Dams serve a very important purpose in generating hydroelectricity and supply of water to millions of citizens of the country. Barriers to control the flow of water, dams are built on a huge scale and essentially provide life support to people in nearby settlements and fields of potential yield. Let’s take a look at some marvellous dams that you can visit in the country.

  1. Tehri Dam

Photo by Arvind Iyer, CC BY-SA 2.0

The tallest in the country, Tehri dam is located on the river Bhagirathi, is one of the major tourist attractions in Uttarakhand. It is built by THDC India Ltd. and is its primary project. It generates up to 1000 megawatts of hydroelectricity. Power from here is supplied to states like Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and its reservoir water is used for irrigation, fish farming and some other purposes too.

  1. Nagarjuna Sagar Dam

Photo by siddharthav, CC BY 2.0

Built on the river Krishna, this dam serves as a water boundary between the states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. This multipurpose dam has the second biggest water reservoir of the country and is an example of early initiatives of large scale infrastructure projects. This is also a frequented tourist spot near Hyderabad.

  1. Indira Sagar Dam

Located across the river Narmada at Mundi in the state of Madhya Pradesh, the foundation stone of this dam was laid down by late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, giving the dam its name. It holds the largest reservoir of India with the capacity of 12.22 billion cubic meters of water. The river flows southward and later drains into the Arabian Sea.

  1. Bhakra Nangal Dam

Photo by Ambuj Mishra, CC BY-SA 4.0

This is a concrete dam in Bilaspur, Himachal Pradesh, located on the river Satluj. The reservoir of the dam is called Gobind Sagar and is used for commercial fishing. This majestic dam was described as ‘New Temple Of Resurgent India’ by late Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. It works with ten power generators. This dam was completed at the end of 1963 and is a popular tourist attraction of Himachal.

  1. Mettur Dam

Photo by Praveen Kumar.R, CC BY-SA 3.0

One of the largest dams of the country, Mettur Dam is built on the river Kaveri in Tamil Nadu. The length of the dam is 5600 feet in all and it was funded monetarily by the United Kingdom. It forms the Stanley reservoir. The Hogenakal waterfall, surrounding hills, and a public garden make this dam one of the great weekend getaways from Chennai. It was built in 1934 and is a major irrigation and hydroelectricity plant.


  1. Hirakud Dam

Photo by Quarterbacker, CC BY 3.0

Hirakud Dam is built on the river Mahanadi, extending to a lake, its reservoir, Hirakud. It is located in Odisha. The dam has three canals, two hydroelectric power houses and is the longest earthen dam of India. Apart from the dam, other tourist attractions nearby are Cattle Island, bird watching during winters and Debrigarh wildlife sanctuary.


  1. Rihand Dam

Photo by Kartik Tiwary, CC BY-SA 2.0

Located in Pipri, Uttar Pradesh, this dam is built on the river Rihand, a major tributary of the river Son. Presently, the state of the dam is very poor and sufficient water is not being released. Its main purpose is to provide water for irrigation, majorly in Bihar.

  1. Sardar Sarovar Dam

Photo by Jaydantara, CC BY-SA 3.0

Built on the river Narmada in Gujarat, this dam is a major part of the Narmada Valley Project and is the biggest dams out of the 30 built under the project. Drought affected regions of Saurashtra and Kutch have benefitted from its water. This dam has always been the center of debates, arguments and protests regarding environmental and cost issues.


  1. Koyna Dam

Photo (Cropped) by Ameymodak, CC BY-SA 3.0

Located in a very famous hill station of Maharashtra, this dam is constructed on the river Koyna. During the monsoon season, when the river over foods due to high rains, this dam plays a vital role in controlling water flow. Many internal and external cracks have been found on the dam due to earthquakes.

  1. Cheruthoni Dam

Photo by http://www.kseb.in/, CC BY-SA 2.5 IN

This dam is located in the state of Kerala and its construction is funded by Canada. This dam is part of the 3-dam Idukki Hydroelectric project. This is the highest gravity dam in the country. The layover water of the nearby Idukki reservoir is collected in Cheruthoni Dam.  The dam is built across the river Cheruthoni, a major tributary of the river Periyar.

Till 2012, almost 3200 major dams have been constructed in all parts of India.  Apart from water blockage, electricity generation, irrigation, fishing activities, water supply to local people and other activities, dams also serve as tourist attractions and help the state to generate revenue.

Author Bio:

Rohit has visited some of these marvellous dams and also explored their workings and construction methods. Read more of his work on TransIndiaTravels.com.


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