The Hirakud Dam built on the Mahanadi River in Orissa is the world’s largest earthen dam and the longest dam in India. It was built in 1956 and its total length is 25.8km. It also forms the biggest artificial lake in Asia, with a shoreline of over 639 km.
The dam is 15 kilometers from Sambalpur and was the first large scale, multipurpose river valley project in India after 1947. It was built to control the problem of flooding in Orissa and over 22,000 families were displaced during its making. The dam provides an ideal home for rare species of flora and fauna. Its reservoir receives up to 25 species of migratory birds during winter. The Debrigarh wildlife sanctuary is located here.