Hirakud dam is a multipurpose dam built in 1957. Hirakud dam is regarded as the longest man-made dam in the world. Hirakud dam is situated in the Sambalpur district of Odisha state. It is the longest earthen dam in India and the world. Hirakud dam is situated on Mahanadi River just 15 kilometres north of Sambalpur city in the state of Odisha in India. Mahanadi is an Indian peninsular river that drains into the Bay of Bengal.
The Hirakud dam project is the first major multipurpose river valley project in post-independent India and in fact, it is so large that the earth, concrete and masonry materials used to construct this dam can be used to make a road 8 meters wide and pave it from Kanyakumari to Kashmir and Amritsar to Dibrugarh in Assam. More than 360 villages were submerged due to the construction of this dam.
The Hirakud dam situated on the Mahanadi River in Odisha was supposed to control flooding in the Mahanadi River delta. It was also supposed to bring people irrigation and drinking water and hydroelectric power. The reservoir formed with this dam has a total capacity of 5,896,000,000 cubic metres (4,779,965 acre-feet) and is responsible for the irrigation of about 7,500,000 hectares land in the districts of Sambalpur, Bargarh, Sonepur and some parts of Bolangir in western Odisha with the help of canals. It is a composite structure of the earth, concrete and masonry and the lake formed due to the construction of the Hirakud dam is the largest artificial lake in Asia.
The reservoir holding capacity of this lake is 743 square kilometres. The Hirakud dam has a height of 60.96 meters. The Mahanadi delta region was very uneven in terms of water availability. Before the dam was built, this area used to have heavy floods in the upper plain areas and droughts in the lower basin catchment regions. The construction of this dam has stopped these issues and has resulted in the regulated flow of water as per the requirements. The total installed capacity of this dam is 347.5 MW.
The length of the main section of the Hirakud dam is 4.8 kilometres. This is bordered by earthen dykes on both sides. The main section along with the earthen dykes of Hirakud dam makes it the longest dam in the world. The total length of the Hirakud dam is incredible 25.79 km.
How to Reach Hirakud dam?
Hirakud dam is well connected by a network of roads and rails. The nearest airport is Swami Vivekananda International Airport, Raipur (265 K.M). The other nearest airport is Biju Patnaik International Airport, Bhubaneswar which is about 300 km away.
The nearest railway station is Sambalpur which is just 15 kilometres away from Hirakud dam. Sambalpur is also one of the divisional headquarters of East Coast Railways making it well connected by all major and important cities across India. Sambalpur is located on National Highway number 6 which connects Mumbai to Kolkata. NH 42 also passes through Sambalpur