Digging through the ‘suranga’ cave wells, one of the oldest water harvesting systems found in the regions of north Kerala and Karnataka, 67-year old Kunjambu has singlehandedly provided water to the villagers of Kundamjuzhy, a village in Kerala’s Kasargod district for more than 50 years.
Kunjambu, who started digging at the age of 14 is now one of the very few suranga diggers left in the country and claims that thus far, he has dug out over 1000 of these cave-like wells.
‘Suranga’ in Kannada or ‘Thurangam’ in Malayalam is a narrow cave-like structure dug into the lateral sides of hills.
These unique cave wells are almost 2.5 feet wide can be dug up to 300 meters until a water spring is found, and are considered to be one of the most sustainable water harvesting systems in these regions.
The water that flows into the tunnel is channeled into a reservoir that is built near the tunnel. Once the water starts freely flowing from the springs, there is a steady supply of freshwater for years, without the use of motors or even pumps.