The historic Girriraj Baori (stepwell) in Jhalarapatan (Jhalawar), which has been used as a garbage dump by locals for three decades, has been restored under the Mukhyamantri Jal Swawlamban Yojan.
The baori, which has now been desilted, was buried underground due to administrative and public apathy. Garbage, which has been dumped for decades, had covered the baori and it was impossible to spot it. Now, water from this restored baori is now being used by locals for washing, bathing and other non-drinking purposes.
A few months ago Jhalarapatan municipality decided to restore the baori. “The municipality took up the challenge of reviving the dead Girriraj Baori under the Mukhyamantri Jal Swawlamban Yojan. The baori was desilted. It was buried under 40-feet sand. JCB machines, labourers and locals helped with the work,” said executive officer of Jhalarapatan municipality, Mahaveer Singh Sisodia.
The work of removing sand began in December and was completed in January, he said. “The steps of the stepwell and water were seen after the baori was cleared of sand and filth,” Sisodia said.
Historian Lalit Sharma said that the Girriraj Baori was constructed around a century ago under the rule of former Jhalawar king, Maharaja Rajendra Singh Sudhakar, for providing water to the locals.
Around ₹2 lakh was spent on the restoration. The steps of the baori and its walls were repaired and other work was done in March this year, informed Sisodia.
“Now, water from the restored baori is being used by locals for washing and bathing. They are not consuming this water as there is a Public Health and Engineering Department drinking water supply line in the locality,” he said.
However, Sisodia said that PHED supplies water only for a few hours so water from the baori can we used for drinking in future.
Locals are happy about the revival of the baori. “I have never seen the baori in such a good condition. It slowly crept into neglect and then became unusable,” said 70-year-old Sunder Bai, a local.
“Revival of the baori has provided an additional source of water to locals,” said corporator, Dharmendra Sethi.