15 Most Powerful and Biggest Dam in India (with Images)

Here in this article, we are going to cover the Biggest Dam in India in terms of Power and Production Capacity.

Dams are the masterpiece of civil engineering wonders. They are considered to be one of the toughest and strongest tangible structures in the world. They are so powerful that even a high explosive shell could not bring a crack on its concrete walls easily. To block up massive rivers and to create hydro-electricity or simply control big reservoirs are not at all easy. The way they are built using tons of concrete blocks with a mix of stone, earth, bricks and steel is simply incredible.

As you all know that dams are very important for us to survive efficiently. They not only provide electrical energy to our houses but also provide water for domestic, industry and irrigation purposes. In India, there are nearly 4200 small and big dams that have been constructed by the end of the year 2016. Being rivers land, India has great potential to make a good amount of electricity production each year. Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam (SJVN), National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC), Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) and National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) are few major Indian government organizations who are working ingeniously to strengthen DAMS Projects in India.

Below, we have compiled the list of the 15 Most Powerful and Biggest Dam in India:

1) Koyna Dam (Maharashtra)

Maharashtra has the maximum number of large-scale dams in India, which are about 1845 in number. Koyna Dam is one of the biggest dams in India in terms of power production. And largest in Maharastra in terms of height (which is about 103 meters). It is a rubber- concrete type dam and is built on the Koyna River. The Koyna River is considered the ‘lifeline of Maharashtra because of its electricity generation capacity. The principal purpose of the Koyna dam is hydroelectricity and for some irrigation in neighboring regions. It has a total production capacity of about 1920 MW. Koyna is the biggest dam in India which makes it number one on our list.

Koyna Dam in India
Koyna dam – Image 1 (Aerial View)
The Koyna dam
Koyna dam – Image 2 (Font View)
Front View of Koyna Dam
Koyna dam – Image 3 (all spillway opening view)

Dam and Spillways:

Type of dam (Koyna)Rubble and concrete dam
Height103.2 m (339 ft)
ImpoundsBiradar River
Length807.2 m (2,648 ft)

Koyna Dam Reservoir Details:

NameShivajisagar Lake
Surface area891.78 km2 (344 sq mi)
Total capacity2,797,400,000 m3

Power Station & Turbines:

Koyna dam foot powerhouse:2 X 20 MW
Stage 1:4 X 70 MW
Stage 2: 4 X 75 MW
Stage 3:4 X 80 MW
Stage 4:4 X 250 MW
Total 18 Francis turbines
Total Installed capacity1,960 MW

2.) Nathpa Jhakri Dam (Himachal)

The second-biggest Indian dam in terms of power and production capacity is Nathpa Jhakri Dam. It is a concrete gravity dam on the Sutlej river in Himachal Pradesh, India. Hydroelectric power generation is the primary purpose of the dam and it provides water to a 1,530-megawatt through its underground power station. Water is redirected into a 27.4 km (17 mi) headrace tunnel prior to arriving at the power station. Construction started on the project in 1993 and was completed in 2004. In March 2004, the last two of the 250 megawatts Francis turbine-generators went live. It is a property owned by SJVN Ltd.

Nathpa Jhakri Dam, HP, India
Nathpa Jhakri Dam – Image 1 (Side Dam view)
Nathpa Jhakri Dam is 2nd biggest Dam in India
Nathpa Jhakri Dam – Image 1 (Spillway opened view)

Nathpa Jhakri Dam and Spillways:

Type of damConcrete gravity
Height67.5 M
ImpoundsSatluj River
Length185 m (3,978 ft)
Spillway Capacity5,660 m3/s

Reservoir Details:

NameSatluj Reservoir
Surface area234 km2
Total capacity3,430,000,000 m3

Power Station & Turbines:

Operator(s)SJVN Ltd
Opening year2004
Turbines Dam6 x 255 MW
Total Installed capacity1,550 MW

3.) Sardar Sarovar Dam (Gujarat)

Sardar Sarovar Dam is the third biggest dam in India. It has a height of 163 meters. The length of the Sardar Sarovar Dam is 1,210 meters. On September 17, 2017, Sardar Sarovar dam was inaugurated by the present Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi. The head power plant of this dam has about six 200 MW Francis pump-turbines, which are used to generate hydro-electricity. Adding to this, there five 50 MW Kaplan turbine-generators in the power plant on the intake for the main canal. The total power capacity is 1,450 MW, making it the 3rd biggest dam on our list.

