Malampuzha – A nice picnic destination
Malampuzha is a multipurpose hydro-electric dam situated in Palghat district of Kerala. Within the premises of this project is the recreational facilities meant for the public. It consists of a garden, Snake park, aquarium, rock garden, children's park, Japanese park, and ropeway across the garden. So, if you plan a picnic or outing with your family, this is the best destination you can think of.
Malampuzha is a mini hydro-electric project built across Malampuzha river, which is a tributary of Bharathapuzha, in Palghat district of Kerala. This is the biggest irrigation project ever built in Kerala, and it has a large network of canal systems that supply water to vast tracts of agricultural fields that grow paddy and other crops. Hence, this project has brought prosperity to the whole of Palghat district. Since it provides a scenic setting against the backdrop of forested hills of Western Ghats, it has become one of the foremost tourism centers in the State. Within the premises and around the dam, the tourists can find the recreational facilities such as Malampuzha garden, ropeway, Snake garden, aquarium, children's park and Japanese park.
Being a large-scale irrigation system, it consists of a dam constructed across the Malampuzha river, a tributary of Bharathapuzha, and a network of canals to irrigate an area of 21,245 hectares in Palghat district. The dam is a straight gravity type of masonry with an earthen saddle. The length of masonry portion is 1626.71 m and that of earthen portion is 222.20 m. The reservoir has a capacity of 226 mm3 at Full Reservoir Level (FRL). The maximum height of the irrigation dam is 38.10 m (125 feet). There are two canal systems that irrigate vast expanse of farm land. On the other hand, the dam reservoir provides drinking water for Palghat Municipality and six adjacent Panchayaths. If scarcity of water is too high during summer, the Irrigation Department lifts the shutters of the dam to refurbish the supply wells in Bharathapuzha. This process helps to supply water to different areas such as Parali, Mankara, Lakkidi, Ottapalam, Mannanur, Shornur, Ongallur, Pattambi, and Thrithala.
There is a garden at the foot of the dam, and it covers 28.5 acres of land. The model of this reconstructed garden is the world-famous Mughal Gardens. The parks such as Nandi Park and Krishna Park are a part of the Malampuzha Gardens. In order to facilitate the aerial view of the beautiful Malampuzha dam and garden, there are two hanging bridges that run across the Malampuzha canal. This ropeway gives a thrilling ride for a period of 20 minutes over the garden. This ride provides the spectacular view of the garden below and the hill backdrop. Within the Malampuzha Gardens, there is a large sculpture of Yakshi, an enchantress. This sculpture was created by the famous sculptor Kanayi Kunhiraman. A musical fountain also operates in the park after 6:00 PM to enthrall the visitors with its spectacular pattern of colors and music.
Snake Park and Aquarium
Located outside the Malampuzha Gardens is a Snake Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre. This centre rescues and nurtures different types of snakes. The centre also runs a Snake park to educate the tourists about these hapless creatures. In the park, both poisonous and non-poisonous reptiles are exhibited. One can see Pythons (മലമ്പാമ്പ്), Cobras (വെമ്പാല), Vipers (അണലി) and a variety of other rarely found snakes in the park. There is also an instruction board available in the park that shows the steps to be taken at the time of a snake bite. A few tortoises are also kept in the Snake Park. The Snake Park is managed by the Kerala Forest Department, and it is open from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM.
The fresh-water aquarium is shaped like a giant fish, and it is situated outside the Malampuzha Gardens on the way to the Ropeway entrance. The tourists get inside the aquarium through the wide-opened mouth of a fish-shaped structure. Though it does not have a large collection, it exhibits a reasonable number of fish and other marine species. The aquarium is open to the public from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM. The aquarium is operated by the Department of Fisheries, Government of Kerala. This department also runs a fish culture in the reservoir.
Children's and Japanese Park
Inside the Malampuzha Gardens is a Children's park, which houses a lot of recreational and enjoyment facilities for the children of all age groups. They include slides, see-saws, merry-go-rounds, swing sets, overhead ladders and the like. There is also a toy train that goes around the children's park. The children's park is open for viewing from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM. Since the park is well demarcated with fence, it is pretty safe to leave the children there, and hence they cannot venture out of the park without the knowledge of their parents.
One can find a Japanese park near the children's park. Designed in typical Japanese style, the oriental flavor of this pretty small garden adds to the beauty of the park. The Japanese park was recently renovated to add more attractions and facilities for the benefit of the visitors. Inside the park, there is a rope bridge that spans across the canal nearby. It is open for the public viewing from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM and from 2:30 PM to 8:00 PM.
Malampuzha is a multi-purpose irrigation system that provides water to different farm lands through a network of canals. Near the dam's catchment area, there is a garden that adds flavor to the serene background. In and around the Malampuzha garden, there are a number of recreational facilities such as children's park, Snake Park, rock garden, ropeway that keep the visitors busy. Hence, the visit to the dam facility offers the tourists a pleasant and healthy experience.