Bristish engineers wanted to name it Connaught Dam to commemorate the arrival of the Duke of Connaught
Udaipur : Udaipurites rejoiced as their much awaited desire of seeing water gushing out from the spillways of Lake Fateh Sagar was fulfilled on Monday morning. Collector Anandhi performed rituals and officials of the water resource department opened the sluice gates around 10.50 am. As the news spread, people of all ages including young and old, men and women gathered at the spillway to see the overflow. Citizens clicked selfies and posted videos on the social media greeting and rejoicing on the occasion. After water received from the intermittent rains for past few days, the water level had rapidly increased which was below the sill level a month ago.
The lake is the most popular destinations of the city, be it morning walker, joggers, cyclers or evening refreshing drive around the lake or visit to Maharana Pratap Smarak on Moti Magri, or boating and adventure water sports, government officials staying at Circuit House or tourists staying at hotels near its shore, or trekking up the high hill to its north with Neemaj-Mata Temple. It has so many things in its bag that one cannot think of Udaipur without Fatehsagar.
The glorious history
The present masonry gravity dam that impounds the lake was built by Maharana Fateh Singh during the period April 4, 1889-15 June 1902, with a base of 61m and embankment length 816 m. ” At this same site, a small dam impounding a pond was built earlier by Maharana Jai Singh in 1687 which was known ‘Dewali ro Talab’ after the name of the nearby village Dewali, which is now a colony of Udaipur.
Because of the rolling topography and typical Aravalli physiographic feature of the area, this lake too has a few islands in it” informed retired Professor and history enthusiast PS Ranawat. He adds, the architects who made the dam are not known. The gravity masonry dam was built with the then British engineering ‘influence’ through the local British Residency, which wanted it named Connaught Dam/Lake ( a la Connaught Place of New Delhi) after Prince Arthur, the Duke of Connaught and Strathearn and third son of Queen Victoria but the Prince instead to appease the Maharana (who was known to be not too happy with the British aspects) ensured that it is named after Maharana Fateh Singh. Unlike Pichola, Fatehsagar (old-times fondly call it also Fatehsarovar) receives decanted, non-soil laden cleaner water mainly from Pichola through a link canal. It also receives water of Ayad River through a link canal, Chikalwas feeder and ‘siphon’ , also built under the supervision of the British Project Engineer Er. Campbell Thomson (1890).