 6 years 11 months agoread more
  • Critically endangered vultures need the rural wetlands to survive, ‘developing’ them will destroy the fragile ecosystem that thrives around it - News from the July 2013 issue of Jalaplavit, a journal on exploring wetlands
    sabitakaushalposted 6 years 11 months agoread more
  • “PAWAN GURU, pani pita, mata dharti mahat” (air is teacher, water is father and earth our mother) -  thus goes the closing line of the Japji Sahib given by the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak Dev. It holds special significance for Amritsar, the holy city, which boasts of the Harmandar Sahib ...
    Manu Moudgilposted 6 years 11 months agoread more
  • ‘Fly-ash’ refers to fine particles of ash sent up by the burning of solid fuel-like coal. Typically, this is the residue of ash generated by thermal power companies. Due to its toxic nature, the government has mandated that fly-ash must be dumped in ash ponds, which are specially made on vacant ...
    makarandpurohitposted 6 years 11 months agoread more
  • Charba is a small village in Uttarakhand with a population of 10,000. It is located in the 'Vikas Nagar' area just beyond Dehradun - a section that the government has denoted an industrial area. This little village shot to fame when Hindustan Coca Cola Beverages (HCCB) decided to build a plant there...
    chicuposted 6 years 12 months agoread more
  • Rajkumar needs no urging to talk about Sundari. She is evidently a favourite of his. When we met, he regaled me with stories of her beauty, her smartness and her incredibly sweet nature. When he finally brought her out to meet me, I failed to see any signs of a winning personality or of towering int...
    chicuposted 6 years 12 months agoread more
  • Till a few decades ago, most people in India grew vegetables and fruits in their own gardens. Then something changed. We shifted from 'farming for food' to 'farming for money'. The start of the ‘green revolution’ meant that production increased but so did the farmer's dependency on chemicals, fe...
    Usha Dewaniposted 7 years 5 hours agoread more
  • By knitting together monthly cloud-free satellite images of the earth, an animated image of the planet is obtained, that seemingly pulsates as it breathes in and out
    sabitakaushalposted 7 years 1 day agoread more
  • Author and conservationist, Anupam Mishra has spent decades promoting water conservation and management. Through his travels across various states of India, he has been studying and teaching the time-tested techniques of rainwater harvesting. His landmark books on the subject of water like 'Aaj Bhi ...
    Amita Bhaduriposted 7 years 6 days agoread more
  • This brackish lake is located 4,595 metres above sea level, an altitude to tax the lungs of the most dedicated trekker. With two wetlands - the Nuro Sumdo on the North, and the Pare Chu on the South - the lake is a breeding ground for many rare bird species. It is a day's travel from Leh and a popul...
    chicuposted 7 years 6 days agoread more
  • June signals the start of the monsoons in many parts of India. Pune and its surrounding areas in Maharashtra have witnessed heavy showers since the first week of June. The rains let up for a weeks time during which I visited a few places on the outskirts of Pune city.The villages of Malkhed, Thoptew...
    aarti kelkar kh...posted 7 years 1 week agoread more
  • The global life style that we aspire for, may not be able to sustain the earth, our home for very long
    sabitakaushalposted 7 years 1 week agoread more
  • If concrete steps are not taken in time to counter the effects of global warming , the cost of mitigation may end up being much more higher
    sabitakaushalposted 7 years 1 week agoread more
  • Floods are an annual event in the north-eastern state of Assam. The newspapers expect it at this time of year, every year. For the world, this is routine, something not even worth a front-page story like the Uttarakhand floods maybe because it does not involve pilgrims or religion. But even as we wa...
    ravleenposted 7 years 2 weeks agoread more
  • Yenepoya Medical and Dental College, some 15 kilometres away from Mangalore city near Delarekatte, is located in a developing neighbourhood; three other medical colleges, many schools and the Mangalore University are all situated in the same area. A software park is also expected to come up shortly....
    aarti kelkar kh...posted 7 years 2 weeks agoread more
  • Not very far from Guwahati city but not too close either, perched on the gigantic Brahmaputra river, is the island of Umananda. It is the smallest inhabited river island in the world and is one with unusual stories beginning with even how it got its name.  Legend has it that Lord Shiva lived h...
    Usha Dewaniposted 7 years 3 weeks agoread more
  • Pallichal panchayat in Thiruvananthapuram is one of its best performing panchayats. It has received a number of awards for achieving high literacy levels, keeping up good sanitation practices and for implementing a number of agricultural and irrigation initiatives. It was truly unbelievable that the...
    aarti kelkar kh...posted 7 years 3 weeks agoread more

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It was not enough for the Mughals to just harvest rainwater but the structure needed to form a lilting backdrop to life in their palaces as exemplified by the Jahaz Mahal. What can we learn from it?

