Krishna River

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Krishna River
Back Water View.jpg
Krishna river gorge by Srisailam, Andhra Pradesh, India
Path of the Krishna in the peninsular India ([1])
StateMaharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh
RegionSouth India
Physical characteristics
SourceNear Mahabaleshwar, Jor village, Dist- Satara
 • locationSatara district, Maharashtra, India
 • coordinates17°59′18.8″N 73°38′16.7″E / 17.988556°N 73.637972°E / 17.988556; 73.637972
 • elevation914 m (2,999 ft)Geographic headwaters
MouthBay Of Bengal
 • location
Hamsaladeevi, Krishna district, Andhra Pradesh, India
 • coordinates
15°44′10.8″N 80°55′12.1″E / 15.736333°N 80.920028°E / 15.736333; 80.920028Coordinates: 15°44′10.8″N 80°55′12.1″E / 15.736333°N 80.920028°E / 15.736333; 80.920028[1]
 • elevation
0 m (0 ft)
Length1,400 km (870 mi) or 1,290 km (800 mi)approx.[2]
Basin size258,948 km2 (99,980 sq mi)
 • average2,213 m3/s (78,200 cu ft/s)
 • locationVijayawada (1901–1979 average),
max (2009), min (1997)
 • average1,641.74 m3/s (57,978 cu ft/s)
 • minimum13.52 m3/s (477 cu ft/s)
 • maximum31,148.53 m3/s (1,100,000 cu ft/s)[3]
Basin features
 • leftBhima, Dindi, Peddavagu, Musi, Paleru, Munneru
 • rightKudali (Niranjna) Venna, Koyna, Panchganga, Dudhaganga, Ghataprabha, Malaprabha, Tungabhadra
Down stream view of Prakasam Barrage.
Krishna river near Vijayawada

The Krishna River is the third-longest river of India, after the Ganges and Godavari, and the fourth-largest in terms of water inflows and river basin area in India, after the Ganges, Indus and Godavari.[4] The river, also called Krishnaveni, it is 1,400 kilometres (870 mi) long and its length in Maharashtra is 242 kilometres.[5] It is a major source of irrigation in the Indian states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.[6]


The Krishna river originates in the Western Ghats near Mahabaleshwar at an elevation of about 1,300 metres (4,300 ft), in the state of Maharashtra in central India. The Krishna river is around 1,400 kilometres (870 mi) in length (282 kilometres (175 mi) in Maharashtra). It is one of the most suitable arable basins in the world as 75.6% of the Krishna basin is under cultivation due to the availability of water. The river's source is at Mahabaleshwar near Jor village in the extreme north of Wai Taluka, Satara District, Maharashtra in the west, and it empties into the Bay of Bengal at Hamasaladeevi (near Koduru) in Andhra Pradesh on the east coast. The river flows through the state of Karnataka before entering Telangana state. The delta of this river is one of the most fertile regions in India and was home to the ancient Satavahana and Ikshvaku Sun Dynasty kings. Vijayawada and Sangli are the largest cities on the Krishna.

It causes heavy soil erosion during the monsoon floods, flowing fast and furious, often reaching depths of over 75 feet (23 m).


