Rejuvenation is what best describes an early morning walk along the Sankey Tank, located at the tri-junction between Malleswaram, Vyalikaval and Sadashiva Nagar. With its greenery, relatively clear water, and migratory birds, the tank is much a scenic spot as it is an ecological space. But how well do we know Sankey Tank? Here we bring to you 10 facts about Sankey Tank which will make you want to take your next outing there at the earliest!
A Colonial Masterpiece
The manmade lake that covers an area of 37 acres was the result of intricate planning by a visionary who went by the name of Colonel Richard Hieram Sankey. Sankey joined the East India Company at the age of 16 and was a soldier in the Royal Engineers Army.
A Cure for Famine
It was linked to the Miller’s tank and Dharmambudhi tank and was built as a safeguard against water shortages, such as that experienced in the Great Famine of 1876–78.
One of the many jewels
The tank, built by Col. Sankey in 1882, was an achievement that joined the rung of Sankey’s other iconic buildings in the city, which include the Attara Kacheri (the present high court building), the government museum and St. Andrew’s Church.
Sankey figured that the location of the tank would be ideal as it was equidistant from both the old city and the cantonment, and acted as a buffer zone between the two. He did a systematic study of the lakes here and concluded that since there were only two major water bodies in the area -Ulsoor Lake (for the Cantonment) and Dharmambudhi Lake (for the old city), there was an acute need for other water sources.
A Man of Many Talents
Apart from being a stern administrator, Sankey was also a painter, an independent researcher on Bengaluru’s history and head of Discover Bengaluru.
Sankey tank received water from a massive catchment area extending over 1,600 acres, which was systematically greened by the planting of large numbers of trees. Despite the effort and expense, the tank was not able to sufficiently replenish the water in Miller’s tank and Dharmambudhi tank. Some derisively called it “Sankey’s Folly”.
No Longer Needed
In 1892, facing a situation of near-drought, Bangalore resorted to importing water from the Hesaraghatta reservoir outside the city. In exchange for the right of access to water from Hesaraghatta, the Resident of Mysore surrendered the rights of the cantonment to water from Sankey tank.
His Last Goodbye
While the tank and the road alongside it were named to honor the contributions of Col Sankey, the man himself retired and went back to Ireland in 1890s, where he has conferred a knighthood. He breathed his last in London, in 1908.
Persistent efforts by Gustav Krumbiegel, a German botanist, resulted in the acquisition of a large stretch of land on which he established a plantation of casuarina, a water-hungry species. The remaining open lands in the catchment area were granted to other institutions, including the military and the Indian Academy of Sciences.
The tank, as we know it, has recreational areas used by morning walkers and joggers alike. There are many who love going on boat rides which are available for a nominal fee. The tank is open on all days except Friday, from 6 am to 8 pm.
So what are you waiting for ? Go enjoy the tank today, and let us know how it went, in the comments.
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