Western Plains

  • “Can you see the alternating bands of light and shadow in the sky?” Chattar Singh asks me. When I nod in affirmation, he continues, “This is Mogh. There are clouds where the sun is setting right now. If we get a favourable wind, these clouds will reach here and we may get rain by night. In des...
    Manu Moudgilposted 3 years 6 months agoread more
  • A scarcity of something makes it special. That’s the reason why Rajasthan has always sanctified water much more than any other place in India. Low rainfall and saline groundwater turned people into great conservers who not only built beautiful and durable structures but also developed sustainable ...
    Manu Moudgilposted 3 years 7 months agoread more
  • Rain has just abated but the clouds are threatening to burst again. “Not a good time to visit, what with reducing light and imminent showers,” I tell myself. “Don’t worry, it would be a light drizzle, if at all,” the person at the ticket counter assures. My guide, Sachin, a young, stout ma...
    Manu Moudgilposted 3 years 11 months agoread more
  • Summers get hotter, rains decline and crops fail. The conflict between people increase and migration in search of better lands and skies begin. Sounds familiar? We are not talking about Marathwada here. This is how the lives of our ancestors played out thousands of years ago. The Harappan or the Ind...
    Manu Moudgilposted 4 years 1 month agoread more
  • We were driving down the long desert road that runs parallel to the Indo-Pakistan border in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. There was little else to see except the surrounding sand dunes and desert grass. That's where I saw a ‘taanka’--a raised platform with a small opening to fetch water from its wo...
    Manu Moudgilposted 4 years 10 months agoread more
  • As we leave behind the smooth, straight drive of NH 89 and take a dirt path that whirls around a few miles of undulating desert grassland, we end at a large patch of emerald green which looks outlandish. “The reason for such a spectacle in these harsh conditions lies close to the ground,” says R...
    Manu Moudgilposted 4 years 11 months agoread more
  • Western Rajasthan is dotted by thousands of ponds, many of which are architectural wonders. Among these, Gadsisar (also called Gadisar) stands out. Besides its unparalleled expanse and architecture, the pond narrates tales of sacrifice, dedication and ingenuity but more importantly, it upholds water...
    Manu Moudgilposted 5 years 3 months agoread more
  • As you drive from Jodhpur to Jaipur, the barren and desolate terrain underscores the harsh environment. The land is bleached due to high soil salinity, and there are no water sources in sight. This guarantees that there is no vegetation other than weeds like Israeli babool (akesia tor...
    Manu Moudgilposted 5 years 7 months agoread more
  • Water connects food and religion. Religious ceremonies often involve taking a dip in a water body, and any food or meal is incomplete without water. The same two things - food and religion - stand out in Bikaner. While hot kachoris and samosas line street stalls, Mata Karni Devi and Baba Ramdev (not...
    Manu Moudgilposted 5 years 7 months 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 3 days agoread more
  • Hi,I want to know the methods that can be used to find out the groundwater level in Dudhwakhara village in Churu district of Rajasthan. Earlier some attempts were made to upto 500 feet and obtained very salty water. It could not be dug further as we encountered some hard rock. I need to know if anyt...
    Anonymous (not verified)posted 7 years 1 month agoread more
  • ऐसे में राज्य भर में जल चेतना और पेयजल की गुणवत्ता को लेकर काम करने वाले राजस्थान जल एवं स्वछता मिशन और राष्ट्रिय प...
    ashokrajpurohitposted 8 years 3 months agoread more
  • Although significant progress has been made in terms of individual household toilet coverage in the state, usage by the population is still low at 12.9 per cent (DLHS 2007-08). Access to toilets for schools and angawandies has seen a marked increased but rural solid and liquid waste management has s...
    Amita Bhaduriposted 8 years 4 months agoread more
  • Article and Image Courtesy : One World South AsiaAuthor : Madhusmita HazarikaMonica Kumawat and Gopal Verma of the Ramadevi Malchand Bagri Upper Primary School are among the 32,000 students Akshaya Patra serves daily in NathwarIt is a similar line of thought that guides the work of Akshaya Patra Fou...
    chandrasekharnemaniposted 8 years 4 months agoread more
  • Study areaThis study is carried out in micro-watershed No.19, which comprises six villages in Jhadol tehsil of Udaipur district in Rajasthan. A minor irrigation project completed in 1980 serves these six villagesRainfall, storage levels in reservoir and groundwater useRecords indicate a strong depen...
    chicuposted 8 years 5 months agoread more
  • Source: Culture UnpluggedDirected by Amber Delahooke & Rob Sullivan “Plumbing the Rights, Part I” focuses on the issue of water as common property and a right that is indistinguishable from the right to life. The film documents local communities from India and South Africa striving...
    chicuposted 8 years 6 months agoread more
  • Video courtesy: Soumitradey  A late twentieth century folk tale - Part 1Today, the sands are clothed by wealth, water and trees. Rajendra Singh won the 2001 Magsaysay Award in recognition of his community leadership. See and experience this miracle in the video Arvari: A late twentieth cen...
    chandrasekharnemaniposted 9 years 1 week agoread more
  • Article and Image Courtesy: Down To EarthAuthor: A barren district of Rajasthan is seeing development, thanks to rains last year and flood in 2006.Administration has revived a man-made pond in Nagarda village that was drying up. Photo: Sayantoni PalchoudhuriOnce-parched and barren Barmer is tur...
    content-teamposted 9 years 3 months agoread more
  • During her yearlong stay, Tara trained at least twenty people into video production some of whom have succeeded in finding work in the local market as photographers, cameramen and wedding video makers. In this blog she gives a vivid account of the CVU, its producers and their work.To an outsider, th...
    iwpposted 9 years 6 months agoread more
  • This paper by Rajasthan Pollution Control Board on climate change impacts in the context of Rajasthan seeks to address the issue of need of the society for robust knowledge to pursue strategies for mitigation as well as adaptation in order to address the challenges associated with global warming and...
    Amita Bhaduriposted 9 years 7 months agoread more

