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.