It is built on the Periyar River, in the ravine between the Kuravan and Kurathi Hills in Kerala, India. At 167.68 metres, it is one of the highest arch dams in Asia. It started generating power on 4 October 1975.
This dam was constructed along with two other dams at Cheruthony and Kulamavu. Together, the three dams have created an artificial lake that is 60 km² wide. The stored water is used to produce electricity at the Moolamattom Power house, which is located inside nearby rocky caves. The Government of Canada aided in the building of the dam with long term loans and grants.