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Godavari River

Godavari River :

Godavari is the second longest river in India after the river Ganga. It starts in Maharashtra and flows for 1,465 kilometres (910 mi) into the Bay of Bengal via the states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. It forms one of the largest river basins in India.

 Godavari originates 80 kilometres (50 mi) from the Arabian Sea in the Western Ghats of central India near Nasik in Maharashtra. It flows for 1,465 kilometres (910 mi), first eastwards across the Deccan Plateau then turns southeast, entering the West Godavari district and East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh, until it splits into two watercourses that widen into a large river delta and flow into the Bay of Bengal.[5] [6]

The Godavari River has a Coverage area of 312,812 km2 (120,777 sq mi), which is nearly one-tenth of the area of India and is greater than the areas of England and Ireland put together. Major tributaries of the river include the Purna (South), Pravara, Indravati, Manjira River, Bindusara River, Sabari River, Wainganga, and Wardha River.[7]

After crossing Rajahmundry, the Godavari splits into two distributary branches which are called Vriddha Gautami (Gautami Godavari) and Vasishta Godavari. Again the branch Gautami splits into two branches namely Gautami and Nilarevu. Similarly the Vasishta splits into two branches named Vasishta and Vainateya. These four distributary mouths which join the Bay of Bengal at different places form a delta of length 170 km along the coast of the Bay of Bengal. This delta along with the delta of the Krishna River is called the Rice Granary of South India.

 River is sacred to Hindus and has several places on its banks that have been places of pilgrimage for thousands of years. Amongst the huge numbers of people who have bathed in her waters as a rite of cleansing are said to have been the deity Baladeva 5000 years ago and the saint Chaitanya Mahaprabhu 500 years ago. Every twelve years, Pushkaram fair is held on the banks of the river.

A legend has it that the Sage Gautama lived in the Brahmagiri Hills at Trayambakeshwar with his wife Ahalya. The couple lived the rest of their lives in the then village "Govuru" which is now called "Kovvur"[Cow = ఆవు/గోవు] after the British rule. Ahalya lived in a nearby place "Thagami" which in due course of time changed to the name "Thogummi" .The Rishi as a reason for Annadanam(The nature of giving away food), started cultivating rice crops and other crops. Once, a holy cow(maaya-dhenu) created by Lord Ganesh on the wish of munis, which resembled a normal cow entered his abode and started spoiling the rice while he was meditating. Knowing that a cow shall not be treated harshly, he put the dharbha grass on the cow and to his surprise it fell dead. The munis and muni-patnis said “we thought that Gautama maharshi is an Uttama, but he did Go-hatya!”. The Rishi wished to atone for the sin of ‘Gohathya’ - killing a sacred cow. He went to Nashik and did Tapas to Lord Tryambakeshwar(Lord Shiva) on the advice of the other rishis. The rishi requests the lord to release him from the sin by making the River Ganges flow over the cow. Lord Shiva was pleased with the Rishi and diverted the river Ganges to flow over the cow where it died which is in "Govuru". The River Godavari is thus born in Nashik and flowing past the village Kovvur and merge with the Bay of Bengal at last.

The Coringa mangrove forests in the Godavari delta are the second largest mangrove formation in the country. Part of this has been declared as the Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary, renowned for reptiles. They also provide an important habitat to a wide variety of fish and crustaceans. These forests also act as barriers against cyclones, tropical storms and tidal waves thus protecting the nearby villages.

The Krishna Godavari Basin is one of the main nesting sites of the endangered Olive Ridley sea turtle.

Godavari is also a home to the endangered fringed-lipped carp (Labeo fimbriatus)
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