Sardar Sarovar Dam in Gujarat
Sardar Sarovar Dam – Image 1 (Front View with all spillway opened)
Sardar Sarovar Dam in India
Sardar Sarovar Dam- Image 2 (Aerial View)

Dam and Spillways:

Type of damGravity dam
Height138.6 m
ImpoundsNarmada River
Length1210 m (3,978 ft)
Spillway Capacity84,949 m3/s

Sardar Sarovar Reservoir Details:

Maximum water depth140 M
Surface area375.33 km2 (144.92 sqmi)
Total capacity9.5 km3 (7,700,000 acre⋅ft)

Power Station & Turbines:

Operator(s)Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited
Opening year2017
Turbines Dam6 × 20 MW Francis pump-turbine
Turbines Canal5 × 50 MW Kaplan-type
Installed capacity1,450 MW

4.) Bhakra Nangal Dam (Himachal Pradesh)

The next biggest and highest dam on this list is the Bhakra Nangal Dam which is present in the state of Himachal Pradesh. It is again built on the river Satluj (Bilaspur). Bhakra Nangal Dam is the Second highest dam and the fourth biggest dam in India. It has a height of 226 meters and a length of 520 meters. It is a concrete gravity type of dam. This dam forms the ‘Gobind Sagar Lake Reservoir’ which has a capacity of 7,501,775 acre•ft. It produces a power range of about 1325 MW. this dam is really beautiful and a must-see when visiting the Himachal Pradesh- Punjab border.

The Bhakra Nangal Dam in Punjab
Bhakra Nangal Dam- Image 1 (Sunset View)
The Bhakra Nangal Dam in Punjab
Bhakra Nangal Dam – Image 2 (Front View)

Bhakra Dam and Spillways:

Type of damConcrete gravity
Height226 m
ImpoundsSatluj River
Length520 M
Spillway TypeControlled, overflow

Bhakra Reservoir Details:

NameGobind Sagar Reservoir
Surface area168.035 km2
Total capacity9.340 km3

Power Station & Turbines:

Opening year1963
Turbines5 x 108 MW, 5 x 157 MW Francis-type
Installed Capacity1325 MW

5.) TEHRI DAM (UTTARAKHAND)

The highest dam in India is the Tehri Dam. It is also the 8th tallest dam in the world. It has a height of 260 meters and has a length of 575 meters, Also it has a reservoir capacity of 2,100,000 acres. ft. It is situated on the Bhagirathi River. Tehri Dam is said to produce 1,000 MW of hydro-electricity. The first phase of creating the ‘high rock and earth-fill embankment dam’ was completed in 2006. The next two phases of the project are under construction. Once they are completed, it will generate 2400 MW of power, making it the most powerful dam in India.

The Tehri Dam
Tehri Dam – Image 1 (Aerial View)
The Tehri Dam in Uttarakhand
Tehri Dam – Image 2 (Side View)

Tehri Dam and Spillways:

Type of damEmbankment, earth and rock-fill
Height260.6 m
ImpoundsBhagirathi River
Length575 m
Spillway Capacity15,540 m3/s

Tehri Reservoir Details:

Maximum water depth140 M
Surface area52 km2
Total capacity3,200,000 acre⋅ft

Power Station & Turbines:

Operator(s)THDC INDIA LIMITED
Opening year2006
Turbines Dam4 x 250 MW Francis pump-turbine
Max. Planned Turbines2,400MW
Installed capacity1,000 MW

6.) Indira Sagar Dam (Madhya Pradesh)

The next sixth most powerful and big Dam on this list is the Indira Sagar dam. It has been built on the Narmada river in the state of Madhya Pradesh. It stands at a height of 92 meters. It is a concrete gravity-type dam. It is situated in Khandwa district, Madhya Pradesh. Of the many projects on the Narmada River, the Indira Sagar project was the key project for aiding in the water shortage issue. Indira Sagar Dam also has one of the biggest reservoirs in India with a capacity of 7,904,454 acre-ft. It has an installed capacity of 1000 MW.

