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Unknown facts about Naak Kata Pukhuri in Guwahati

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Naak Kata Pukhuri in Guwahati; Thousands of years old, Guwahati is one of the fastest-growing cities in India. Once known as Pragjyotishpura or the city of eastern light, Guwahati has many antique tales attached to it.


Central to its existence are several ponds and tanks built at various periods. Built by kings most of the ponds were constructed as acts of piety or service to the people. These ponds were not only used for rituals, but they also supported a large community in the vicinity of the temples they were built in.

naak kata pukhuri

Naak Kata Pukhuri in Guwahati

There were several ponds and tanks in the city that came up at different times and held tremendous importance. Thanks to the apathy of the government and the public, many of these ponds have succumbed to encroachment. Localities such as Durgasarobar near the Kamakhya temple and the Ganesh temple in the Ganeshguri area once had tanks or ponds that have now disappeared.

According to eminent Assamese writer and historian, Kumudeswar Hazarika, there were about 300 tanks in Guwahati and North Guwahati when the two were a single entity until the British occupied Assam in 1893 and people used to drink water from them. A majority of them, however, were filled up by the British as they considered the water unsuitable for drinking. Some ponds like Dighalipukhuri, Paltan Pukhuri, Kamarpatty Pukhuri, Padum Pukhuriat Karnachal, Majinder Pukhuri (also known as Panbazar Padum Pukhuri) and the Padum Pukhuriat the Uzanbazar Oriya Basti, lived on.

Temple ponds were used for ritual bathing before entering the temple and also for drinking. Hence, it was customary to build tanks alongside temples when they were being built. Also, once a temple was built, a large community of cleaners, gardeners, etc grew around it. “Areas like Maligaon (gardeners), Adabari (ginger-growers), Jalukbari (pepper-growers) came up around the Kamakhya temple and one can find tanks on the Kamakhya Hill which were presumably built for the requirements of this community,” remarks Dr Paromita Das, head of the history department, Gauhati University.

naak kata pukhuri

There were several ponds and tanks in the city that came up at different times and held tremendous importance. Thanks to the apathy of the government and the public, many of these ponds have succumbed to encroachment. Localities such as Durgasarobar near the Kamakhya temple and the Ganesh temple in the Ganeshguri area once had tanks or ponds that have now disappeared.

Naaak kata Pukhuri is said to be one of the oldest ponds in the city. It is very often filled with weeds and is hardly visible but it was one among the ponds that were filled with drinking water during the British period.

Dr Neel Kamal Das, a city-based environmentalist emphasises groundwater recharge as one of the main ecological services any water body like a pond or wetland delivers. “Ponds are significant recharge areas. Studies have revealed that groundwater level in the vicinity of these ponds was usually higher than the other areas of the city,” he explains.

Again, due to over-extraction, groundwater levels have lowered and exposed some rocks resulting in arsenic and fluoride contamination in some pockets of the city. “These ponds could also be revived to supply water to nearby localities and since there is enough rainfall, the ponds would get replenished even after extraction. These could also be used to serve as spaces to collect rainwater and surface runoff,” he adds.

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