Thousands of tourists are flocking to the Idukki dam site this Onam season to experience the scenic beauty of the dam which is filled to the brim. Nearly 21,000 people have already visited the site which was opened for the public as part of the festival season. For those who want to cruise on the reservoir waters, the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) has arranged two speed boats from the Mattupetty dam.
“The heavy rush is due to the water level which is near to the full reservoir level. We are expecting more tourists in the coming days,” said an official at the ticket counter at the entrance of the Cheruthoni dam.
Most of the visitors are from the neighbouring districts. Those on a vacation in Munnar or Thekkady also visit the dam site. Tourists can visit the dam site till October 20.
The usually quiet road from Vellappara to the dam site and the return route to the Hospital Junction are now busy stretches with the arrival of tourist vehicles. “Despite the heavy rain, many families with children come to visit the site out of curiosity,” added the official at the ticket counter.
Roshy Augustine, MLA, said the aim was to make the district headquarters a major tourism destination.
The opening of the Hill View Park at Cheruthoni and the pavilion in front of the arch dam are part of this project.
He said the downstream area of the arch dam would be developed into a model garden on the lines of Malampuzha.
“There are also a number of less-known waterfalls and scenic spots nearby and they can be explored with the sustained development of the basic infrastructure there. There is also scope for hydel tourism,” he added.
Elaborate security arrangements are also in place at the dam site. The police officials are strictly monitoring the dam area. Cameras and cell phones are not allowed inside the dam area. The entry fee is Rs.10 for adults and Rs.5 for children. The fee for 15-minute boating service for five persons is Rs. 600.
Earlier, there was a blanket ban on public entry in to the dam due to security reasons. Later, it was relaxed opening the dam for public for 10 days during the Onam and the Christmas seasons. The duration has been increased to one month since last year.