/ Mundas / Bandhas
The katas, mundas and bandhas were the main irrigation
sources in the ancient tribal kingdom of the Gonds (now in Orissa
and Madhya Pradesh). Most of these katas were built by the
village headmen known as gountias, who in turn, received the
land from the Gond kings. Land here is classified into four groups
on the basis of its topography: aat, (highland); mal
(sloped land); berna (medium land); and bahal (low land).
A kata is constructed north to south, or east to west, of a
village. A strong earthen embankment, curved at either end, is built
across a drainage line to hold up an irregularly-shaped sheet of water.
The undulations of the country usually determine its shape as that
of a long isosceles triangle, of which the dam forms the base. It
commands a valley, the bottom of which is the bahal land and
the sides are the mal terrace. As a rule, there is a cut high
up on the slope near one end of the embankment from where water is
led either by a small channel or tal, or from field to field along
terraces, going lower down to the fields. In years of normal rainfall,
irrigation was not needed because of moisture from percolation and,
in that case, the surplus flow was passed into a nullah. In years
of scanty rainfall, the centre of the tank was sometimes cut so that
the lowest land could be irrigated.
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