Indira Sagar dam
Indira Sagar dam – Image 1 (Side View)
The Indira Sagar dam
Indira Sagar dam – Image 1 (back View)

Indirasagar Dam and Spillways:

Type of damGravity dam
Height92 M
ImpoundsNarmada River
Length655 m
Spillway CapacityNA

Indirasagar Reservoir Details:

NameIndira Sagar Reservoir
Surface areaNA
Total capacity9,890,701 acre⋅ft

Power Station & Turbines:

Operator(s)NHDC
Opening year2005
Turbines Dam8 × 125 MW Francis turbines
Total Installed capacity1,000 MW

7.) Karcham Dam (Himachal Pradesh)

It’s a 1,000-megawatt dam that runs on the river Satluj through Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh, India. The Dam is also commonly known as Karcham Wangtoo Hydroelectric Plant because it is located between the villages of Karcham and Wangtoo. A memorandum of understanding to build the dam was signed by Jaypee Karcham Hydro Corporation Limited of the Jaypee Group in 1993 and construction of the power station began on 18 November 2005 after years of delays. Jaypee Group sold the Karcham Wangtoo Project to JSW Group in 2015. It is a 7th most power generation dam in India.

Karcham Dam
Karcham Wangtoo Dam – Image 1 (Front Dam View)
Karcham dam
Karcham Wangtoo dam – Image 2 (Aerial View)

Karchham Dam and Spillways:

Type of damGravity Dam
Height98 M
ImpoundsSatluj River
Length178 M
Spillway Capacity4,660 m3/s

Reservoir Details:

NameSatluj Reservoir
Surface area588 km2
Total capacityNA

Power Station & Turbines:

Operator(s)JSW Group
Opening year2011
Turbines Dam4 x 250 MW Francis-type
Total Installed capacity1,000 MW

8.) Pandoh Dam (Himachal Pradesh)

In the Mandi district of Himachal Pradesh, India, the Pandoh Dam is built (as an embankment dam) on the Beas River. The dam was completed under the Beas Project in 1977 and its primary purpose is to produce hydroelectric power. It diverts the waters of the Beas to the southwest into a 38 km long chain of tunnels and channels as part of a run-of-the-river power scheme. At the Dehar Power House, the water is used for power generation before being discharged into the Sutlej River, linking both rivers. This powerhouse has 990 MW of installed capacity.

Pandoh Dam in Himachal
Pandoh Dam – Image 1 (Aerial View)
Pandoh Dam in Himachal Pradesh
Pandoh Dam – Image (Spillway Open)

Pandoh Dam and Spillways:

Type of damEmbankment dam
Height72 M
ImpoundsBeas River
Length255 m
Spillway Capacity9,939 m3/s

Pandoh Reservoir Details:

NamePandoh Lake
Surface area1.7 km2
Total capacity33,239 acre-ft

Power Station & Turbines:

Operator(s)Beas Construction Board
Opening year1977
Turbines Dam6 x 165 MW Francis-type
Installed capacity990 MW

9.) Nagarjuna Sagar Dam (Telangana)

At the height of 124 meters, the Nagarjuna Sagar Dam is the world’s largest masonry dam. It was built across Krishna River in Andhra Pradesh (now in Telangana). Nagarjuna Sagar Dam is without any doubt the vanity of India, as it is the largest man-made lake in the world. The 1.6 km stretch with about 26 gates dam is seen as the symbol of modern India’s architectural and technological victory over the ever strong nature. It has an installed capacity of 816 MW.

