Beginning with a journey that is flooded with transcendental places and gorgeous landscapes, Kerala is nothing short of bathing in the lap of heaven. One of India’s favourite honeymoon destinations and a vacationers paradise is also home to the much coveted dam that is considered as one of the top 10 highest Arch Dams in the world and the 3rd highest in India.
Yes, we are speaking of none other than – The Idukki Dam in Kerala.
An ambitious project that changed the landscape of Kerala, is today a major contributor to the electricity of the State, all because of the Idukki Hydroelectric Project.
#Trivia: The dam was aided by the Government of Canada with long term grants and loans.
History of Idukki Dam
1919- Idea of constructing a dam for power generation was conceived.
1922- Shri Kolumban showed the way to his friend Thomas and the Malankara Estate Superintendent about the possibility of actually building this dam. They were also enlightened about the legend of the Kurathi and Kuruvan hills.
During that time, Mr. Thomas was quite impressed with the flow of water between these two hills and it was due to his ingenuine foresight that the present Idukki Arch Dam came into being.
(Let’s fast forward 10 years…)
1932 – Sir W. J. John finally submitted a detailed report to the Government of Travancore about the possibility of actually building a dam at Idukki that will continue to become a great source of power generation for the future generations too.
(Every big job takes a lot of time to actually materialize…)
1947 – Sir P. Joseph John, the chief electrical engineer to the government of Travancore, submitted an initial investigation.
1956 – The Central Water Commission conducts a detailed investigation on the governments’ request.
1961 – Project report prepared.
#Trivia: The dam is constructed in such a way that it did not harm any forest cover or mountains during its construction. The area was largely uninhabited thus causing no damage to life and property. It is said to receive enough rainfall during the year for the state to receive electricity via hydroelectric project. They did not need to depend on the water from the dam solely.
1963 - The Planning Commission is finally given the sanction for implementing this mammoth project.
1969 – The construction of the dam finally starts on 30th April.
1973 – Water storage at the dam begins.
1975 – Inauguration of the pilot run of the first machine celebrated on 4th October.
1976 – Smt. Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India, commissions the commercial operation of the power station on 12th February.
(…and the legend still stands strong and supplies over a billion gallons of water to the state of Kerala)
#Trivia: The construction of this dam, along with two other dams i.e. Kulamavu and Cheruthoni have created an artificial lake that is nearly 60 km wide. The water stored is utilized for power generation at the unique Moolamattom Power House that is located inside rocky caves.
When we walk down the history lane, the fascinating facts about Idukki dam in Kerala are nothing short of a wonder. The picturesque setting of this dam is nothing short of a photographers and vacationers paradise. It is one of the finest architectural marvels of the state of Kerala and a great boost to its booming tourism landscape.
From lush green mountains to pristine clear waters, there is a sense of serenity that prevails when we walk or hike around the dam. It is not only a picturesque picnic spot but a perfect place to shoot pre-wedding photos, natural camera capers and much more.
#Trivia: It is the world’s 2nd and Asia’s 1st Arch Dam measuring nearly 555 ft. in height. The aerial view of the two towering hills with the Dam built in between is a sight to behold.
Before we move on, let us take you a little insight about Idukki district too.
Brief about Idukki
It is about 47kms from Munnar, 105 kms from Kochi, 171 kms from Madurai and 101 kms from Kottayam. It is one of the most beautiful hill stations and a must place to visit in Kerala.
#Trivia: Idukki is home to South India’s highest peak, Anamudi that stands tall at 2695 meters. It is also home to 13 other peaks that are over 2000 meters tall.
It is a place with a diverse range of tourist attractions. From Idukki dam to wildlife sanctuaries, waterfalls, mountain treks and spice plantation centers, it tops the list of places to visit in Kerala.
People can enjoy a lovely 15 minute boat ride at the Idukki dam at a price of Rs. 600 for 5 persons. It gives you a first hand experience about the magnanimity of the striking dam.
#Trivia: Idukki stems from the Malayalam word ‘Idukku’ which means a narrow ravine. The Periyar, the largest rivers of Kerala, flows through the Idukki gorge formed between two really massive mountains- Kurathi and Kuravan.
Hence the name Idukki dam.
Does this want to make you go to Idukki dam in Kerala? Well, this is not all that you can expect on your vacation around here. Let's have a look …
Places to visit near Idukki Dam
1. Cheruthoni Gravity Dam: Located near Idukki dam is the largest and highest gravity dam in Kerala- Cheruthoni Gravity Dam. It belongs to the straight gravity concrete type dam and is an absolute wonder to observe and soak in its essence. It is 2135 ft. long at the top and its spillway length is 240 ft.
