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Krishna River

The river Krishna is one of the most prominent lifelines in peninsular India. It has occupied space not only in the geographical terms of length or breadth, or volume, but also in the minds of the vast populace around its corridor. Only two other Indian rivers, namely Ganga and Godavari, traverse longer distance than Krishna. The river winds its way through four states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. The river basin covers about eight percent of India’s land. The river is not found navigable because of its furious flow. The depth of this river often reaches 20-25 meters.


Krishna river originates in the mountain range known as ‘Western Ghats’. This mountain range runs parallel to western coastline and is called as ‘Sahyadri’ in Maharashtra. The river emerges at the famous hill station area known as Mahabaleshwar in Maharashtra state at an altitude of some 1300 meters. The river flows eastward successively through the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana and finally in Andhra Pradesh to pour into the Bay of Bengal. The river takes a few detours  in between. The river traverses a distance of about 1400 kilometers in its journey. The river has abundant water to fulfill needs of the vast population for agricultural activities and for drinking purposes. Krishna river delta is one of the most fertile regions of India. This phenomenon occurs because this river flows very fast and with lots of turbulence, resulting in the erosion of land along its course. The eroded soil finally deposits in the delta region, enhancing the fertility of the region. The head of delta region is in Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh.


There are many tributaries of Krishna river of which Tungbhadra, Bheema and Koyana are the notable ones. Koyana river and three other relatively small rivers, namely Venna, Urmondi and Tarli pour into Krishna at a confluence point near the city of Sangli in Maharashtra state. Other tributaries of Krishna are Dudhganga, Panchganga and Warana in Maharashtra. Ghataprabha and Malaprabha rivers meet Krishna river in Karnataka. Similarly, the river Bheema flows into Krishna. All these rivers bring with them rich soil from their catchment areas to Krishna. Laterite soil is found along the banks of Krishna river. Loose or unconsolidated soil when redeposited called as alluvium is also found along the river. Silt, clay and part gravel are constituents of alluvium. Presence of organic matters in alluvium enhances the fertility of river soil and sediments. Alkaline soil and saline soils are also present along the long winding stretch of Krishna river’s passage. The presence of red soil and black soil also make the surrounding land very productive.

Krishna river has witnessed many rich civilizations prosper in its lap. The river basin and delta region was home to multitudes of people, due to fertility of land. The populace saw many developments for hundreds of years, which are now part of the cultural heritage of the region. The river’s name is etched in the contemporary history of the peninsular India. The Andhra Ishvaku dynasty had ruled the Guntur region along the river. Historical records also find mention of famous Satvahanas dynasty civilizations which prospered in the Krishna river valley before Ishvakus. The rulers have left behind, signs of existence of cultured society in the region.

Many pilgrimage places are situated and developed along the route of Krishna river. The river itself is historically revered by people. They worship the river by offering gratitude. Innumerable temples are built along the banks of the river. Believers take a dip in the river and offer prayers. Narsobawadi in Maharashtra is one famous pilgrimage place. Similarly Srisailam is also having a temple, where thousands of pilgrims worship. Deities like Lord Dattatreya and Lord Shiva have prominent temples along the banks of Krishna river. Hundreds of devotees visit these places to pay their obeisance. Pilgrimage tourism has become a significant economic activity in the region. Krishna river shares its name with the Hindu godly figure of Lord Krishna adding to the sanctity of the entire water body.


Modern day governments have built many dams on the river Krishna. Almatti, Dhom, Nagarjun Sagar, Narayanpur, Srisailam are some of the major dams built on Krishna river. Construction of dams has resulted in better irrigation facilities and better control over the floods, thereby improving living standards of people around. Generation of hydro-power is added economic advantage of dams. More of such projects are presently at planning stage. The full potential of Krishna river is being realized with the ongoing discovery of its intrinsic wealth. People at large will be greatly benefitted with more of these activities.

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