Monday, 26 November 2012

Water Celebration at Sarkhej Roza, Ahmadabad

Traditional Wisdom of Indian Artisans


Sarkhej Roza seen from the pond


We, and all the life forms on the Earth, are waterborne. Our first ancestors were bacteria. Our body contains 70% water. Water has special place almost in all cultures.

(Note: The following text generally refers to the Place; and the photographs are not in any particular sequence of the text or the Place.)

Embankment with steps

Sarkhej Pond attached to Sarkhej Roza (14th Century) is about 7 Km from Ahmadabad city. We — SN Kanade, other friends and I — used to take bicycle rides to visit the place. With Urban Explosion now it is part of the city.

Circular Gates for Overflow

This hot-dry region has scanty rainfall during monsoon. Many areas are under desert.

The built tank adjoining the Roza is indeed a Public Open Place. The pavilions obviously ware for royal families.


The Roza, a religious place, a complex of many buildings, has a good Tree cover.
Water from the tank seeps through Soil and reaches the Plants at Roza and goes even beyond.

The water tanks are central public places in traditional Indian cities and towns. This feature of habitats in India is evolved over centuries appropriate to tropical climate.

Villages, too, have built water reservoirs besides open wells. In Orissa villages, the peasant houses have fish ponds nearby.

Reservoirs help to maintain water level in the surrounding wells.
Where there is water there is life — plants and animals.

Ornate Pavilions

Water, Soil, Plants and Animals — an invisible Natural Organic Community — the Universal Basis of Sustainable Life!

Water brings, restores, recycles, and conserves more water through the Natural Organic Community mentioned above.

Water Reservoirs coupled with Urban Forests are vital to relieve the modern cities from being Heat Sinks in India.
The retaining earth around the tank is lined with steps of stones. Imaginative play of shade and light along the day happens!
Due to decades of silting and lack of maintenance, the tank now becomes dry during drought.

The tank was perhaps built under the patronage of rulers. This is an act of returning part of the wealth collected through taxes to People, I presume.
The Complex was built by the Indian Artisans with their traditional knowledge, besides many historical buildings.

Perhaps, now in the present Democratic setup, there is no mechanism for Maintenance of such Public Places by the local communities? 

Water overflow opening from pond side

The local People's Participation is the only way for the governments, in the context of continued maintenance; not the present capitalist system of Public–Private Participation.

Water overflow opening from outside
  I understand, from Internet (Link), an initiative of public participation for restoration of the tank is started. This is a welcome move. Water is brought from a village to fill the pond. Some gardens are developed with lawns and flowering shrubs, typical of ruling taste among the urbanite. On the contrary such a place should be self sustaining.

SN KANADE at Sarkhej Roza
SN Kanade, architect-planner-educationist, now lives and practices at Bangalore  

Any such restoration should be in tune of the 'SPIRIT OF PLACE' and in 'HARMONY WITH NATURE'. 
Some archaeological study of the place could reveal which plants existed in the 14th century in the premises.

A good tree cover brings water to the land, is an established fact. They raise the subsoil water table. In fact the plantation should continue to expand from here in the region, in reverse action to expanding desert!



Life is larger than all Arts, Sciences, Religions, Philosophies, trade, techs, States... made by civilized societies through times and places. — Remigius de Souza

Google Map Sarkhej Pond at Sarkhej Roza Complex

View Sarkhej Pond, Ahmedabad, Gujarat in a larger map
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© Remigius de Souza. All rights reserved.


  1. In fact I am hearing about Sarkhej Roza and the pond the first time. But sorry to hear that it is lacking maintenance, anyway local People's attempts are giving hope.
    And your epilogue is really true.
    Thank you for the great post.

  2. Thanks Abhinav! Sarkhej Pond attracted us: the sight of water! One can't forget such experiences...
    Epilogue here is my motto, faith, practice and guide, earned after living-working-moving among many social and cultural sub-groups for years.
    Your blog is my inspiration; I am learning...
    Best Wishes
    -- Remi

  3. Sir, I very much appreciate your combining Nature, science and architecture. I wish in course of time I would be able to do it in my field, which is limited to Lab-work! Thanks!!