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Mullaperiyar Dam

The Mullaperiyar Dam in Idukki District of Kerala was built by the British in late 1800s on the confluence of two rivers; Mullayar and Periyar from which the name of Mullaperiyar Dam has been derived. The Dam has changed the course of Periyar River which naturally flowed westward into the Arabian Sea but now has been made to flow eastward through the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu into the Bay of Bengal. Thus, although located in Kerala, the advantages of the Mullaperiyar Dam go mainly to Tamil Nadu. The operational control, maintenance and safety of the Mullaperiyar Dam are also the responsibility of the Tamil Nadu Government. The erstwhile Madras Presidency in the British Raj had signed a lease of 999 years with the Travancore State for the sole and exclusive rights on the creation and use of the Mullaperiyar Dam. The validity and the fairness of the lease agreement have been challenged by the Kerala Government and the matter is sub judice.

The height of the Mullaperiyar Dam is of 53.6 m (176 ft) from the foundation, and a length of 365.7 m (1,200 ft). The catchment area of the dam, which is 624 sq kms., lies completely in Kerala. The dam is made from lime stone and “surkhi” which is burnt brick powder mixed with sugar and calcium oxide.  Technically this Dam is a “masonry gravity” dam which means that the gravity and the weight of the masonry of the dam are used to make the dam stable and hold the water in the reservoir. The expected life of the dam was about 60 years but it has remained fully functional since 1895 which is almost twice the expected life-span.


The main purpose of the Mullaperiyar Dam was to irrigate the dry areas of the Madras Presidency which was part of the British Raj. The Vaigai River which flowed in that region was insufficient to provide the required water and since the area was in the rain shadow region of the north east monsoons, rainfall was not adequate. By building the dam over the confluence of the Mullayar and Periyar rivers and changing the course of the Periyar towards the east served the objective of building the dam. The small river Vaigai was given a boost by the water diverted from the reservoir of the dam and the Vaigai was further dammed to irrigate the arid land around Madurai.

The Mullaperiyar Dam has also been used to generate hydro-electric power at the Periyar Power Station in Lower Periyar in Tamil Nadu. The capacity of the Periyar Power Station is 175 MW.

Get In

Nearest  Airports

The town of Thekkady on the outskirts of which the Mullaperiyar dam is situated is only about 140 kms from the nearest Airport at Madurai. The Madurai Airport is well connected to cities in Kerala and other states by many domestic Airlines and by the national carrier; Air India.

Madurai Airport is well-equipped with restaurants and other modern facilities such as Wi-Fi. There are many hotels and inns around the place and Public Transport such as buses and taxis is freely available and is also considered to be regular and dependable.

The Cochin International Airport which is 190 kms from Thekkady offers international as well as domestic connections.

Nearest Railheads

Kottayam is the nearest rail head and is situated about 114 kms from Thekkady. Kottayam falls on the high-traffic Thiruvananthapuram- Ernakulam route and provides connectivity to all big cities of India including Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru etc.

Road Connectivity

Thekkady is well connected by bus to other states and districts and one can travel locally by auto rikshaws and taxis. The buses of Kerala State Road Transportation Corporation (KSRTC), the Kerala government owned transport ply between Thekkady and many places in the state and neighbouring states as well.

Distance by Road from Thekkady to Major Towns in Kerala

Kumily 4 km
Pullumedu 50 km
Idukki 65 km
Munnar 106 km
Kumarakom 128 km
Alappuzha 164 km
Kollam 220 km


Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary

The dense forests around the Mullaperiyar Dam fed by the waters of the Periyar Lake are home to many rare and endangered species of animals and birds. Dense evergreen forests extend beyond and over the southern end of the Western Ghats and the grassy savannahs provide ideal surroundings for Elephants and Tigers, Sambars and Gaurs and also for different species of primates such as the lion-tailed Macaques and Nilgiri Langurs. These forests have been declared as protected area for the flora and fauna and named as the The Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. There are also some rare species of animals found here; the Flying Snake and the Flying Lizard are two such distinctive species that are sighted here.

There are many interesting activities for tourists at the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary including elephant rides or treks to the Mangaladevi temple situated deep in the forests within the Sanctuary. The Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary is very popular amongst wildlife enthusiasts and wildlife photographers who can get a close view of elephants and other animals in their natural habitat.

Vagamon Hill Station

Perched on three hills of the Nilgiris, at a height of about 1100 metres above sea level lies the Vagamon Hill Station, in the Idukki District of Kerala. The salubrious climate all through the year except the monsoons and the great scenic beauty provided by the tea plantations and the picture-perfect rolling hills and vales make Vagamon a popular destination for tourists. All facilities required by holiday-makers and tourists are available here.

Periyar Lake

Periyar Lake is formed by the Mullaperiyar Dam and lies nestled in the heart of the forest that forms the Periyar Wild Life Sanctuary. The lake is almost 10 sq miles and is a popular tourist destination, well- known for the enjoyable boating that offers great views of the forest and rare sightings of birds and wild animals.

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