Krishna River

The 1300 Kilometers long Krishna River or Krishnaveni is one of the longest rivers in Peninsular India. It is the fourth largest river in India after the Ganga, Godavari and the Narmada.

Origin & Course

Krishna River rises at Mahabaleswar in district Satara, Maharashtra in the west and meets the Bay of Bengal at Hamasaladeevi in Andhra Pradesh, on the east coast. It flows through Maharastra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. The delta of this river is one of the most fertile regions in India and was the home to ancient Satavahana and Ikshvaku Dynasty kings. Vijayawada is the largest city on the River Krishna.

The river flows quickly, causing much erosion in June and August. During this time, Krishna takes fertile soil from Maharashtra, Karnataka and western Andhra Pradesh towards the delta region.

The river has a number of tributaries but Tungabhadra is the principal tributary. Other tributaries include the Mallaprabha, Koyna, Bhima, Ghataprabha, Yerla, Warna, Dindi, Musi and Dudhganga.  Leaving Mahabaleswar behind, the Krishna takes the form of the Dhom lake in Panchgani, a popular hill station just 17 km from Mahabaleswar. Crisscrossing its way through Wai, Narsobachi and Wadi (near Kolhapur) in Maharashtra, the river enters Karnataka at Kurundwad, 60 km from Kolhapur. In Karnataka, the river passes through the Belgaum, Bijapur and Gulbarga districts, covering a total distance of 220 km. The Krishna enters Andhra Pradesh near Deosugur in Raichur district and meanders through Mehbubnagar, Kurnool, Guntur and Krishna districts. The river merges into the Bay of Bengal at Hamasaladeevi. Two dams, Srisailam and Nagarjuna Sagar  are constructed across the Krishna River. Nagarjuna Sagar Dam is world’s tallest masonry dam (124 meters).

Krishna River Basin

Krishna Basin extends over an area of 258,948 square kilometers which is nearly 8% of total geographical area of the country. The basin lies in the states of Andhra Pradesh (113,271 km2), Karnataka (76,252 km2) and Maharashtra (69,425 km2). Most part of this basin comprises rolling and undulating country except the western border which is formed by an unbroken line of ranges of the Western Ghats. The important soil types found in the basin are black soils, red soils, Laterite and lateritic soils, alluvium, mixed soils, red and black soils and saline and alkaline soils. An average annual surface water potential of 78.1 km³ has been assessed in this basin. Out of this, 58.0 km³ is utilizable water. Culturable area in the basin is about 203,000 km2, which is 10.4% of the total culturable area of the country. In 2009 October heavy floods occurred, isolating 350 villages and leaving millions homeless, which is believed to be first occurrence in 1000 years. The flood resulted in heavy damage to Kurnool, Mahabubnagar, Guntur, Krishna and Nalagonda Districts.

Tributaries of Krishna

Major Tributaries of Krishna River are as follows:

  • Left: Bhima, Dindi, Peddavagu, Halia, Musi, Paleru, Munneru
  • Right: Venna, Koyna, Panchganga, Dudhganga, Ghataprabha, Malaprabha, Tungabhadra

Tungabhadra River

Most important tributary of Krishna River is the Tungabhadra River, which is formed by the Tunga River and Bhadra River that originate in the Western Ghats. Tungbhadra flows in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. It was known as Pampa during the epic period.  The name of famous tourist spot Hampi is derived from Pampa, which is the old name of the Tungabhadra River on whose banks the city is built.

The Tunga and Bhadra Rivers rise at Gangamoola, in Varaha Parvatha in the Western Ghats forming parts of the Kuduremukh Iron Ore Project, at an elevation of 1198 metres. Bhadra flows through Bhadravati city and is joined by numerous streams.  At Koodli, a small town near Shimoga City, Karnataka, the two rivers meet and called with the common name Tungabhadra. From here, Thungabhadra meanders through the plains to a distance of 531 km (330 mi) and mingles with the Krishna at Gondimalla, near Mahaboobnagar  in Andhra Pradesh.

Importance of Tungabhadra River

There are a number of ancient and holy sites on the banks of the Tungabhadra River.

  • At Harihara there is a temple dedicated to Harihareshwara.
  • The river surrounds the modern town of Hampi, where are the ruins of Vijayanagara, the site of the powerful Vijayanagara Empire’s capital city and now a World Heritage Site. The site, including the Vijayanagara temple complex ruins, is being restored.
  • Alampur, on the left – northern bank of the river, known as Dakshina Kashi in Mahabubnagar Dist. The Nava Brahma Temples complex is one of the earliest models of temple architecture in India.
  • Bhadravthi, Hospet, Hampi, Mantralayam, Kurnool are located on its bank.
Tributaries of Tungabhadra:
  • Tunga River, Kumudvati River, Varada River, Bhadra River, Vedavathi River, Handri River

Bhima River

Bhima River originates in Bhimashankar hills near Karjat in Maharashtra  and flows southeast for 861 km through Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh states. Bhima is a major tributary of the Krishna River. Its banks are densely populated and form a fertile agricultural area. During its 861 kilometer journey, many smaller rivers flow into it. Kundali River, Kumandala River, Ghod river, Bhama, Indrayani River, Mula River, Mutha River and Pavna River are the major tributories of this river around Pune. Of these Indrayani, Mula, Mutha and Pawana flow through Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad city limits. Chandani, Kamini, Moshi, Bori, Sina, Man, Bhogwati and Nira are the major tributaries of the river in Solapur. Of these Nira river meets with the Bhima in Narsingpur, in Malshiras taluka in Solapur district.

