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| Last Updated:: 21/04/2015

Capital's dry baolis to spring into life soon as Archaeological Survey of India works toward revival of water bodies




 Baolis in Delhi would soon be brought to their old-age glory when different floors of the step-well saw washermen scrubbing the robes of nobles, women drawing water from the well and the odd cow making its way inside to quench its thirst from fresh water, replenished by an underground spring. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has been rigorously working towards the revival of water bodies in the Capital.


A step-well, also known as baoli, has been recently revived at the Old Fort with work on others in progress. The baoli at the Old Fort is one of the biggest step-wells in the Capital. De-silting and preservation work is on the cards for at least 11 step-wells.


"We have been successful in restoring water in the baoli at Old Fort after de-silting. We have also identified 11 such water reservoirs which need to be upgraded. They have been lying dry for quite long," Dr Atul Kumar Bhargava, who is the ASI's (Delhi circle) superintending archaeologist, said.


Baoli refers to a man-made water tank, which was principally used to store water. Baolis were built to collect rainwater to be used around the year. Most baolis have dried up now. While Delhi once had more than a 100 baolis, the number has now shrunk to 11.


Of the 11 step-wells in the city, only the baoli in Nizamuddin has an active underground spring to ensure a continuous supply of fresh water.


Rajon Ki Baoli at Mehrauli has also been completely revamped. According to officials, the water quality and quantity has significantly improved after a de-silting drive. "The idea is to conserve water. At some of the baolis, water has gone so deep that it is almost impossible to restore it now," added Dr Bhargava.


A stone's throw away from Rajon Ki Baoli, lies the Gandhak Ki Baoli. It is said that the baoli derived the name of 'gandhak' as it used to smell of sulphur. There are other step-wells like the baoli inside the Feroz Shah Kotla Fort and two stepwells inside the Tughlakabad Fort.


Water levels are constantly depleting with the Capital seeing rampant construction activities in various areas. "We are trying to get in touch with the residents near these areas. We are planning to implement the concept of rainwater harvest," Dr Bhargava told MAIL TODAY