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Know Everything About Godavari River: Origin, Interesting Facts and Tourist Attractions

Origin of the River

The Godavari River originates in the Trimbak Plateau near the Brahmagiri Mountain, which is part of the Western Ghats in the state of Maharashtra. 

Interesting Facts about the Godavari River

  1. The Godavari River is the second-longest river in India after the Ganga, and the largest among the peninsular river systems. 

  2. The Godavari is also called the Dakshin Ganga and is a sacred river in India.

  3. The Godavari delta region is known for its fertile agricultural lands and is one of the major rice-producing areas in India.

  4. The Manjeera and Haridra rivers merge with the Godavari near Dharmabad town. This confluence is locally called Triveni Sangam. 

  5. The Godavari River is associated with the Kumbh Mela, a major Hindu pilgrimage festival held every 12 years at four sacred river locations in India, including Nashik on the banks of the Godavari. 

  6. Several irrigation and hydroelectric power projects have been built on the Godavari and its tributaries, including the Sriram Sagar Project, the Polavaram Project, the Gangapur Dam, the Jayakwadi Dam, and the Upper Vaitarna Dam. These, along with river linking projects, distribute the water of this system among the states of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, and Karnataka. 

  7. The Godavari basin has the highest number of dam constructions among all river basins in India.

  8. The Godavari delta is home to Coringa mangrove forests, the third largest mangrove formation in India. 

  9. Before meeting the sea, the Godavari branches out into seven streams that are said to be created by the seven great rishis (saptarshi) and are named after them. Taking holy dips in these seven streams is called the Sapta Sagar Yatra.

What is the course of the Godavari River

After its origin, the Godavari flows eastwards on the Deccan plateau, across the Indian peninsula. It traverses through the states of Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Odisha. The Godavari forms a vast delta towards its eastern end, before emptying into the Bay of Bengal. It empties into the sea via two large branches: the Gautami Godavari to the north and the Vasishta Godavari to the south. 

Godavari River Delta in Andhra Pradesh
Godavari River Delta in Andhra Pradesh

Main tributaries of the River

  1. Pranahita – largest tributary of the Godavari. It carries the water of its tributaries, conveying the combined waters of the Penganga, Wardha, and Wainganga River.

  2. Pravara 

  3. Purna 

  4. Manjeera – the longest tributary

  5. Manair

  6. Indravati - the second largest tributary

  7. Sabari 

Other tributaries are:

  1. Kadam

  2. Kadva

  3. Taliperu

  4. Shivana

  5. Sindphana

  6. Kinnerasani

Key Tourist/Spiritual Places located around the river

  1. Shri Trimbakeshwar Shiva Jyotirling Temple: Situated close to the origin of the Godavari, this is a highly revered temple for Hindus. 

  2. Sangameshwar Temple Sangam: A beautiful and revered Shiv temple at Dharmabad Triveni Sangam where the Manjeera and Haridra rivers merge with the Godavari. 

  3. Bhadrachalam Temple: Located in Bhadrachalam, a town on the banks of the Godavari River in Telangana, this temple is dedicated to Lord Rama, who stayed in this region during his exile period. Kancherla Gopanna, a devoted follower and saint-poet, constructed the temple in the 16th century. 

  4. Takht Sachkhand Sri Hazur Abchalnagar Sahib: Built at the site where Guru Gobind Singh Ji died, this gurdwara is one of the five takhts in Sikhism. Built in the 19th century, it is located in Nanded. 

  5. Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swami Devasthanam: A revered Vishnu temple in Dharmapuri, Telengana. The Godavari flowing close by is also called Dakshina Vahini here because it flows from the north to the south. 

  6. Gnana Saraswati Temple: A unique Devi Saraswati temple in Basara town, on the banks of the Godavari River. 

  7. Pampa Sarovar: A sacred pond located near Bhadrachalam, believed to be the place where Lord Rama's devotee, Shabari, offered him wild berries (ber) after tasting them to ensure they were sweet.

  8. Shri Hanuman Birthplace: A site in the Anjaneri Forest near the origin of the Godavari River is believed by many to be the birthplace of Lord Hanuman. 

  9. Varaha Tirth Sthan: A water body near the origin of the Godavari where Varahavatar is believed to have washed his hands and taken a bath after slaying the demon Sindhusena. 

  10. Sri Veerabhadra Swamy Temple: This is a famous temple in the town of Pattiseema on the banks of the Godavari, devoted to Lord Veerabhadra and Goddess Bhadra Kali. 

  11. Rajamahendravaram ISKCON Temple on the banks of the Godavari.

  12. Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary: Located in the delta region, famous for reptiles.

  13. Jayakwadi Bird Sanctuary: Protected area for birds near Paithan that welcomes a wide variety of birds. 

  14. Nandur Madhmeshwar Bird Sanctuary and Wetland: A designated Ramsar site (protected wetland) in Nashik is a haven for many bird species. 

What is the Origin Story of the Godavari River?

The Godavari River is mentioned as one of the sacred rivers of India in various ancient Hindu scriptures. According to the Ramayana, Lord Rama, along with his wife Sita and brother Lakshmana, spent their exile period near the Godavari riverbanks in the Dandakaranya forest. 

An important legend from the Kotirudra Samhita of the Shiva Purana is related to Sage Gautama, whose ashram was situated on the banks of the Godavari River near Nashik. His penance and intense devotion to Lord Shiva led to the origin of the Godavari River and the establishment of the Triambakeshwar Temple, one of the twelve Jyotirlinga shrines of India. 

Godavari is none other than Devi Ganga, who appears in this region due to the blessings of Lord Shiva. This gave the Godavari River the name ‘Gautami Ganga’ in ancient texts and scriptures. The famous story of Ahalya's curse and redemption mentioned in the Ramayana is said to have taken place in Gautam Rishi’s ashram on the banks of Godavari. 

Key Cities located on the bank of the river

  1. Nashik – historic city, close to Trimbakeshwar and Kalaram temples. It is also one of the four locations of Kumbh Mela. 

  2. Nanded – famous for ancient temples and historical monuments

  3. Bhadrachalam

  4. Rajamahendravaram or Rajahmundry 

  5. Paithan – Also known as Santpura for being home to many saints. 

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