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Krishna River
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; 80.920028[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)
 • minimum13.52 m3/s (477 cu ft/s)
 • average1,641.74 m3/s (57,978 cu ft/s)
 • maximum31,148.53 m3/s (1,100,000 cu ft/s)[3]
Basin features
 • leftYerla, Bhima, Dindi, 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 a river in the Deccan plateau and is the third-longest river in India, after the Ganges and Godavari. It is also 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 282 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. From Mahabaleshwar it flows to the town of Wai and continues to travel east until it empties into the Bay of Bengal.[7] The Krishna River passes through the Indian states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana.[8] It is around 1,400 kilometres (870 mi) in length, of which 305 km (190 mi) flows in Maharashtra, 483 km (300 mi) in Karnataka and 612 km (380 mi) in Andhra Pradesh.[9]


Panoramic view of Ujjani or Bhima Dam
Tungabhadra Dam near Hosapete

The Krishna River has 13 major tributaries.[9] Its principal tributaries include the Ghataprabha River, Malaprabha River, Bhima River, Tungabhadra River and Musi River.[9] The Tungabhadra River has a catchment area of 71,417 km2 (27,574 sq mi) and a length of 531 km (330 mi).[9] The Bhima River is the longest tributary of the Krishna River.[7] It has a total length of 861 km (535 mi) and catchment area of 70,614 km2 (27,264 sq mi).[9]

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[10] (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.[11][12]

Krishna Basin

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%)

The 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).[13] It is the fifth largest basin in India.[7]

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.[14] 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.[15] The irrigation canals of Prakasam Barrage form part of National Waterway 4. The Krishna-Godavari delta known as "Rice Granary of India."[16]

Places and temples

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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 , Bhilawdi 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.[17]

Flora and fauna

See also: Wildlife sanctuaries of India, Tiger reserves of India, and List of national parks of India

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

See also: List of waterfalls of India

The following are few other waterfalls located in the river basin


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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.

In October 2009, heavy floods occurred, isolating 350 villages and leaving millions homeless,[19] 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.[20]

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.[21] 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.

Water outflows to the sea

The yearly water outflows to the sea in a water year from 1 June 2003 to 31 May 2022 (19 years) are given below

Waterflow to the sea[22]
Water year 3-04 04-05 05-06 06-07 7-08 8-09 09-10 10–11 11–12 12–13 13–14 14–15 15–16 16–17 17–18 18–19 19–20 20–21 21–22
Water outflows (tmcft) 5 14 113 968 885 296 437 407 215 56 394 73 9 55 0 39 798 1252 485

Interstate water sharing

Main article: Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal

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.[23] The newly created state of Telangana also approached Supreme Court demanding a fresh tribunal hearing to secure its water needs on equitable basis.[24]

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 with the agreement of all basin states.


NSRS Srisailam Dam
Nagarjuna Sagar Dam Gates view

There are many dams constructed across the Krishna river.[25]

Hydroelectric power stations

Krishna river is one of the rivers whose water energy is harnessed to a large extent by various hydro electric power stations in India.[26] 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

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.

See also: List of mines in India

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:


The Deccan Traps near Pune

Most of the years, the river water is not joining the sea due to full utilisation of water mainly in agriculture.[27][28] Closed river basin of Krishna means that the river ecosystem is on the verge of death.[29][30] 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.[31][32] 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.[33] 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


  1. ^ Krishna at GEOnet Names Server
  2. ^ "Home | Know India: National Portal of India". Archived from the original on 19 August 2017.
  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 Marathi). 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. ^ a b c Singh, Dhruv Sen (2018). The Indian rivers : scientific and socio-economic aspects. Singapore: Springer. p. 340.
  8. ^ Harini, P.; Sahadevan, Dinesh Kumar; Das, I. C.; Manikyamba, C.; Durgaprasad, M.; Nandan, M. J. (2018). "Regional Groundwater Assessment of Krishna River Basin Using Integrated GIS Approach". Journal of the Indian Society of Remote Sensing. 46 (9): 1365–1377. doi:10.1007/s12524-018-0780-4. S2CID 134500302.
  9. ^ a b c d e Jain, S. K.; Agarwal, Pushpendra K.; Singh, V. P. (2007). Hydrology and water resources of India. Dordrecht: Springer. pp. 641–643.
  10. ^ "Kudala Sangama". Archived from the original on 23 March 2010. Retrieved 8 September 2008.
  11. ^ Srisailam project manual
  12. ^ Kumar, Narendra (1 August 2021). "Sangameshwara Swamy temple rarely visible". Retrieved 18 February 2023.
  13. ^ "Krishna basin status report, March 2014" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 17 November 2015. Retrieved 27 March 2015.
  14. ^ 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.
  15. ^ "How the Krishna went dry?". The Hindu. Archived (PDF) from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^[bare URL PDF]
  18. ^ Angadi, Jagadish (11 May 2019). "Exploring past marvels along the passage". Deccan Herald. Retrieved 18 February 2023.
  19. ^ "Flooding along the Krishna River: Natural Hazards". 5 October 2009. Archived from the original on 21 February 2017. Retrieved 11 October 2009.
  20. ^ "Agony of Floods: Flood Induced Water Conflicts in lndia [sic]" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 July 2017. Retrieved 8 February 2016.
  21. ^ "Managing historic flood in the Krishna river basin in the year 2009". Archived from the original on 26 October 2017. Retrieved 11 October 2015.
  22. ^ "Reservoir Storage Monitoring System". Retrieved 23 June 2022.
  23. ^ 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.
  24. ^ "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.
  25. ^ "Headworks (Dam, Barrage, Weir, Anicut, Lift)". Archived from the original on 21 September 2017. Retrieved 27 September 2017.
  26. ^ "Power Houses in Krishna Basin". Archived from the original on 18 August 2016. Retrieved 27 March 2015.
  27. ^ 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.
  28. ^ "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.
  29. ^ "Technology Breakthroughs for Global water security" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 30 October 2018. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  30. ^ "Do not kill a river". 14 April 2016. Archived from the original on 13 August 2017. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  31. ^ Oregon State University, USA. "Managing irrigation water quality" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 3 July 2017. Retrieved 28 August 2012.
  32. ^ "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.
  33. ^ "Chemical weathering in the Krishna Basin and Western Ghats of the Deccan Traps, India" (PDF).