21 huge, open wells, built around 500 years ago, are filling with water after desilting and providing a vital source of water for this arid city in Karnataka.

A little over two months ago, the historic Taj bawadi (huge open wells), built during the Adil Shahi era (1490-1686) in Vijayapura in Karnataka was a filthy cesspool, with the polluted water unfit for any use.

Today the 223 ft wide structure has potable water, with hundreds of springs injecting fresh water into it.

Built in 1620 in the name of Taj Sultana, the queen of Ibrahim Adil Shah-II, the Taj bawadi is one of 21 such open wells being revived by the district administration in a first ever attempt at cleaning and desilting them.

Some of the others being revived are the Chanda Bawadi, Sandal Bawadi, Ibrahimpur Bawadi, Pethi Bawadi and the Gunnapur Bawadi.


Harsha Shetty, Commissioner of the Vijayapura City Corporation, which is implementing the task, said reviving the ancient open wells was a mammoth task as they had accumulated huge quantities of silt and garbage over decades.

“On an average, it took us between 15 and 20 days to clean smaller bawadis. The Taj Bawadi, the biggest one, took almost two months, mainly because of the countless springs that kept filling the bawadi quickly,” he said.

“We also plan to install pump sets to draw water and RO plants so that people could use water, he added. While the total water need of the city is around 65 million liters/day, the bawadis would provide at least 5 MLDs, he said.