Periyar is the longest river in Kerala. This river flows between the Kuravan Mala and Kurathi mala hillocks of Idukki. The Idukki arch dam is made by connecting these 2 hills with concrete. It is an arch-shaped concrete dam. This is the first arch dam in Asia and second in the world. Kerala’s hydroelectric power station is around 43 km away from the dam at the placed called Moolamattom. Idukki is called the powerhouse of Kerala since the state’s power supply mostly comes from this district.
Kuravan mala and Kurathi mala
Photo by prasad.om
The Kuravan and Kurathi were tribals. The myth says that once Lord Rama and Seetha came to Periyar and Seetha took bath in it. But because of Seetha’s beauty, both Kuravan and Kurathi stared at Seetha. Lord Rama caught both of them and cursed them and turned them to rocks. But the Kuravan and Kurathi said that they can’t live separated. Lord Rama says that in Kaliyuga they will get moksha from the curse and they will be connected again. It is believed that because of Rama’s boon, this dam was made and it is a gift from Lord Rama.
The Idea behind Idukki Arch Dam
The idea of making this dam originated some 100 years back, in 1919. The Malankara superintendent and his friend Thomas were moving around the forest for hunting. They met a tribal called Kurumban who showed them these hillocks and the river flowing between them. Thomas was thinking of utilizing nature’s brilliance. Because of his engineering excellence, he came up with the idea of this Arch dam. He proceeded with reports from Malankara estates, the feasibility of constructing, procedures, construction and finally commissioned took place in 1976. This power station is under the Kerala government and it produces around 80% of the power required for the state.
One of the best projects in Asia
Most of the power consumed in Kerala comes from Idukki. Moolamattom hydroelectric power station, which the biggest underground power station, is located in Idukki. Two other dams, Cheruthoni and Kulamavu, are also located in the surrounding area of Periyar River. The Idukki Arch Dam stands 554 ft tall between the huge hillocks Kuravan Mala (839m) and Kurathi mala (925m).
Attractions near the Arch Dam
Idukki is the most resourceful and beautiful place in Kerala because it is located at small hill which is full of scenic beauty. It is supposedly known as the pollution-free hill station in Kerala. The local people are simple and very close to tribals. Idukki plays very big role in Kerala tourism. The Idukki Arch dam itself is one of the best tourist spots in Idukki. Because it is very special and one of its kind, government has given many security measures. The dam is open to the public twice in a year. During Onam and Christmas, tourists can enjoy a day’s tour of Idukki Arch Dam. Tourists can also enjoy the speed boat cruise during this time which is adventurous and exciting. On regular days, the boat journey from Kulamavu which will go through the Idukki dam area and end at Cheruthoni dam will be the tourists’ delight. Total duration of the boat ride is around 3 hours and you can see many birds, deer, herds of elephants and bison roaming around the forest area.
Photo by Rameshng
The dam is open to the public twice in a year. During Onam and Christmas, tourists can enjoy a day’s tour of Idukki Arch Dam. Tourists can also enjoy the speed boat cruise during this time which is adventurous and exciting. On regular days, the boat journey from Kulamavu which will go through the Idukki dam area and end at Cheruthoni dam will be the tourists’ delight. Total duration of the boat ride is around 3 hours and you can see many birds, deer, herds of elephants and bison roaming around the forest area.
Photo by dhruvaraj
Idukki Wild life sanctuary is also very close to the Idukki Arch dam. It covers around 77 sq km area and is located very near to the Arch dam. The forest is full of varieties of snakes, birds, tiger, deer, bison and elephants. Malankara Lake, Cheeyapara waterfalls, Thekkady wildlife sanctuary, Thommankuth waterfalls and Munnar hill stations are very near to the Idukki Arch Dam.
Featured Photo by Anoop Joy