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Bhakra-Nangal Project is a joint venture by the states of Punjab, Rajasthan and Haryana. This project is considered as the major multi-purpose project in India. The Bhakra-Nangal Project was started in the year 1948 and it was completed in 1968. The name of this project came from the two dams Bhakra and Nangal dams, constructed on a tributary of the Indus River, the Sutlej River.

This jointly-undertaken project consists of the Nangal and the Bhakra dams, two power houses at Bhakra dam, the Nangal Hydel channel and two power stations situated in Kotla and Ganguwal. Nangal Dam is at a distance of about 13 kilometres to the downstream of Bhakra Dam and is of a height of 95 feet. This dam comprises 26 bays of 30 feet each, modeled to divert the water of Sutlej River into the Nangal Hydel Channel and Anandpur Sahib Hydel Channel for the generation of power and irrigation purpose. Apart from the prevention of floods, Bhakra-Nangal Project provides water for the irrigation purposes in the state of Rajasthan, Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. This project also generates one million kilowatt of hydro-electricity.

The Bhakra dam was erected on the River Sutlej. It is situated at the foot of the Shivalik Hills in the state of Himachal Pradesh. Late, Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of India, dedicated this dam to the nation on the 20th of November, 1963. Bhakra dam is the uppermost concrete gravity dam in Asia. Bhakra dam has played a significant role in inspection the floods in the river Sutlej. The Nangal dam was erected over the River Sutlej and it is about twelve kilometers downstream at Nangal in the state of Punjab. This reservoir is used as a backup in case the Bhakra dam fluctuates. Storing the water of the Sutlej River coming from the Bhakra dam, a six kilometre long artificial lake is formed by the Nangal dam. The height of the Nangal dam is 29 metres and the length of it is 304.8 metres. This dam is also a part of the Bhakra-Nangal Project.

Rightly described by Jawaharlal Nehru, as ‘New Temple of Resurgent India’, the project has also opened a suitable option for the tourists to visit the sites of the Bhakra Nangal Dam. Situated in between a green surrounding, the dams provide a wonderful view of the vicinity and thus attract a large number of tourists from all parts of India.

Two dams at Bhakra and Nangal

1. The Bhakra Dam: It is the second highest (226 metres height) dam in India,the highest being Tehri dam (260 meters height). It is 226 metre high and 518 metre long and the width of the base at its widest point in 362 metres.

The name of the reservoir of Bhakra dam is “Gobind Sagar”. With a storage capacity of 9.3 billion cubic meters, it is the third largest water reservoir in India.

The initial planning of Bhakra dam started be independence, but the actual works took off after the independence. The first phase of the work was completed in 1963.

The Government of India celebrated the Golden Jubilee (50th anniversary) of Bhakra dam and released commemorative postage stamps on 22nd October, 2013.

2. The Nangal Dam: It has been constructed at Nangal on the river Sutlej in the state of Punjab. It is about 13 kms downstream of Bhakra Dam. It is 305 metres long and 29 meters high and 121 metres wide.

Nangal hydel channel
  • The Nangal Hydel channel is about 64 km long and 44 metres deep. It supplies water to Bhakra irrigation canals.

Power Houses

  • Four power houses at Ganguwal, Kotla, left bank power house and the right bank house with a combined installed capacity of 1204 mw.
  • Two power houses, one at Ganguwal and the other at Kotla have been constructed Ganguwal power houses have two units of 24 mw each and 1 one unit of 29 mv.
  • Two other power houses with 450 mw and 600 mw production capacity are located at Bhakra.

Bhakra canal system

It is providing irrigation facility to 27.41 lakhs hectares of land in Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan. It covers land in Jalandhar, Ferozepur, Hashinagar, Ludhiana, Ambala, Hissar, Karnal in Punjab and Haryana and Bikaner division of Rajasthan. This is a remarkable achievement of Indian Government made during the Five Year Plan.