edited April 2018 in Geography


The Mahanadi is a major river in East Central India. It drains an area of around 141,600 square kilometres (54,700 sq mi) and has a total course of 858 kilometres (533 mi).The river flows through the states of Chhattisgarh and Odisha. This river flows slowly for about 900 kilometres (560 mi) and deposits more silt than any other river in the Indian subcontinent.

Mahanadi is a major river with its delta on the east coast

The word Mahanadi is a compound of the Sanskrit words maha ("great") and nadi ("river").
 Like many other seasonal Indian rivers, the Mahanadi too is a combination of many mountain streams and thus its precise source is impossible to pinpoint.
 However its farthest headwaters lie 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) from Pharsiya village 442 metres (1,450 ft) above sea level south of sihawa town in Dhamtari district of Chhattisgarh.
 The hills here are an extension of the Eastern Ghats and are a source of many other streams which then go on to join the Mahanadi.
 For the first 80 kilometres (50 mi) of its course, the Mahanadi flows in a northerly direction and drains the Raipur district and touches eastern portions of Raipur city.
 It is a rather narrow river at this stage and the total width of its valley does not exceed 500–600 metres.

The Mahanadi River
Country: India
States: Chhattisgarh, Odisha
Regions: Dandakaranya, Dakshina Kosala Kingdom, Coastal Plains
Administrative Areas: Raipur, Janjgir, Bilaspur, Sambalpur, Subarnapur, Boudh, Anugul, Cuttack, Banki, Jagatsinghpur, Jharsuguda
Tributaries from left: Shivnath, Mand, Ib, Hasdeo
Tributaries from right: Ong, parry river, Jonk, Telen
Cities: Rajim, Sambalpur, Cuttack, Sonepur, Birmaharajpur, Subalaya, Kantilo, Boudh, Cuttack, Banki
Source location: Sihawa, Dhamtari, Dandakaranya, Chhattisgarh, India
Mouth location: False Point, Jagatsinghpur, Delta, Odisha, India
Basin: 141,600 km2 (54,672 sq mi)
gth: 858 km
Basin area: 141,600 km²
Source: Sihawa
Bridges: Mahanadi Bridge, Boudh, Second Mahanadi Rail Bridge, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Setu

Prior to the construction of Hirakud Dam, the Mahanadi was navigable from its mouth up to Arrang, about a 190 kilometres (120 mi) from its source.
However numerous barrages apart from the Hirakud have put an end to that.
Today, boats are restricted to the delta region and the Hirakud reservoir.

 The cities of Cuttack and Sambalpur were prominent trading places in the ancient world and the river itself has been referred to as the Manada in Ptolemy's works.
 However today the Mahanadi valley is best known for its fertile soil and flourishing agriculture.
 Prior to the Hirakud dam, the river carried more silt than any other river in the Indian subcontinent.

It is joined by the Jonk and Hasdeo rivers here before entering into Odisha after covering about half of its total length. Near the city of Sambalpur, it is dammed by the largest earthen dam in the world, the Hirakud Dam.
Hirakud Dam is built across the Mahanadi River, about 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) from Sambalpur in the state of Odisha in India. Behind the dam extends a lake, Hirakud Reservoir, 55 km (34 mi) long. It is one of the first major multipurpose river valley projects started after India's independence.

Official name: "Hirakud dam"
Location 15 km from Sambalpur, Odisha
Construction began: 1948
Opening date: 1957
Construction cost: 1.01 billion Rs in 1957
Total Length: 25.79 km (16.03 mi)
Length of Main Dam: 4.8 km (3.0 mi)
Artificial Lake: 743 km2 (287 sq mi)
Irrigated Area (both crop): 2,355 km2 (235,477 ha)
Area lost in construction of Dam: 596 km2 (147,363 acres)
Installed Capacity (Power Generation): 347.5 MW
Cost: (in 1957) ₹1,000.2 million (equivalent to ₹71 billion or US$1.1 billion in 2017)
Top dam level: R.L. 195.680 m (642 ft)
F.R.L/ M.W.L: R.L. 192.024 m (630 ft)
Dead storage level: R.L. 179.830 m (590 ft)
Total quantity of earth work in Dam: 18,100,000 m3 (640×106 cu ft)
Total quantity of concrete: 1,070,000 m3 (38×106 cu ft)
Catchment: 83,400 km2 (32,200 sq mi)

 The dam was constructed to help alleviate these problems by creating a reservoir and controlling river flow through the drainage system.
 The dam regulates the flow of the Mahanadi River and produces hydroelectricity through several hydroelectric plants.
 The dam helps control floods in the Mahanadi delta and irrigates 75,000 km2 (19×106 acres) of land. Hydroelectricity is also generated. The Hirakud Dam regulates 83,400 km2 (20.6×106 acres) of Mahanadi's drainage.
 The reservoir has a storage capacity of 5.818 km3 (1.396 cu mi) with gross of 8.136 km3 (1.952 cu mi).
 The place is mostly inhabited by fishermen, whose deity Ghanteswari is revered in the neighboring area.
 The state livestock breeding farm and agricultural farm are located here.

The Hirakud Dam is a composite structure of earth, concrete and masonry.
10 km (6.2 mi) north of Sambalpur, it is the longest major earthen dam in India, measuring 25.8 km (16.0 mi) including dykes, and stands across the river Mahanadi.

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