Making a waterfall

Ponds and especially fish ponds have a special charm. Somehow by bringing water into your immediate environs, brings in some magic. For me, every dream of paradise has some water in it, the ocean, a river, a lake or, to be realistic, a fish pond. Waterfall under construction A pond alive with Japanese koi is a thing of beauty and one that I wanted so very much. When we started building Summertime, our holiday villa in Goa, I decided that I wanted a koi pond attached to the bedroom that will be one day ours, in retirement. The outline of the house was ready and the day came when the labourers started digging out the koi pond just outside the bedroom. The pond didn’t need to be too deep, just about a meter. The first layer went fairly easy but then.. the pickaxes seemed to hit solid rock.

What should have been just a couple of days’ job for the strong labourers, was going really slow. After much digging, the labourers dug up a huge laterite boulder about five feet tall and almost as broad! It looked like the place we had demarcated for the koi pond, was made up entirely of laterite rocks.

Would this mean I would have to abandon the idea of my lovely koi pond? Would we need to forget about the pond? I could see the colourful koi swimming out of my dream.

We called Shashank Vaidya, the master landscaper and a dear friend who was helping us with the landscaping around Summertime. I also sent him photos of the enormous boulder we had unearthed from the future koi pond. Rather than turning gloomy, like me, Shashank sounded most excited.

“Boulders! Wonderful!”

“But, but…the koi pond..” I spluttered.

“Ah, you will get your koi pond, don’t worry. Do you think there are any more of these rocks there?”

I told him yes, it certainly looked like the area was full of more such rocks.

“Well, make sure they excavate them gently, not break them in smaller pieces, we need them big!” We Do? I didn’t know that!

“Yes, yes, we will make a waterfall with them” Said Shashank, as if it was the most obvious thing. “We will make a waterfall that will end in your koi pond!”

The finished waterfall in Goa

And that’s how the Summertime waterfall came to be. The gigantic rocks, excavated carefully by hand, were moved around, using chain pulleys. Shashank stood there under hot sun, directing the placement of each of them. Using the natural slope of the pond, Shashank arranged the rocks in such a way that the waterfall snuggles as if it was always a part of the landscape. The gaps between the rocks were filled up by large river pebbles. The water cascades down several smaller pools on many levels before coming into the koi pond. A stone Buddha statue watches calmly over the surroundings.

Famous for his fantastic vision, Shashank gave us stepping stones in the waterfall and even a couple of seats where one can sit surrounded by cascading water.

Summertime not only has a beautiful koi pond, but also a stunning waterfall with dense ferns bordering it. A lovely champa tree droops fragrant flowers to the water below. The waterfall ends into my dream koi pond where colourful fish swirl around. Butterflies flit around lazily and dragonflies zoom about. The waterfall is one of the few sources of fresh water and that attracts several birds, who visit through the days adding their sweet notes to the sounds of the water.

The living at Summertime is indeed easy….