Effect of anthropogenic activities on Indian pilgrimage sites; A case study of Pushkar Lake

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Effect of anthropogenic activities on Indian pilgrimage sites; A case study of Pushkar Lake

Water is the source of life for all living beings. About two-thirds of the Earth is covered by water. Among many water bodies, Lakes are the most fertile, diversified and productive of all the ecosystems in the world. A variety of environmental goods and services are bestowed upon us by Lakes which makes them vulnerable to human exploitation. The fresh water Pushkar Lake is situated in the gap of the Aravallis and was used as the area of research for the present study. History claims that in the 20th century, this Lake and its catchment area were a rich source of wildlife as well as a source of water for the railways for over 70 years, till 2004. The society’s demand for economic gains has resulted in the deterioration of its water quality. Two main reasons for this loss are – high rate of sedimentation due to sand-fall from the nearby sand dunes and anthropogenic practices followed in the periphery of the Lake. The water of the Lake is getting dried up because of reversal of hydraulic gradient from Lake to groundwater, leading to rapid decline in the groundwater level of the surrounding areas also. Eutrophication and various anthropogenic activities including holy rituals and tourism are the major contributing effects of water pollution. So the present study deals with a comparative analysis of the physic-chemical analysis of the Lake water before, during and after the annual Pushkar fair. Some of the remedial measures for water conservation are increasing the water level of the Lake, increasing the groundwater level, improving the water quality, checking soil erosion, desilting the banks of the Lake, establishing a water treatment plant nearby and creating public awareness to revive the aesthetic importance of the sacred Pushkar Lake.

Pushkar Lake, physico-chemical analysis, water pollution, siltation, water shed conservation

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