Water Heritage, Bijapur
Bijapur, Karnataka | 2015
The city of Vijayapura was the seat of the Adilshahi Sultanate (CE 1490-1686). The city lies on a gently sloping plateau between two low ridges. Along its southern perimeter the landform dips towards the city while at its Northern perimeter the landform dips away from it. In this area, a series of water bearing fractures criss-cross the underlying basaltic rock, with incidences of dikes at many places. This aspect is captured in the interventions made to trap water. As a result the water footprint of Vijayapura shows influences from 12-18th century CE (including the Yadava dynasty, Delhi Sultanate, Bahamani Sultanate and subsequently the Mughal Empire).
The northern slopes around the 'Adil Shahi layer' of the city exhibit discontinuous and dendritic surface runoff alluding to presence of non-uniform subsurface strata. Here we see a large incidence of percolation ponds with overflow mechanism. This zone was a seasonal/ temporary habitation zone, alluded through suffixes like ‘tanda’ (camp in Telugu) pointing to camping grounds. Along the South, parallel and perpendicular drainage forms indicate well-jointed bedrock and well-formed surface runoff patterns. This is corroborated by the siting of important landmarks like the Ibrahim Rauza, Taj Bavadi and the Begum Talab. The presence of erstwhile gardens and orchards in this zone cannot be ruled out, though no visible traces remain.
The triad of geological features, topographic formation and settlement patterns indicate a tight interdependence. History of drought and famine in the Deccan and the ever-looming threat of battles, given Vijayapura’s geo-political location in the Deccan peninsula, further reinforce the strategic vision behind creating such water systems.
In a bid to protect the water footprint as a heritage feature distinct to Vijayapura, the approach identifies four levels of Special Area Planning. In these, six categories of intervention have been identified ranging from protection and rehabilitation to site planning alternatives and conservation of topographic features.
Extent: 25 sq.km
Collaborators:Bijapur District Administration | IHCNF
Ficus: Sriganesh, Prabhakar, Abhilash