Nagina Wadi, Anand
About Nagina Wadi
There are various versions of its origin. According to the 14th century chronicler Merutunga, Chaulukya ruler Karna built a temple dedicated to the goddess Kochharba at Ashapalli after defeating the Bhil chief Asha. He also established the Karnavati city nearby, where he commissioned the Karneshvara/Karnamukteshwara and Jayantidevi temples. He also built the Karnasagara tank at Karnavati next to Karneshvara temple. Karnavati is identified with modern Ahmedabad and Karnasagar tank is identified with Kankaria lake but this identification is not certain.The construction of the lake started by Sultan Muizz-ud-Din Muhammad Shah II in the 15th century. The inscription at the lake mentions that it was completed during the reign of Sultan Qutb-ud-Din Ahmad Shah II in 1451. According to this inscription, its name is placed as "Hauj-e-Qutb" (Pond of Qutb) after him.Throughout the period of the Gujarat Sultanate and of Mughal rule, the Kankaria lake with its Nagina Bagh were the favourite leisure place of rulers and the people and it were among the tourist sights of Ahmedabad ever since. The European travellers of the seventeenth century, Pietro Della Valle (1623), Johan Albrecht de Mandelslo (1638), Jean de Thévenot (l666), all had visited the lake gave its accounts. Mandelslo who visited Gujarat during the reign of Shah Jahan wrote in 1638, I went thence along a Sone Bridge, which is four hundred paces in length, to another Garden called Niccinabag (Nagina Baug), that is to say, the Jewel, and they say it was planted by a beautiful and rich young lady. The garden is not very great, no more than the house within it; but both are very advantageously seated in a place high enough to discover all the adjacent champion, and, upon the avenues of the Bridge, to make the noblest prospect that ever I saw. The rain which falls in the winter-time supplies a great fish-pond or pool in the middle of the garden. But in summer they make use of certain engines wherewith many oxen put together draw up the water out of wells which are so deep that they are never dry. A man can seldom go to this garden, but he shall find some young women bathing themselves; they will not permit the Indians should see them, but suffered us to come in and speak to them. British artist James Forbes visited Ahmadabad in 1781 after the fall of Mughal Empire when Ahmedabad was under Maratha rule. He found the gardens at lake neglected, the summer-palace in ruins and the bridge with 48 stone arches connecting Nagina Baug island to the bank in dilapidated condition. He specially noted a species of palmyra in the Nagina Baug which is very uncommon. The tree grown in a straight stem very high and then spreading several branches of with a tuft of spreading leaves at the end of each branch. It is still there. After a century, when Ahmedabad was under the British rule, the Kankaria lake was restored by the Collector of the district, Borradalle in 1872. A road was built from the Raipur gate to the lake. The high banks of the lake were organised and the trees were planted on them. Of the original arched bridge, a small portion was restored and the rest of length is made with earthen bank. In the island, the steps were restored on all four sides, the ancient well was cleared out, the fountain and the pleasure house were restored. the new pierced parapet wall built. In 1879, it was proposed to connect the lake with Khari river by 11 miles long canal and supply water to Chandola lake but it never materialised.In 1928, Kankaria was declared protected under the Ancient Monuments Preservation Act.The central garden and the walkway had been revamped and utilities are enhanced by Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation in 2007―2008. Upon completion of the renovation at the cost of ₹30 crore (equivalent to ₹68 crore or US$9.5 million in 2018), the lake was officially inaugurated on 25 December 2008 in a week long event known as Kankaria Carnival.
The reservoir is a 34-sided regular polygon covering an area of 76 acres and having a shore length of approximately one and a quarter mile, or 2 km. It is surrounded by flights of cut stone steps and in six places, slopes, giving access to the water. These slopes were covered by square cupolas, each raised on 12 pillars.An island in the centre of the lake contains a garden and is called Nagina Wadi, formerly Bagh-e-Nagina (beautiful garden in Urdu); it is connected to the bank by a bridge, originally of 48 arches. The garden is mentioned in Mirat-e-Ahmadi as "the Jewel (Nagina) in the centre of the ring of lake". The garden contains a pleasure house or summer palace called Ghattamandal. During restoration, the British constructed a parapet wall around the garden.The lake had a water purification system which is lost now. There are well carved supply sluices on the east side. Their buttresses or jambs of sluices resemble those of the minarets of mosques in Ahmedabad. Between these buttresses, there is a screen six feet thick screen punctured by three large openings for inflow of water. These openings are six feet in diametre and the margin of it is beautifully carved.