The Artistic Water Tanks of Punjab

The state of Punjab, in northern India, is well known for its rich, vibrant culture, including great food, music, and dance. But what most people don’t know is that the Indian state is also home to some of the most extravagant water tanks in the world.

The concrete structures that the people of Punjab use to store water on the roofs of their houses are hardly ever ordinary-looking or boring. Instead, these ‘designer’ tanks come in a variety of unlikely shapes and sizes inspired by people’s interests and experiences. It’s not uncommon to see water tanks modeled after airplanes, army tanks, ships, birds, animals, and even humans!


Photo: Kangan Arora

The trend of having a unique water tank mounted on the roof seems to have spread across the state entire state – right from cities to towns and even small villages – and is followed by the rich and poor alike. In fact, residents don’t seem to mind spending rather lavishly to make sure they have the best tank in the neighborhood.


Photo: Kangan Arora

Often, these tanks reference the likes and interests of the home owners. People who have family living abroad, for instance, have ships or planes on their roofs. Those with loved ones serving in the armed forces get Army tank-shaped water tanks installed. “My son was in the Army and was very passionate about it,” said Ranjot Makkar, a resident of the village of Dugri.


Photo: Kangan Arora

“When he joined the Army I got a water tank made in the form of an Army tank to encourage him. Whenever he visits us, he is reminded of his induction into the forces and the joy that came with it.”


Photo: Climber&Explorer

For some, the tanks are a symbol of financial status, while for others they represent sweet memories. Preetjot Singh, a resident of Ludhiana, got an eagle shaped tank to honor a childhood pet. “When I was young, I was in love with pets, especially the eagle I had,” he said. “When she died I got a water tank shaped like her made. It is a tribute to her. I make sure it is well maintained and looks remarkably life like.”


Photo: Climber&Explorer

When the residents get swanky, new tanks made, they don’t discard their old ones. Instead, they use them for rainwater harvesting, the practice of collecting rainwater to use during dry summer months. “It is better to use them for something useful rather than destroying them completely,” said Paramjeet Kaur, another resident. “We spend so much money to get them built. So after I bought another tank, I used the old one for rainwater harvesting.”


Photo: Punjab-Jalandhar

Sources: India TV, Times of India

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