How a drought helped this lost village in Aurangabad resurface

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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