Thenmala Dam | Parappar Dam Photos- Kerala's Longest Dam Reservoir | KIP-Second Largest & Oldest Irrigation Dam Project

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Thenmala Parappar Earthen Dam Reservoir
ThenmalaDam or Parappar Dam, the main dam of Thenmala which is the heart of Kallada Irrigation Project (KIP), the oldest irrigation project of Kerala. Parappar dam (Thenmala Dam) is having the longest dam reservoir among the dams in Kerala. Even though the dam hydel project is focused on Irrigation named as Kallada Irrigation Project, electricity is also generated here. So it's a hydroelectric dam cum irrigation project. The dam reservoir spreads through the shenthurini wildlife sanctury in the valleys of western ghat mountain ranges. 

Thenmala dam is also called Parappar dam as the dam is situated in the place called Parappar near to Thenmala. Parappar dam is an earthen dam which is relatively small in size and broad in the base built with rock, sand clay etc. Earthen dams are also termed rockfill dams depending on materials used. The biggest earthen dam of Kerala is the Banasura project in Wayanadu district.

Thenmala Dam-History and Project Progress

Parappar dam is built across Kallada river which is nourished with its main three river tributaries,  Shentharuni, Kulathupuzha and Kalthuruthi puzha. All the three tributary rivers originate from the Kulathupuzha ranges of Western Ghats. The possibilities to build a dam across river Kallada and develop the irrigation project is considered even before 1958. Even then the hydro-irrigation project works got started officially by 1961only after the project got sanctioned by the Government of Kerala and an estimate of 13.28 crores was allocated. But the growth, health, and functioning of this project is still in progress, pretty funny huh. The project money had increased more than 600 crores from its initial estimate and then again increased to 728 crores by 1999 making it one of the costly irrigation projects of Kerala.

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Thenmala Dam in Kallada River-Shendurney Wild Life Sanctuary Area
Whatever the situation of the project the dam and surrounding area of the reservoir keeps the beauty of that peculiar western ghats vegetation and mountains with an added beauty of the artificial lake formed by the dam. The dense greenery seen around the reservoir is the Schentheruny wildlife sanctuary. Boating through the reservoir lake was done here before. By the time we happened to visit the dam, the authorities had stopped the boating services temporarily due to repeated accidents happened in dam reservoirs of Kerala recently. Seems needed security and guards are yet to be made available before resuming reservoir boating trips.

The reservoir water appeared so green as if to match the lush green vegetation around. To reach the dam top we have to walk about a kilometer from the entrance point. Have to climb some steps and meet the security before walking to the top of the dam.
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Scenic Thenmala Dam Reservoir and the Western Ghats

The dam reservoir lake spreading through the valleys of western ghat mountains. The water appears dead still and calm. Part of the mountains are under the shade of those clouds.

The Thenmala Parappar dam, center of KIP project, is surrounded by western ghats in the east, Arabian sea and Ashtamudi backwaters in the west, Achenkoil river in the north and River Ithikkara in the south.

The river in which this dam is built, Kallada River which empties into Backwaters of Ashtamudi flows through a distance of 119 Km, before meeting the lake endpoint.  The river is flowing westward through taluk of Pathanapuram, and through the boundaries of Adoor, Kunnathur, Kottarakkara, Kollam etc.
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Thenmala Dam-Longest Irrigation Dam Reservoir

The vast green stretch of water guarded by green western ghat vegetation. Many of the hills are covered by a cover of clouds.A photo snapped from the reservoir top.The photographs are taken during noon time using 3mp cellphone camera of Samsung GT S5620.

Kallada Irrigation Project is not a mono-crop irrigation project which entirely irrigates paddy fields like other irrigation projects of Kerala. An additional functionality of irrigating garden crops and tree crops in the hill slopes is done by this irrigation project. So KIP is also termed as Tree Crop Development Project-TCDP. The project is meant to irrigate the garden and tree crops in the valley slopes and paddy in the valley bottom which is rather unique among the entire irrigation projects of India. Instead of mono-crop irrigation of paddy KIP irrigates an integrated cropping pattern of crops like coconut, rubber, cocoa, cloves, banana, paddy, vegetables, pulses etc.
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Thenmala Dam-Irrigation and Hydro Electricity Project

Thenmala KIP Irrigation Project

The main parts of KIP irrigation system is this Parappar Main dam and two canal systems which branches from two sides of a weir dam built 5km downstream from Thenmala Dam Reservoir. The weir dam is situated in a place named Ottakkal before Thenmala when you are coming from Kollam. People sometimes mistake it as the Thenmala dam. From this water level regulator dam at Ottakkal, the two canal branches-the left bank canal and right bank canal are fed with water. The ultimate irrigation potential of KIP is 61630ha.

Considering the topography of the project area, the irrigation system has a unique way of water distribution called Minor Conveyance System(MCS). ie using underground pipeline systems connected to main canals each and every tree crop is irrigated depending entirely on the gravitational flow. Water is applied through hoses in lands having more than 3percent slop and open channels are used in lands less than 3percent slope.

Apart from irrigation, KIP project is intended to solve the drinking water problems, Hydroelectric power generation and also an increased employment rate due to intensive agricultural activities. Considering the huge amount of money invested, the project didn't turned out to be much beneficial and still remains partially commissioned.

Tourist Attractions in Thenmala Dam area:-
Apart from the dam reservoir various eco-tourism activity spots are here. Thenmala is the first planned eco-tourism project of India. Adventure zone, Hanging bridge, Elevated walkways, Sculpture garden, Aquariums, Musical fountain, trekking, tree houses, forest camping etc. Some of the activities like musical fountains, trekking etc need a minimum number of persons. Musical fountain can be seen only in the evening for its arranged in the open air and need the absence of sunlight.

Thenmala Dam Parking and Ticket rates to enter the dam reservoir area:-
You have to get a vehicle parking pass @ Rs10 and to enter the dam take entry pass@ Rs 5.

How to Reach Thenmala Parappar Dam?
Thenmala parappar dam site is where the eco tourism project is concentrated, the first planned eco tourism  spot in India. Its situated beside the Kollam-Thirumangalom NH208. Starting from Kollam its about 67 kilometres to reach Thenmala Parappar dam and Eco tourism point.

Coming from  Kollam you will be reaching the Weir dam at Ottakal lookout first. From there it's about 5 kilometres to the main dam at Parappar. Driving a little forward from Ottakkal you will see the Thenmala dam and eco tourism sign board to the right and you have to deviate and drive a little more to reach the Parappar dam.

Other Attractions near Thenmala:- Palaruvi waterfalls is just 15 Km away from thenmala. Again a 28 kilometres from palaruvi you can reach Kuttalam waterfalls.

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