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Old 22nd December 2011, 13:43   #1
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Default A family getaway to Idukki dam: Open for visitors this holidays

More than a travelogue, this is just a short description and collection of tips from our visit to Idukki dam last Onam holidays. The dam is open to visitors only during Onam, X'mas holidays for a fortnight. Today's news paper report on the dam being open this X'mas, till Jan 8th, prompted me to put this up as a quick guide. I would suggest the dam visit to be taken as a leisurely trip with the family, to be bowled over by the deadly combination of man and nature, rather than a hardcore holiday destination. This is mainly because the Idukki dam is not an year round tourist destination. Still, I think you can have some trekking explorations, going through this thread http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...ml#post2245782 (Travel tales - Idukki,Ramakkalmedu,Vagamon,Valparai,Thattekadu,Id Amalayar and more). Most of the description below is present on the internet elsewhere, penned down by me.

We were a group of four in a Maruti Swift. From Thodupuzha town, take the road to Arakulam, 3 kms before Moolamattom. A dozen hairpin curves welcome you on your ascend from Arakulam. The Arakulam-Kulamavu stretch is wide and empty and KSTP built (read as excellent condition). The roads themselves are inviting for a laid-back picnic with the family, though it is better to leave small kids at home as there is a lot to walk and moreover, they wont be able to fathom the depth of how man tamed nature and nature not complaining much. Food can be had if prepared and taken along with, but we let our taste-buds relish the fish curry meals at one Pappans restaurant at Cheruthoni town after getting exhausted walking at the dam top. You can have a quick pit-stop at the Kulamavu dam (one among the trio that holds the water of the Idukki reservoir), en-route to Cheruthoni town.

On reaching Cheruthoni dam site, facility for speed boating has been provided on the reservoir waters for 350/- for 5 for 15 min, though not with hair-raising speeds. Entrance to the dam top is 10/- per head, but do remember to preserve the ticket to show at the dam bottom. It is a highly secured place and police is camping at many places. Are we a better communicators using the camera than the mouth? At least me think I am. But sadly, the govt. seems to be followers of the theory 'for your eyes only' at the dam. The dam visit might not be a photographers delight as we will be thoroughly checked even for mobiles at entrances, leave alone cameras. It is better to leave them in the car in the first place itself, rather than walking to the car park, when instructed, on finding a mobile in your pant pocket.

The pictures captured by us are taken from public roads and not from any photography restricted areas. If the mods seem appropriate to delete the pics, please go ahead.

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Be prepared to walk ~4 km on the dam top, from Cheruthoni dam to the arch dam and back. An umbrella, few bananas and a bottle of water can save you a lot from getting tired. Do not miss the man made tunnel, on the farthest end of the arch dam top. And do care to think aloud, the measurements mentioned on the information boards, once you reach the arch dam. The Cheruthoni dam is 650m long on the top. All the 3 dams are meant for water storage and only 5 numbers on top part of Cheruthoni dam alone, is provided as shutters!

It became noon when we were done with the dam top, so had lunch from Cheruthoni town a couple of kms near. The dam bottom was the major attraction of the whole lot, especially when you know what is at the other side of the arch. To get to the bottom, you have to take the Narakakanam route from Cheruthoni town and travel a few kms and be on the look out for the arch dam on the right. One cannot miss it. Just one word to describe it. Humongous! When we walked towards the dam bottom, it was like giant robot walking towards us! Unbelievably huge. You will be asked to show the tickets you purchased from the dam top, by the police officials here. Please leave all your cameras and mobiles in your car, or else, be prepared to leave it with the police or walk back to the car to leave it inside.

Lift your head and look straight up only after you touch the dam, and not within 100m of dam, then you are in an entirely different world - the double parabolic structure is offering itself as a huge umbrella for you and it is mind blowing to stand UNDER such a huge column of water, provided you've visited the dam top before the bottom.

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Dash to the dam before it closes or else I think you can obtain a special permission other time of the year, depending on your contacts with the Kerala State Electricity Board, who owns and runs the dam. But then you will miss laughing at the booers in the tunnel suddenly stop booing once they get to know that police is camping at the other end of the tunnel
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Old 7th February 2012, 09:41   #2
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Default Re: A family getaway to Idukki dam: Open for visitors this holidays

Though the project is still not open to public, I thought I will share the news here. 'Grand view awaits visitors in Idukki', The Hindu reports.

