The Badrakali Lake, Warangal.
By Sushmitta Renganathan
Said to have been constructed over a thousand years ago, the Badrakali Lake is a testimony to the Kakatiyan Dynasty’s time tested ‘Temple-Tank-Town’ system of urban development. While for a modern-day visitor, this Lake and its surroundings may seem like an unexpected reveal by the city, or even a surreal vision contrasting with those of the urban vicissitudes; For the people of Warangal, however, the Badrakali Lake continues to be a life-sustaining source of pride, identity, culture, livelihood, biodiversity, and so much more.
This might even be attributed to what seems like an unwritten agreement dictated by the terrain, that leaves the shallow shores along the South, and South West of the lake to a growing marsh and its many nesting birds and mammals; While marking the North, North East, and West bounds of the Lake as centers of historical and cultural heritage. The chief elements include the Badrakali Temple, Padmakshi Temple, Rudra Temple, and Hanumadgiri Temple.
The nature of this set up turns the Badrakali Lake and its surrounding water bodies into indispensable sites of social significance. During festivals like the Bathukama Pooja, and Shakambari festival, the serenity of the Lake shifts to accommodate the festive spirit of the people. It watches on as an honorary spectator, passively voicing out its concerns through the discarded decorations and colorful pots, spilling from the mud roads to the shores the next day. This perennial cycle of activities, does not disrupt the purpose of the lake which continues to be the most important source of drinking water to the city. However, in the summer of 2018, a record low in the water levels of the lake was reported.
The Badrakali Lake and the role it plays in bolstering the historical, social, cultural, biological, and geological significance of the city, makes it a valuable gem not only in Warangal’s urban fabric, but also in that of our nation’s. For over a thousand years, the Badrakali Lake has stood true to its purpose of creation by mankind. The responsibility of sustaining this gift, however, has always rested on more than just nature’s shoulders. Exactly as this historic marvel was conserved and passed on to us, it is now our responsibility to preserve its glory and carry it forward for at least another thousand years.