Dec 31, 2016

Pocharam Dam, near Medak

The small dam near Pocharam village is across river Alair, a tributary of river Manjira is commonly known by the name Pocharam Dam, it is about 16 kms from Medak town which in turn is about 100 kms from Hyderabad. The dam was built by Nizam of Hyderabad between 1916 and 1922. The dam is simple in design, its made of coarsely dressed granite blocks and lime mortar. The reservoir covers an area of approximately 11 sq. kms and has about nine small island in it. On the eastern bank, within the dam's sight is an abandoned bungalow of Nizam. When the reservoir is filled to capacity, excess water simply flows over the wall. However, at the western end of the dam are gates which can be used to let out water when the water level is below the dam's wall height. The reservoir is surrounded by jungle which is home to a wide variety of wildlife such as wild dogs, leopards, wolves, jackals, wild cats, sloth bear, and varieties of deer. The reservoir attracts water-birds like geese, egrets and cranes. In 1952, Pocharam Wildlife Sanctuary was established.

August 14, 2016
We were on a day trip to see Medak fort and Medak cathedral. Akshay suggested a must see spot near Medak and  that was Pocharam Reservoir. So after the trip to Medak Cathedral and Medak Fort, we drove towards Pocharam. The road was in good condition, it was a smooth drive on a not so busy road. We passed by the fenced borders of the Wild Life Sanctuary. I was hoping to see some deer and peacock, could see none, may be at this time of the day they are deep in the woods. We drove across the river and reached the dam project colony, that's where we realized having missed the road to dam. We turned back, drove across the river and then found a dirt road on our left. It was a narrow uneven path fit for off-road vehicles.. it was a slow drive avoiding the pits & mounds. At one point the road goes across a stream path, a kind of bridge cum wall was built across to facilitate movement of men and vehicles. When the reservoir is upto capacity, excess water flows there. I missed taking a picture of the spot :( Anyway, from the stream the dam is 150 meters, the path ends at the abandoned bungalow. There were 3 or 4 more cars and a dozen bikes already.. people we already flocking in with their picnics.

As we were getting of the car, we could see lot of cream-colored insects flying about. Akshay took them for mosquitoes but some villagers hanging around the place confirmed they weren't mosquitoes, no need to worry. It was nice to see so much water and greenery, felt great to be breathing in fresh air blowing over clean water. It was cloudy with chances of light rain. Good that public was allowed to walk over the dam. The wind was strong at moments, we maintained distance from the edges. The wall is about 16 feet wide and 630 meters long. Water level was about 12' to 13' below at this point where we stand. In the back-ground is the bungalow surrounded by trees.

We'd walked about 200 meters when it started raining, we turned back and rushed to the nearest tree's shelter. The rain lasted few minutes but the cloud cover remained with the Sun peeking out now and then. Back on the wall, all signs of rain was erased by the wind. More cars and people were flocking in..

A flight of steps barely 7' wide with no railings. One person at a time, no side by side walking.

Some brave hearts rode their bikes. Going by the looks, the wall looks solid, it seems to be built at the edge of a rock bed.

We went down the steps to get another view of the dam. Impressive piece of civil work. Its is possible the dam design might have been reviewed by Sir M Visvesvaraya.

There's Pushpa resting on the steps while Akshay chats with a biker from Chennai named Rajnikanth. The biker was on a solo trip on his Enfield Bullet. Notice the wall and floor.. so similar to fort walls.

We are almost at the other end of the dam now. On the water side of the wall is a mechanical device. Apparently it looks neglected and may not be in working condition. It seems like a gate system to control water flow.

The bevel gear and threaded shaft inside these housing hasn't seen grease for years. It definitely seems like a gate-lifting device currently out of commission. Notice how the wall slopes to the right, to allow easy flow of water across the wall. At the far end is the mound of Nizam's bungalow.

We were on the return trip across the wall when I wanted to climb down the steps to the river bed. Two young adventurists started climbing the wall. The closer one here climbed rapidly, very confident. It was a scary sight.. no safety gear whatsoever.

Our climber almost reached the top. Unfortunately, the top 7' or 8' of the wall slopes backwards and that's where his climb ended. There was no way he could move up without a rope. Now comes the difficult part.. descending this would be crazy! Nothing deterred this guy, he made his way down slowly and safely.

Here's a view of the dam seen from the river bed. That's actually a bridge on the dam which lets people walk on the dam when its overflowing.

I was glad to be here, thanks to Akshay. It was nice to spend time in Nature, good break from the hustle bustle of metro life. A family of four were happily enjoying their moment on the rocks, with their feet in cool water and sheltering themselves from the drizzle.

Pushpa had packed our picnic of jolada rotti, madaki-kaal palya and junaka. We found a shaded spot on a rock near the bungalow. It was rather a dry lunch without curds or salad but the items were tasty. After lunch, we rested for a and then I pitched stones over water, a kind of ritual whenever I'm at a lake. The water was choppy so pitching stones was a challenge. Pushpa also tried and succeeded :)

We left early so that it would still be light when we reached home. Driving at night can be tiring and it takes off all the fun we had during day.
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