At a distance of 47 km from Aurangabad, the Jayakwadi Dam is an earthen dam built across the sacred Godavari River at Paithan village in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra. It is one of the largest earthen dams of Maharashtra and is one of the best in Aurangabad tourist places.
The foundation of the dam was laid by the then Prime minister of India Lal Bahadur Shastri on 18th October 1965. The dam was inaugurated on 24th February 1976 by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. The chief engineer of this project was Mr. A.A.A. Siddiqui. Its height is approximately 41.30 m and length of 10 km with total storage capacity 2,909 MCM (million cubic meters) and effective live storage capacity is 2,171 MCM. The total catchment area of dam is 21,750 Sq. km. There are total 27 gates for the dam.
Jayakwadi Dam or Paithan Dam is constructed over the sacred river Godavari and is the major source of water supply to the Aurangabad city. Nath Sagar Jalashay is the name of the reservoir formed by Jayakwadi Dam. Fed by the Godavari and Pravara rivers the reservoir is about 55 km long and 27 km wide and spans over 350 Sq. km. Total submergence area due to the reservoir is approximately 36,000 hectares. Unfortunately siltation has taken a heavy toll on the project. It is estimated that approximately 30% of the dam is filled with silt, reducing its life as well as storage capacity.
Jayakwadi project is used mainly to irrigate agricultural land of drought-prone region of Marathwada. Other important purpose was to provide water for drinking and industrial usage to nearby towns and villages and to the municipalities and industrial areas of Aurangabad and Jalna. The 80% of water of dam is meant for irrigation, 5-7% for drinking water and the rest for industrial purposes. Jayakwadi Dam houses a hydroelectric power plant with installed power generating capacity of 12 MW. The dam is also a primary source of water to the Parli Thermal Power Station.
Dnyaneshwar Udyan is one of the largest gardens in Maharashtra resembling the Brindavan Gardens of Mysore. It is spread over 125 hectares and is situated on the banks of Nath Sagar Lake formed due to Jayakwadi Dam. Jayakwadi Bird Sanctuary, sprawls across the backwaters of Nath Sagar reservoir, houses variety of flora and fauna. A wide range of resident and more than 70 species of migratory birds can found in the vicinity. Some of them include Siberian migratory birds, Flamingos, Porchards, Cranes etc. The ideal time to visit the place is from October and March.
Located on the banks of the River Godavari, this erstwhile second century BCE capital of the Satvahana Dynasty has witnessed more history than perhaps any other city in the vicinity. Back then, it was known as Pratisthana, translated as City of Prestige or a City of Firm Standing. The town has a record of trade with Romans and has found mention in the Greek literature. Coins dating back to the era found in the region substantiate this historical claim. Paithan was and continues to be a popular centre for textile manufacturing and trade. The town's signature Paithani saree is popular for its use of gold and intricate artistry. While the sarees continue to retain its mark, the political significance of the city itself has waned with time. However, the town continues to be popular as a religious centre for Hindus and Jains. People flock annually to the Yatra celebrations dedicated to Marathi Saint Eknath.
Besides the temples, the town these days is frequented by many to shop for Paithani sarees, walk in its Vrindavan-style Dnyaneshwar Garden, named after another popular Marathi Saint, and to visit Jayakwadi Dam, one of the largest irrigation projects in the region. Located about 50 km south of Aurangabad, Jayakwadi is also known as Nath Sagar and is a massive structure with more than two dozen floodgates. You need to park the car and then walk up the staircase to the promenade built for viewing the huge mass of water. For security reasons, photography is prohibited inside the dam compound.
Dnyaneshwar Udyan Timings: 5.30 AM to 11 PM
Dnyaneshwar Udyan Entry Fee: Rs. 10 per Person