Kerala Rivers & Dams:Sholayar Dam area,Lake & Penstock photos

Lower Sholayar dam or Chalakkudy Dam, one of Kerala's Hydro Electric Dams built in the Chalakkudy river. This dam has another version, the Sholayar Dam of Tamilnadu. Surrounded by the scenic dense rainforest the place is one of the coolest scenic tour spot.

Sholayar Dam which is built in Chalakkudy river which originates from the Anamudi Mountain ranges by the southern part of western Ghats is only one among the many dams built in a series along the river course.The place is not a dedicated tourist spot for the entry to dam site is strictly regulated for outsiders. But the scenic beauty of the place with those extreme greenery of dense forest and the calm lake in the dam catchment area is adorable.

The Calm Lake and the dense forests around Sholayar dam of Kerala
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An aerial view of the dam site of Sholayar in Kerala. This place is relatively untouched by tourist and constructive intervention compared to Athirapally region of the river. The forest and river here is rich in rare species of animals plants and fishes.The richness of southern part of Western ghats is somewhat preserved in these forests.This dam site is on the way to Tamilnadu from Chalakkudy town.

Sholayar Lake formed by the dam
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The calm waters of Sholayar dam premises. Lakes mountains and forests in a misty tropical climate, the perfect natures blend.



Penstock Pipes of the Sholayar Hydro Electric Dam project-Kerala
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On the way to hit turbines!.The three pen stock pipes from the Sholayar hydro Electric Project.At the end of these pipes the generator turbines are fixed which uses the pressure of water coming out for the production of electricity.The pressure of water inside these pipes are huge and if they burst off it can ripoff a vast area of land and life around. A pen stock accident has happened already in Kerala a little time before.

Sholayar dam is situated at a distance of about 65 Kms from Chalakkudy town of Kerala state. The way to this dam ie the Chalakkudy-Tamilnadu route and has much tourist attractions like the waterfalls of Athirapally, Vazhachal, Charpa, Water theme parks,thumpurmuzhy gardens, and the sholayar. The road is cutting through dense rain forests and seeing Wildlife is not a wonder.Night journeys are not that recommended for Elephant herds and leopards are abundant.

Photos taken bu Amit Druvan CWRDM Calicut,
Courtsey-  Sreerag As

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Riparian Forest & Athirapilly Waterfalls in Chalakkudy River of Kerala:Photos & Facts

More photos with some information on the biodiversity and the riparian forests of Athirapally which is a part of the sholayar forest ranges. Photographs taken mainly from below the Athirapally Waterfalls of chalakkudy River. The vegetations found around the course of rivers,ponds and lakes are termed as riparian. 

The river of Chalakkudy is blessed with these type of dense forest throughout the rivers path. This peculiarity have given the river the much abundant collection of diverse plants and organisms in and around. The Chalakkudy  river is found out to be the river which has the largest variety of fresh water fishes.

Photo of the Athirapally waterfalls from the forest below the river falls.
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The misty air around the waterfalls of Athirapally.
Coming to athirapally from the peringalkuthu region the human intervention into the forest and river keeps increasing and no wonder the richness of the vegetation in this area counts the least number of plant and tree species as per some floristic surveys done here.

The river is kept polluting both by tourists and also for plantation needs.Much of the forest near the region is taken for plantation of rubber and palm like spice crops by the Plantation corporation of Kerala.Athirapally is one of the most disturbed region of interventions in names of tourism and agriculture.

The hydrology of the river is already changed and changing by these human attacks.Glad that the place here in Athirapally has got prohibition of bringing plastics by tourists atleast. The tribal people here in the forest got shifted more to the outer world from their natural habitat before and also the destruction of forests have made their survival hard as the people depends entirely on the river and forest for their living.

Riparian Forest vegetation,Photographed from under Athirapally Waterfalls
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 If you start saying about the benefits of these riparian vegetation, its a long list. 

Benefits of riparian forests:
Increases water quality by biofiltration, reduces soil erosion,reduces the streams power thereby reducing damages during floods etc, replenishes soil, reduces the turbidity of water, provides food and shelter for much wide varities of aquatic and nonaquatic animals like birds, acts as connecting forests between cluttered forests and can be elephant corridors etc,toxicity of water through fertilizers like nitrates which are harmful to living beings are reduced by riparians.
So it will be our own benefit with so many other organisms around if we preserve these forests.

The Waterfalls of Athirapally- A distant view.
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 The three streams of Athirapally falls, but the number of streams depends on the water level in the river. This photograph is not during the monsoons when you can see only a single huge milky wide waterfalls there. 
The guards there in Atirapally were saying there is a huge pit just under that falls in the middle and its depth is still undetermined even though they tried to measure it with strings immersed into the falls from a helicopter. and also says even in extreme summer the middle stream will be there filling the pit under with water.


Athirapally River Dam Dispute

The place is now much in news regarding the dispute of a new Hydro Electric project proposed by KSEB to be built in about 5 Kms above this waterfalls. Perceptions of environmentalists regarding this project is its gonna drown acres of the Riparian forest land around and also drying out the river course from the dam thereby killing the vegetation and most probably the end of one of the beautiful Waterfalls in entire Kerala- the Athirapally river Falls.

The kerala Government and KSEB says their won't be any damage done to the life or vegetation around. Environmental activists and the tribal people of these atirapilly forests keeps protesting against this project and presently the government of Kerala got denied the approval to proceed with the hydro electric project from the central ministry.

What Kerala Goverment and KSEB says about the denial is, no tribal or local people have opposed the construction of dam and its some conspiracy going on behind the protest. The fact is three times the approval was given by the central Government before and now its denied, pointing out the fact that not much environmental studies was done before and present studies showed up the project is hazardous to the  wildlife around.

Also a Niagra model is suggested for this Athirapally Hydro project. ie Stopping the river in nights for producing electricity and releasing it on daytime for Tourism. Anyway the final outcome is yet to happen, and hope it will be in a nature friendly way.

will be back soon

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