Indian prowess at the art of engineering and construction can be seen across the country in various forts, palaces, roads and water reservoirs.
One such proof of this adroitness is the Grand Anicut Dam near Trichy in Tamil Nadu. Built by the Chola King Karikalan in 2nd century BC, it is regarded as the oldest dam in the world which is still in use.
The Grand Anicut Dam is built over the river Kaveri and is also known as Kallanai. Built of unhewn stones, it is 329 meters long and 30 meters wide, making it the oldest water-diversion or water-regulator structure in the world. The purpose of this dam was to divert the waters of the river Kaveri across the fertile delta for irrigation via canals.
Arthur Cotton, widely regarded as one of the finest engineers of the British Raj, admitted that he used Grand Anicut’s design for the 19th century irrigation works on the river Kaveri. The area irrigated by this dam is roughly around 280 square kilometers and by the end of 20th century, this area increased to about 4,000 square kilometers.
The sheer fact that this dam is still in use, even after 2,000 years of its construction, speaks volumes about the ancient Indian mastery in the field of engineering and construction.