  • The holy city of Pandharpur is on the bank of Bhima River.
  • Bhimashankar is one of the twelve esteemed Jyotirlinga shrines.Other temples are Siddhatek, Siddhivinayak Temple of Ashtavinayak Ganesh Pandharpur Vithoba Temple in Solapur district., Sri Dattatreya Temple, Ganagapura, Gulbarga district, Karnataka, Sri Kshetra Rasangi Balabheemasena Temple in Rasanagi, Jevargi Taluq, Gulbarga district, Karnataka
  • Tributaries of Bhima are:
    • Ghod, Sina, Kagini, Bhama, Indrayani, Mula-Mutha, Nira

Malaprabha River

Malaprabha River is another important tributary of Krishna River, which flows in Karnataka.It rises at Kanakumbi in the Belgaum district and joins Krishna River at Kudalasangama in Bagalkot district. It also flows through Dharwar District. Hubli city gets its drinking water from this reservoir.

  • Tributaries of Malprabha: Bennihalla, Hirehalla and Tuparihalla are the major tributaries to Malaprabha.

Ghataprabha River

Ghataprabha is a tributary of Krishna that flows in Karnataka. The Ghataprabha Project at Hidkal is a hydroelectric and irrigational dam across the river.

Tributaries of Ghataprabha:

  • Hiranyakeshi and Markandeya rivers are tributaries of Ghataprabha

Other Tributaries of Krishna

Other tributaries include the Kudali river, Venna River, Koyna River, Yerla River, Warna River, Dindi River, Paleru River, Musi River, Urmodi River, Tarli River and Dudhganga River. The rivers Venna, Koyna, Vasna, Panchganga, Dudhganga, Ghataprabha, Malaprabha and Tungabhadra join Krishna from the right bank; while the Yerla River, Musi River, Maneru and Bhima rivers join the Krishna from the left bank.

Important places on banks of River Krishna

  • Mahabaleshwar besides being a popular hill station and a weekend getaway from Mumbai is also the source of the Krishna River
  • Mahabaleshwar is located at an altitude of 1,372 meters in the Western Ghats.
  • Mahabaleshwar can also be called the ‘land of five rivers’, since the holy streams Krishna, Koyna, Venna, Gayatri and Savitri emerge from here.
  • There are many places of tourist interest in Mahabaleshwar. Lodwick Point is an important landmark in Mahabaleshwar. It is considered one of the finest locations in Mahabaleshwar from where one can enjoy the beauty of the surrounding area. This point was earlier known as Sydney Point. Arther Point is the queen of all points. It is fascinating to see the barren deep valley Savitri on the left and shallow green valley on the right.
  • Other places of tourist interest in Mahabaleshwar include Elphinstone Point, Tiger’s Spring, Kate’s Point, Bombay Point, Wilson Point, Venna Lake and Kate’s Point. Lingmala, Chinaman and Dhobi Waterfalls are also worth visiting in Mahabaleshwar. Kate’s Point (also known as sunrise point) in particular offers fabulous view of the Krishna River.
  • Leaving Mahabaleshwar behind, the Krishna river takes the form of Dhom in Panchgani, a beautiful hill station close (17 km) to Mahabaleshwar.
  • It meanders through Narsobachi, Wadi in Maharashtra and crisscrosses its way through Karnataka before entering Andhra Pradesh.
  • Srisailam (in Andhra Pradesh) is a holy town located on the banks of the Krishna. Srisailam is surrounded by lush greenery and has beautiful locations around.
  • It is a wonderful weekend getaway from Hyderabad. Srisailam Sanctuary is the main attraction that covers an area of 3568 sq kms. The down waters Srisailam dam is home to a variety of crocodiles.
Nagarjuna Sagar
  • Popularly known for the Nagarjuna Sagar Dam, Nagarjuna Sagar is approximately 170 km from Hyderabad. The dam is an engineering marvel. Stretching across the mighty river Krishna, the barrage also has another distinction to its credit – it has created one of the world’s largest man-made lake.
  • The dam has played an important role in agricultural sector of the state.
  • Nagarjunakonda was the largest and most important Buddhist centres in South India . The place derives its name from Acharya Nagarjuna, a renowned Buddhist scholar and philosopher, who had migrated here from Amaravati to propagate and spread the Buddha’s message of universal peace and brotherhood.
  • Not too far from Nagarjunakonda is Anupa, where a Buddhist University and Stadium were excavated.
  • Situated on the banks of the Krishna, Amaravati is a small town in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh. Amaravati is an excavation site and was once the capital of Satavahanas. It is one of the important Buddhist sites in India. Amaravati is located about 60 km from Vijayawada.
  • Amareswara Temple is the major tourist attraction in Amaravati. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is believed that Lord Shiva is present here in the form of five lingams -Pranaveswara, Agasteswara, Kosaleswara, Someswara and Parthiveswara. The temple is built in the Dravidian style of architecture and has many legends associated with it.
  • The remains of a 2000-year-old Buddhist settlement along with the great Buddhist stupa are among the main attractions in Amaravati. Mahachaitya or the Great Stupa was constructed approximately 2000 years ago. The stupa is made of brick with a circular vedika and depicts Lord Buddha in a human form, subduing an elephant.
  • Vijayawada being a popular trade and commerce centre is also referred to as ‘the business capital of Andhra Pradesh’. Vijayawada is the 3rd largest city in Andhra Pradesh and is the largest city on the banks of Krishna River.

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