History Of Idukki Dam – An Architectural Magic


  Man made barrier constructed on a flowing river to hold backwater and generate electricity or water supply is what we call as a Dam. With all the properties of a dam and marvelous charisma of nature with calm and harmonious atmosphere freak outs anyone to have a glance on that spot. This stunning view makes Idukki dam as the most popular globetrotter s attraction in the world. An arch dam with 168.91m (554ft) height, 365.85m (1200ft) length at the top  and 450,000m3 volume  built between 2 mountains named Kuravanmala and Kurathimala on Periyar river makes Idukki dam world famous. it is worlds 2nd and Asia’s 1st arch dam and presently 3rd tallest arch dam in Asia.

Idukki dam is owned by Kerala State Electricity Board and has started generating power in October 4th 1978 with 780MW hydroelectric power station. Dam type is of concrete double curvature parabolic thin arch dam. An underground  power house located 43 km away from dam in Moolamattom (largest underground power house in India), and a man made 4 km long circular tunnel named Anchuruli in kanchiyar village which carry water from Erattayar dam to Idukki dam are some specialty of Idukki dam which was constructed with other 2 dams named

  • Cheruthoni dam
  • Type-straight gravity concrete
  • height -453.4 ft
  • length at top-2135 ft
  • Kulamavu dam
  • Type-gravity masonry
  • Intake still level-2245 ft


This altogether created an artificial lake of 60 km2 in area. Visitors are allowed to explore the dam only during Christmas and Onam festival, during Saturdays and Sundays from 10 AM to 5 PM and one of the heartrending attribute for sightseers is that no cameras or shootings are allowed inside dam which will be firstly checked at the entrance by security. Boat services are also provided for visitors to explore the beauty of dam. One can beautifully summaries the far-flung view of the dam between 2 huge mountains that seems to touch the cloudy blanket from Hill View Park situated near Idukki dam. Watch tower of Hill View Park produces top view of the dam.


In 1919, an Italian engineer named Jacob, mentioned in his report about the possibility of constructing a dam in Idukki, but his report was not accepted by the Travancore government at the time. Later in 1922 head of an adhivasi race ‘oorali’ named Shri Karuvellayan Kolumban  showed the present place of Idukki dam to Malankara Estate Superintendent  W.J John. As years passed Karuvellayan kolumban became a memory who is still remembered as the man who discovered the site of Idukki dam  and his  statue and monument is built at the entrance of cheruthoni dam. In 1932, W.J John and his brother reported the possibility and importance of building dam at the present spot of Idukki dam to Travancore government.

Later after so many studies in 1967 India and Canada (sponsorship in dam construction) signed the contract of constructing dam (according to Colombo  plan ). In 1969 April 30th construction work of dam commenced and by 4th October 1978 dam started generating power. Shutters of the dam was 1st opened in 1981, and secondly was opened in 1992 for 12 days.


Places To Visit Near Idukki Dam:

  • Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Cheruthoni Dam
  • Nadukani Pavilion
  • Kalvari Mount
  • Hills View Park
  • Thommankuttu Waterfalls
  • Chathurangapara View Point
  • Anchuruli Tunnel
  • Ponmudi Dam

How To Reach

  • Nearest railway station – Kottayam (99 KM away)
  • Nearest Airport – Cochin International Airport(109 KM away)

Download The History Of Idukki Dam (Malayalam) Here.

The History Of Idukki Dam – Malayalam

©Roy Joseph Painavu


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