Nagarjuna Sagar Dam is one of the largest dams built in Asia. The tallest masonry Nagarjuna Sagar Dam is certainly the pride of India, This colossal dam supplies water for irrigation purposes to the districts like Nalgonda, Prakasam, Khammam and Guntur in Andhra Pradesh catchment area of 215000 sq km (83012 mi) . And is one of the largest networks of canal systems.This mighty Nagarjuna dam, which was completed in 1969, owing to its confounding height of 124 meters, and 1 km long, and has 26 crest gates. Nagarjunasagar Dam can store up to 11, 472 million cubic meters in its reservoir.
The project started in February 1956 but due to scarcity of funds modern equipment was not available. The project was constructed with stone instead of concrete. A cement factory was constructed near Macherla to meet the project requirement. A railway line was laid connecting the project location and the cement factory. Stones were supplied from the nearby Sunkesula quaries. Sand was supplied from Rayavaram stream and Halia river.
Full usage of the dam came from 1972 after fitting the crest gates. Two canals - the left and right canals were constructed to supply water from this reservoir. Total expenditure on the project (including maintenance till 2005) is around 1300 crore rupees.
The number of workers participating in the project varied from 45,000 to 70,000. Around 174 people died due to accidents during the construction. 52 villages were submersed in water and 24000 people were affected. The relocation of the people was completed by 1967.The inflows into the reservoir have been reduced due to the increased number of projects which have been built upstream
Apart from these achievements, the dam also has been known for being one of the earliest irrigation and hydro-electric projects in India. Built across the Krishna River, it boasts of one of the largest networks of canal systems in the world. Nagarjuna Sagar Dam is located at a distance of 160 kms from Guntur and 150 km from Hyderabad. Considering the tourism prospects, a lake has been developed just behind the dam, which is acclaimed to be the third largest man-made lake in the world.
The Dam has a beautiful landscape and looks strikingly scenic. The turbines are located on the Nalgonda side (pylon colony) of the river and even on the right side(guntur side) of the river(vijayapuri south). There are tours available to see the turbines in action. Sprawling over an area of 60,000 sq km, Nagarjuna Lake is the only medium to reach Nagarjunakonda Island, where ancient artifacts are kept in a museum. Besides the lake, there are other attractions around the Dam like Ethipothala waterfalls, and the densely forested Srisailam Wildlife Reserve. There is also an exquisite museum, located near the dam that can be reached by boat. This place of global recognition and scenic countryside should not be missed during your trip to Andhra Pradesh.
To reach Nagarjuna Sagar By Air: Hyderabad is the nearest airport to Nagarjuna Sagar. Nagarjuna Sagar is located 150 km from Hyderabad. There are regular buses from Hyderbad and Guntur to Nagarjuna Sagar. The nearest railway station, Macherla, is 24 km from Nagarjuna Sagar.
Nagarjuna Sagar Dam was built across the Krishna river at Nagarjuna Sagar where the river is forming boundary between Nalgonda district of Telangana state and Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh state in India. The construction duration of the dam was between the years of 1955 and 1967. The dam created a water reservoir whose gross storage capacity is 11,472,000,000 cubic metres (4.051×1011 cu ft). The dam is 490 feet (150 m) tall from its deepest foundation and 0.99 miles (1.6 km) long with 26 flood gates which are 42 feet (13 m) wide and 45 feet (14 m) tall. Nagarjuna Sagar was the earliest in the series of large infrastructure projects termed as "modern temples" initiated for achieving the Green Revolution in India. It is also one of the earliest multi-purpose irrigation and hydro-electric projects in India. The dam provides irrigation water to the Prakasam, Guntur, Krishna, Khammam, West Godavari and Nalgonda districts along with hydro electricity generation. Nagarjuna Sagar dam is designed and constructed to utilise up to the last drop of water impounded in its reservoir of 405 TMC gross storage capacity which is the second biggest water reservoir in India.
The proposal to construct a dam to use the excess waters of the Krishna river was planned by the Nizam of Hyderabad and engaged British Engineers in 1903 to irrigate Telangana. Since then, various competing sites in Siddeswaram, Hyderabad and Pulichintala were identified as the most suitable locations for the reservoirs. The perseverance of the Raja Vasireddy Ramagopala Krishna Maheswar Prasad (Raja of Muktyala) and his logistics support paved way for the identification and selection of dam site.The dam was built with local know how under the able engineering leadership of K.L. Rao.
Project construction was officially inaugurated by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru on 10 December 1955 and proceeded for the next twelve years. The reservoir water was released into the left and right bank canals by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1967. Construction of the hydropower plant followed, with generation increasing between 1978 and 1985, as additional units came into service. In the year 2015, diamond jubilee celebrations of project's inauguration was celebrated remembering the prosperity the dam has ushered in the region.
The construction of the dam submerged an ancient Buddhist settlement, Nagarjunakonda, which was the capital of the Ikshvaku dynasty in the 1st and 2nd centuries, the successors of the Satavahanas in the Eastern Deccan. Excavations here had yielded 30 Buddhist monasteries, as well as art works and inscriptions of great historical importance. In advance of the reservoir's flooding, monuments were dug up and relocated. Some were moved to Nagarjunakonda, now an island in the middle of the reservoir. Others were moved to the nearby mainland village called Anupu.