Quote:
The visitors to the district headquarters at Painavu near here will soon be welcomed by the breathtaking view of the Idukki, Cheruthoni dams and the vast stretches of the Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary from the platform of the Hill View Park, the work for which has been completed.

The project involves the Hill View Park and a pathway and other facilities arranged in the downstream of the Idukki arch Dam.

The DTPC plans to showcase the increasing number of visitors to the district headquarters and the Hill View Park will be a stopover place for visitors of Munnar and Thekkady.
So I guess, we no more need to wait for the onam or x'mas holidays to commence, for visiting Idukki. Hope someone near to Painavu can give more insight on this.

The Hindu : NATIONAL / KERALA : Grand view awaits visitors in Idukki
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Old 7th February 2012, 19:28   #3
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Default Re: A family getaway to Idukki dam: Open for visitors this holidays

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Originally Posted by thoma View Post
Though the project is still not open to public, I thought I will share the news here. 'Grand view awaits visitors in Idukki', The Hindu reports.

So I guess, we no more need to wait for the onam or x'mas holidays to commence, for visiting Idukki. Hope someone near to Painavu can give more insight on this.

The Hindu : NATIONAL / KERALA : Grand view awaits visitors in Idukki
There used to be a park from where you get to see both the Dams. This Park was just .5KM before Cheruthoni Dam. Is this an extension to the same park or new one. We had visited both the Dam and this park a few years ago.
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Old 7th February 2012, 19:54   #4
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Default Re: A family getaway to Idukki dam: Open for visitors this holidays

I had no idea of the park when I did have a boating on the waters and I thought the whole area was preserved untouched!

But they say of a particular 'Hill View Park' in the report itself. Might be they have renovated and added some spice to it. Does the picture in the report resemble to the park you have been to? Was the park and the boating facilities open to public throughout the year then?
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Old 7th February 2012, 23:04   #5
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Default Re: A family getaway to Idukki dam: Open for visitors this holidays

Thanks so much for posting this. Have very fond memories of visiting this place as a kid. Dad was with the KSEB, so we had insane levels of access to the facility during our visit. Had seen the turbines, the tunnels up close, and took a boat ride to the base of the dam, it was really scary.

Do post more.
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Old 22nd February 2012, 00:39   #6
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Default Re: A family getaway to Idukki dam: Open for visitors this holidays

Thanks a lot for sharing, Thoma! I visited the dam during Onam 2011, when it was opened for public viewing, and was totally bowled over by the monstrosity of the whole setup. I can very well recollect the feeling as we stood at the base of the dam, and looked up, only to see the parabolic effect of the structure above our heads. It was surely an experience to cherish.
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Old 23rd February 2012, 07:24   #7
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Default Re: A family getaway to Idukki dam: Open for visitors this holidays

Going through my pics, i found this pic which i had clicked at the base of the Idukki dam during Onam 2011. This was clicked from the public area, and outside the fence which is put up.

A family getaway to Idukki dam: Open for visitors this holidays-img_2111.jpg
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Old 26th February 2012, 19:33   #8
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Default Re: A family getaway to Idukki dam: Open for visitors this holidays

Awesome. I like the last picture. Do people stay there?? Those buildings in the last picture.
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Old 26th February 2012, 20:11   #9
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Default Re: A family getaway to Idukki dam: Open for visitors this holidays

The picture is awesome after looking at the same, i feel like heading out for a trip to this dam. The picture is really good and i feel as if it is calling me for a visit.
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Old 26th February 2012, 20:28   #10
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Default Re: A family getaway to Idukki dam: Open for visitors this holidays

Wow this reminds me of Hoover Dam near Las Vegas, the biggest difference though is Idukki looks more beautiful, thanks to the greenery
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Old 27th February 2012, 12:04   #11
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Default Re: A family getaway to Idukki dam: Open for visitors this holidays

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Originally Posted by Funda View Post
Awesome. I like the last picture. Do people stay there?? Those buildings in the last picture.
Thanks!

