About Malampuzha Dam

Stone Carving in Malampuzha Garden
Malampuzha Garden in 1974   ©BCCL
A view of the Malampuzha Dam

The idea for a dam in the Malampuzha region to boost agriculture started from the second decade of the 20th Century. However, it was only after India's independence on 27th of March 1949, that the then Public Works Minister, Sri. M. Bhaktavatsalam laid the foundation stone for the project. Palakkad was a part of the Madras Presidency during those times. The dam was constructed in record time, and on October 9th 1955, the then Chief Minister of Madras, Sri. K Kamaraj, inaugurated the dam. The place where the dam, its catchment area, the garden on the front side, and the distribution canal are now situated is collectively known as "Malampuzha", which were earlier known as Ponpaara, Chovankaadu, Iduppady, Vadukampaadam, Thanjikapallam, Kaarakkaad, Thoopallam, Vaarani, Akkarakkaadu, Kadukkaamkunnam, Aanakkuzhykkaadu, Thampuraattypotta, Aanamukkara, Paandipotta, Thekkumpaadam and Koshavanidukku.

The Malampuzha Irrigation Project is the first large-scale irrigation system attempted in Kerala State. The project consists of a dam constructed across the river Malampuzha, a tributary of Bharathapuzha and network of canal system to irrigate an area of 21,245 hectares. The dam is straight gravity type of masonry with an earthen saddle. The length of masonry portion 1626.71 m and the earthen portion is 222.20 m. The capacity of the reservoir is 226 mm3 at Full Reservoir Level (FRL) + 115.06 m and a water-spread area of 22 sq.km. The maximum height of the masonry dam is 38.10 m (125 feet). There is a network of two canal systems that serve the dam's reservoir of 42,090 hectares. The canal systems serve to irrigate farm land while the reservoir providess drinking water for Palakkad Municipality and 6 adjacent panchayaths. During summer, if scarcity of water is too high, Irrigation Department lifts the shutters of the dam so that the water supply wells in Bharathappuzha are refilled, thus enabling water supply to Parali, Mankara, Lakkidi, Ottapalam, Mannanur, Shornur, Ongallur, Pattambi, Thrithala, etc.

The work of a mini Power Station of Kerala State Electricity Board of 2.5 MW capacity is in progress since years.

The dam was conceived as a multi-purpose project to provide water for irrigation, drinking, industries, power generation, fish farming and water transport. However, plans for water transport was dropped from the initial phase itself, and later, boating services for leisure was started. Soon after the inauguration of the dam, Palakkad and Malampuzha became a part of the newly formed Kerala State. Kerala Government started the Malampuzha Gardens on the front side of the dam. Later, various other features were added like the Rock Gardens, an aquarium, Snake Park and Rope Way.

In 2005, major renovation works started in Malampuzha Gardens as part of the Golden Jubilee celebrations. The dam was re-painted, and a huge LED Hoarding was placed on top of the dam. The entire garden was demolished for constructing a new and modern garden. At a cost of Rs. 21.57 crores, a new garden was created which has made Malampuzha Gardens the best tourist destination of Kerala.

The dam and the gardens are open from 9:00 AM in the morning to 8:00 PM in the evenings on all days.