Nurturing nature: The story of Ahmedabad's Chabutaras

Nurturing nature: The story of Ahmedabad's Chabutaras

Unraveling the evolution of Chabutaras in Ahmedabad's Pol culture!

Exploring the walled city of Ahmedabad reveals a captivating sight: Colorful Chabutaras, or bird feeding towers, scattered throughout its streets. Positioned primarily at the entrances of a pol, these structures provide shelter, water, and grains for birds, particularly during the rainy and summer seasons. Furthermore, they facilitate bird breeding, fostering biodiversity within the city.

A Glimpse into History

The etymology of the word 'Chabutra' is shrouded in mystery. Some suggest that it stems from 'kabutra,' the Gujarati word for birds, especially pigeons, commonly found perched on these structures. While some propose that it may derive from 'char-rasta,' referring to the four-way intersections where Chabutaras are often situated.

Adorned with intricate jali work, these elevated platforms serve not only as feeding stations but also as symbols of community, charity, and reverence. In Ahmedabad alone, there are nearly 300 Chabutaras, with 120 nestled within the historic walled city. Crafted from wood, sandstone, or concrete, these towers vary in size and design.

Ashish Trambadia, Director of the Ahmedabad World Heritage City Trust, explains, "Much of Ahmedabad's residential architecture is crafted from timber sourced from coastal areas, particularly shipbuilding yards. The surplus timber was repurposed to create these bird-feeders."

Architectural Splendor

Each Chabutara showcases exquisite craftsmanship, reflecting the region's architectural prowess. From simple platforms to elaborate structures adorned with intricate jali work, arches, and domes, these towers blend functionality with aesthetic appeal. Many Chabutaras feature miniature water reservoirs, enhancing their allure while providing essential hydration to avian visitors.

Divay Gupta, head of the Architectural Heritage Division of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), notes, "Some Chabutaras exhibit remarkable aesthetic quality, serving as landmarks within specific pols and sometimes lending their names to historic quarters."

Knock Knock!

As Ahmedabad continues its journey of evolution, the Chabutaras stand as timeless reminders of tradition and resilience. Amidst the hustle and bustle of urban life, these towers remain steadfast, offering solace to both birds and humans alike, perpetuating a heritage that transcends time.

To get all the latest content, download our mobile application. Available for both iOS & Android devices.