Hirakud Dam Developed the Largest Artificial Lake of Asia
Hiakud dam developed
the Largest Artificial Lake of Asia
Image source: sambalpur.nic.in
Image source: Wikimidea commons
Image source: flickr.com
Hirakud Observation Tower
Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Prior to writing in detail about the Hirakud dam, let’s develop a brief understanding about the need of dams. In order to have a judicious distribution of water resources and to avoid droughts in one part of earth and floods in another part , construction of dams are the need of great importance . Our ex Prime Minister Atal Behari Bajpeyi had raised a very much unique slogan in this context… “हम दिलों को जोड़ना चाहते हैं और नदी को जोड़ना चाहते हैं” ( we want to connect the hearts and connect the rivers ).
Since days of yore, dams have been seen developed by the inhabitants in various civilizations.The principal reason behind the development of a water reservoir is to smother flood down the stream by controlling the progression of water. The vast expanse of waterbody so developed can be utilised for different purposes, for example, generation of hydroelectricity for residential and industrial uses as well, irrigation through canal network for farming in the tail end of the river , water sports exercises and in any event, for human utilization during the dry season..
The Awe-inspiring Hirakud Dam
The multi-purpose Hirakud Dam across the incredible waterway Mahanadi was constructed for flood control, irrigation and power generation. In the recent years, the government of Odisha thinking of introducing cruise tourism in the vast expanse of Hirakud water reservoir.
The great river Mahanadi channels a space of 1,33,090 Sq. km more than twice the space of SriLanka. Hirakud Dam is a composite design of earth, cement and stone work. The heft of those earth, cement and masonry materials, “adequate to make/cover a street 8 meter wide from Kanyakumari to Kashmir and Amritsar to Dibrugarh .The main Hirakud Dam has an exact length of 4.8 km (3.0 mi), extending across the Laxmidungri slopes on the left and the Chandili Dunguri slopes on the right.A 21 kilometers drive on the dyke bears the cost of a remarkable encounter of quiet serenity and greatness of nature.
The huge expanse of the reservoir shapes the largest artificial lake in Asia with a space of 746 Sq.km having a shore line more than 640 km. One can appreciate seeing the fearsome Hirakud Dam and the fascinating expanse of water from the highest point of the spinning minaret called Gandhi Minar on the north end .There is another Minar called Nehru Minar. One can make overnight stay at Ashok Nivas ,a clean and well maintained Guest House abutting the Nehru Minar at the opposite end of the Dam. This is always considered as one of the largest multipurpose river valley project of the world .
Construction History of Hirakud Dam
Jawaharlal Nehru greeting the workers
Image source: Wikimedia Commons
After the staggering surges in the Mahanadi and subsequent devastation in 1936, Sir M. Visveswararya proposed a nitty gritty examination for water inflow in the Mahanadi river basin to handle the issue of floods in the Mahanadi delta. In 1945, under the chairmanship of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, the Member of Labor, was chosen to put resources into the expected advantages of directing the Mahanadi for multi-reason use. The Central Waterways, Irrigation and Navigation Commission took up the work.On 15 March 1946, Sir Hawthorne Lewis, the Governor of Odisha, established the framework stone of the Hirakud Dam. An undertaking report was submitted to the government in June 1947. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru laid the main cluster of cement on 12 April 1948.
On January 13, 1957, the then Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru dedicated the Hirakud dam to the service of nation. He referred it the temple of modern India. It had inundated 360 villages (1,23,000 acres of land ) and uprooted 26,561 families during that time.I think, without the sacrifice of those great people living in the reservoir bed area, this river valley project could not have been possible…..
Hirakud is the longest dam on the planet, with a length of 27 Kms, across the Mahanadi River and is a significant place of tourist interest in the province of Odisha.
Hirakud dam is a year-round destination for tourists . People come to hirakud dam during rainy season to see the mighty swelling Mahanadi river and during summer season it has its own attraction and in winter lot of migratory birds come to this place and you will be enticed seeing those migratory winged visitors. It is an engineering marvel post independence and a visit to this historical and engineering marvel will remain a lifetime event of your life.
Lost History of Temples in the Hirakud Reservoir Bed
Sunset over river Mahanadi
Image source: dreamstime.com
Numerous remnants of temples are found submerged under water of the reservoir, even today after 64 long years since the dam was initiated in the year 1957.
In excess of 200 temples were lowered by the dam, almost 150 temples have either died and went in to oblivion or are as yet submerged and around 50 are noticeable during summer. The lost temples present fantastic prospects for scuba diving to investigate the underside of Hirakud Dam. The temples become apparent to guests on boat just throughout the late spring till the end of summer ( particularly during months of May and June).
