The Sardar Sarovar Dam built across the Narmada River which runs via the Narmada district and alongside the borders of Baroda and Bharuch districts is easily amongst the top tourist destinations in Gujarat. This weir named after Sir Vallabhvai Patel known as ‘Iron Man of India’, is the largest of 30 dams constructed on the river. The Sardar Sarovar Dam not only irrigates countless acress of farmlands in Gujarat and Rajasthan but also has an installed capacity to provide upto 1,450 MW of hydroelectricity to the catchment area of the Narmada River.
The districts, talukas, and villages served by the dam’s reservoir are supplied with potable water. The dam besides safeguarding the Narmada’s hinterland from floods and inundations is also a great moneyspinner for Gujarat’s Tourism Department. Following the inauguration of the dam in 1961, several sites and spots in the vicinity of the barrage have been developed to attract tourists and travelers.
Tour guides are available that enlighten the visitors on the history of the dam, about the social benefits accruing from the reservoir, and controversies surrounding the structure. There is an illustrative map with pictorial details that helps the tourists to view the six focal spots surrounding the dam-a trekking centre for trekkers, the original lock gate, a lake meant for boating, the foundation plaque, and an excellently landscaped garden.
You can also visit the adjacent Kevadia settlement where employees of the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd reside. One can frequent the numerous temples situated in Chandod and Kabirwad dedicated to Narmada River and Lord Shiva. There are two wildlife sanctuaries in the proximity of the dam as well as several eco campsites.
The foundation stone for the Sardar Sarovar Dam was laid by the first prime minister of independent India-Jawaharlal Nehru-in 1961. Construction work for erecting the weir started in 1979. In its present state, the dam with a height of 163m (from its deepest base level) irrigates 1.8 million hectares of land in Gujarat, supplies drinking water to 29 million living in 131 towns and 9633 villages in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Gujarat. The dam also serves a network of canals in Gujarat that is approximately 75,000 kms in length.
Where is it Located?
The core structure of the dam spans a distance of 1,210m and is located nearest to Rajpipla in Narmada district. At the point where the dam harnesses the Narmada, it is still a good 1163kms from the estuary where the river drains into the Arabain Sea.
Ideal Visiting Time
The ideal time to visit the dam is during the winter months from October to February when the weather is perfect for touring.