Built in Mughal
Mughal rulers left behind a great legacy of well-engineered
water works all over India, especially in central India. A typical
example is the old water works of Burhanpur on the banks of
the Tapti river in Madhya Pradesh
Burhanpur needed a lot of water. It was an important
trade centre and was strategically located. In 1615 AD, the
local ruler Abdul Rahim Khan invited a Persian geologist, Tabkutul
Arz, to investigate the recharge valley in the Tapti plains.
Arz did his groundwork, and devised a system.
The Burhanpur scheme consists of bhandaras or storage
tanks, which collect groundwater from the underground springs
flowing from the adjacent Satpura hills towards the Tapti. The
groundwater is intercepted at four places northwest of Burhanpur,
and then flows through subterranean conduits to a junction -
a chamber called jail karanj. Here is stored the town's
The system today is considered defunct. But not by the people
who use its air shafts as wells and draw water.