The Nagarjuna Sagar Dam
Nagarjuna Sagar Dam – Image 1 (Front View)
Nagarjuna Sagar Dam in Telangana
Nagarjuna Sagar Dam – Image 2 (Side View)
The Nagarjuna Sagar Dam
Nagarjuna Sagar Dam – Image 2 (Close Front View)

Nagarjuna Dam and Spillways:

Type of damMasonry dam
Height124 M
ImpoundsKrishna River
Length1550 m
Spillway of dam471 m

Nagarjuna Reservoir Details:

NameNagarjuna Sagar Reservoir
Surface area285 km2
Total capacity11.56 km3

Power Station & Turbines:

Operator(s)Telangana State Power Generation Corporation Limited,
Andhra Pradesh Power Generation Corporation
Opening year1967
Turbines Dam1 x 110 MW Francis turbine,
7 x 100.8 MW reversible Francis turbines
Installed capacity816 MW

10.) Koldam (Himachal Pradesh)

The ninth dam on our list of the biggest dam in India is Koldam. It is an embankment dam on the Satluj River (upstream of the Dehar Power House). It is off the Chandigarh-Manali Highway (NH-21) near Barmana, Himachal Pradesh, 18 km from Bilaspur. Hydroelectric power generation is the main purpose of the dam and a total of 800 MW power is generated. The National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) built the dam. The foundation stone for the dam was laid by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on 5 June 2000. Significant work began on the dam on 14 January 2004.

Koldam
The Kol Dam – Image 1 (back view of the dam)
The Koldam in Himachal
The Kol Dam – Image 1 (front view of the dam)

Koldam and Spillways:

Type of damEmbankment Dam
Height153 M
ImpoundsSatluj River
Length474 m
Spillway Capacity16,500 m3/s

Koldam Reservoir Details:

NameSatluj Reservoir
Surface area576,000,000 m3
Total capacity40 km2

Power Station & Turbines:

Operator(s)NTPC Limited
Opening year2015
Turbines Dam4 x 200 MW Francis-type
Installed capacity800 MW

11.) Idukki Dam (Kerala)

The Idukki Dam is the tenth biggest dam in India and on our list. It is a double-curved Arch Dam built in a narrow gorge between two granite hills locally known as Kuravan and Kurathi in Kerala, India, across the Periyar River. It is one of the tallest arch dams in Asia, at 168.91 metres. It is established and operated by the Board of State Electricity of Kerala. It supports Moolamattom’s 780 MW hydroelectric power station, which began generating power on 4 October 1975. With long-term loans and grants, the Government of Canada assisted in the construction of the dam.

Idukki Dam – Image 1 (Aerial view)
Idukki Dam, Kerala
Idukki Dam – Image 2 (beautiful side view of the dam)
Idukki Dam in Kerala
Idukki Dam – Image 3 (Sidewall view)

Koldam and Spillways:

Type of damDouble curvature parabolic, thin arch concrete Dam.
Height169 M
ImpoundsPeriyar River
Length366 m
Spillway Capacity16,500 m3/s

Koldam Reservoir Details:

NamePeriyar Reservoir
Surface area60 km2
Total capacity5.55 km³

Power Station & Turbines:

Operator(s)NTPC Limited
Opening year1973
Turbines Dam6 x 130 MW Pelton-type
Installed capacity780 MW

12.) Hirakud Dam (Orissa)

Hirakud dam has been built across the Mahanadi River in the state of Orissa. it is one of the longest dams in the world with a length of about 26 km. One of the not so common features of this beautiful and powerful dam is that there are two observation towers present on it. One of the towers is “Gandhi Minar” and another one is “Jawahar Minar”.
The reservoir of the Hirakund Dam is 55 km long. It is used as a multipurpose scheme, primarily intended for flood control, irrigation, and power generation. It has a reservoir capacity of 4,779,965 acre•ft and an Installed Capacity of 347.5 mW. It is the 7th biggest dam in India.

Hirakud Dam in Odisha
Hirakud Dam – Image 1 (Side View)
Hirakud Dam Sambalpur
Hirakud Dam – Image 2 (back View)

Hirakud Dam and Spillways:

Type of damComposite Dam
Height62 M
ImpoundsMahanadi River
Length4800 m
Spillway Capacity64 sluice-gates, 34 crest-gates,
42,450 cubic metres per second

Hirakud Reservoir Details:

NameMahanadi Reservoir
Surface areaNA
Total capacity5,896,000,000 m3

Power Station & Turbines:

Operator(s)Odsiha Govt.
Opening year1957
Turbines DamPower House I (Burla): 2 x 49.5 MW, 3 x 37.5 MW, 2 x 32 MW Kaplan-type
Power House II (Chiplima): 3 x 24 MW
Installed capacity348 MW

13.) Rihand Dam (Uttar Pradesh)

The Rihand Dam, also known as ‘Govind Ballabh Pant Sagar’, is the largest dam (by volume) in India. It was built and started during the period from 1954-62. The reservoir of the Rihand Dam is located on the border of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. It is a concrete gravity-type dam. It has a total capacity of 300 MW and the powerhouse of the Rihand Dam is present at the toe of the dam. The maximum height of the Rihand dam is 91.44 m.