Panoramic view of Ujjani or Bhima Dam
Right-bank tributary Town, District, State of confluence Left-Bank Tributary
Venna River Sangam Mauli, Satara, Maharashtra
Urmodi river Kashil, Satara, Maharashtra
Tarali/Kali Ganga river Umbraj, Satara, Maharashtra
Mand river Umbraj, Satara, Maharashtra
Tasawade, Satara, Maharashtra Kolamba river
Koyna River Karad, Satara, Maharashtra
Bramhanal, Sangli, Maharashtra Yerla river
Warna River Haripur, Sangli, Maharashtra
Panchganga River Narsobawadi, Kolhapur, Maharashtra
Dudhaganga Yadur, Belgaum, Karnataka
Hippargi barrage
Ghataprabha River Almatti, Bagalkot District, Karanataka
Almatti Dam
Malaprabha River Kudala Sangam, Bagalkot District, Karanataka
Basava Sagar Reservoir
Ammapur, Kalburgi, Karnataka Doni River
Kadlur, Raichur, Karnataka Bhima River
Jurala dam
Lower Jurala dam
Tungabhadra River Alampur, Mahaboobnagar, Telangana
Srisailam temple Srisailam Dam
Srisailam tail pond weir
Nalgonda district, Telangana Dindi River
Nagarjuna Sagar dam
Chityala, Nalgonda Haliya River
Nagarjuna Sagar tail pond dam
Wazirabad, Nalgonda, Telangana Musi River
Pulichintala dam, Pulichinta Village, Bellamkonda (M) in Guntur district
Mukteswarapuram, Krishna district Paleru River
Amaravathi village, Guntur district Munneru River
Ibrahimpatnam, Krishna district Polavaram right bank canal
Kondaveeti vagu[7] Ibrahimpatnam, Krishna district Budameru diversion channel
Amaravati city Prakasam Barrage Vijayawada city
National Waterway 4 Prakasam Barrage National Waterway 4

The largest tributary of the Krishna River is the Tungabhadra River with a drainage basin measuring 71,417 km2 (27,574 sq mi), running for about 531 km (330 mi), but the longest tributary is the Bhima River, which makes a total run of 861 km (535 mi) and has an equally large drainage area of 70,614 km2 (27,264 sq mi).

Three tributaries Panchganga, Warna and Yerla meet Krishna river near Sangli. These places are considered very holy. It is said that Lord Dattatreya spent some of his days at Audumber on the banks of river Krishna.

Kudalasangama, North Karnataka

Kudalasangama[8] (also written as Kudala Sangama is located about 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) from the Almatti Dam in Bagalkot district of Karnataka state. The Krishna and Malaprabha rivers merge here. The Aikya Mantapa or the holy Samādhi of Basavanna, the founder of the Lingayat sect of Hindu religion along with Linga, which is believed to be self-born (Swayambhu), is here and river flow east towards Srisailam (another pilgrim center) Andhra Pradesh.

Sangameswaram of Kurnool district in Andhra Pradesh is a famous pilgrim center for Hindus where Tungabhadra and Bhavanasi rivers join the Krishna river. The Sangameswaram temple is now drowned in the Srisailam reservoir, and visible for devotees only during summer when the reservoir's water level comes down.[9][citation needed]

Krishna Basin[edit]

Drainage Basin of Krishna

  Bhima Upper (17.58%)
  Bhima Lower (9.29%)
  Krishna Upper (21.39%)
  Krishna Middle (8.73%)
  Krishna Lower (15.50%)
  Tungabhadra Upper (11.20%)
  Tungabhadra Lower (16.31%)

Krishna Basin extends over an area of 258,948 km2 (99,980 sq mi) which is nearly 8% of the total geographical area of the country. This large basin lies in the states of Karnataka (113,271 km2), Telangana, Andhra Pradesh (76,252 km2) and Maharashtra (69,425 km2).[10]

The Krishna river rises in the Western Ghats, at an elevation of about 1,337 m (4,386 ft) just north of Mahabaleshwar, about 64 km (40 mi) from the Arabian Sea. It flows for about 1,400 km (870 mi) and outfalls into the Bay of Bengal. The principal tributaries joining Krishna are the Ghataprabha River, Malaprabha River, Bhima River, Tungabhadra River and Musi River.

Most of this basin comprises rolling and undulating country, except for the western border, which is formed by an unbroken line 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.[11] Culturable area in the basin is about 203,000 km2 (78,000 sq mi), which is 10.4% of the total cultivable area of the country. As the water availability in the Krishna river was becoming inadequate to meet the water demand, Godavari River is linked to the Krishna river by commissioning the Polavaram right bank canal with the help of Pattiseema lift scheme in the year 2015 to augment water availability to the Prakasam Barrage in Andhra Pradesh.[12] The irrigation canals of Prakasam Barrage form part of National Waterway 4. The Krishana-Godavari delta known as "Rice Granery of India."[13]

