India is among the countries with the most number of dams criss crossing the expanse of the country. From the longest to the highest to the largest, the list of dams in India is extensive and expansive. Here’s some of the most distinctive of such dams that exist in India-
The highest dam in India and one of the highest in the world as well, the Tehri Dam in Uttarakhand is a multi-purpose rock and earth-fill embankment dam on the Bhagirathi River. A 855 feet tall structure, the Tehri Dam was opened in 2006 even when it had been the subject of numerous protests on environmental and social grounds. The world’s most significant hydro electric water project, the Tehri Dam also supplies water drawn from the Bhagirathi and Bhilangana rivers for irrigation and daily consumption.
However the Tehri dam is famous not just for being the second largest dam in Asia. The reservoir of the dam, the Tehri Lake is also a popular tourist attraction. Whether be it the ample natural beauty of the lake or its offering of multiple adventure sports avenues, the Tehri lake and dam is a major Indian hotspot.
The longest dam not just in India but in the entire world, the Hirakud Dam sits over the Mahanadi river in the state of Odisha. A 27 kilometer long structure, the Hirakud Dam is amongst the first major multipurpose river valley projects started after India’s independence. The dam also forms the biggest artificial lake in India, thereby being also a prominent tourist attraction. Adding to the touristry appeal of the Hirakud dam is also its mighty expanse that sees a flourishing wildlife as well as a range of underwater temples. These lost temples present excellent opportunities for scuba diving enthusiasts to explore the underbelly of Hirakud Dam.
A gravity dam, one of the highest in the world, the Bhakra Dam is built on the Sutlej river in the state of Himachal Pradesh in northern India. With a height of 741 feet, the high rise Bhakra Dam has been instrumental in checking floods in the Satluj-Beas river valley, in facilitating irrigation in adjoining states and also in generating hydro-electricity. Additionally the reservoir of the Bhakra dam, the Govind Sagar reservoir also provides avenues for commercial fishing. Being also one of the largest dams of India in the list, the Bhakra dam is a popular tourist attraction and stands true to its description by Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru as the “New Temple of Resurgent India”.
Sardar Sarovar Dam
Another one of the largest dams in the world, the Sardar Sarovar dam also finds way into this list of dams in India. Built on the Narmada river in the state of Gujarat, the dam has been subject to considerable controversy. In fact it has been at the centre of the Narmada Bachao Andolan and is the largest dam to have been built on the Narmada river. Also a tourist attraction like its counterparts, the Sardar Sarovar or Narmada dam provides water to the arid regions of Kutch and Saurashtra, which are often prone to severe and frequent droughts.
An ancient dam, the Kallanai dam is the oldest water-regulator structure still in use in India. Sitting across the Kaveri river in the state of Tamil Nadu, the Kallanai dam has been in existence since the 2nd century AD when King Karikalan of the Chola Dynasty undertook its construction. Kallanai dam was intended to divert the waters of the Kaveri across the fertile delta region for irrigation via canals and to its northern delta branch Kollidam/Coleroon.
The second largest rock dam in Asia, the Sholayar dam offers scenic views of the surrounding greenery while being a majestic existence in itself. Nestled by the Anamalai hills, this humongous dam remains as tranquil and verdant as the entire expanse of Valparai itself. Gushing waters, ample abundance of natural flora and fauna, the fascinating criss cross trail make the Sholapur dam one among the more raved about spots in town. Surrounded by the Sholayar forest and resplendent with the many lush tea plantations that characterise its backwaters, the namesake dam is a prominent feature among the touristry places to visit in Valparai.
Nagarjuna Sagar Dam
The longest masonry dam in the world is the Nagarjuna Sagar Dam along the Krishna river in India. One of the earliest infrastructure projects that heralded the Green Revolution in India, the Nagarjuna Sagar Dam has indeed ushered in prosperity into the regions of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. The dam also serves as an excellent weekend getaway from Hyderabad and has claim to be the largest man made lake in the world.
The lifeline of Maharashtra, the Koyna Dam remains nestled along the lush prettiness of the Western Ghats and boasts of the largest completed hydroelectric power plant in India, the Koyna Hydroelectric Project. Apart from its electricity generating attributes, the Koyna Dam has also been playing a vital role in averting floods during the monsoon season.
Rihand Dam is the largest in India by volume among the dams in this list. Located in Uttar Pradesh, the reservoir of this dam also called the Gobind Ballabh Pant Sagar is the largest man made lake in India. A concrete gravity dam, the Rihand dam has been pivotal in bringing about economic development in the village of Singrauli. From being an agrarian region to transforming into an industrial one, the Rihand dam has led to tremendous change in scenario in the region even when environmental concerns and displacement issues have continued to marred the project.
A double curvature arch dam across the Periyar river in Kerala, the Idukki dam is one of the highest arch dams in Asia. A 554.2 ft tall concrete, double curvature parabolic, thin arc dam constructed between the mountains Kuravanmala and Kuravathimala, the Idukki dam serves the dual purpose of irrigation and power generation. Also a tourist attraction in calling the heavenly state of Kerala its home, the Idukki dam is as towering a pretty sight as it is a captivating engineering marvel.
Mettur dam is another of India’s largest dams located in Tamil Nadu. Revered as the life and livelihood-giving asset of Tamil Nadu in its provision of irrigation and drinking water for the state, the Mettur dam is a tourist attraction with also the picturesque Ellis park located at the base of the dam.
A gravity dam in Kerala’s capital city, the Neyyar dam is a man-made wonder that makes for among the rare places to visit in Trivandrum. In fact, Neyyar is a lake cum dam that is built over the Neyyar river and makes for a really enthralling spot encompassed by the Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary. With the breathtaking Western Ghats as the backdrop, the Neyyar Dam makes for a really amazing picnic place.
Located at Maithon in Jharkhand, the Maithon Dam is a unique pick from among all the dams of India in this list. The first ever underground power station of south east Asia can be found in Maithon, that has been termed as mother’s abode. Sitting over the Barakar river, the Maithon dam is among the first of dams that came up in independent India. Also among the most successful multipurpose projects in the country, the Maithon dam caters to such needs as flood control, irrigation, electricity generation et al.
The only non cement and concrete dam in India, the Tungabhadra dam sits above the Tungabhadra river in Kallari district of Karnataka. Built of Surki Mortar i.e. a combination of mud and limestone, the dam has been in existence since 1953 and creates the biggest reservoir on the Tungabhadra river.
Among the oldest of dams in India, Kerala’s Pothundi dam runs across the Meenichiladipuzha and Padipuzha rivers. An earth dam that features a core wall built with a mixture of jaggery and quick lime, the dam has been in existence since the 19th century. An irrigation mainstay which now also provides water supply in the region, the reservoir is also popular for the Nemmara Vallengi Vela Festival held on its shores.
Among the top ten embankment dams in the world by volume and the biggest in India, the Parambikulam Dam of Kerala runs along the the Parambikulam River. Interestingly however despite being located in and owned by Kerala, the dam is maintained by the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu.
A picturesque picnic spot and as magnificent a tourist attraction, the Aliyar dam is one of the places to must visit in Valparai. Sitting at the foothills of Valparai some 1000 feet above sea level, the Aliyar dam nestles also a well maintained park and play area as well as an aquarium and boating zone to let you while away a full day of recreation amidst the mist of the mountains and the mystery of the wilderness.