Bidar, situated in the north-eastern tip of the state of Karnataka, is famous for its defensive architecture, majestic and elegant palaces as well as its monumental royal sepulchers. What remains relatively unknown is the complex historic water system, a combination of subterranean tunnels, cisterns, pipes, pools etc. that met the water needs of the historic city and its surrounding agrarian landscape. These subterranean channels helped tap, convey and distribute ground water over large areas. Originally a technology from ancient Persia known as the “qanat/karez”, this technology was adapted to suit the local climate and geology of Bidar. Unfortunately, years of neglect and lack of effective protection has led to the degradation of this water system.

An attempt to rehabilitate one of the many qanat/karez lines in Bidar was initiated by the Government of Karnataka with the support of the Bidar District Administration, as a pilot project. Other like-minded organizations working extensively in the area of heritage conservation and specifically conservation of historic hydraulic systems, have joined hands in supporting this cause.

Project Partners

Indian Heritage Cities Network Foundation (IHCN-F) is one of the prominent organizations that has been working towards sustainable development of historic Indian cities through a heritage-based approach. The IHCN-F was established for reflection, information sharing and capacity building of Indian cities and towns to cope with the fast changing urban context and further advance the promotion of heritage based sustainable development.

Deccan Heritage Foundation India (DHFI) is charitable organization conceived by like-minded individuals with a vision to promote and preserve the rich cultural heritage of India’s Deccan region. The main goals of the DHFI are to preserve, restore and promote the heritage of the Deccan region of India, and in particular its plethora of monuments, through conservation projects, cultural promotion, and educational programmes.

The International Center on Qanats and Historic Hydraulic Structures (ICQHS) was established under the auspices of UNESCO. The main mission of the ICQHS is emphasis on recognition, transfer of knowledge and experiences, promotion of information and capacities with regard to all the aspects of Qanat technology and other historic hydraulic structures to fulfil sustainable development of water resources.

This project has been made possible with the help of our consultants - GN Heritage Matters; FICUS Landscape Architects; Team YUVAA; Department of Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology- Hyderabad; Management and Governance Consulting and CADENCE Surveyors. The project team is most grateful to the residents of the project area and Bidar for their support and enthusiasm.

We are indebted to Mohammed Samad and his team who have toiled tirelessly in difficult circumstances to bring this historic system back to life and to the use of the local communities.

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