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The Hauz Khas Lake (INTACH Lake Series #2)

Sharif-ud-din Yazdi, the historian of Timur, who invaded the area in 1398 A.D., wrote “Hauz Khas is a lake constructed by Firoz Shah and is so large that an arrow cannot be shot from one side to the other. It is filled by rain water in the rainy season and all the people of Delhi obtain water from it all the year around”.

Today, the Hauz is part of a large urban green in southern Delhi, comprising of distict park, deer park, wooded area, a rose garden and sundry sports complexes and picnic huts. Until 2005, the Hauz Khas Lake, which may be considered as the emerald amongst these greens was completely dry. From 2003, INTACH took up the mantle of restoring the Hauz Khas Lake.

The revival of the Hauz Khas was a pioneer effort with many replicable lessons.

Over time the painstaking efforts for its revival have faded from public memory. This monograph will hopefully restore belief in nature based solutions.

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Water Policy for Delhi 2018

Water is the critical issue in sustainability. Growing water demands so far do not even factor in climate change leave alone the water requirements of eco-systems. India is becoming increasingly urban and may be 50% urbanized by 2030. Urban water demand is a subset of the overall water demand. Water utilities adopt a meandering approach marked by adhocism prioritizing distribution, treatment and service delivery without a thought as to the availability of raw water. Such cynicism has marked Delhi’s utility, the Delhi Jal Board, for long. As NCT Delhi’s begins to grapple with shortages a sound water policy is a sine qua non.

INTACH was entrusted by Delhi Jal Board to devise a water policy for the NCT in 2011. While the policy document, ready since 2013, languishes with the Board, INTACH has decided to place the updated document in public domain with a view to raise public awareness of the need for sound policy direction in the water sector.

We hope ere long Delhi will adopt this progressive water policy aand be guided by it to a secure water future. Let us not be driven by crisis rather take timely actions to avert it.

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The Manimahesh Sacred Landscape – A Monograph

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Traditional Methods of Weather Forecasting

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Study for Recharge of Ground Water in NCT Delhi 2015-16

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Rudraksh

Lakes-Uttarakhand

Lakes of Uttarakhand

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A Traditional Indian Garden in Thailand

 

 

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Natural Heritage Newsletter Vol. 1 – 2014

 

 

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Natural Heritage Newsletter Vol. 2 – 2015

 

 

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Natural Heritage Newsletter Vol. 3 – 2016

 

 

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Natural Heritage Newsletter Vol. 4 – 2017

 

 

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Natural Heritage Newsletter Vol. 5 – 2018

 

 

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The Najafgarh Jheel (INTACH Lake Series #1)

The invaluable ecosystem services provided by lakes and wetlands have been ignored in the development process so far. Resultantly, India has lost many wetlands as recorded in several reports. Najafgarh Jheel is a vast depression lying athwart the Delhi Gurugram boundary. Both states need to jointly work to revive the Jheel which would yield some 20 MGD [million gallons/day] of water, form a potential Ramsar site [Siberian Cranes once used to visit the Jheel], make for an enthralling urban texture, improve real estate values, all with beneficial revenue streams for the urban economy.

This paper highlights the several aspects of the Najafgarh Jheel and its history, the issues which have to be resolved and the steps by which it can be revived. With the onset of an era of water shortages the recovery of such natural assets cannot be postponed – they are essential to survival.

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Understanding Rivers

Rivers across India, the lifelines of the country, are in a dire state mainly as a result of exploitative and perverse human interventions which pose a clear and present danger to the very existence of rivers.

An understanding of rivers as systems is a fundamental requirement for undertaking conservation planning for any order of the stream hierarchy. Rivers can be considered from several perspectives such as hydrology, ecosystem, eco-system services, economic services, cultural streams, location in the constitutional framework etc. This document tries to summarise current situation of rivers in the country, casual factors, impacts and further briefly describes the terminologies, concepts and essential legal, scientific and technical developments over the years.

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The Manimahesh Sacred Landscape (A Plan for Conservation and Management)

Manimahesh, a sacred landscape of the Gaddi Tribe in Himachal, has been their place of worship since the birth of their beliefs. Today along with the Gaddi Tribe, thousands of pilgrims from Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir and Chandigarh and other parts join the Gaddis for the annual Yatra at the Manimahesh Lake. The beauty of the landscape and the mysticism of the stories around Lord Shiva interwoven with the physical features of the Manimahesh Peak continues to enchant pilgrims.However, the pressure created by the onslaught of such high numbers in worshippers has led to a slow and steady degradation of the natural landscape. If left uncontrolled or mismanaged it might as well be the end of Manimahesh and its sacred lake and pristine trails.

This report is an attempt to address the key issues that concern the Yatra that happens at Manimahesh and the possible measures to ensure a safe and comfortable Yatra for the pilgrims and a breath of life and longevity to the landscape.

water-policy

Water Policy for Urban Areas

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Culinary heritage of Bundelkhand

The Bundelkhand region is popularly known as bowl of pulses (Dal Ka katora), hence the pulses are the prominent ingredients of most of the recipes. The major and minor millets of the region like Jowar or Jundei and kodo used to be the back bone of farming and were the primary cereals of Bundelkhand (and also North western India) which was later replaced by more resource intensive wheat. This Recipe book is an attempt to revisit the importance of these pulses and encourage the revival of its farming.

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Reviving Hindon River : A Basin Approach

Condition of Rivers in India are continuously on the decline with their significant visible impact on people and environmental health. While there is considerable focus on major rivers as a result of media attention and civil society activism, the plight of medium and minor rivers and often goes unnoticed. Hindon River, one of the most polluted rivers is one such example.

