The Phenomenon called Chembarambakkam

Rains are something that are very welcoming to the city of Chennai. Everybody prays for that marvel to happen, from the millennials to baby boomers. Children wish for rains especially, so that the Government can declare a holiday while the rest would simply enjoy the smell of petrichor and spend their time having a hot cup of tea with fritters. But what happens if that marvel becomes excessive and something, we wish to happen a lot becomes something we wish to disappear? And what would happen if Mother nature fills up the rivers to an extent that it creates a catastrophic situation? Chembarambakkam lake is one such Phenomenon. Known once as, Puliyur Kottam (village), Chembarambakkam is one of the 24 kottams that was prevalent during the later part of Chola period in Thondai Mandalam with Kancheepuram, that served as it’s headquarters. Dating back to the 8th century, it was built under the construction of Narasimhavarman II of the Pallava dynasty

Situated about 25 kilometres from Chennai with a capacity of almost 4000 million cusecs, and serving as one of the four reservoirs of the city, it supplies water to both the Puzhal lake and the Adyar river. It is one of the thirst-quenching lakes for the people of  Chennai. Until 2015, there was no reason for anxiety or panic. But the heavy rains back then, as we all know, resulted in the release of the dam, and flooding of the entire city. Every part of Chennai, still feel that anxiety, every time November and December comes and the monsoon season happens. With the emergence of the Nivar cyclone, for the first time since 2015, the water levels have risen to almost 80%, and are continuing to rise, that the Public Works Department, are in talks about releasing the dam, to the other connecting rivers. Environmentalists suggest that one of the causes for that disaster would be the water capacity being reduced to 60% due to the excessive silt deposits apart from the river being dumped with garbage and rubble.

It is a perfect spot to visit during the periods of October to March, irrespective of the current situation. It is a period where the climate is at its best. It is an aesthetic sight to view while going on picnics and family gatherings. Serving as a home to several water beings and birds, it is an ideal place for Fishing and Birdwatching. Once considered as a lifeline for the South of Chennai, it has provided a source of irrigation for almost 168 villages, in the district. All things set aside, it is one of the most beautiful landmarks and a brilliant tourist attraction to visit. Some of the measures taken to protect it, especially during natural calamities like floods, include the proper management, distribution and re-allocation of water from the lake to its connecting water bodies. Maintaining a proper system of information to keep tabs of the weather fluctuation also helps to understand it’s pattern and be prepared accordingly. It is of utmost

importance to take such measures, as it is our responsibility to understand it’s significance and the impact it can create, if the proper action is not taken.


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