Mahanadi River - Informative & researched article on Mahanadi River
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Home > Reference > Geography of India > Resources in India > Water Resources in India > Indian Rivers > Himalayan Rivers > Mahanadi River
Mahanadi River
The Mahanadi River arising in the highlands of Chhattisgarh is one of the largest rivers in southeast India.
 Mahanadi RiverThe Mahanadi River rises in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh and then flows in the eastward direction, cutting a ravine in the Eastern Ghat. Before joining the Bay of Bengal at False Point through several channels, the river enters the plains of Orissa near Cuttack and forms a delta. This delta is one of the largest mangrove forests in peninsular India, and also a rice producing area. Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Orissa share are drained by the Mahanadi.

The river flows for 560 miles (900 kilometers) and the drainage area of the river is estimated to be 51,000 square miles (132,100 square kilometers). The world's largest earthen dam Hirakud Dam is built across this river in Sambalpur. The dam controls the flow of Mahanadi and produces hydroelectricity. The Mahanadi River is one of the most active silt-depositing streams in India. It also supplies several irrigation canals, near Cuttack. The popular pilgrimage destination, Puri is located at one of its mouth. The main tributaries of Mahanadi River are Seonath, Jonk, Hasdeo, Mand, Ib, Ong, and Tel.

Etymology of Mahanadi River
Mahanadi River The term "Mahanadi" means "Great River" and it is truly one of the largest rivers in southeast India and the sixth largest in India.

Course of Mahanadi River
For the first 80 km of its course, the Mahanadi flow in the 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 meters. After being joined by the Seonath, the river flows in an easterly direction through the remaining part of its journey. 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.

Before the construction of the dam in 1953, the Mahanadi was about a mile wide at Sambalpur and carried massive amounts of silt, especially during the monsoon. It then skirts the boundaries of the Baudh district and forces a tortuous way between ridges and ledges in a series of rapids until it reaches Dholpur, Odisha. The rapids end here and the river rolls towards the Eastern Ghats, forcing its way through them via the 64 km long Satkosia Gorge. The Satkosia Gorge ends at Badamul of Nayagarh. The river enters the Odisha plains at Naraj, about 11 km from Cuttack, where it pours down between two hills that are a mile apart.

Mahanadi River Floods
The Mahanadi was notorious for its devastating floods for much of recorded history. However the construction of the Hirakud Dam has greatly altered the situation. Today a network of canals, barrages and check dams keep the river well in control. However, heavy rain can still cause large scale flooding. In September 2008, 15 people died as the river breached its banks.

(Last Updated on : 20/05/2015)
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