Places and temples[edit]

Pre Historic sites of Middle Krishna-Tungabhadra Valley in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh

This river is revered by Hindus as sacred. The river is also believed to remove all sins of people by taking a bath in this river. The centre of attraction is the Krishna Pushkaram fair which is held once in twelve years on the banks of the Krishna river. There are many pilgrimage places in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh on the course of the river.[citation needed]

The first holy place on the river Krishna is at Wai, known for the Mahaganpati Mandir and Kashivishweshwar temple. It has seven ghats along the river. Temples like Dattadeva temple, which is revered by the people of Maharashtra, are located on the banks of Krishna at Narsobawadi and Audumbar near Sangli. Yadur is one of the important holy places in Karnataka which is located on the bank of Krishna. Veerabhadra temple is a famous temple. Many devotees visit this place from Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. Also, located on the banks of the river Krishna is the Sangameshwar Shiva temple at Haripur. Some of the other temples are the Kanaka Durga Temple in Vijayawada, Ramling temple near Sangli, Mallikarjuna Jyotirlinga (Srisailam), Amareshwara Swamy Temple, Vedadri Narasimha Temple, Vadapalli temple in Nalgonda, Dattadeva temple, and Sangameshwara Shiva temples at Alampur & Gadwal in Telangana.[citation needed]

Bhilawadi town in Maharashtra has a large stone structure constructed across Krishna river bank, also known as Krishna Ghat. This structure also includes one large and one small temple constructed in the middle of the river. This structure is believed to be constructed in 1779.[14]

Flora and fauna[edit]

Wide spread area near to the Krishna river holds the rich flora and fauna. The last surviving Mangrove forests in the Krishna estuary have been declared as the Krishna Wildlife Sanctuary. The sanctuary is the home to the large number of resident and migratory birds. Fishing cats, otters, Estuarine crocodiles, spotted deer, sambar deer, blackbucks, snakes, lizards and jackals can also be spotted in the sanctuary. The sanctuary also supports rich vegetation with plants like Rhizophora, Avicennia, and Aegiceros. The following are few other wildlife sanctuaries located in the Krishna basin.


Gokak Falls on Ghataprabha river

The following are few other waterfalls located in the river basin


Panorama of Prakasam Barrage and Railway bridges on Krishna near Vijayawada

The Krishna River is spanned by several bridges along its course, some of which are listed below.

  • Krishna Bridge, Wai, Maharashtra – This bridge, which is located in the Dharmpuri Peth area of the town of Wai, is one of the oldest bridges that were built by the British in India. It spans the Krishna over nine kamans (arches) and is made of black rock. The bridge serves as a flood mark (when the water rises to the level of the road on the bridge) for the "Waikar" people.
  • Irwin Bridge, Sangli – This is one of the oldest, historic and largest bridges over the Krishna that were built by the British. The Irwin Bridge, which is built of reddish stone, has two passages where one can climb down to the river in the middle of its span to view the water.
  • Ankali Bridge, Sangli, Maharashtra – This bridge is major link between Sangli and Kolhapur districts. At this point there are three bridge, one for railway and two for roadways. Out of two roadway bridge the one bridge in the direction towards Miraj was built in Nineteenth century under British Administration. It is still in operation. The railway bridge was constructed at the time of laying of Kolhapur to Pune rail link. The contractor for rail bridge was V. R. Ranade & Sons from Pune. The construction of this railway bridge and culverts on railway route in nearby region were constructed by them in year 1882–84.
  • Kudachi – Ugar Railway bridge built by the British in 1891.
  • B. Soundatti Bridge, Raibag – This is also one of the oldest bridges built during the British rule. This bridge connects Maharashtra to Karnataka state.
  • Tangadagi Bridge, This is one of oldest bridges that connects the Bijapur and Bagalkot districts of Karnataka. God Neelambika Temple is there at the bank of Krishna River.
  • Chikkapadasalagi bridge, is one of the oldest bridge built in British era connects jamakhandi and vijayapur,
  • Jambagi Bridge, Jamkhandi : Recently built bridge connects Athani , Bijapur and Jamkhandi.
  • Galagali Bridge of Galagali village, Bagalkot: very important bridge that connects many towns and villages of Bagalkot and Vijayapur districts.


