Kankaria Lake during the Kankaria Carnival in Ahmedabad
|Lake type||Artificial lake|
|Max. length||560 m (1,840 ft)|
|Max. width||560 m (1,840 ft)|
|Surface area||76 acres (31 ha)|
|Shore length1||2 km (1.2 mi)|
|1 Shore length is not a well-defined measure.|
Kankaria Lake, formerly known as Hauj-e-Qutb, is the second largest lake in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India. It is located in the south-eastern part of the city, in the Maninagar area. It was completed in 1451 during the reign of Sultan Qutb-ud-Din Ahmad Shah II though its origin is placed in the Chaulukya period sometimes. A lakefront is developed around it, which has many public attractions such as a zoo, toy train, kids city, tethered balloon ride, water rides, water park, food stalls, and entertainment facilities. The lakefront was revamped in 2008. Kankaria Carnival is a week-long festival held here in the last week of December. Many cultural, art, and social activities are organised during the carnival.
Several stories are told for its name Kankaria. One reason said is that it was named thus due to large quantities of limestone (kankar in Gujarati) dug out of it during excavation. Another story narrates that the Sultan Qutb-ud-Din asked the saint Shah Alam to select the site for the tank and the garden. The saint scattered some pebbles at the site which was excavated and the lake was built. Thus it was named Kankaria. Another story says the saint Hazrat-i-Shah Alam cut his foot on a pebble while passing through excavation and exclaimed, "What a pebble!" So it was named Kankaria (pebbly). It was mentioned as Hauj-e-Qutb (the tank of Qutb) after the Sultan Qutb-ud-Din in the inscription at Kankaria.
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 its 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. Another version attributes the lake to the Kankana Devi from which it takes its name.
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, it was completed during the reign of Sultan Qutb-ud-Din Ahmad Shah II in 1451. According to this plate, its name is placed as "Hauj-e-Qutb" (Pond of Qutb) after him. Whether the lake existed before this and was only widened or deepened in 1452 or whether it was created from scratch at that time is something that still remains unresolved.
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.— Mandelslo's Travels into the Indies, 
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 sprading 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 earther 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, the lake was officially inaugurated on 25 December 2008 in a week long event known as "Kankaria Carnival".
The reservoir is 34-sided regular polygon covering area of 76 acres and having shore length of and quarter mile. It is surrounded by flight of cut stone steps. At six places, it has slopes instead of steps to reach water which is covered by square cupolas each raised on 12 pillars.
At one point of the circular lake, there opens a viaduct which connects the a garden called Nagina Wadi or formerly known as Bagh-e-Nagina (which means beautiful garden in Urdu), an island located in the centre of the lake, to the bank. The viaduct was formed by 48 arches in past. It is mentioned as "the Jewel (Nagina) in the centre of the Ring of lake" in Mirat-e-Ahmadi. There is a pleusure house at Nagina Wadi known as Ghattamandal. Later the garden was surrounded by new parapet wall constructed by the British during its restoration. The lake has an approximate circumference of 2 km.
It had a water purification system but it has been lost with the time. There are supply suice of the east side of lake which are well carved. The buttresses are well carved which resembles based on minarates of the mosques in Ahmedabad. There is a six feet thick screen between the buttresses or jambs which is carefully carved and is punctured by three large opening for inflow of water. These openings are six feet in diametre and the margin of it is beautifully carved.
Kankaria Zoo, officially Kamla Nehru Zoological Garden, was established by Rueben David in 1951 spread over 21 acres. It was rated the best zoo in Asia in 1974. They are 450 mammals, 2,000 birds, 140 reptiles in a 31-acre zoo. It houses wild animals like tigers, lions, python, anaconda, snakes, elephants, albino (white) animals like the rhesus monkey, spotted deer, white blackbuck, chinkara, elephant, emu, jungle babbler, bush-quail and common palm civet. Kankaria Zoo has also bred of rare species like pythons, crocodiles, bearcats and wild asses. Reuben David was awarded Padma Shri in 1974 for it.
