a Mathrubhumi initiative

Idukki Arch Dam


For Keralites, Idukki is synonimous with power generation because a lion's share of the state's power is generated by the hydroelectric power station at Moolamattom, the biggest in the state. The famous Idukki arch dam, the first of its kind in India, is built between two huge granite hills- 'Kuravanmala' (839 feets) and 'Kurathimala' (925 feets )- across the river Periyar. This is the world's second and Asia's first arch dam. This prestigeous project of the nation is situated in Idukki District and its underground Power House is at Moolamattom which is about 19 kms from Thodupuzha. Idukki Dam is 43 kms away from Moolamattom.


The possibility of Hydroelecric development at Idukki was first conceived in 1919. According to history Shri Karuvellayan Kolumban, the head of 'Araya' tribe, during 1922 showed the way, to the Malankara Estate Superintendent and his friend Thomas, the spot of present Arch Dam while the two were hunting in the forest. Thomas was inspired by the sight of the water flow between the mountains and his idea made the dream come true of Idukki Arch Dam. Sri. W.J.John of Malankara Estate submitted a report to the Government of Travancore in 1932 on the possibility of constructing a hydroelectric dam at Idukki.

In 1947 Sri.P.Joseph John,then Chief Electrical Engineer to the Government of Travancore made a preliminary investigation report. On the request of the Government, the Central Water and Power Commission took up detailed investigation in 1956. The project report was prepared in 1961 and the Planning Commission accorded sanction for the scheme in 1963.

The construction of this Dam commenced on 30 April 1969. Storage of water in Idukki reservoir commenced in February,1973. The inauguration of trial run of the first machine was celebrated on 4th October,1975. Commercial operation of the Power Station was Commissioned on 12 February 1976 by the then Prime Minister Smt. Indira Gandhi.

Construction of this Arch Dam and two other dams at Cheruthony and Kulamavu has created an artificial lake of 60 sq. kms. and the water stored, is utilised for production of electricity at the Moolamattom Power house, which is located inside the rocky caves.

The Canadian Government gave financial aid to the Project while M/s S.N.C.Inc., Canada, a well-known firm of Consulting Engineers were advising and assisting Project Engineers under the Canadian Aid.

Project in Brief

The Project harnesses a major portion of the power potential of Periyar, the largest river in Kerala, by the creation of a reservoir of 2,000 M.cum (2 Billion Tonnes) capacity, diversion of waters thus impounded through a water conductor system consisting of a power tunnel and two underground pressure shafts to an underground power house situated in Muvattupuzha Valley. The installed capacity of the Power House is 780MW consisting of 6 Units of 180 MW each.The regulated waters of Periyar falls through a drop of about 669.2 metres (2195 feet) while generating power in the underground power house.

The tail waters flowing to Kudayathurpuzha through tunnel and open channel is diverted for irrigation purposes in the Muvattupuzha Valley.
Idukki valley is 121 km away from Kottayam, and is a small hill town surrounded by a spread of beautiful, wooden valleys and meandering streams. Idukki is a well known tourist center in Kerala.

The Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary extends over the Thodupuzha and Udumpanchola taluks of Idukki district, spread over 77 sq. km and is about 450 - 748 m above sea level. The Idukki Reservoir formed by three dams - Cheruthoni, Idukki and Kulamavu - extends to 33 sq km. One can find Elephants, bisons, sambars deers, wild dogs, jungle cats, tigers, wild boars etc. and variety of Snakes like Cobra, viper, krait and a number of non poisonous snakes in this Sanctuary. The birds of Idukki are Jungle fowl, myna, laughing thrush, black bulbul, peafowl, woodpecker, kingfisher etc

Best Season:
August to March

Transport Terminals:
Kochi-Madura, N H 49 goes through Idukki district.
Thodupuzha, the major town in the district, is well connected with other parts of the district and the state.

How to Reach:
Nearest Railway Station: Kottayam (133 kms away)
Nearest Airport: Cochin International Airport (132 kms away)

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