100 Years Later: Bantwala remembers the devastating mari bolla

09:24 AM Jul 27, 2023 | Team Udayavani |

It has been a century since the region was devastated by the Mari Bolla (Terrible Flood), a catastrophic flood that submerged entire towns of Bantwala and Panemangaluru. The flood, which occurred on August 7, 1923, left an indelible mark on the local populace and their heritage, with some ancient buildings still displaying the waterline where the floodwaters had reached.


The Mari Bolla of 1923 remains etched in the collective memory of the residents, a tragic reminder of the havoc it wreaked upon their lives. In the wake of the impending centenary, the locals are steadfast in ensuring that the horror of that fateful day is not forgotten.

Adding to the significance of this commemoration, it was during the same period in 1923 that Sadhguru Nityananda Swami arrived in Bantwala, and the event will also be remembered to honor his presence amidst the calamity.

Local anecdotes speak of the destruction caused by the flood, and how the water reached unimaginable heights, submerging vast areas, including the roof of a building belonging to Dharmasthala Constituency, where the date “7.8.1923” was inscribed to mark the water’s highest level. Today, this inscription serves as a poignant reminder of the tragedy that unfolded.

Another building near Panemangaluru city’s three-way street bears the words “Date. 7.8.1923 Kujawara e kallini tanaka bandidhe.” The faint inscription serves as a testament to the flood’s impact, even after all these years.


Recollections from the elders reveal that waterways were the primary means of transportation in Bantwala during that era, making Panemangalore a bustling commercial town due to its location along the Netravati riverbank. Tragically, the floodwaters engulfed the town, washing away all goods and leading to daring rescue missions where several families were saved by boats.

While time has passed, and new buildings now occupy the spaces once submerged, the emotional scars left by the Mari Bolla still linger.


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