The Idukki Dam: An Architectural Miracle
The Idukki Dam is a famous curve dam built over the Periyar River, in a tight canyon between two stone slopes (provincially known as Kuravan and Kurathi) arranged in Idukki, Kerala, India.With 168.91 meters (554.2 ft), it is one of the highest arch dams in entire Asia. It is constructed and owned by the Kerala State Electricity Board(KSEB). This dam was constructed along with two other dams at Cheruthoni and Kulamavu and together, these three dams have created an artificial lake that is 60 km2 in area.
It is a wonder that the nature hidden between hill pairs joined together with technology, an energy revolution that changed the face of Kerala Power generation took birth and is open for the tourists visiting the place. Nature always has something saved as a gift for attracting travelers and tourists.
The Idukki Dam that is built-in across the Periyar river between two rocky hills Kuravan and Kurathi has predicted life of nearly 300 years. It is one of the highest existing dams in the world and the first arch dam ever in India. Idukki Dam is located in Idukki district, Kerala, God’s own country. It is a double curvature arch dam which is worth a visit during your trip to Thekkady.
People can definitely pay a visit to this dam during your stay at any best hotels in Thekkady. There are many points that tourists should know about the Idukki dam. The Idukki Hydroelectric Project is considered the biggest hydroelectric project in Kerala. Idukki dam has a height of 168.91 m (554 ft). It has a total drainage area of 250.7 square. miles (649.3 square kilometers). The Full Reservoir Level (FRL) is 2403 feet (732.62 m) and the Maximum Water Level (MWL) is 2408.5 feet (734.3 m).
Construction of this dam was commenced on 30th April 1969 and the storage process started during February 1973. 365.85 meters long Idukki dam has a total volume of 450,000 m3. Even though it has a total capacity of 1,996×106 m3, 1,460×106 m3 is considered as its active capacity. Cheruthoni and Kulamavu dam were constructed along with the Idukki dam and trio create an artificial lake of 60 km² in area. The Canadian Government helped in dam construction with long term loans and grants. All these three dams are at the same level which is 736.09 m above sea level. The Idukki Dam protects Kochi, Ernakulam, western areas of Thrissur district and Periyar riversides from an extreme flood.
The Idukki dam is designed in such a way that it is capable of resisting earthquakes. Stories about the construction of this dam tell us that ice cubes were used while preparing the concrete mixture, to reduce the temperature and its regulation.
An arch dam is constructed with the right hand of Kuravan hill and left hand of Kurathi hill. It is constructed in a ‘double curvature parabolic, thin arc’ shape which has physical similarities to one-fourth of a coconut shell. There are inspection galleries for the people visiting the dam at three different levels. Through this inspection galleries, people can view the dam wonderfully.
There is a story behind Idukki Dam which is about a curse story about the Kuravanmala and Kurathimala. (Mala means hill in Malayalam) . Kuravan and Kurathi were a tribal couple and when Sita and Ram reached Periyar, Sita was taking bath in the Periyar river and Kuravan and Kurathi happened to see her. On flattered with Sita’s beauty, both were staring at her. Rama caught this and both Kuravan and Kurathi together were cursed by Ram to rock.
The couple begged for mercy and they told Rama not to separate them. Rama then told them that they would get free from the curse (moksha) when they are joined together forever. They thus became the huge hills nearby and the Periyar river was flowing between them. People used to say that, Kuravan and Kurathi got moksha through the construction of this dam since they are joined together now forever!!. The purpose of this dam includes power generation, irrigation and promoting Kerala tourism as well.