This study is an attempt to upgrade the existing studies with field observations and primary investigations and prepare basin level conservation plan. The detailed study is hoped to help plug information gaps and assist in its conservation with the major objective to empower sound decision by govt. and public authorities.

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Naturalizing Jaipur

This publication put forward a plan to modify the natural conditions of Jaipur within the existing urban fabric to ensure climate resilience and sustainability. The publication is the second in the Naturalising series and provides description with a full city map of the natural features of Jaipur

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Sambhar Lake – An Important Wetland and Natural Heritage

Sambhar Lake, inspite of being a Ramsar Site and India’s largest inland salt water lake, has not received the kind of attention it deserves, either from Govt. institutions or academic institutes. Despite being the largest lake in a water starved state it’s condition is continuously on the decline.
INTACH’s Natural Heritage Division worked with CIWSA (Centre for Inland Waters South Asia, Jaipur) to upgrade the existing studies with field observations and primary investigations. The detailed study will help plug information gaps and assist in its conservation with the major objective to empower sound decision by govt and public authorities.

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Ecological Inventory of Yamuna River

River Yamuna is the lifeline of Delhi and one of the major rivers of the country. NHD carried out a study on stream biodiversity and various ecological Parameters of River Yamuna in NCT Delhi. The study attempted to plug the existing gaps on the ecological baseline status of the river. The findings are. compiled into a publication

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Naturalizing Delhi

This publication put forward a plan to modify the natural conditions of Delhi within the existing urban fabrics to ensure climate resilience and sustainability. It also has a map on which natural features of Delhi are very well delineated to ensure

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A Monograph on National Geoheritage Monuments of India

Geoheritage has been a neglected feature in the conservation landscape of India. Geological Survey of India [GSI] identified 26 geological sites over the years as National Geological Monuments. This monograph presents the results of a survey of the geo-monument sites, outlining threats and recommendations for their conservation.

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Conservation of Waterbodies in Delhi

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Urban Biodiversity and Conservation Seminar

The book is a compilation of papers presented at the Urban Biodiversity and Conservation Seminar organized by INTACH on November 23, 2013.

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The Sherthukpens of Arunachal Pradesh

The author of both books, Anita Sharma, study of these two societies in the course of her association with INTACH. She has attempted to analyse the traditional societies of the Sherthukpens and the Lepchas and the likely loss of indigenous knowledge and socio-cultural patterns in both societies as a result of the impact with modernity. While Sherthukpen society as a whole has been the subject of study in the first book, in the case of the Lepchas an attempt has been made to give a greater voice to the Lepcha individual and step back somewhat from the anthropological trend of studying societies at the cost of individuals.

Lepchas

The Lepchas of Dzongu Region in Sikkim

The author of both books, Anita Sharma, study of these two societies in the course of her association with INTACH. She has attempted to analyse the traditional societies of the Sherthukpens and the Lepchas and the likely loss of indigenous knowledge and socio-cultural patterns in both societies as a result of the impact with modernity. While Sherthukpen society as a whole has been the subject of study in the first book, in the case of the Lepchas an attempt has been made to give a greater voice to the Lepcha individual and step back somewhat from the anthropological trend of studying societies at the cost of individuals.

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The Nomadic Bakarwals of Jammu & Kashmir

The Bakarwals, clubbed with the Gujjars, together make up around 18% of the population of Jammu and Kashmir. Almost all Bakarwals are nomadic pastoralists who herd goat and sheep. Every April the nomadic Bakarwals migrate from the plains of Jammu, Poonch and Rajouri across the Pir Panjal Range to the high Himalayan pastures tha lie beyond the Kashmir Valley. Placed at the bottom rung of heirarchial order among the ethnic communities of Kashmir, the Bakarwals have long been the subject of racial prejudice and neglect in the state. This publication documents the Bakarwal society and endeavours to evolve sensitive methodologies that help uplift their morale and their socio-economic state.

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Rainwater Harvesting

Growing water scarcity is forcing the search for simple and economical self-reliant solutions. Storage of rain water is the key to spreading resource availability into the lean season. The water thus stored can be used for potable/ non-potable uses. This book is a basic manual for urban built-up areas.

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Narratives of the Environment of Delhi

An environmental perspective of Delhi’s past is difficult to come by. The reason appears to be that in the past environment was not an issue and the human footprint on the planet paled in front of awesome nature. The absence of environmental issues resulted in a corresponding absence of direct references to environmental issues or any form of dedicated environmental literature.

This exercise was initiated by the Natural Heritage Division of INTACH with a view to cull out natural characteristics of Delhi as referred to in archival material and as recalled by senior citizens of Delhi who have witnessed the loss and transformation of the natural character of Delhi as the city rushes headlong towards a steel and concrete modernity.

National Workshop on Natural Heritage

The book is a compilation of papers presented at the National Workshop on Natural Heritage organized by INTACH on September 4-5, 2009. The workshop was sponsored and funded by the Ministry of Environment & Forests, Government of India.

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Delhi’s Natural Heritage

The book is a compilation of papers presented at the symposium on Delhi’s Natural Heritage, jointly organized by INTACH and the United States-India Educational Foundation (USIEF) on May 13, 2009.

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A Monograph on the Sacred Woods used in Traditional Religious Ceremonies in India

Trees, which are vital to our existence, have been worshipped by the Hindus as a matter of gratitude. Many trees such as Ficus religiosa (peepal), Phyllanthus emblica (amala) etc. have acquired social and religious sanctity over the passage of the time.The author of the book compiled the information on importance and significance of sacred trees through study and consultations with religious experts via dialogue and discussion.

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100 most suitable trees for Delhi

Pradip Krishen’s books on trees reveal meticulous work organized in the most beautiful and simple way, making tree spotting easy and thoroughly enjoyable for anyone without any botanical knowledge.