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Royal’s Thirst!


Water, water, everywhere, not any drop to drink! Wrapped around these words, was the condition of a very famous hill-fort of Madhya Pradesh, called Mandu. Being scarce of groundwater, this town depended solely on water from rainfalls. In short, they had to grab, whatever they could. This depressing issue gave birth to a very smartly crafted water harvesting system. This not-so-popular system comprised of about 1,200 water tanks, each catching rainwater and further providing it to the entire fort, through channels. It worked like a magic trick!

cf Mandu Spiral Watercourse

But, as it is said, “Everything great, eventually comes to an end”, so did this magnificent system. All that remains of this system now, are a few tanks and the main water passages carrying water to different dwelling sites. A single water tank now supplies water to the 40,000-odd residents. Something that would immediately uplift your mood is that, traces of this ancient water supply system can still be found in five of the 70 monuments. These five monumentsstill have about 700 small and big water tanks.


When we look closely as to how this masterpiece worked, we get to know that every monument had its own personalized system of supplying water depending on its architecture. Water was carried from the main tank (20-30 feet deep), inside the buildings in 2 ways, either through underground channels directly linking the main tank to the small cisterns inside the building or through roof-top tanks using a pulley system which was manned by two people 24 hours a day. The water would then go through internally connected pipes, inside the pillars of the monument, and be used for various domestic, gardening and other purposes.


In order for one to understand this extra ordinary system, he would have to logically connect each and every dot and then picture the whole system.


Some beautiful cisterns were built under this system, which provided a royal bathing system, at the Royal Bathroom calledHammamGhar. Water to this bathroom was provided by Andheri well which had three tunnels for hot water, steam and cold water.

Water system

The most fascinating thing about this story is, that even when the royals were short of technology, unlike this modern age, they had it all figured out, and what’s more. It was as efficient as any system of water harvesting today!

Vibhushi Patwa For mptravelogue.com

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