DHARWAD: Villagers in Mulamuttala village in Dharwad have been a busy lot for the past four months. Their mission -- reviving a 12th century well.
The ‘Dodda Bhavi’, which translates to giant well, is located at the entrance of Mulamuttala village. The well dried up about 50 years ago and it was ignored since then. Under heavy rains, mud slid into the well and blocked its opening. Years passed by and the region was hit by a prolonged drought. The villagers then decided to rejuvenate the Dodda Bhavi for their water needs. In a combined effort, the villagers pitched in a total of `5 lakh. Encouraged by their villagers’ efforts, the panchayat promised to pay `1 lakh to speed up the work.
The well is about a 110 feet deep and 34 feet wide. There are steps running along the dike. Villagers say in the past the well was used for sacred purposes like worship and bathing on special occasions.
“We remember seeing water in the well some five decades ago. But over the years, silt collected in the well due to negligence and the water depleted. Work is on full swing to revive the well and we are hopeful of getting water. As the well was closed for decades, clearing the debris was the biggest challenge,” said Hanumantappa Doddannavar, former panchayat president.
Villagers are planning to link excess water from a nearby lake to the well during monsoon. A pipeline too has been fixed for this. Basavaraj Belavadi, a villager, said the project may require at least `10 lakh. “We are planning to approach the district administration to help us complete the work. Once there is water in the well, it will rejuvenate the groundwater table,” he said.
As villagers dug up the well and cleared the debris, they unearthed some valuables like swords and vessels. A set of copper mugs and an idol of Lord Veerabhadreswhara too were found. The antiques are now kept at the village temple and villagers are planning to hand them over to the department of archaeology.