The flow of Mahanadi River is augmented by the drainage of hills to the north and south. At Sambalpur the Hirakud Dam on the river has constructed a man-made lake, which is 55 km long; the dam has several hydroelectric plants. Below the dam the Mahanadi river turns southwards along a meandering course, across the Eastern Ghats through a forest-covered gorge. Twisting in the eastward direction, the river enters the Orissa plains near Cuttack and thus enters the Bay of Bengal at False Point by a number of channels.
The Mahanadi is also called the "Great River" because of its vast course of 560 miles (900 km). The river has an estimated drainage area of 51,000 square miles and it is one of the most active silt-depositing streams in the Indian subcontinent. The river supplies a number of irrigation canals, particularly near Cuttack and Puri, at one of its mouths, which is a famous pilgrimage site.
This central Indian River rises in the hills of southeastern Madhya Pradesh state. Its upper course runs north as an insignificant stream, draining the eastern Chhatt?sgarh Plain. After the confluence with the Seon?th River, below Baloda B?z?r, the river turns east and enters Orissa state and thus its flow is improved by the drainage of hills to the north and southwards.
At Sambalpur the H?r?kud Dam on the river has formed a man-made lake that is 35 miles long; the dam features several hydroelectric plants. Below the dam the Mah?nadi turns southwards along a meandering course, making its way though the Eastern Gh?ts through a deep, forested gorge. Bending towards the east, Mahanadi enters the Orissa plains near Cuttack and finally empties into the Bay of Bengal at False Point by several channels.