Monday, September 28, 2015

Vaigai Dam

Vaigai Dam
The Vaigai Dam is built across the Vaigai River near Andipatti, in the Theni district of Tamil Nadusouthern India. It provides water for irrigation for the Madurai district and the Dindigul district as well as drinking water to Madurai and Andipatti. Near the dam, the Government of Tamil Nadu has constructed an Agricultural Research Station for researching the growing of a variety of crops, including ricesorghumblack gramcowpea and cotton.

The Vaigai Dam is built across the river by the same name and is located in Andipatti. Inaugurated in 1959, the dam rises to a height of 111 ft and stores water up to a height of 71 ft. It provides irrigation and drinking water to the surroundings areas of Madurai, Dindigul, and Andipatti. Other than to explore the beauty of the dam, tourists in the area can visit the neighboring children's park or enjoy the boating facility. There is a small garden, called Little Brindavan that is located in close proximity to this dam.

Vaigai Dam is around 70km from Madurai on the way to Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary, Thekkadi. It provides drinking water facility to the whole of Madurai and Andipatti region. This popular leisure spot beautifully illuminated on weekends, offers a breath-taking sight. On one side of the dam there is a beautiful garden with all kinds of exotic flowers and plants. Picturesque hills border the river on the other side.
Vaigai Dam is a very popular picnic spot. When the waters of the dam flow, the sight is quite awe-inspiring. However, only during certain times of the year can you witness this grand sight. The sylvan surroundings of the dam are soothing and refreshing. 

Do try and spot the ruins of a Maiyamandapam – you can still catch a glimpse of it from the bridge. The stone and mortar central hall was constructed by the Nayaks. The riverbed proved to be quite a treasure trove with a sizeable number of antique coins (Greek, Roman, Pandian and Nayak) being found here.
To say that Vaigai Dam is a lifeline would not be an exaggeration. While the Vaigai River across which it is constructed was always a part of the lives of the people of Madurai, Dindigul and Theni districts in Southern India, it was the dam when constructed in 1959 that made it possible to put the water to good use. 

Under the project, water in the Vaigai River was augmented by diverting water through tunnels from Periyar in Kerala. The reservoir created by the construction of Vaigai Dam now impounds about 58,000 cubic ft. The farmers in the area are totally dependent on the water releases from the dam to cultivate more than forty five thousand acres of land.

Although the dam itself is about 70 km from Madurai many visitors to the city drive out there to see the 106 foot high structure and to spend a few quiet hours relaxing in the park area below the dam. The best time to visit the site is after the monsoons when the water level is high and the seven flood gates of the dam are open with the water gushing out in vast plumes.
Even after many years in operation the release of water from the dam is still a celebratory event for farmers and officials alike who drop flowers onto the gushing water. This is the signal to commence the cultivation season and the release of water is coordinated with the distribution of agricultural inputs to farmers. The importance of the dam to those living in the area is illustrated by how newsworthy the water level of the dam is.

Newspapers in Tamil Nadu keep a vigilant eye out and report the increase in water level during the South West Monsoon. Although the riverbed below the dam is not much of a spectacle in the dry months, the lake formed by the impounded water behind the dam is always a pleasant sight.
Vaigai Dam was inaugurated on 21 January 1959 by then Tamil Nadu chief Minister Mr. K. Kamarajar.
Vaigai Dam measures 111 ft in height and can store water up to 71 ft, with a total storage capacity of 6,143 Mcft.
Vaigai Dam is maintained by Water Resources Department which in turn managed by the Tamil Nadu Public Works Department.
Vaigai Dam Park
In the dam, A large beautiful garden is maintained by the Dam management, the garden is nearly 1 1/2 Kms length and very attractive for children.
This Man-made garden filled with all kinds of exotic flowers and plants on one side of the dam compete with the rugged natural beauty of the hills that borders the river on the other side. On Sundays, the dam site is illuminated and looks beautiful.

A Small and beautiful park is maintained by the Water Resources Department on both sides of the Dam. A small bridge connects the two sides of the park in front of the dam. The park also has a children play area.
A musical dancing fountain constructed at a cost of Rs.34.2 lakh near the dam. The fountain will function between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m., on Saturdays, Sundays, and on government holidays.

The dam is bordered by gardens with many exotic flowers and plants. There is a children’s park where kids can frolic and have fun. The musical fountain and toy train are very popular.
Agricultural Research Centre
An Agricultural Research Station has been set up near the dam by the Government of Tamil Nadu to conduct valuable research on an extensive range of crops including pulses and cereals.  
Vaigai Dam Hydroelectric Power Plant
Vaigai Hydroelectric Power Plant was design capacity of 6 MW. It has 2 unit(s) of 3 MW each. The first unit was commissioned in 1990. It is operated by Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation Limited (TANGEDCO).
Upcoming developments
Vaigai Dam is one of the 104 dams in Tamil Nadu that is proposed to be improved under the Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP).
Operating Hours: Mon-Sun: 09:00 AM - 05:00 PM
Address: Vaigai Dam, Andipatti, Theni, Tamil Nadu.
Contact Information: Ph.: (04546) 237111.
Period Built: 1959 AD.
Entry Fee: Rs. 10/-
Time required: 1h 0m
By Road: The dam is situated at 7 km from Andipatti, 14 km from Theni and 70 km from Madurai.
By Train: The nearest railway station is Dindigul station which is located 61 km sway from the dam. The Railway station in Theni is not functioning.
By Air: The nearest airport is Madurai Airport (IXM) which is 80 km away from the Dam. Air connectivity is available from Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, and Vijayawada. International connectivity is available to Sri Lanka and Dubai. Connectivity to Singapore is expected soon.