Malampuzha Dam, Palakkad, Kerala 678651, India
Largest reservoir in Kerala with plenty of activities in its premises
Location of Malampuzha Dam
More about Malampuzha Dam
Malampuzha Dam, set overlooking the scenic hills of Western Ghats is the largest reservoir in Kerala, located near Palakkad in Kerala state in Southern India. The dam is straight gravity type, with combination of a masonry dam of 1,849 meters length and earthen dam of 220 meters length.
The dam is 38 meters high and is across Malampuzha River, a tributary of Bharathapuzha, the largest river in Kerala. The total catchment area of the dam is 145 square kilometres with a capacity of 8,000 square meters of water. The dam provides drinking water to Palakkad and surrounding areas, and the canal systems irrigate 21,245 hectares of farm lands in summers. These canal systems are the first large scale irrigation system attempted in Kerala state. Palakkad, otherwise a dry land became highly productive to be named the rice bowl of Kerala due to the supply of water from Malampuzha Dam.
The dam acts as the reservoir for a small 2.5MW power station owned by Kerala State Electricity Board. The station utilises the water released for irrigation through the left canal together with the spill. The station is usually operated only in the months of November to January as that is when the canals provide water to the farmlands.
Construction of Malampuzha Dam and a little history
The dam project started in 1949 and completed in 1955. This was before Kerala state was created, when Palakkad belonged to the Madras Presidency. The inauguration of the dam was done by K Kamaraj, the then Chief Minister of Madras. Soon after the inauguration of the dam, Kerala State was formed and Palakkad and the dam became a part of the newly formed Kerala. The Malampuzha Gardens in front of the dam was made by Kerala state administration, and later various other attractions such as Rock Gardens, Aquarium, Snake Park and Rope Way were added
Renovation works in the year 2005
In 2005, major renovation works were carried out in the dam and the surrounding attractions as part of the Golden Jubilee Celebrations. The entire garden was demolished and a new one was made, the dam was repainted and huge LED hoardings were placed on top of the dam. As a result of these improvements, the dam and the garden is illuminated at nights on Weekends and Public Holidays with colourful lights.
Around the dam premises
There are many attractions within the dam premises. The main attraction is the dam itself, you can climb to the top and enjoy the views of the garden in front and the massive Western Ghat Mountains behind. Once on top, it is difficult not to admire the massive volume of water stopped by man. The garden with the massive statue of Yakshi (mythical beings of Hindu mythology), cable car ride, fish shaped Aquarium, Rock Garden, boating are some of the additional attractions in the premises.
The Rock Gardens
The most interesting thing about the rock garden is that the whole place is made of unwanted and broken pieces of bangles, plastic cans, tins and other waste materials. The garden was sculpted by Nek Chand Saini, the Indian artist who is famous for the Rock Garden he built in Chandigarh in Punjab State.
The Malampuzha Gardens
Malampuzha Gardens are well landscaped and decorated by sculptures and fountains. The garden houses the large and famous statue of Yakshi. The unconventional statue was created by Kanayi Kunhiraman, the renowned sculptor of Kerala. The garden is set towards the front side of the dam, on either side of the main canal. There are two suspension bridges that facilitate passage in between. There is also an artificial canal in the garden which offers pedal boat rides.
The Rope Way
The passenger rope way is the first in Southern India. It has 64 two seater chairs and operates at a height of 20 meters. A 20 minute rope way ride comes with uninterrupted views of the Malampuzha Gardens and the entire reservoir site below. The ropeway has its own time and fee that is apart from that of the dam. The operating hours are from 10.00 AM to 12.30 PM and 2.00 PM to 6.30 PM. Adults are charged at 40 per head.
Located near the main entrance of the Malampuzha Gardens is the snake rescue and rehabilitation centre run by the Kerala Forest Department. It was setup in 1984 and you can see a variety of snakes here such as Viper and Cobras including King Kobra, Forsten’s Cat Snake, the Brown Vine Snake, Krait, Indian Rock Python, Wolf Snake, Trinket Snake and Water Snakes. The park also breeds a species of crocodile and American Green Iguana.
There is a small Japanese Garden, a Children’s Park, a fish shaped aquarium, a telescopic tower, and a swimming pool in the dam premises.
Getting to Malampuzha Dam and the best time to visit
The dam is a well known tourist spot in Kerala so it will not be difficult to find the place. There are buses available from Palakkad Town directly to the dam area, the town is roughly 10 km away. The nearest major railway station is in Palakkad, connected well to rest of the parts of the country.
The dam is open throughout the year but it will be better to be at the dam premises in weekend and public holiday evenings as there will it will be colourfully lighted.