There is nothing eerie about the Bhoothathankettu dam though there is a ‘bhootham’ (demon) in the name. Unlike the colossal Idukki arch dam, this barrage is a modest one with a limited capacity to hold water. The Bhoothathankettu dam, which was built in 1964, is situated 11km away from Kothamangalam in Ernakulam district.
Till recently, vehicles used to ply on the road across the dam but now traffic has been diverted through a new bridge in the vicinity and the charm of this rather petite dam has only increased manifold.
Some believe that the initial structure of the dam on the Periyar, the longest perennial river in Kerala, was crystallised by revered hermits and a similar ‘poothankettu’ dam was built and the name later metamorphosed into ‘bhoothathankettu’ over a period of time and others hold the opinion that Lord Shiva’s ‘bhoothaganams’ had built the barrage.
The dam is now maintained by the state government under the Periyar valley project, and some areas of the famous Thattekad bird sanctuary touch the dam waters. Presently, the water level of the dam has been maintained by marginally opening the seven shutters following heavy rains in the region.