This gorgeous and tranquil dam is built by rerouting the Cheruthoni river that is a tributary of the Periyar river. The main purpose of this particular dam to be built is to block the water from overflowing from the Periyar through the Cheruthoni river.
#Trivia: A gravity dam is constructed using stone masonry or concrete. The weight of the material alone holds back the water pushing against the dam structure, thus not letting the horizontal pressure affect it. A gravity dam is built in such a way that each section is firm and independent of any other dam sector. It is a unique way of holding water and ensuring full utilization.
2. Kulamavu Dam: A gravity masonry dam built across the Kilivally river, it is a part of the Moovattupuzha river. It is 328 ft. tall and is located around 30 kms west of Idukki dam in Kerala. It was constructed in 1961. It offers some exciting trekking trails that have an enchanting effect on the trekkers and hikers who come visiting. It is located around 5 kms from Periyar River, Idukki.
We know that you would love to capture a picture or two on your way to Idukki dam. You can do so on a pavilion built on the Nadukoni hilltop built by the Kerala State Electricity Board. You can enjoy a gorgeous view of the valley and its plush breath-taking greenery from here.
#Trivia: It is the smallest dam in the Idukki Hydroelectric project and one of the three dams of Idukki dam in Kerala.
Idukki is one of the most beautiful tourist places in Kerala. The pleasant climate and the atmosphere of the valley make it extremely welcoming to all tourists from across the world. The valley’s significance is heightened because of the dam and its picturesque surroundings.
#Trivia: Idukki is synonymous to electricity in Kerala as it caters to around 66% of the state’s hydroelectric power consumption. It is also called ‘Power House of Kerala’.
3. Ramakkalmedu Peak: Situated on the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border, this gorgeous location is one of the top tourist spots near Idukki dam in Kerala. It is located about 30 kms from Thekkady in Idukki district and enjoys a mythological significance dating back to the Ramayana. It translates into ‘Land of Rama’s stone’ or ‘Land where Lord Rama set his holy foot’.
It has a beautiful little pristine lake with lotus flowers and a tree atop the mountain. Be vary of the high wind velocity as it might just sweep your hat off your head.
4. Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary: A pristine green escapade capped with the most majestic view and tranquil waters of the Idukki lake located on 3 sides, this wildlife sanctuary is home to a large number of animal species. Amidst picturesque settings of tropical evergreen forests and deciduous forests along with shimmering meadows, lies a land bathed in natural beauty.
It is home to some exquisite wildlife species such as wild elephants, jungle cats, bison, deer, sambar, wild dogs, wild boards, Malabar giant squirrel, etc. It is also home to varied reptilian species such as viper, krait, cobra, etc. The location is sure to leave you bewildered.
It is located around 40 kms from Thodupuzha, Idukki. A must visit place in Idukki, Kerala during your visit here.
5. Keezharkuthu Falls: The beautiful cascading effect that the water has while falling from a height of nearly 1500 meters, is nothing short of a magical sight. The Keezharkuthu falls are also called rainbow falls because of the effect the sun light has on the shimmering waters.
A once in a lifetime experience, these falls are bound to take your breath away. It is a top favourite amongst adventure enthusiasts, photographers and mountaineering aficionados. It is located around 30 kms from Idukki and is close to other top tourist spots such as Kalvari mount, Thommankuthu falls and much more.
6. Thommankuthu falls: At first sight, it looks just like a scene from the movie Bahubali. Imagine Prabhas carrying that stone Shivling over the cascading rocky terrain that is covered with majestic falls. Such is the effect of Thommankuthu falls. It is a series of 12 falls or, as locals call them, kuthus that are spread over an area of 5 kms. They fall at a height of 40 meters. All the 12 falls vary in height and thus present a beautiful sight for all visitors.
#Trivia: It is eponymous to its founder, Thommachan Kuruvinakunnel, who actually introduced this gorgeous waterfall to the world. It is located around 20kms from Thodupuzha.
It has an entry fee of Rs. 10 for adults and Rs 5 for children approx..
7. Painavu: If you are looking for those evergreen forest expanse that throng the landscape of Kerala, you have come to the right place. Painavu is a quintessential photographers paradise with layers of green escapades spanning acres of land and located around 3900 ft above sea level, right inside the Idukki wildlife sanctuary.
It is a favourite hotspot for trekkers and nature enthusiasts that can soak in the resplendent plantations, forests and charming hamlets. It is very close to Idukki Arch Dam in Kerala, amongst other popular small hotspots around. The sauntering sight of wild elephants is simply breath-taking.
It is around 114 kms from Ernakulam railway station. You can visit this place at no entry fee, all day.
