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  • Outstanding article. Yes.

    Outstanding article. Yes. Early generations thrived utilising rivers and harvesting rain water. There is wealth of knowledge in the traditional water harvesting techniques which needs to be studied scientifically for adoption. CSE has done excellent work in documenting most of these traditional methods.

    Talab / Bandhis
    Talabs are reservoirs. They may be natural, such as the ponds (pokhariyan) at Tikamgarh in the Bundelkhand region. They can be human-made, such the lakes in Udaipur. A reservoir area of less than five bighas is called a talai; a medium sized lake is called a bandhi or talab; bigger lakes are called sagar or samand. The pokhariyan serve irrigation and drinking purposes. When the water in these reserviors dries up just a few days after the monsoon, the pond beds are cultivated with rice.

    Johads are small earthen check dams that capture and conserve rainwater, improving percolation and groundwater recharge. Starting 1984, the last sixteen years have seen the revival of some 3000 johadsspread across more than 650 villages in Alwar district, Rajasthan. This has resulted in a general rise of the groundwater level by almost 6 metres and a 33 percent increase in the forest cover in the area. Five rivers that used to go dry immediately following the monsoon have now become perennial, such as the River Arvari, has come alive.


    Jhalaras were human-made tanks, found in Rajasthan and Gujarat, essentially meant for community use and for religious rites. Often rectangular in design, jhalaras have steps on three or four sides. Jhalars areground water bodies which are built to ensure easy & regular supply of water to the surrounding areas .
    the jhalars are rectangular in shape with steps on three or even on all the four sides of the tank . the steps are built on a series of levels .
    The jhalaras collect subterranean seepage of a talab or a lake located upstream .
    The water from these jhalaras was not used for drinking but for only community bathing and religious rites .Jhodhpur city has eight jhalaras two of which are inside the town & six are found outside the city .
    The oldest jhalara is the mahamandir jhalara which dates back to 1660 AD

    Nadis are village ponds, found near Jodhpur in Rajasthan. They are used for storing waterfrom an adjoining natural catchment during the rainy season. The site was selected by the villagers based on an available natural catchments and its water yield potential. Water availability from nadi would range from two months to a year after the rains. They are dune areas range from 1.5 to 4.0 metres and those in sandy plains varied from 3 to 12 metres. The location of the nadi had a strong bearing on its storage capacity due to the related catchment and runoff characteristics.

    Tobas is the local name given to a ground depression with a natural catchment area. A hard plot of land with low porosity, consisting of a depression and a natural catchment area was selected for the construction of tobas. (

    Dravidian architecture was a style of architecture that emerged thousands of years ago in the Southern part of the Indian subcontinent or South India, built by the Dravidian peoples. It consists primarily of pyramid shaped temples called Kovils in Tamil which are dependent on intricate carved stone in order to create a step design consisting of many statues of deities, warriors, kings, and dancers. Mentioned as one of three styles of temple building in the ancient book Vastu shastra, it originated mainly in the region of Tamilnadu. The majority of the existing buildings are located in the Southern Indian states of Tamilnadu, Karnataka, Kerala, and Andhra pradesh. Various kingdoms and empires such as the Cholas, Chera, Pandyas,Pallavas, Rashtrakutas, Chalukyas, Hoysalas, and Vijayanagara Empire amongst many others have made a substantial contribution to the evolution of Dravidian architecture through the ages. Dravidian styled architecture can also be found in parts of North India, Northeastern and central Sri Lanka, Maldives, and various parts of Southeast Asia. Angkor Wat in Cambodia and Prambanan in Indonesia were built based on early Dravidian Architecture.Most of the temples were built near the rivers.

    Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP),India

    Posted by: Anonymous | 5 years ago | Reply
  • Thank you for this wonderful,

    Thank you for this wonderful, diverse and informative look at the Brahmaputra. I do, however, take issue with Ms. Lahiri-Dutt's assertion "Char-dwellers are the example that people can live with nature, even when it is not benign. They are the example that people can live with nature even when it makes them vulnerable and poor."

    While these statements make for good poetry they do a disservice to both the reality of nature and the people such as those who live in the no man's land of chars. Nature comprises everything, despite our limited understanding. Labels of "benign" or "malevolent" are meanings we humans assign to it according to our understanding and interactions. Nature does not make people "vulnerable and poor." Society and its interference with natural processes and support for social hierarchies and inequality, does.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 5 years ago | Reply
  • Anne Feldhaus's comment seems quite shallow. Some aspects in the article makes me feel the author did not really 'get it' despite spending years investigating and writing an entire book! The offensive is the sentence - "River goddesses are considered married but their husbands are not mentioned. Thus, they are like devadasis or prostitutes". Neither devadasis tradition understood nor the river and did not even proceed with humility...
    Search for a husband for the river...! The married woman symbolizes 'potentiality' 'fertility' the 'producer of plenty' 'the nurturer of mankind', just as 'Bhudevi', 'Shreedevi' and hence its not about a search for the husband literally but seeing the river as a nourisher, producer, giving abundantly...

    Posted by: Arundhati Mehta | 4 months ago | Reply
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