Built across the Karamanathodu River, Banasura Sagar is the largest earth dam in India and the second largest in Asia. The dam got its name derived from the nearby Banasura hills. It is believed that “Banasura”, the son of the great Kerala ruler “Mahabali”, went through severe sacrament on the top of these hills. The dam was constructed in 1979 to support the Kakkayam Hydroelectric project and to meet the irrigation needs of the state in summer. The dam was mostly made of massive boulders stacked in order to restrict the flow of the river. The dam depends on the sheer weight of these boulders to hold itself in place.
Being located at the foothills of the Banasura hills, the dam offers a spectacular view of the Banasura peak and the surrounding grass meadows on the hilltop. The dam reservoir has a number of natural islands scattered across this vast water body. These miniature islands provide a unique beauty to the reservoir and make it one of its kinds among other dams in the Western Ghats. The dam authorities provide various entertainment activities to the visitors. These include speed boating through the reservoir, trek to the Banasura hills, and a visit to the nearby park.
Towering to an incredible height of 2073 meters (6801 feet), Banasura peak is the third highest peak in the Western Ghats. The track to the peak is a bit treacherous and highly adventurous. A good three hours trek through the thick forest and the windy green meadows will take you to the peak. The view of the thunderous Meenmutty waterfalls on your way up is an added bonus. On a clear day, you can get an incredible view of the Banasura Sagar dam and the surrounding landscape from the hilltop. You can spend your time in tranquillity, get wet in the mountain mist, and take rest in the laps of the nature enjoying every breath of the divine mountain air.
The dam is located about 21 kilometres from the nearest town Kalpetta. There is a decent distance between the parking area and to the top of the dam. You can either walk to the top or take an off-road vehicle from the parking area to the top. The best time to visit ranges between November and February.