Mullaperiyaru Dam is a masonry gravity dam on the Periyar River in the Indian state of Kerala. It is located 881 m (2,890 ft) above mean sea level, on the Cardamom Hills of the Western Ghats in Thekkady, Idukki District of Kerala, South India. It was constructed between 1887 and 1895 by John Pennycuick and also reached in an agreement to divert water eastwards to the Madras Presidency area (present-day Tamil Nadu). It has a height of 53.6 m (176 ft) from the foundation, and a length of 365.7 m (1,200 ft).
The Periyar river which flows westward of Kerala in to the Arabian sea was diverted eastwards to flow towards the Bay of Bengal to provide water to the arid rain shadow region of Madurai in Madras Presidency which was in dire need of a greater supply of water than the small Vaigai River could provide. The dam created the Periyar Thekkady reservoir, from which water was diverted eastwards via a tunnel to augment the small flow of the Vaigai River. The Vaigai was dammed by the Vaigai Dam to provide a source for irrigating large tracts around Madurai. Initially the dam waters were used only for the irrigation of 68,558 ha (169,411 acres).
The Periyar National Park in Thekkady, a protected area of Kerala, is located around the dam's reservoir, the 26 km2 (10 sq mi) Periyar lake. 62 different kinds of mammals have been recorded in Periyar, including many threatened ones. Periyar is a highly protected tiger reserve and hosts 35 tigers above two-years of age as of January 2017 in the reserve. Declared an elephant reserve on 2 April 2002, the population of Indian elephants in 2005 was estimated at 1100, however Periyar suffers greatly from poaching of elephant being the worst affected of South Indian sanctuaries.
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