Remembering Nallah Mar: Lost Artery of the Dal Lake

Adeela Hameed

Nallah Mar was a major outflow channel of Dal Lake:

“Nallah Mar interlinked areas of Shahr-e-Khass for centuries. It acted as a major outflow channel of Dal lake. Originating from Dachigam, accumulating in the Harwan reservoir, Sarbandh, the water flowed through another canal till Shalimar, eventually draining into the Nallah. The Nallah also flowed into Khushalsar, Gilsar lakes via Eidgah starting from Brari Na,bal Lagoon. Later joining Anchar Lake. Another conduit of the Nallah flowed through Noor Bag hint Jhelum”.


 Nallah Mar as a communication channel:


“The Nallah was one of the favourite spots for foreign tourists. House-boat owners used to ferry tourists in Doongas through Nallah Mar to Ganderbal and the adjoining Wular lake. Sale of traditional Kashmiri handicrafts from markets located on both sides of Nallah Mar would surge up during tourist season. Our rich culture enthralled the non-natives enough to name Srinagar, ‘Venice of the East or Venice of Kashmir’. The Nallah was renowned for its translucent waters, free flowing waves tiled with flat stones  and bricks. It also acted as a flood channel, protecting people of the city during floods. It provided a means of livelihood for Dal dwellers, allowing them to sell vegetables and catering to their transport to and from the city. Not just this, the Nallah was part of Kashmiri culture and a channel towards devotion for Muslims  and Pandits, alike. To pay respects at Qamar Sahib (RA) in Ganderbal and Kheer Bhawani temple, both the factions were escorted through this famed waterway. Unfortunately, nothing but a name remains now. For the new generations, not even a memory. The famed Nallah Mar choked and died just as we grew and established.”


New a garbage Dump:

“Nallah Mar morphed into a garbage dump. That was its cause of death. Why? As the population expanded around the city, Dal Lake shrunk from its original pristine glory, with the water gradually reducing in volume and flow. Decrease in inflow from catchement areas of Dachigam and Telbal Nallah due to depletion of glaciers resulted in this drastic and unwelcome change. Even the reservoir in  Harwan remained dry. As established, Nallah Mar fed through Dal Lake and when the source dwindled, so did the sink. Encroachments began alongside banks of the Nallah, with new residential and commercial enterprises developing injudiciously. Urbanization did not show mercy to this canal. Sewage and garbage disposal became the need of the hour with growth in population. Unaware and uncivilized, people used this Nallah as their personal dustbin, forgetting its importance. Most importantly, what the Shahr-e-Khaas dwellers disregarded was the prospect of Nallah Mar transforming into the breeding ground for multiple disasters, both health and economic. And when that finally happened, hue and cry arose from every corner of the icty. Everyone wanted out; people living in the city, around the canal, houseboat owners, tourists and the government. However, it was too late to revive the Nallah now.”


A disastrous move:

“Losing its source, life and purpose, Nallah Mar was filled. A Circular Road Project was adopted by the government through its Public Works Department. Under the supervision of this project, conversion of Nallah Mar into a four-lane road was authorized, implemented and completed. But not without repercussions. The consequences are still not over Ruin of Brabri Namblal is one of the many dire impacts of tampering with the environment. Mistakes of the past inconvenienced the future. This is what everyone needs to comprehend. As we rule the Valley now, it is imperative to acknowledge that if the same blunders are repeated concerning any aspect of the ecosystem, the aftermath will be much more disastrous.”


[Courtesy:Daily  Kashmir Images, December 28, Srinagar, Kashmir, 2019].

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