Sothuparai Dam is 9km from Periyakulam on the foot of Kodaikanal hills or the Western Ghats of Palani Range; helps enrich the entire area of Periyakulam and beyond by run as a perennial river Varaganathi. The catchment of the dam is a combine of rain and small streams of Kodaikanal hills and the release of water from Berijam Lake, Kodaikanal.
|Grand vista of the dam and misty Kodaikanal hills at rear|
The Dam at its full storage capacity of 2.831.m.cum might be a wonder and thriller to watch it overflow via the high spillway, but I could only image the scene since the monsoon got postponed that year of 2009, left the reservoir at its base. The road to the dam is enchant by the groves of mango on both sides leaving mangoes hang out of fence, at a height of hand’s touching and could pluck even from the moving car.
|Front view of the dam taken from floor bridge|
We first reached the top of the dam by the road on the hill beside and got a refreshing view of vast green on the mango groves and a patch of concrete at a distance which is obviously the Periyakulam town. The road extends beyond the check post – near the gateway above the dam, and along the reservoir the road leads to a small hamlet on the hills called Agamalai, which is restricted for private vehicles to enter.
|Rear view on the dam from a distance elevation|
But the guard at the check post somewhat allowed us to drive on road along the reservoir, knowing our interest on forest and though we couldn’t find any animals as it was dry everywhere we got a great sight of the dam rear and views beyond. The guard told us the road exists only for a few km on Ghats and after that it’s only on horseback one could reach the hamlets on the hills.
|Close to bottom of the dam|
The name Sothuparai is a combine to two Tamil words meaning ‘food and rock, and it is said to derive from the habit of people here who once used to take food on the rock boulders along the flow of river Varaganathi. The water released from the dam through an irrigation canal runs like a stream among the rocks and boulders during our visit since there isn’t enough water in dam… the water runs like a stream is distillated for drinking purpose of Periyakulam on its way.
|Water flows from the dam via irrigation canal|
Sothuparai is the second highest dam in Tamil Nadu, following the Sholayar Dam of Valparai which comes first, and for more details on the dam check the photo below I captured on the board of information kept there. The dam has a small tunnel and irrigation canal and only during the heavy inflow the shutter seems to open large… and interestingly the care takers of the dam has left a fishing hook above the canal to catch fish.
The dam is isolated from tourist or the general public; it has a small simple garden with beautiful lampposts and a floor bridge to cross the dam, to get a complete front view of the dam. The time we checked the dam, a log had took refrain on top of the spillway, which is supposed to be washed away during the flood and it decided to stay there. It may need another overflowing season to come down.