Rihand Dam
Rihand Dam : Image 1 (Front View)
The Rihand Dam in UP
Rihand Dam : Image 2 (all spillway open)

Rihand Dam and Spillways:

Type of damGravity dam
Height91.5 M
ImpoundsRihand River
Length934 m
Spillway CapacityNA

Rihand Reservoir Details:

NameGovind Ballabh Pant Sagar
Surface area13,333.26 km2
Total capacity10.6 billion cubic metres

Power Station & Turbines:

Operator(s)UP Govt.
Opening year1962
Turbines Dam6 x 50 MW Francis-type
Installed capacity300 MW

14.) Mettur Dam (Tamil Nadu)

Mettur Dam is the most beautiful dam in India which is built across the Kaveri River at Salem district in the state of Tamil Nadu. It has a height of 120 ft. It was built in 1934, making it one of the oldest dams of India. This dam has the biggest and the most power generating capacity among all the ones in Tamil Nadu. Not only is this an important source of power and hydroelectricity but is also an important source of tourism in Tamil Nadu. Many Bollywood and Tollywood movie scenes are filmed here. The dam and the river are a great attraction for the explorers. It has an installed capacity of 200 MW. making it the 13th powerful dam India.

Mettur Dam
Mettur Dam – Image 1 (Aerial view from side)
Mettur Dam, Tamil Nadu
Mettur Dam – Image 2 (view from Front)

Mettur Dam and Spillways:

Type of damGravity dam
Height214 M
ImpoundsCauvery River
Length1700 m
Spillway CapacityNA

Mettur Reservoir Details:

NameStanley Reservoir
Surface areaNA
Total capacity93.4 billion ft³

Power Station & Turbines:

Operator(s)Tamil Govt.
Opening year1934
Turbines Dam4 X 30 MW
2 X 40 MW
Installed capacity200 MW

15.) Krishnarajasagar Dam (Karnataka)

Last on our list is KRS Dam. As one of the prime and largest dams built on the Kaveri River (which is one of India’s major rivers), Krishnarajasagar dam is built across the Kaveri River near Mysore in Karnataka, South India. Kaveri is one of the most important and beautiful rivers in India. Also, there is a Famous and really beautiful Brindavan Gardens which is a part of the Krishna Raja Sagar Dam. It is the most beautiful garden you can visit in Mysore and one of the best in India.

The Krishnarajasagara dam
Krishna Raja Sagara Dam – Image 1 (front view)
The Krishna Raja Sagara Dam
Krishna Raja Sagara Dam – Image 2 (all spillway open)

K.R.S. Dam and Spillways:

Type of damGravity dam
Height92 M
ImpoundsNarmada River
Length655 m
Spillway CapacityNA

K.R.S. Reservoir Details:

NameIndira Sagar Reservoir
Surface areaNA
Total capacity9,890,701 acre⋅ft

Power Station & Turbines:

Operator(s)NHDC
Opening year2005
Turbines Dam8 × 125 MW Francis turbines
Installed capacity1,000 MW

