Papanasam Dam, Thirunelveli
Papanasam Dam is located in Thirunelveli District of Tamilnadu. It was built during the British rule and is 5.4 m wide, 265 m long and 240 m high. The Papanasam dam is also known as the Tamirabarani River Dam and has a total catchment area of 147 Sq. Kms. It is actually two dams; Upper dam is called as Karaiyar Dam & Lower Dam is called as Papanasam dam. At the end of the lake there is a tunnel through which water flows to another river and another new dam.
The dam is around 8 Kms west of Ambasamudram and is an hour’s drive from Courtrallam. It is located close to the Papanasam Falls. The design capacity of Papanasam Hydroelectric Power Plant is 28 MW. It features four Francis turbine generators. The first unit of this plant was commissioned in 1944 and the last unit in 1951. Tamilnadu Generation and Distribution Corporation Ltd operate this plant.
The surrounding lake with high mountains on the backdrop creates breathtaking scenes. The thunderous roar of water cascading down gives one feel of the power of nature. The mountains around the dam are green and thick with huge trees. Various breeds of monkeys roam around freely. Boating is possible in the lake but swimming is strictly prohibited as it is populated with crocodiles. The boats are available from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm.
Set amidst the wildlife sanctuary, the best time to visit is after the first bout of monsoon rains - may be Jul / Aug. abundant greenery around. The drive is through the sanctuary. One can see Langurs, Peacocks and Deer freely roaming around on the way. The dam is located amidst set up of mountains on 3 sides. Vehicles are allowed up to a point and we need to walk close to a 750 m to reach the Dam site. Public are not allowed to walk on the dam.
Take a boat ride operated by TTDC which is very Economical and Safe and travel by boat for about 15 to 20 minutes and reach the Banatheertham falls. Climb the hill and have a wonderful time at the Banatheertham falls. Usually the boat will stop at this place for 1 hour and it is really a decent time including your bathing time in the falls.
The water is so fresh with lot of medicinal effects and you will be feeling completely fresh after the bath in the falls. On the way back, you can see the medical treatment given by a family for the Jaundice Cure. Then make a visit to the Hydro Power Plant from outside and take some beautiful pictures.
Papanasam Dam is located at about 53 Kms from Thirunelveli, 4 Kms from Papanasam, 8 Kms from Ambasamudram, 212 Kms from Madurai and 143 Kms from Thiruvananthapuram. Nearest Railway Station is located at Ambasamudram and Nearest Airport is located at Madurai and Thiruvananthapuram.