In August–September 2019, Sangli, Satara and Kolhapur districts faced huge floods which took lives of approximately 500 people. In October 2009, heavy floods occurred, isolating 350 villages and leaving millions homeless,[15] which is believed to be first occurrence in 1000 years. The flood resulted in heavy damage to Kurnool, Mahabubnagar, Guntur, Krishna and Nalagonda Districts. The entire city of Kurnool was immersed in approximately 10 ft (3 m) water for nearly 3 days.[16]

Water inflow of 1,110,000 cu ft/s (31,000 m3/s) was recorded at the Prakasam Barriage, which surpassed the previous record of 1,080,000 cu ft/s (31,000 m3/s) recorded in the year 1903.[17] Krishna river is the second largest east flowing river of the peninsula. The flood waters of Krishna and Godavari rivers can be fully utilized by exporting water to other east flowing peninsular rivers up to Vaigai River in Tamil Nadu by constructing a coastal reservoir on the Bay of Bengal sea area.

Interstate water sharing[edit]

At present, the award of Bachawat tribunal dated 31 May 1976 is applicable for sharing the water available in the river among the riparian states. The Brijesh Kumar tribunal award given on 29 November 2013 is challenged by Andhra Pradesh in the Supreme Court and the case pending since then.[18] The newly created state of Telangana also approached Supreme Court demanding a fresh tribunal hearing to secure its water needs on equitable basis.[19]

Even though the river does not flow through Tamil Nadu, the Telugu Ganga Project is a canal system that brings Krishna river water to that state's capital city of Chennai,


NSRS Srisailam Dam
Nagarjuna Sagar Dam Gates view

There are many dams constructed across the Krishna river.[20]

Hydroelectric power stations[edit]

Krishna river is one of the rivers whose water energy is harnessed to a large extent by various hydro electric power stations in India.[21] The following is the list of hydro electric power stations excluding small and medium installations.

Almatti Dam with its right bank power house
Name of the project Rated Power (in MW) Comments
Koyna Hydroelectric Project 1,920
Mulshi Dam 300 Power station with Pumped-storage hydroelectricity units
Thokarwadi Dam 72
Ujjani Dam 12 Power station with Pumped-storage hydroelectricity units
Almatti Dam 290
Bhadra Dam 39
Tungabhadra Dam 127
Jurala Hydroelectric Project 240
Lower Jurala Hydro Electric Project 240
Srisailam Dam 1,670 Power station with Pumped-storage hydroelectricity units
Nagarjuna Sagar Dam 960 Power station with Pumped-storage hydroelectricity units
Nagarjuna Sagar tail pond 50
Pulichinthala Dam 120

Mineral deposits[edit]

Krishna close to its origin at Menawali, near Wai, Satara district, Maharashtra.18th century, Maratha statesman, Nana Fadnavis built the Ghat and a palace here.This location has been used in many Hindi movies.

Krishna river basin is endowed with rich mineral deposits such as oil & gas, coal, iron, limestone, dolomite, gold, granite, laterite, uranium, diamonds, etc. The following are the few noted deposits:


Most of the years, the river water is not joining the sea due to full utilisation of water mainly in agriculture.[22][23] Closed river basin of Krishna means that the river ecosystem is on the verge of death.[24][25] The river receives the waste from the large number of cities and the river basin population has increased to 80 million enhancing pollution load many folds into the river. Adequate average and minimum continuous environmental flows to the sea are not taking place in most of the years constricting salt export and leading to formation of saline and sodic alkaline soils in the lower reaches of the river basin.[26][27] High alkalinity water is discharged from the ash dump areas of many coal fired power stations into the river which further increases the alkalinity of the river water whose water is naturally of high alkalinity since the river basin is draining vast area of basalt rock formations.[28] The following are the few coal fired power stations located in the river basin

