The beautiful Chandlai lake is located on urban-rural fringe of Jaipur. It appears to view after 1-2 km drive on taking right detour from Shivdaspura village on Jaipur-Tonk road. As one approaches the lake, there is a decline in temperature and increasing sensation of cold. In the haze of winter mornings the horizon looks lost beyond the Lake Island, which falls midway between the waters giving illusion of an endless sea. Looking at the lost horizon one feels like going out on a boar to explore and search it down.
Every year, thousands of migratory birds are attracted to the pristine environs of the Chandlai between November to February. The pairs of stork cranes can be observed standing on one foot and indulging in meditation, while Pelican is, occasionally, seen taking a sunbath, spreading its wings on the island in the middle of the lake.
Many nature lovers visit the lake to indulge in bird watching and photography. Morning walk on the miles long waterfront of the lake can make your day. Overall, the lake offers refuse from mundane life of the concrete jungle, an opportunity to rejuvenate oneself and refresh for the rigours of city life.
Pollution levels are low in the vicinity of the lake. On one of its side are leapfrogging settlements of Jaipur city; the remaining two sides are bound by Chandlai village and its agricultural area. One witnesses a gradual change from residential land to agricultural land.
This attractive landscape provides shelter to thousands of migratory birds every year in winter. The flocks of birds come to find refuge from extreme winters of the northern hemisphere, to find safe breeding grounds and food.
Urban Heat Island and Chandlai
The impact of the decline of green cover, environmental pollution and global warming has
converted the metropolitan cities into large heat islands. The temperature differences between the cities and their adjacent areas are found to be 2-10 degrees. At the same time the difference between temperature in vicinity of lake(s) and urban areas is even more stark. Thus, it may be good to have a big lake/water body in the vicinity of cities, because such water bodies can help to mitigate the temperature rise in urban regions.
Wildlife tourism makes people sensitive and aware about their environment. Aware people
contribute greatly to the protection programs, helping preservation of both flora and fauna. Tourism activities also provide for employment to a large number of people, largely local, in supporting roles. Many nature lovers are seen at Chandlai lake.
This lake is about 140 years old. In view of its importance, it is proposed to be protected by the
state government under the Rajasthan Lake (Protection and Development) Authority Act,
2015. However, today it is facing the following crisis –
1. Increasing Human Interference – Illegal water extraction from the lake decreases
water level of lake. This also reduces the level of water in summer. And creates a crisis for
the lives of birds and marine species. According to environmental experts, the number of migratory birds is constantly declining. Fishing activities are also a problem.
2. Neglected By Government – State government has shown negligence in
implementing Rajasthan Lake (Protection and Development) Authority Act 2015. Thereby,
not preventing encroachments on natural water bodies. Such unsustainable
development is continuous and action against those responsible for it is nowhere to be seen. Solid waste
disposal being done in the lake is leading to its pollution. It is posing serious threat to aquatic species.
3. Urban expansion and land mafia have tried to occupy the land around the lake. This is affecting flood plains of the lake and also obscuring the channels bringing rain water to the lake.
4. Alluvial Acacia plants are being grown around the lake, this plant act as invasive species against native plant species. The resultant damage in long term and sometime very difficult to contain and reverse.
This lake has a larger catchment area compared to the Man Sagar Lake in Jaipur. It should be developed as a model lake. Both these lakes are symbol of urban hope and can help enhance our understanding and capabilities in the preservation of natural heritage. Another positive aspect of this lake is that it is still pristine and not much victim of urban extension. So, It is right time to prepare a detailed framework for conservation of the lake.
Translated with permission from – Vikash Ram | Traveller Tribe. Original text is available in Hindi on author’s blog.