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There are many unsung heroes amidst us who go about their good work silently. Chattar Singh is one such hero who has revived traditional water management system of the parched Jaisalmer villages.

“Can you see the alternating bands of light and shadow in the sky?” Chattar Singh asks me. When I nod in affirmation, he continues, “This is Mogh. There are clouds where the sun is setting right now. If we get a favourable wind, these clouds will reach here and we may get rain by night. In desert, people live by such clues from nature.”  

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'Jal Aur Samaj' takes the readers through the pond culture of Bikaner that nurtured its past and holds promise for its future.

A scarcity of something makes it special. That’s the reason why Rajasthan has always sanctified water much more than any other place in India. Low rainfall and saline groundwater turned people into great conservers who not only built beautiful and durable structures but also developed sustainable practices around them.

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Rao Jodha Desert Park in Jodhpur is known for its varied flora. Its resilience and beauty make a walk in this park truly enjoyable.

Rain has just abated but the clouds are threatening to burst again. “Not a good time to visit, what with reducing light and imminent showers,” I tell myself. “Don’t worry, it would be a light drizzle, if at all,” the person at the ticket counter assures. My guide, Sachin, a young, stout man with a winning smile, arrives from a tea break armed with binoculars and a slim guide book. “Monsoon is a very good season to visit this place. You will see lots of greens,” he promises.

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A new study pins climate change as one of the reasons for the decline of Indus Valley Civilisation

Summers get hotter, rains decline and crops fail. The conflict between people increase and migration in search of better lands and skies begin. Sounds familiar? We are not talking about Marathwada here. This is how the lives of our ancestors played out thousands of years ago.

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Taankas are trusted allies in the harsh weather of Rajasthan, but the focus is shifting now onto personal assets rather than community resources.

We were driving down the long desert road that runs parallel to the Indo-Pakistan border in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. There was little else to see except the surrounding sand dunes and desert grass. That's where I saw a ‘taanka--a raised platform with a small opening to fetch water from its womb--for the first time.

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North Rajasthan is making good use of subsidies for micro irrigation and solar water pumps but can this sustain?

As we leave behind the smooth, straight drive of NH 89 and take a dirt path that whirls around a few miles of undulating desert grassland, we end at a large patch of emerald green which looks outlandish. “The reason for such a spectacle in these harsh conditions lies close to the ground,” says Ravinder Chhabra, my local guide in Bikaner. We meet farm owner Sunil Bishnoi, a bespectacled man with a reticent demeanour. “In the last three years, I have seen an income rise of five times from this farm.

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Ghadsisar pond in Jaisalmer holds many tales of dedication and love from an era gone by. It also symbolises how water was valued over caste and class.

Western Rajasthan is dotted by thousands of ponds, many of which are architectural wonders. Among these, Gadsisar (also called Gadisar) stands out. Besides its unparalleled expanse and architecture, the pond narrates tales of sacrifice, dedication and ingenuity but more importantly, it upholds water as being superior to any class and caste divide.

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Aravali Institute of Management in Jodhpur shows how high soil salinity, which eats into cement structures, can be dealt with through harvesting water and using native plant species.

As you drive from Jodhpur to Jaipur, the barren and desolate terrain underscores the harsh environment. The land is bleached due to high soil salinity, and there are no water sources in sight. This guarantees that there is no vegetation other than weeds like Israeli babool (akesia tortlis). 

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Only a few of Bikaner's over 100 ponds are well-maintained today, some thanks to the efforts of citizens, and another due to rooftop rainwater being channeled. Could the remaining get as lucky?

Water connects food and religion. Religious ceremonies often involve taking a dip in a water body, and any food or meal is incomplete without water. The same two things - food and religion - stand out in Bikaner. While hot kachoris and samosas line street stalls, Mata Karni Devi and Baba Ramdev (not the yoga guru) shower their blessings from billboards and wall paintings. Ironically though, Bikaner is not rich in water since it is on the western side of Rajasthan. As unlikely a candidate as it is to be a religious and food hub, it only became so because of its ponds.

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Anupam Mishra talks about how the desert societies of Rajasthan have managed their scarce water resources for over 1000 years.

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 Khare Hain Talaab' (The ponds are still as good as gold, 1993) and 'Rajasthan Ki Rajat Boondein' (Radiant Raindrops of Rajasthan, 1995) have gained him worldwide recognition. A popular public speaker on environmental issues, MIshra is known for his wisdom and wit.

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