List of other 60 Major Dams in India

Name of The DamStateRiver
Alamatti DamKarnatakaKrishna River
Baglihar DamJammu and KashmirChenab River
Bansagar DamMadhya PradeshSone River
Bargi DamMadhya PradeshNarmada River
Barna DamMadhya PradeshBarna River
Bhatsa DamMaharashtraBhatsa river
Chamera DamHimachal PradeshRavi River
Chandil DamJharkhandSwarnarekha River
Dantiwada DamGujaratBanas River
Dharoi DamGujaratSabarmati River
Dhauli Ganga DamUttarakhandDhauli Ganga River
Dumkhar Hydroelectric DamJammu and KashmirIndus River
Gandhi Sagar DamMadhya PradeshChambal River
Gangapur DamMaharashtraGodavari river
Girna DamMaharashtraGirana river
Harangi DamKarnatakaHarangi River
Indravati DamOdishaIndravati River
Jalaput DamAndhra Pradesh and Odisha BorderMachkund River
Jayakwadi DamMaharashtraGodavari River
Kadana damGujaratMahi River
Kadra DamKarnatakaKalinadi River
Khadakwasla DamMaharashtraMutha River
Kodasalli DamKarnatakaKali River
Kolkewadi DamMaharashtraVashishti River
Kundala DamKeralaKundala Lake
Linganamakki damKarnatakaSharavathi River
Lower Manair DamTelanganaManair River
Maithon DamJharkhandBarakar River
Malampuzha DamKeralaMalampuzha River
Mettur DamTamil NaduKaveri River
Mid Manair DamTelanganaManair River
Mula DamMaharashtraMula river
Mullaperiyar DamKeralaPeriyar River
Mulshi DamMaharashtraMula River
Narayanpur DamKarnatakaKrishna River
Neyyar DamKeralaNeyyar River
Nizam Sagar DamTelanganaManjira River
Panchet DamJharkhandDamodar River
Panshet DamMaharashtraAmbi River
Parambikulam DamKeralaParambikulam River
Pawna DamMaharashtraMaval River
Peechi DamKeralaManali River
Perunchani DamTamil NaduParalayar River
Radhanagari DamTelanganaBhogawati River
Rajghat DamUttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh BorderBetwa River
Singur damTelanganaManjira River
Somasila DamAndhra PradeshPennar River
Srisailam DamAndhra PradeshKrishna River
Supa DamKarnatakaKalinadi or Kali river
Tansa DamMaharashtraTansa river
Tunga Bhadra DamKarnatakaTungabhadra River
Ujani DamMaharashtraBhima River
Ukai DamGujaratTapti River
Upper Manair DamTelanganaManair River and Kudlair River
Uri Hydroelectric DamJammu and KashmirJhelum River
Vaigai DamTamil NaduVaigai River
Vaitarna DamMaharashtraVaitarna river
Walayar DamKeralaWalayar River
Wilson DamMaharashtraPravara River
Yeldari DamMaharashtraPurna river

Conclusion:

In terms of percentage, Maharashtra has 41.29% of India’s Large Dams when compared to the other States of India. The state has the maximum number of dams in India right now. Kallanai Dam is one of the oldest dams in India, which was built across the Kaveri river in Thogur, Tamil Nadu (got constructed around 2 A.D by a Tamil King ‘Karigalan’ of the Chola Dynasty). The Hirakud Dam is the longest major earthen dam in India, measuring 25.8 km (including dikes, and stands across the river Mahanadi).

You might be interested to read: Largest Freshwater Lakes in India

DAMS IN INDIA

Which is the Highest Dam in India?

Tehri Dam in Uttarakhand State is Highest Dam In India and one of the highest in the world. It is a multi-purpose rock and earth-fill embankment dam on the Bhagirathi River near Tehri in Uttarakhand, India. Below are its other parameters:
Height: 260.5 meters
Length: 575 meters
River: Bhagirathi River
Location: Uttarakhand
Completion Date: 2006 (1st phase)

Which is the Longest Dam in India?

Hirakud Dam in Odisha State is the longest dam in India. On 15 March 1946, Sir Hawthorne Lewis, the Governor of Odisha, laid the foundation stone of the Hirakud Dam. Below are its other parameters:
Total Length: 25.79 km (16.03 mi)
Length of Main Dam: 4.8 km (3.0 mi)
River: Mahanadi
Location: Odisha
Year of completion: 1953

Which is the Oldest Dam in India?

Kallanai Dam (also known as the Grand Anicut) is the oldest dam in India. It is an ancient dam located in Tamil Nadu state. It is built (in running water) across the Kaveri river flowing from Tiruchirappalli District to Thanjavur district. Year of completion: 100 BC –100 AD

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