Salaulim Dam and Botanical Gardens
The Salaulim Dam is a dam which was built on the Salaulim River, which is a tributary of the Zauri, one of the main rivers of Goa. The dam, which is located in South Goa is primarily built for irrigational and fish farming purposes, however it is also a popular picnic spot.
The Botanical Gardens which are located close to the dam are beautifully maintained and constructed along the lines of the Mysore Brindavan Gardens. From here, tourists get a wonderful view of the duckbill spillway, which is one of the most unique and beautiful features of the Salaulim Dam.
Where to Go
The Salaulim dam is located in the Sanguem Taluka of South Goa, about 26km from Margao, the which is one of the major cities in the south of Goa and is also known as the cultural capital of Goa.
When to Go
The dam is open every day throughout the year from 9.00am to 6.00pm. Photography is not permitted along the top of the dam, as it is a ‘sensitive’ place.
What to See
Midway through the monsoon season, the water starts overflowing from the Salaulim Dam. This overflow takes places via the dam’s unique duckbill spillway, which empties into the Salaulim river below. This spillway is of a semi-circular design and is ungated. The water spills over with such force that is rises up again in a mist that falls back on the river like rain.
Walking along the top of the dam one side is the catchment area, a serene expanse of water reflecting the half sunken trees of the forest in its glassy surface. Birds like cormorants and kingfishers dive bomb the waters’ surface as they hunt their prey. On the other side is laid out the beautiful, well-manicured lawns of the Botanical Gardens, which were built to resemble the famous Mysore Brindavan gardens.
The Botanical gardens themselves are also worth a visit and make a great place for a picnic, where one can relax in the shade of the trees and enjoy an unobstructed view of the dam and its surroundings.
The construction of the Salaulim Dam began in 1976 and was finished in 2000. The Salaulim dam is a composite structure of earth and masonry. It stands about 42.7m (140ft) above the lowest foundation level. The length of the dam is 1,004m and the water spread within Goa, is 24sq km.
The dam has a unique spillway of the duckbill or Morning Glory type which is an un-gated structure located in the gorge section of the dam. The spillway has a length of 44m. This duckbill spillway was designed to pass an estimated overflow of 1.4 cubic meters.
The dam caused the submergence of a total of 20 villages, the 3000 strong population of which had to be relocated. There was a 2.5m high statue of the mother goddess which had been dated back to the 5th century which was relocated to Verna. Another temple, which dated back to the Kadamba dynasty and was slated to be submerged, was relocated (by dismantling, numbering each block and reconstructing) to a site around 17km away from its original location.
The irrigation project is slated to help irrigate lands in the Salcette, Sanguem and Quepem talukas of South Goa as well as provide water to Goa’s first sugar mill and sugarcane plantation.