The world’s oldest dam is located 14 km away from the city of Trichurapalli.
Kallanai Dam is also called as Grand Anicut, which is an ancient dam built across the Kaveri River in the district of Trichurapalli district. The dam dates back to second century, which was originally constructed by Karigala Cholan. Kallanai dam is one of the oldest water regulator systems in the world and an engineering marvel in itself. In tandem with the city’s culture and nature, the dam is yet another strong thread linking Tiruchirappalli it to its distant past and is a marvel of Dravidian engineering.
“The purpose of the dam was to divert the waters of the Kaveri across the fertile Thanjavur delta region for irrigation via canals”. Since the English arrived in the eighteenth century, the Kallanai has been tampered with and other hydraulic structures have been added nearby.
The Kallanai is a massive dam of unknown stone, 329 m long and 20 m wide. The dam was re modeled by the British during the 19th century. Captain Cadwell, who was appointed to make a detailed study on the Kaveri River and promote irrigation for the delta region, found that a large amount of water passed on to the dam, leaving behind a small volume of irrigation purposes.
The problem was solved by raising the dam to a height of 0.69 m, and thereby the capacity of the dam was increased. The dam splits the river Kaveri into 4 streams known as Kollidam Aru, Kaviri, Vennaru and Puthu Aru. It is constructed from unhewn stone spanning the Kaveri. Irrigation works have been constructed in the delta for over 2,000 years. By the early 20th century, the irrigated area had been increased to about one million acres.
You wouldn’t really think of visiting a dam while touring a city, but this dam is special as,
this dam is ‘THE WORLD’S OLDEST DAM’!