The village of Farmana Khas (that I covered on 7th January for its early Harappan Archaeological mounds) is surrounded by three large Johads (tanks) that sort of acted collectively as a defensive moat. These Johads, viz. Dhobhi, Jauna Aala and Dhamma Aala have a large storage capacity, but are degenerating gradually because of garbage and debris strewn around them. The once self-sustaining economy of the village, thanks to forested land that surrounded the village is majorly defunct due to the disappearance of the forest. But, Farmana Khas moves on, proud of its rich past, its present-day social fabric, and ancient relics that have pronounced the village on an archaeological map.

It’s on the western bank of Dhamma Aala Johad that a 140-year old well colloquially known as Baniyon Ka Kuan stands majestically depicting a syncretic Indo-Islamic architectural style. Said to be built by the grandchildren of Lala Hira Mal, who moved here in 1810 from Kirsola Village in Jind State (now a bordering district of Rohtak in Haryana). According to the local lore, masons from Bhiwani (another bordering district) raised this impressive structure, where the depth of the well was 90 feet.

How were these wells built?

Lime stones or ‘Rodi’ (gravel or grit) were shaped and sized according to the plan of the well. Later, brick masonry was introduced. The mud bricks were locally made and burnt using agro-wastes and wood as fuel. The quality of binding materials or mortar for bricks consisted of limerock, acacia seeds, white jute or patsun, and urad dal (black lentils) ground with water and occasionally yogurt, then thoroughly mixed and pounded as a reinforcement. When the wall of the well was sufficiently raised, a platform (Chabutra) would be built around it. Then minarets (burgee) and tubs (khelskothe) would be raised. In Haryana, it is common to see four-pillar wells with four pulleys. But, wells with 8 to 12 pulleys were also built (examples of such can be seen in Beri and Dujana in Jhajjar district). Water was pulled using a ‘Charas’, a large leather bucket.


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