Ghiyas-ud-din-khilji is a man about whom history is confused. Contemporary records speak of 'a lover of peace, particular in his daily prayers'. Modern references invariably mention his (unsubstantiated) harem of 15,000 women.

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The Mahanadi's longest tributary, the Shivnath, has borne the brunt of urbanisation and industrialisation but the impact has been felt the most by residents. We capture their story in pictures.

The Shivnath River is the longest tributary of the Mahanadi River. It was the first river in India whose water rights (23.5 km stretch of the Shivnath River in Durg district, Chattisgarh) were sold to a private company Radius Water Limited (RWL) 16 years ago.

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Waterwheels or 'gharats' have ground wheat since the 7th century, but are now dying a slow death. Our pictures capture this environmentally friendly technology, and those who still persist with it.

Traditional water mills or gharats as they are called in the hilly regions of Himachal Pradesh were once found in nearly every village. Today these mechanisms that use running water to grind wheat, rice and maize and also occassionally to extract oil, have been replaced by electricity run mills. That they are environmentally friendly and green, has been forgotten.  

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Photographer Arjun Swaminathan speaks to India Water Portal about his journey so far, which includes filming water stories.

How did your interest in filming water stories come about? Is there any particular issue on water that has interested you? What has guided your selection?

I was into photography earlier and was working with NGOs on developmental issues in rural areas. This is what triggered my interest in water as I not only saw but also realised deep down our entire dependency on water related issues be it food, health or agriculture.

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The Falgu river, supposedly cursed by Sita to run below the ground, is today threatened by encroachment and pollution. Can she be saved by her defenders?

The story of the Falgu is one of greed. Unlike most other rivers, the Falgu is not just a victim of greed, but also an oppressor -- she oppressed none other than Sita herself as she flowed through Gaya in Bihar.

The story

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After 30 days of digging and removing 6000 tractor loads of sand, the evasive Dharmar Theertham was found intact with fresh water being replenished in a pit in the middle of the structure.

The word 'Theertham' literally means ‘water’ but in Hindu mythology, it is usually the physical holy water body associated with a temple or deity. Rameshwaram has 64 such theerthams. 22 of these are believed to be sacred and are within the premises of the Sri Ramanathaswamy temple.

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The water in Jamwadi village, Yavatmal has been severely contaminated by the Raymond Company but quality tests only confirm this when the villagers changed the name of the village on the test sample.

A decade ago, Jamwadi village in Yavatmal, Maharashtra, was a famous tourist attraction due to its beautiful lake. Now, there is no lake to speak of thanks to the Raymond factory in Yavatmal. Wastewaster from the factory flows untreated into the lake, which is located 15 kms away. This has severely affected the environment, health and community life of not only Jamwadi village but also five others in the area namely Yechuri, Tiwsa, Bhoyar, Varaz and Chani.

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Locals who protect the migratory birds that come to Chilka lake in Odisha struggle to make a living as the lake has shrunk, thereby shrinking their revenues from fishing.

Nature and wildlife can be better conserved if local communities are duly educated and motivated. Nearly 70 km south of Bhubaneswar, the Mangalajodi village on the edge of Chilka lake, Asia’s largest brackish water lagoon, is a testimony to that argument.

About 25 villagers, many of whom were once-known bird poachers, have now become saviours of the avian winter guests coming in from different parts of the globe including the Siberian and Arabian countries. 

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See the impact of pollution on the Kshipra in Madhya Pradesh through the eyes of the residents, many of whom depend on the river for their livelihoods.

The Kshipra is considered a sacred river in Madhya Pradesh's Malwa region. In the last few decades, this perennial river has also lost its glory like many other rivers in India. The sewage of Ujjain city and the industrial waste around Dewas town find their way into the Kshipra. Its waters which once quenched the city's thirst, aren't even fit for bathing any longer, but this doesn't stop people. After all, it has a religious significance!

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Agricultural lands of thousands of people have been destroyed in Odisha and the growing need for power is trumping over the environment. Better regulation can help but it needs to happen soon.

"The agricultural production in our region has deteriorated due to pollution. Haphazard mining has lead to serious drinking water problems in the area", says Indar Bilas Shah, a 56- year old resident of Obada village, Lakhanpur block in Jharsuguda, Odisha. He's not the only one. Thousands of villagers in Jharsuguda echo these sentiments. 

Who's to blame?

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