This man changed the fortunes of a barren land using traditional water wisdom

A flood-ravaged desert turned into a home for 120 species of birds, 70 species of native trees and thousands of animals

By DTE Staff
Published: Friday 03 September 2021

This is the first of a two-part series. For the second part, click here

This dry and dusty 500-acre piece of land on the outskirts of Jaipur barely had 30 trees on it once. But today, the same land has over 120 species of birds, 70 species of native trees and thousands of animals.

This land in the Phagi district once had plenty of life in it. But a devastating flood ruined the topsoil and left the land to die and be a part of the desert.

The fate of the land changed when Manavendra Singh Shekhawat, a hotelier from Jaipur saw the land back in 2013. Instead of selling the land in parts, Manavendra aspired to do something different with the land, to create an alternative ecosystem to live in to build a unique business model, while keeping the land away from the unscientific and destructive practices.

And the first step for his dream project was to bring water to this dry land and using traditional water harvesting practices the land today has more than eight waterbodies in it. The water also has completely transformed the life and economy of the neighbouring villages as well.

With the water feeding the land and with hundreds of trees and buzzing wildlife, Manavendra is now building an alternative living space here. Part 2 of this series will feature how Manvendra along with the community converted this barren land into a lush green forest.

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