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The Mahanadi, the Krishna and the Kaveri

The Mahanadi

(i) The Mahanadi rises in the highlands of Chhattisgarh. It flows through Orissa to reach the Bay of Bengal.

(ii) Mahanadi River drains a large land mass before entering the Bay of Bengal. The alluvial basin is wide and relatively flat .The meandering river changes its course often.

(iii) The Mahanadi River is 860 km. long. The drainage area is roughly 51,000 square miles It deposits more silt than any other river in the Indian subcontinent.

(iv) Its drainage basin is shared by Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, and Orissa.

(v) The upper part of the delta plain is heavily populated. Rainfall comes predominantly from the summer monsoon. The average annual rainfall in the basin is 1,463 mm.

The Krishna Basin


Krishna River at Srisailam

The Krishna River

rises from a spring near Mahabaleshwar, and reaches the Bay of Bengal, at Hamasaladeevi in Andhra Pradesh, on the East coast.

The length of the river is about 1400 km.

The tributaries of the river are :-

(i) The Tungabhadra

(ii) The Koyana

(iii) The Ghatprabha

(iv) The Musi

(v) The Bhima

(vi) Its drainage basin is shared by Maharasthra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

Krishna Basin which extends over an area of 258,948 km² comprises 8% of total geographical area of the country.

The delta of the river is one the most fertile regions in India and was the home to ancient Satavahana and Ikshvaku kings.

Two big dams have been constructed on the river, one at Srisailam called ‘Srisailam Dam’ and the other at Nagarjuna Hill called the ‘Nagarjuna Sagar Dam’.

Nagarjuna Sagar Dam


The legendary source of the river is a spout from the mouth of a statue of a cow in the ancient temple of Mahadev in Mahabaleshwar.

Legend has it that River Krishna is Lord Vishnu himself as a result of a curse on the ‘Trimurtis’ by Savitri.

The Kaveri Basin


Sivasamudram Falls on the Kaveri River


The Kaveri rises in the Brahmagiri range of the Western Ghats and it reaches the Bay of Bengal in Tamil Nadu.

The total length of the river is about 760 km.

The tributaries of the river are :-

(i) Amravati

(ii) Bhavani

(iii) Hemavati

(iv) Kabini

The Kaveri River basin is estimated to be 27,700 square miles. It drains parts of Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

Shivanasamudram Falls is the second biggest waterfall in India and the sixteenth largest in the world. The Shivanasamudra Falls is on the Kaveri River after the river has winded its way through the rocks and ravines of the Deccan Plateau. It then drops off to form the waterfalls.

According to a legend ,a girl named Vishnumaya or Lopamudra, was born . She was the daughter of Brahma, but her divine father permitted her to be regarded as the child of a mortal called Kavera-muni.


The River Goddess Kaveri as represented in Tamil Art


In order to obtain blessings for her adoptive father, she resolved to become a river whose waters should purify all sin. It is said that even the holy Ganges goes underground once in the year to the source of the Kaveri, cleanses herself from the pollution contracted from the crowd of sinners who have bathed in her waters.

On the banks of the Kaveri is the ancient temple town of Talakad where the holy festival Panchalinga Darshana is held once in 12 years and devotees bathe in the Kaveri River.


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