(Last Updated on : 09/02/2015)
Tungabhadra is a major river in the south Indian peninsula which is a chief confluent of the Krishna River
. The Hindus
consider this river sacrosanct and there is a mention of the river in Ramayana
where it is referred to as Pampa
. The river flows through the states of Karnataka
and Andhra Pradesh
. The river has a catchment area of 27,574 square miles. The tributaries of the Tungabhadra are Varada River and Hagari (Vedathy) River. In modern India a huge dam and hydroelectric project is constructed across Tungabhadra.
An important feature of the river banks is the flood protection walls all along the rivers, constructed between 1525 and 1527 AD. It starts at Sringeri and ends at Kurnool, just few kilometers from its mouth. They are stone constructions and still intact. Huge boulders of 3' X 4' X 5' are also used in its construction.
Course of Tungabhadra River
The merging of the two rivers, the Tunga River
and the Bhadra River
at Koodli in Shimoga district of Karnataka, gives birth to the Tungabhadra River. The Tunga and the Bhadra Rivers flow down the eastern slopes of the Western Ghats
located in the state of Karnataka. After its birth, the Tungabhadra River takes a northeast direction where it flows through uneven ridges formed by boulders, which is the Deccan Plateau
. The Tungabhadra meanders through the plains to a distance of 531 km and mingles with the Krishna at Gondimalla, near the famous Alampur
in Mahaboobnagar District of Telangana
. The Varada flowing through Shimoga
, Uttara Kannada
districts and Hagari in Chitradurga
, Bellary district
, Koppal District
and Raichur Districts
in Karnataka and the Handri in Kurnool district
of Andhra Pradesh are the main tributaries of the Tungabhadra. Many rivulets and streams join these tributaries.
Granite stones in varied colors like grey, ochre and pink cover the entire region. The river flows towards Hampi
where it creates a narrow ravine. As the river flows in the south direction, it enters a broad plain, which ends with the rising slopes of the Sandur hills. It is here where Hosapete is located. The Tungabhadra River then flows in the east direction where it joins the Krishna in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. The Krishna River continues in the east direction and evacuates in the Bay of Bengal
. The locked land that lies in the north of Tungabhadra River between the Tungabhadra and the Krishna River is called the Raichur Doab.
History of the Tungabhadra River
The Vijayanagar kings took advantage of the river by constructing a host of irrigation canals and aqueducts. A highly networked water supply system fed the manmade water bodies in the urban core of the palace area. Many of the ancient canals are still in use to irrigate the surrounding agriculture fields.
The ancient name of the river was Pampa. According to the legends, Pampa, the daughter of Brahma
(the God of creation) did penance to please Lord Shiva
. Impressed by her devotion Shiva married her and taken the name Pampapati meaning husband of Pampa. The name Hampi has origin in Pampa. Hampi, the capital of the ancient Hindu dynasty of Vijayanagar
stands on its right bank. On the banks if the river, there are numerous shrines and idols associated with the worship of Lord Shiva.
Temples near Tungabhadra River
Shringeri Sharadamba Temple is on the banks of the Tunga River in Chikmagalur District, Karnataka. There are a number of ancient and holy sites on the banks of the Tungabhadra River. At Harihara there is a temple dedicated to Harihareshwara
. Surrounding the modern town of Hampi are the ruins of Vijayanagar, the site of the powerful Vijayanagar Empire's capital city and now a World Heritage Site.
Alampur, on the left northern bank of the river, known as Dakshina Kashi in Mahaboobnagar District about 25 km from Kurnool is another important place, where the early Chalukyas built a cluster of temples. The Moola Brindavana of Guru Raghavendra is located on the banks of the Tungabhadra at Mantralayam, Andhra Pradesh.
Dams on the Tungabhadra River
is across the river Tungabhadra, a tributary of River Krishna. The dam is near the town of Hosapete in Karnataka. It is considered a multipurpose dam. Its storage capacity is 135 Tmcft. Owing to siltation; the capacity has been reduced by about 30 Tmcft. It has become a picnic or tourist spot over the years. Tungabhadra Dam is near heritage site Hampi.
Few miles upstream the Tungabhadra river from Mantralayam town, Interstate Rajolibanda barrage is located which supplies water for irrigation in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh on the right bank of river.
Pollution in the Tungabhadra River
Industrial pollution has damaged the Tungabhadra River. Industry and mining on its banks in the Chikmagalur
, Davangere, Haveri, Bellary, Koppal and Raichcur districts of Karnataka and Kurnool in Andhra Pradesh and Mahaboobnagar in Telangana generate enormous amounts of effluents. As such, it is one of the most polluted rivers in the country.
Downriver from the industries, the water has turned dark brown and has a pungent odour. Altogether, Tungabhadra River pollution has affected 1,000,000 people in the sub-basin as most villages used the river water, previously obtained through the ancient tank system, for drinking, bathing, irrigating crops, fishing and livestock water. The livelihood of village fishermen has been harmed by regular fish kills that have exhausted Tungabhadras fisheries.