The secret fortunes have grabbed the attention of students/ researchers of history, and they need to comprehend the recorded meaning of these temples which intermittently go submerged, just to reemerge in periodic intervals.Inspite of submerged existence for 64 long years, some of the temples still stay unblemished.
Researchers have started taking greater interest after the reemergence of two rock pieces having rock edicts which are believed to belong the Padmaseni temple of once existing and much talked about Padmapur village.
Some Nearby Attractions
# Maa Ghanteswari Temple:
Image source: Pinterest
Maa Ghanteswari Temple is situated at 33 kms south-west of Sambalpur and on the bank of Mahanadi river .The claim to fame of this temple premise is, a large number of chimes hanging all around. Perhaps this is a lone spot of its sort in Odisha and maybe in entire India.People offer bells to Maa after the attainment of their desires. This region being the combination of three streams of the same river Mahanadi, the water flow here was exceptionally perfidious shaping a whirlpool. Because of this , numerous boats were sinking while approaching this spot. Presently after the development of Hirakud dam, this spot became safer.
Here the breeze blows intensely and with the assistance of it , the chimes were delivering sound. Earlier there were some large size chimes on this spot and with the assistance of wind those were making huge sound which made the oarmen mindful of this perfidious spot and they never draw close to it.
# Samaleswari Temple:
Image source: Pinterest
On the bank of the Mahanadi river , the mother goddess Samaleswari is revered from time immemorial as Jagatjanani, Adishakti, Mahalaxmi and Mahasaraswati. Closest Railway Station is Sambalpur : 2 KM in particular.
# Chipilima Hydroelectric powerplant
Way to powerplant
This hydro electric power plant is being run by OHPC, government of Odisha.
It is situated at Chipilima, 30 km from Sambalpur on the National Highway 6. Nearest airport is Raipur, Chhattisgarh. (262 km)
# Leaning temple at Huma
Image source: Odisha Tourism
The Leaning Temple of Huma , is one of only two leaning temples( the other one is at Manikarnika ghat at Varanasi.) in the world. Huma is situated on the bank of the Mahanadi, 23 km south of Sambalpur, Odisha. The presiding deity is Lord Bimaleswar. The temple is famous for another two reasons . One is a kind of uncommon fish seen there called ‘kudo’ and the other one is the fair organised there on the day of shivaratri.The surprising thing is, the main temple tilted to one direction and other small temples in the compound , tilted to some other direction. The reason behind has not been ascertained till date, may be because of some geological reason lying in the earth’s crust.
Best Time to Visit Hirakud
The ideal time to visit Hirakud Dam close to Sambalpur is from September to March as the climate is generally lovely during this time. Sambalpur is found just 16 Kms from Hirakud.Taxis and autorickshaws are plentily accessible for visiting Hirakud from Pvt bus stand of Sambalpur.
Base point to visit Hirakud: Sambalpur
The other name of Sambalpur in the olden days was ‘ Hirakhanda’, which literally means “the place having diamonds in abundance”. Ptolemy has portrayed the region as ‘Sambalak’ , and there from the name Sambalpur takes its origin.
Acording to Tavernir, the French traveller, and Edward Gibbon, the English historian, precious stones were traded to Rome from Sambalpur.
How to reach Sambalpur
The Nearest air terminals are Swami Vivekananda International Airport, Raipur (265 K.M) and Biju Pattnaik International Airport, Bhubaneswar (300 K.M). Another air terminal is being built at the industrial township of Jharsuguda (50 K.M) and Nearest Air strip is at Jamadarpali (10km)
Sambalpur is one of the Divisional base points of East Coast Railways. There are four Railway stations to be specific.. Sambalpur (Khetrajpur), Sambalpur Road (Fatak), Hirakud and Sambalpur City in Sambalpur. There are immediate Train Connections to all metros and noticeable urban centers across India.
National Highway 6 interfacing Mumbai to kolkata goes through Sambalpur and Sambalpur is Connected to Bhubaneswar through Natinal Highway 42. There are likewise two bus stands (Govt. and the private).
So many families were uprooted, so many villages were inundated, then only the country’s biggest river valley project could become a reality!!!Do not you think that….To accomplish something significant in a time frame, you need to view at the issues of some dislodged people as a sacrifice for a greater interest of the country ??? Please never forget to give your valuable opinion in this context 🙏🙏🙏
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Dr. Manoj Mishra