The structure you see at the base of the dam is actually a police unit. As you proceed to the dam, you are checked and all mobiles and cameras are asked to be submitted at their desk.
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Old 17th May 2012, 01:10   #12
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Default Re: A family getaway to Idukki dam: Open for visitors this holidays

Quote:
Originally Posted by benbsb29 View Post
Going through my pics, i found this pic which i had clicked at the base of the Idukki dam during Onam 2011. This was clicked from the public area, and outside the fence which is put up.
Thanks for sharing this amazing snap. How I missed this post till this time?

I guess you would have snapped this during or after the monsoons. So much of moss on the dam and the rocks. Just cant stop comparing the size of the jeep down below to the dam!

Couldn't resist sharing this one taken from the internet IDUKKI DAM

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Old 17th May 2012, 06:56   #13
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Default Re: A family getaway to Idukki dam: Open for visitors this holidays

I am little curious, tried searching the net for this. The dam does not have gates to let water out? What if the flow of incoming water is higher and it needs to be released to release the pressure? Apologies for sounding negative, but i am worried as i see folks living underneath and similar would be the case downstream as well. Agree its an engineering marvel and looks amazing on the pictures, would love to go and see it some day.

Saw some news article saying If the Mullaperiyar dam bursts, the Idukki dam won't be able to contain its water.

Some source :

Dam Safety: Mullaperiyar and its implications
http://expert-eyes.org/mulla2.html
http://www.downtoearth.org.in/content/blunder-999

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Old 17th May 2012, 09:29   #14
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Default Re: A family getaway to Idukki dam: Open for visitors this holidays

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Originally Posted by mayankjha1806 View Post
I am little curious, tried searching the net for this. The dam does not have gates to let water out? What if the flow of incoming water is higher and it needs to be released to release the pressure?
Mayank, the arch dam you see is more like a huge bund to deviate water else where(not able to recollect what this type of dam is called). The river splits in to two arms around the hill you see in the picture. This arch dam is used to stop flow of one arm. Hence water is deviated to other arm where a conventional dam is made which helps in power generation.
Mullaperiyar which you mentioned in your post is upstream of both this dam, hence the news that any damage to that will cause damage to both these dams down stream.
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Old 17th May 2012, 12:08   #15
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Default Re: A family getaway to Idukki dam: Open for visitors this holidays

Quote:
Originally Posted by mayankjha1806 View Post
I am little curious, tried searching the net for this. The dam does not have gates to let water out? What if the flow of incoming water is higher and it needs to be released to release the pressure?
Let me try some explaining. The Idukki dam is not a single dam built around just a single river, but a combination of dams - the Arch dam (a permanent structure with no shutters or spillway), the Cheruthoni dam (very near to the Arch dam, with few shutters only at the top most part, which act as water spillway and used for irrigation) and the Kulamavu dam (not fully sure about the shutters though, but it surely is a gravity dam and hence we should assume that there are no shutters).

A family getaway to Idukki dam: Open for visitors this holidays-idukki-reservoir.jpg

Above picture courtesy Google Maps. In this way, thousands of hectares of land is under water which acts as a reservoir. The water used to generate electricity is taken through underground tunnels, from near the Kulamavu area, to a generator situated at Moolamattam, underground among the rocks. The state is heavily dependent on the power generated from here and still experience power-cuts before the monsoon.

A family getaway to Idukki dam: Open for visitors this holidays-dam-tunnel-2.jpg

I believe these kind of tunnels are used to carry water. This snap, taken from the net (magic moments: Anchuruli), is for carrying water from another river nearby to the reservoir.

Coming to the question. Apart from the spillway (overflow) shutter at the Cheruthoni dam (as can be seen in my opening post) and the tunnels that take water to the generator, there is no way that water can be released suddenly. The dams are designed in such a way to hold water permanently till a level. When water increases above the safe level, the usual method is to increase the power generation by draining water through the tunnels and / or opening the spillway of the Cheruthoni dam. Hence, it would not be a problem to accommodate or else drain any quantity of water that builds up slowly, but when the reservoir is full from the monsoons, it is not fully sure of how a sudden surge of water or debris can be contained or drained.

Edit : Let us not get too much into the nitty gritties of any bursting or containing, as it is a matter in front of the Hon'ble Supreme Court. Let us enjoy the bounties of nature at Idukki. A panoramic view of Calvery Mount, Kattapana, taken from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A family getaway to Idukki dam: Open for visitors this holidays-calvery_mount001.jpg

Last edited by thoma : 17th May 2012 at 12:28.
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