Bhakhra Dam, the highest straight gravity dam in the world situated in Naina Devi Sub-Tehsil about 14 Kms. from Nangal town occupies the predominant position amongst the places of tourist interest.
The idea for the construction of this dam was conceived by Sir Louis Dane the then Lieutenant Governor of Punjab, who travelled from Sunni to Bilaspur and then onward to Ropar. The project could not make headway due to prohibitive cost of construction. In the year 1938-39 the districts of Rohtak and Hissar of the then Punjab State experienced severe drought resulting in great loss of human life and cattle. The scheme was again mooted out but was not executed due to second world war. It was only after independence in March, 1948 that the work was taken in hand for execution. On the historic day of 17th November, 1955 later Prime Minister Shri Jawaharlal Nehru placed the first bucket of concrete at the foundation. The construction of dam was completed in October, 1962.
The height of the dam is 226 meters, length at the top is 518 meters and width 9 meters. It has a length of 99 meters at the bottom and width 402 meters. The project derives its name from two villages Bhakhra and Nangal situated on the foot hills of the low Himalayan ranges.
Bhakhra occupies a very important place on the India’s tourist map and has rightly been described as a “New Temple of Resurgent India”, by the late Prime Minister Mr. Nehru. The project authorities have set up a Public Relation Office in Nangal Township which provides necessary help and guidance to the tourists.
Gobind Sagar Lake
The Gobind Sagar on river Sutlej, has been created by the huge hydel dam at Bhakra and is named in honour of Gobind Singh the Tenth Sikh guru. One of the world’s highest gravity dams, the Bhakra rises 225.5 m above its lowest foundations. Under the supervision of the famous American dam-builder, Harvey Slocum, work began in 1955 and was completed in 1962. Incidentally, Slocum had no formal training as an engineer, but his conceptions and designs have proven successful. To maintain the level of water, the flow of river Beas was also channeled to Gobind Sagar by the Beas-Sutlej link which was completed in 1976. Today, this dam feeds electricity and water to a large area the Gobind Sagar reservoir is 90 k.m. long and encompasses an area of approximately 170 sq. k.m.
There are provisions for water sports speed boats and ferry rides. In October and November, when the water level of the reservoir is at its peak, a series of regattas are also organizing by the department of Tourism and Civil Aviation. Water-skiing, sailing, kayaking and water scooter racing are popular water sports activities during this period.
New Bilaspur Town
The old Bilaspur town, has now been submerged in the Govind Sagar, was founded in year 1663 when the capital of the state was shifted from Sunhani to this place, it was situated on the south east side of the Satluj. New Bilaspur Town is situated just above the old town of Bilaspur at a height of 670 metres above the mean sea level. The New Township Bilaspur has been conceived, planned and built on modern lines and should be regarded as the first planned hill town of the country. The new planned township, 64-km from Kiratpur on the Manali National Highway No-21, has come up which is the seat of district headquarters. The pleasure of a visit will be enhanced manifold when a motor launch is preferred as the means of travel, gliding through cool and enchanting waters of the lake. The best months from visiting this place are from September to December.
The Nalwari or Annual cattle fair is held at Bilaspur for four or five days in March months, the occasion is marked by wrestling and other amusements. A good trade is usually done. Cattle are brought from Nalagarh and neighboring parts of Punjab sell over here. It is easily approachable as regular bus services are maintained from and to Shimla, Mandi, Hamirpur and Chandigarh. The places of interest were the temples of Sri Naina Devi Ji, Raghu Nath Ji, Gopal Ji, Khanmukheshwar and Deomati where fairs are held.
The very beautiful and fascinating Kandrour Bridge is 8 kilometers from Bilaspur on National Highway No-88. It is across the river Satluj. Its construction was started in April,1959 and was completed in 1965. The total cost of construction came to Rs. 28,12,998. The span of the bridge is about 280 meters with a breadth of about seven meters and the height above the lowest river bed below is about 80 meters, making it one of the highest bridge in the world. It is ranked first in Asia for its height. It has provided a link between Bilaspur, Ghumarwin and Hamirpur district, and is a marvelous engineering feat. The pillars supporting the bridge are hollowed. The bridge was opened by Shri Raj Bahadur, Minister of Transport in 1965.