It is going to be a rebirth soon for the maota or the moat in front of the historic 16th Century Amber Fort near here. After years of lean seasons, the good old water body is to be filled to the brim now with supplies from the Bisalpur dam, situated in adjoining Tonk district. With this, the Amber maota joins select water bodies in Rajasthan, besides the famous Pushkar Lake near Ajmer and the wetlands of Keoladeo National Park near Bharatpur, which are filled artificially -- with water from outside, that is.

Rajasthan Minister for Tourism, Art and Culture Bina Kak on Monday inaugurated the project for refilling the maota along with traditional water sources in and around the historic surroundings that were once the Capital of the erstwhile rulers. The inaugural programme took place near Kesar Kyaari, the ornate terraced Mughal-style garden where, according to local historians, the rulers once grew saffron.

Jaipur Mayor Jyoti Khandelwal, Principal Secretary (Tourism) Usha Sharma, local leader Braj Mohan Khatri and a large number of stakeholders — people of Amber, tourist guides and the owners of the famous Amber elephants -- were present.

Supply of water to Jaipur colonies from Bisalpur dam, situated some 140 km away, stared last year, though the Amber Fort area, on the outskirts of the city, is yet to be connected by a pipeline. For laying a 5.5-km pipeline from the nearest Brahmapuri pumping station to the maota , the Government has sanctioned Rs.2 crore. The work is scheduled to be completed in 45 days.

Ms. Kak explained that the project to fill the moat was not merely an attempt to create a picture postcard-like scene in front of the fort but also to help improve ground water level in the locality. It will not only take the water level up but also recharge the water sources in the surrounding areas which have been dry for a long time.

Ms. Kak said the filling of maota and other water sources will not have any adverse impact on the supply of drinking water to local citizens. This year the rains were copious, she noted. The demand for filling the maota with Bisalpur water was raised by the locals when Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot visited Amber a few months ago, she pointed out.

The Minister, talking about other projects being initiated to rebuild the old city, said the Ghat Ki Guni side — along the Jaipur-Agra road — was being developed in a way to enable one spot antelopes and other wild creatures along both sides of the road.   The State Tourism Department will also coordinate with the Forest and Education departments respectively for repairing the road to Nahargarh and for setting up a school at the Elephant village, she added.