8. Nedumkandam Hill: A panoramic spot and a popular tourist attraction of Idukki district, Nedumkandam hill is located around 3200 ft. above sea level. It is proudly called the land of pepper, cardamom and coffee, owing to the vast plantations located around it.
The pristine air provides that much awaited freshness that we all look forward to on a holiday. It is also close to other popular tourist spots located anywhere between 30kms to 5kms like Ramakkalamedu, Kallumekallu, Kailasapara, Thooval Falls, etc.
It is located around 40kms from Thekkady.
9. Cheeyaparra waterfalls: Located on the picturesque Kochi-Madurai highway, Cheeyaparra waterfalls are a sight to behold. The cascading waters falling down seven tiers of rocky terrain will simply leave you breathless. The evergreen forests and alluring mountainside attracts a number of trekking enthusiasts all year round.
With its proximity to the highway, there are a number of photographers who enjoy clicking some amazing pictures of this gorgeous hotspot. It is located in Idukki and is quite close to the Idukki dam in Kerala.
10. Kalvari or Calvary Mount: One of the most popular places of interest in Idukki district, Calvary Mount or Kalvari is a gorgeous mountainside overlooking the tranquil waters of the lake between Kurathi and Kuravan hills and the Idukki dam.
Travellers or trekkers can take a break at the nearby Tea Factory that offers Kerala’s finest flavoursome tea experience. The path from the Viewpoint to the hilltop is quite steep and arduous for the trekkers. However, once atop, the pictorial view of the Mariyapuram and Kamakshy hamlets is just so beautiful.
It is located around 5 kms from Idukki and can be visited all day long. Although the real beauty can be enjoyed during the day only.
#Trivia: Idukki district has few of the most picturesque tourist spots in Kerala and is quite a popular destination for all those visiting the state. It is a powerhouse of attractions that has everything from forests to tea plantations, waterfalls to mountain treks, etc.
With natural beauty beckoning you for that long awaited vacation or an adventurous honeymoon, Idukki has all the ingredients to make your holidays more memorable. Book a Kerala Tour package from Holidays DNA to fulfil your vacation needs.
Places to eat near Idukki Arch Dam
Every wandering mind needs a stomach full of food to regale in the sights that await them. To quench your hunger and give you a glimpse of local cuisine, coupled with other Indian variations, you can try out a few places to eat near Idukki dam in Kerala.
1. Malabar Village Food Court: Located at a quick drive of just 10 mins, or 4 kms, is a quaint yet satiating food joint – Malabar Village food court.
There is a limited variety of typical south Indian variety of cuisine along with a couple of north Indian dishes that can be enjoyed at this restaurant. It is easy to reach, hygienic and affordable. A quick way to satisfy those longing hunger pangs.
2. Periyar café: Located at a convenient distance of just 10 mins, or 3–4kms, Periyar café is right at the entrance of the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. This cosy and peppy eatery is a perfect way to start your day or take a break from sightseeing. Chill out with your family and friends sipping on some hot tea and delicious pizzas, sandwiches or a wholesome meal right here.
The warm and inviting décor quickly makes you feel right at home.
3. Kodumudi Restaurant: Located at a distance of about 40 mins, or 15 kms, from the Idukki Arch Dam, Kodumudi restaurant gives you respite from a long day of touristy attractions. With delicious local and Indian cuisines, it is a quaint place located on the roadside on the Kanjirapally and Kattappana route. A lovely place to relish the taste of authentic Kerala cuisine.
Although you can find some authentic restaurants in Munnar, Thekkady, etc. these are few quick stopovers on your way to or on your way back from Idukki Arch Dam. Grab a refreshing bite at any of these places near Idukki dam.
How to Reach Idukki Arch Dam?
Idukki can be easily reached by road from all the major cities in Kerala and nearby states.
Railway- The nearest railway station to Idukki Arch Dam is in Kottayam. It is around 110 kms from the dam. Tourists can take public transport or book a private cab from top car rental companies in Kerala to directly reach the dam.
Airport- The nearest airport to Idukki Arch Dam, Cochin International Airport, is located around a 100 kms from here. There are a number of private cabs and taxis available to take tourists directly to the dam.
Road- There are frequent cabs and buses that ply between different cities and Idukki. Local tourists can enjoy a quaint drive from their location to the dam. While out-of-town tourists can enjoy a short yet refreshing drive from the railway station, bus stand or airport.
Idukki Arch Dam is a beautiful rainbow adorning the landscape of Kerala. Beckoning tourists from near and far, it is a must visit tourist destination for long vacations, holidays or even a romantic honeymoon.
Now plan your exclusive trips or get complete bookings done with the help of Holidays DNA team anytime!. Please fill the Contact Us form for more details...
We create experiences, not just holidays.