Thermal power stations in Krishna river basin
Name of Power Station Rated Power (in MW)
Vijayawada Thermal Power Station 1,760
Raichur Thermal Power Station 1,470
Bellary Thermal Power station 1,700
Yermarus Thermal Power Station 1,600
Solapur Super Thermal Power Station 1,320
Kudgi Super Thermal Power Project 2,400
Yadadri Thermal Power Plant 4000

See also[edit]


  1. Template:GEOnet2
  2. "Home | Know India: National Portal of India".
  3. Jonathan, P. Samuel (15 August 2019). "For Krishna river, it's always October". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 7 November 2020. Retrieved 19 August 2019.
  4. River Basins of India
  5. Havale, Professor Baliram. Lakshyawedha Samany dnyan/ G.K part - 1 (in मराठी). Aurangabad, India: Sahyadri Publication. p. 72.
  6. "Map of Krishna River basin" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 6 August 2017. Retrieved 27 March 2015.The Krishna is the second largest east flowing peninsular river. It originates near Mahabaleshwar, Jor village (Sahayadri), Maharastra. It flows through Karnataka before entering Telangana.
  7. "Lower Krishna basin watershed map" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 4 April 2017. Retrieved 21 March 2016.
  8. "Kudala Sangama". Archived from the original on 23 March 2010. Retrieved 8 September 2008.
  9. Srisailam project manual
  10. "Krishna basin status report, March 2014" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 17 November 2015. Retrieved 27 March 2015.
  11. IWMI Research Report 83. "Spatial variation in water supply and demand across river basins of India" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 23 June 2015.
  12. "How the Krishna went dry?". The Hindu. Archived (PDF) from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  13. Nageswara Rao, Kakani; Rao, Kakani Nageswara; Saito, Yoshiki; Nagakumar, K. Ch V.; Demudu, G.; Basavaiah, N.; Rajawat, A. S.; Tokanai, Fuyuki; Kato, Kazuhiro; Nakashima, Rei (2012). "Holocene environmental changes of the Godavari Delta, east coast of India, inferred from sediment core analyses and AMS 14C dating". Geomorphology. 175–176: 163–175. Bibcode:2012Geomo.175..163N. doi:10.1016/j.geomorph.2012.07.007.
  14. Template:Bare URL PDF
  15. "Flooding along the Krishna River: Natural Hazards". 5 October 2009. Archived from the original on 21 February 2017. Retrieved 11 October 2009.
  16. "Agony of Floods: Flood Induced Water Conflicts in lndia [sic]" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 July 2017. Retrieved 8 February 2016.
  17. "Managing historic flood in the Krishna river basin in the year 2009". Archived from the original on 26 October 2017. Retrieved 11 October 2015.
  18. Hindu daily dated (17 September 2011). "Court: do not publish KWDT-II decision". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 18 January 2021. Retrieved 5 November 2012.
  19. "T-State wants tribunal to adjudicate water disputes". The Hindu. 10 July 2014. Archived from the original on 6 April 2021. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
  20. "Headworks (Dam, Barrage, Weir, Anicut, Lift)". Archived from the original on 21 September 2017. Retrieved 27 September 2017.
  21. "Power Houses in Krishna Basin". Archived from the original on 18 August 2016. Retrieved 27 March 2015.
  22. J. Keller, A. Keller and G. Davids. "River basin development phases and implications of closure" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 October 2013. Retrieved 25 August 2012.
  23. "IWMI Research report nos # 1, 3, 14, 56, 72, 83, 107, 111, 121, 123, 125 etc". Archived from the original on 6 June 2017. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  24. "Technology Breakthroughs for Global water security" (PDF). Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  25. "Do not kill a river". 14 April 2016. Archived from the original on 13 August 2017. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  26. Oregon State University, USA. "Managing irrigation water quality" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 3 July 2017. Retrieved 28 August 2012.
  27. "Alkalinity and salinity bane of soil in T state". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 2 January 2017. Retrieved 23 October 2015.
  28. "Chemical weathering in the Krishna Basin and Western Ghats of the Deccan Traps, India" (PDF).

External links[edit]

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