The underwater Indian village that emerges annually



The Salaulim damPicture copyright
Gurucharan Kurdikar

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The state’s first dam submerged the village of Curdi

A village within the western Indian state of Goa is barely seen for one month in a 12 months – for the remaining 11 months, it disappears below water. And when the water recedes, its authentic residents, now settled elsewhere, come collectively to have fun their house, experiences Supriya Vohra.

The village of Curdi was nestled between two hills within the Western Ghats with the Salaulim river – a tributary of one of many main rivers in Goa – operating via it.

It was as soon as a thriving village in south-eastern Goa.

In 1986, the village as its residents knew it ceased to exist. The state’s first dam was constructed and, as a consequence, the village was utterly submerged.

However yearly in Could, the water recedes to disclose what’s left of it.

Cracked earth, stumps of timber, eroded remnants of homes and spiritual buildings, damaged stays of home items, water canals in ruins, and miles of barren floor criss-crossing with water our bodies.

Picture copyright
Supriya Vohra

Picture caption

Situated within the hinterland, Curdi was as soon as a thriving village

The land was once fertile and many of the village, whose inhabitants was round three,000, lived off of it – they tilled paddy fields surrounded by coconut, cashew, mango and jackfruit timber.

Hindus, Muslims and Christians lived collectively. There was a fundamental temple, a number of smaller temples, a chapel and a Muslim shrine. It was additionally the birthplace of the famend classical vocalist Mogubai Kurdikar.

However issues drastically modified after Goa was liberated from the Portuguese in 1961.

The primary chief minister, Dayanand Bandodkar, visited the village with information concerning the building of the state’s first dam. He gathered all of the residents and instructed them that it might profit all of southern Goa.

Picture copyright
Supriya Vohra

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When the water recedes yearly, remnants of the village are revealed

“He stated it is going to drown our village, however our sacrifice shall be for the better good,” 75-year-old Gajanan Kurdikar, who has vivid reminiscences of the assembly, says.

Mr Kurdikar and different residents, comprising greater than 600 households, had been compelled to relocate to close by villages however got land and compensation.

The venture was formidable. Constructed on the banks of the Salaulim river, it was referred to as the Salaulim Irrigation Undertaking. It proposed to offer water for consuming, irrigation and industrial functions to most of southern Goa. And it was meant to offer some 400 million litres of water per day to residents.

“After we got here to the brand new village we had completely nothing,” recollects Inacio Rodrigues. His was amongst the primary few households to shift in 1982. They needed to keep in makeshift houses till they may construct their very own house from scratch. For some that took virtually 5 years.

Picture copyright
Gurucharan Kurdikar

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The state’s first dam was deliberate to offer water for all of southern Goa

Gurucharan Kurdikar was 10 years previous when his household moved to a brand new village in 1986.

“I faintly bear in mind my mother and father hurriedly placing every thing in a pick-up truck. I used to be additionally packed up within the truck, together with my brother and grandmother. My mother and father adopted us on their moped,” the 42 year-old recollects.

His mom, Mamta Kurdikar, remembers the day extra clearly. “I feel we had been the previous few households left. It rained closely the evening earlier than, and the water from the fields began getting into our home. We needed to depart instantly. I could not even take my flour mill with me,” she says.

Picture copyright
Supriya Vohra

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Gajanan and Mamta Kurdikar now dwell in Vaddem village

However the water from the dam by no means reached the villages the place the previous inhabitants of Curdi moved.

“The faucet system didn’t come via to all villages of south Goa as promised,” Gajanan Kurdikar says. “So we don’t get our consuming water from the dam.”

In Vaddem, the place Mr Kurdikar now lives, there are two giant wells. However in April and Could, the wells start to dry up. They’re then compelled to rely upon authorities tankers for his or her consuming water.

When the water recedes in Could, Curdi’s authentic inhabitants go to their misplaced homeland.

Picture copyright
Supriya Vohra

Picture caption

About three,000 residents lived in Curdi earlier than they had been compelled to relocate

The Christian group collect for an annual Chapel feast and the Hindus host a temple feast throughout that month.

“At this time it’s extremely simple for us to pack up our luggage and transfer,” says Venisha Fernandes, a Goa-based sociologist.

“However for the individuals of Curdi, their identification was primarily based on their land. They had been carefully and straight linked with it. That’s maybe why they bear in mind it keenly, and preserve coming again to it.”

Supriya Vohra is an impartial journalist primarily based in Goa.

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