Framed Photos

How a drought helped this lost village in Aurangabad resurface

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Out of depth: A Hanuman temple, more than a century old, stands tall after 50 years under water.
What lies beneath: A boy plays on the ruins of the Pirbaba dargah of Pimpalwadi village, which was submerged when the Nath Sagar reservoir was built at Paithan in Aurangabad..
Lapped up: Part of a century-old Ganesha temple has emerged from the water.
Rise and shine: Portion of a temple re-emerges firom the receding water in Savkhede.
Bridge to nowhere: An old bridge on the Aurangabad-Paithan road in Pimpalwadi can be seen.
Drought crop: Pravin Bansod grows musk melon on the bed of the Nath Sagar reservoir.
Bird’s eye view: A Mahanubhav sect temple, which was half-submerged, is now fully visible. Flamingos feed on the wetland.
Every drop: Downstream of the Jayakwadi dam, water collected from pits drilled into the dry bed of the Godavari is sold for ₹5 a bucket.

Nanasaheb Avadhoot remembers the day in 1976 when his village — and several others in Maharashtra's Aurangabad district — were swallowed up by the swirling waters of the Godavari when the Jayakwadi dam was constructed in Paithan.

The drought raging in Aurangabad has made the waters recede at Nath Sagar reservoir, and Avadhoot's village Pimpalwadi can be seen again. Now in his 50s, Avadhoot stands on the spot where his house once stood. A broken stone structure brings back memories of the flood — it is one of the few features that has survived the deluge.

The receding waters have uncovered a century-old Narasimha temple, a Hanuman temple, the Pirbaba dargah, a math, the Aurangabad-Paithan road, and a bridge. Shivaji Khillare has often sailed on the river and fished in the reservoir's waters, and he was amazed at the magnificent structures that the riverbed yielded.

He says he has heard stories from his 90-year-old father Rambhau about how Savkheda village submerged when the dam was built. Rambhau spent 30 years in this village before it went under. “I spent my childhood and played with my friends here, sitting on the banks of the Godavari," says an emotional Rambhau. “Then the village was asked to vacate, and everything was gone forever.”

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