10 Major Dams Of India

Dams, being one of the most important commodities, have many potential uses. These benefits include water storage, electricity generation,  flood control, recreation, and irrigation. The first constructed dams in the history were made straight out of bricks and its main purpose was blocking flood and providing water for irrigation.

Grand Anicut, which is the fourth oldest dam in the world, still continues to serve the people of Tamil Nadu, India. It provides water for irrigation for major Delta Region. Unlike that, most of the major dams presently are built for hydro-power generation.

The major dams are important in most of our day-to-day activities. These activities range from cooking, washing, bathing, to agriculture, fishing, boating. During excess flow, dam store water and the same water is accommodated during drought. This flow is not as symmetric as it sounds, nevertheless, major dams in the country serve as an important strategic planning during different conditions.

Some of the major dams in India are given below:


1. Tungabhadra Dam, Karnataka

Quick Description: 

Height- 49.50 m (162 ft)

Length- 2,449 m (8,035 ft)

Installed Capacity- 72 MW

River- Tunga Bhadra River

Type- Earthern Gravity Dam

Area/Operator-Karnataka Govn.

Opening Date- 1953


Image Credit: Deccan Chronicle


Tungabhadra is a multipurpose dam serving flood control, irrigation electricity generation, etc. Built across the river Tungabhadra river, it serves as a Krishna river tributary. Also being one of the largest dams of Karnataka, it acts as a majestic tourist spot.

With 101 thousand million cubic feet of gross store capacity, Tungabhadra is the biggest reservoir on the River Tungabhadra.


2. Bhakra Dam, Himachal Pradesh

Quick Description: 

Height- 226 m

Length- 520 m

Installed Capacity- 1325 MW

River- Sutlej River

Type- Concrete Gravity

Area/Operator- Government of Himachal Pradesh

Opening Date-1963


Image Credit: India Today


Located on the border of North Indian states, Bhakra Dam is the highest gravity dam in the world. The complete project comprises Hydel channels, powerhouses, electric transmission lines, 2 explicit dams at Bhakra and Nangal and canal system for irrigation

In order to make Punjab and Haryana the granaries of the country, this project was backed up strong by the Indian government.


3. Koyna Dam, Maharashtra

Quick Description: 

Height- 103.2 m

Length- 807.2 m

Installed Capacity- 1920 MW

River- Konya River

Type- Rubble-Concrete

Area/Operator- Government of Maharashtra

Opening Date- 1964


Image Credit: DNA India


Built across river Koyana, Koyna Dam is the largest dams in the western ghats of Maharashtra. There is a beautiful lake called ‘The Shivaji Lake’ which is formed due to this dam and the hills surrounding this lake is the very famous ‘Sahyadri Mountain Ranges’.


4. Rihand Dam, Uttar Pradesh

Quick Description: 

Height- 91 m

Length- 934 m

Installed Capacity- 300 MW

River- Rihand River

Type- Concrete Gravity

Area/Operator- Government of UP

Opening Date- 1962


Image Credit: Amar Ujala


Being the largest multipurpose dam of Uttar Pradesh, Rihand is a tributary of Sone river. The total cost of this project was 375 million rupees and most of its water is stored in the Govind Ballabh Pant Sagar reservoir. So, water from Rihand enters into the reservoir.


5. Bisalpur Dam, Rajasthan

Quick Description: 

Height- 39.5 m

Length- 574 m

Installed Capacity- 172 MW

River- Banas River

Type- Gravity Dam

Area/Operator- Government of Rajasthan

Opening Date- 1999


Image Credit: Travel Silicon India


Located in the Tonk District, Bilaspur dam is the largest dam in Rajasthan. The project supplies irrigation water to the Sawai Madhopur and Tonk locals. The Bilaspur reservoir, a part of the dam, is also named as a ‘lifeline of Jaipur’.

Additionally, It attracts a vast variety of local as well as migratory birds.


6. Bhavanisagar Dam, Tamil Nadu

Quick Description: 

Height- 40 m

Length- 8 km

Installed Capacity- 1920 MW

River- Bhavani River

Type- Earthen Dam

Area/Operator-Government of Tamil Nadu

Opening Date- 1955


Image Credit: Trabol.com


Situated in Erode district of Tamilnadu, Bhavanisagar is constructed on the Bhavani River. The dam is located 80 km away from Coimbatore city. Being the longest masonry dam in the world, it also serves as a beautiful tourist spot. This project was the first major irrigation project in India after Independence.

Bhavanisagar receives water from two main sources, which is further fed into two canals, Lower Bhavani Project Canal and Kallingarayan Canal. The Lower Bhavani Project canal feeds Thadapalli and Arankankottal channels and the Kallingarayan feeds Thadapalli and Arakkankottai channels.

Further, It has two hydroelectric power stations with a total capacity of 16 megawatts.


7. Indira Sagar Dam, Madhya Pradesh

Quick Description: 

Height- 92 m

Length- 653 m

Installed Capacity- 1000 MW

River- Narmada

Type- Masonry Dam

Area/Operator- Government of Karnataka

Opening Date- 2005


Image Credit: India.WRIS


Build on the river Narmada, Indira Sagar dam is located in Madhya Pradesh. It also has the largest reservoir in India, with a capacity of 12.22 billion cu m.

Being a multipurpose project, it serves powerhouses, diversion tunnels, tailrace channels, head race channels, switchyard, water conductor system, intake structure, radial gates, etc.


8. Maithon Dam, Jharkhand

Quick Description: 

Height- 50 m

Length- 4,789 m

Installed Capacity- 60 MW

River- Barakar River

Type- Concrete Cum Earthern

Area/Operator- Jharkhand Government

Opening Date- 1957



Image Credit: Wikipedia


Situated in Maithon, this dam is built on the river Barakar. Being one of the most popular and successful dams in India, it has an underground power station. Its reservoir is the largest one in the Damodar valley.

It was specifically designed to control floods and generate electricity. Recently, it has collaborated with TATA Power to initiate a thermal power project, for the betterment of the country.


9. Tehri Dam, Uttrakhand- 

Quick Description: 

Height- 260 m

Length- 575 m

Installed Capacity- 1325 MW

River- Sutlej River

Type- Concrete Gravity

Area/Operator- Government of Punjab

Opening Date- 2006


Image Credit: Wikipedia


Located on the Bhagirathi river, Tehri dam is the highest dam in the country, India. Its reservoir is used for irrigation, municipal water supply and generation of 1000 MW of hydroelectricity.

Ever since its construction started, Tehri dam has been the object of protests by environmentalists. Their concern was due to placing such a large scale dam on a weak ecosystem. There are further concerns regarding dam’s geological stability.

These concerns have not been completely wrong, as, since the construction of this dam, the flow of Bhagirathi water has reduced substantially. Still, in spite of all the protests, operations at Tehri still continues. It comes under 5 Biggest Dams in India.


10. Krishnarajasagar Dam, Karnataka

Quick Description: 

Height- 39.8 m

Length- 2620 m

Installed Capacity- 200 MW

River- Kaveri River

Type- Masonry

Area/Operator- Government of Karnataka

Opening Date- 1938


Image Credit: Deccan Chronicle


Located in Mysore, Krishnarajasagar dam is built across river Kaveri. Kaveri, which is also one of the most important rivers in India. The tributaries of this dam are Hemavati and Lakshmana Tirtha. This dam also has one of the most beautiful gardens in Mysore as well as India.


Summation: In a country like India where diversity in weather spreads all throughout, the construction of these major dams have proved to be a big advantage, especially for agriculture.

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