Heart of our city

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A man walking through a vast dessert for days together to get home. Where the sun shines with all its might for countless hours. His throat itches for water and his body seems to be giving up. When one imagines a scenario like this, the shade of the tree and some water is all we need.

And this incident helps me to understand how Bhuj the growing city began its journey around a waterbody,Hamirsar.

Hamirsar is the heart of our city undoubltly. Traditional tales tell us that when Kutch was a princely state, laddoos were distributed by the king to all the citizens every time that the lake overflowed due to the rains. These laddoos were called megh laddoos, almost as if the lake is a loved daughter/son born in the house. The overflowing of Hamirsar is a treated no less than a festival. It is declared holiday and the hustle bustle which usually scatters around the city of Bhuj, comes together at Hamirsar to celebrate.

The lake which currently spreads over 28 acres was once a small pond used by Rabari Hamir to feed his cattle as he travelled in search of grazing land. This lake was then bought for a sum of money by the King and named Hamirsar after Rabari Hamir. The lake has been estimated to be 450 years old. There was a well established system to collect water into the central reservoir of Hamirsar. Due to the earthquake and its damages the system of water has been affected. And the development that has happened since the earthquake mostly in the outskirts of Bhuj has disturbed the catchment areas and natural movement of water in a large way. An organization Arid Communities and Technology (ACT) has been working intensively to revive and create awareness about this water system. They have been working at Governance level and at Citizen level to revive this water pattern. A once cherished and loved child seems to be now fighting for survival.

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