It is a children's park named after Jawaharlal Nehru. Balvatika has a boat house, playroom, butterfly and weapon displays, mirror house, toy house and planetarium. Presently most part of the park is under renovation.
Netherlands based company installed five rides in the amusement park in 2014. It includes the Boomerang Roller Coaster, the Flipping Arm, the Torching Tower, Disk 'O' pendulum and the merry-go-round. It will also have a kids play zone for computer games.
Kids City is a miniature world designed for kids. It is spread in 4240 sq.metre area having 18 activity centres including banks, fire station, science lab, radio station, police station, court room and prison, dental as well as medical hospital, theatre, BRTS, heritage gallery, town governance, IT centre, News room, ice-cream factory, etc. AMC had applied for copyrights and patents on the individual games in the premises, the unique point system, Virmo (Virtual Money) and the design of the different venues in games.
A train named Atal Express (Named after Atal Bihari Vajpayee on his birthday 25 December 2008) was imported from London, the train circles the lake on a 2.3 km track at a speed of 10 km/h. The train has the capacity to carry 150 passengers, including 36 adults. The train is manufactured by Severn Lamb. During the first 11 months of introducing the train, it attracted nearly a million visitors. After the success of this train, another train was also started which named Swarnim Jayanti Express. All trains on the railway, and hence the railway itself, are 2 ft (610 mm) narrow gauge.
Ahmedabad Eye is a tethered balloon ride set up near Kankaria Lake after renovation. The tethered balloon complex spread over 3000 square yard, is divided into four sections including a restaurant, tethered balloon, heritage exhibit and an exhibition displaying the making of the Ahmedabad Eye. SKYZ is a balloon themed restaurant located at the Ahmedabad Eye complex. It is managed by Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation. Rainforest theme restaurant is also there.
Nagina Wadi is an island in center of Kankaria Lake. It houses a small summer palace originally built for Mughal royals. Nagina Wadi is accessed by a straight, tree-lined walkway traversing half of the lake. In 2009, Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation and Amrapali Group built a musical fountain with multicolored laser lights which are displayed during the night. Food stalls are also there.
Stone Mural Park
India's biggest Stone Mural Park named Gurjar Gaurav Gatha on the side walls of the circular lake in which sculptors are depicting, in pink sand stone, the history and rise of Gujarat is under construction. It has murals covering 3150 sq feet depicting the history of Ahmedabad right now but when completed, it will measure 6000 feet in length and will be world's largest mural (30000 sq.metre).
Following subjects are being included in murals: folklores and history of Ahmedabad, great rulers of Gujarat, ports, commerce and good practices(ethical business-trade traditions), education, freedom fight, cultural heritage, art and literature, expression of culture, today’s Gujarat, global Gujaratis, selected stories of common Gujaratis in past centuries. It will also includes stories about ancient sage Dadhichi, Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Patel, Jhaverchand Meghani and Indulal Yagnik.
Dutch and Armenian tombs
The Dutch and Armenian tombs are on One Tree Hill embankment which shows the strong trade presence of the Dutch East India Company in the city during the 17th century. They are Saracenic in style with domes and pillars. The dates of the tombs are deciphered which range from 1641 to 1699. The Armenian tombs perhaps belonged to brokers in the Dutch factory.
Segways are introduced for people for easy movement around lake. A mini golf course; Aqua Kart and other water sports; Vertical Swing, Paint Ball Shooting, Black Flash and rides, Sky Fly and other joyrides were introduced.
Other attractions include historical Dadu Dayal temple, Natural History Museum, desert safari, aquarium, gardens like One Tree Hill garden, Butterfly Park, football ground, water sports and rides, open-air theatre, Jaldhara water park, boating and small amusement park. It is a good place for yoga, walking, and running, especially early morning. There is also a gym on campus known as Ambubhai Purani Vyayamshala.
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