Godavari River: Origin, Projects, Tributaries of Godavari UPSC

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

Godavari River is the second-longest river in India, after the Ganga river. Its source is in Trimbakeshwar, Nashik, Maharashtra. Godavari has 12 tributaries and originates from Trimbakeshwar, and drains into the Bay of Bengal after passing through various states of India. The Godavari, also known as the Dakshina Ganga, is the longest river in peninsular India in terms of length, catchment area, and flow.

Various projects have been constructed on the tributaries of the Godavari river that serves multiple purposes. Information regarding the Godavari river in relation to the IAS Exam is provided on this page. It is a part of the geography section of the UPSC Syllabus and is relevant to both the UPSC Prelims and Mains exams.

Godavari River

Godavari river, also known as Vridha Ganga or Dakshin Ganga, is navigable in the delta region of India. The Godavari river origin from the Brahagiri mountains at Trimbakeshwar regions of the Western Ghats, Nashik, Maharashtra, and extends to Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, and some smaller parts in Puducherry, Karnataka, and Madhya Pradesh.

The total length of the Godavari river is 1465 km with a total area of 3 lacks sq. km. (approximately). The Godavari river is surrounded by various geographical structures from four sides, including the Ajanta range and the Western Ghats.

Overview of Godavari River System

The Godavari river is navigable in the Delta region. The Godavari’s delta is lobate in shape, with a rounded bulge, and several major tributaries. The basic overview of the Godavari river is given as follows-

Highlights Details
Other Names for Godavari River Dakshin (South) Ganga and Vriddh (Old) Ganga Vriddh (Old) Ganga
Longest tributary of the Godavari River Manjira
Godavari river origin Nashik, Maharashtra
Drainage of Godavari river Bay of Bengal
The largest tributary of the Godavari River Pranahita
Godavari river flow East flowing river

Godavari River System

The largest river in the Indian Peninsular is the Godavari river, which drains 10 percent of the total geographical area of India. The Godavari River System flows across South-central India in the southeast direction. The Godavari basin is surrounded by geographical structures from all sides.

  • In the West, it is surrounded by the Western Ghats.
  • In the East, it is surrounded by the Bay of Bengal and the Eastern Ghats.
  • In the South, it has the Mahadeo ranges and Balaghat.
  • In the North direction, it is covered by the Mahadeo hills, the Ajanta range, and the Satmala hills.

Course of Godavari River

The Krishna-Godavari Commission divided the Godavari river system into twelve sub-basins. In order to connect the Western and Eastern Ghats, the Godavari river traverses the Deccan Plateau. The river travels through states in south-central India in a southeasterly direction.

Godavari River enters the Gulf of Bengal after flowing in a general southeast direction for approximately 1,465 kilometers. The Godavari river separates into two streams in Rajahmundry, 80 kilometers inland, creating a particularly fertile delta.

Tributaries of Godavari River

The Godavari River System has 12 tributaries/sub-basins. The important tributaries of the Godavari River include-

  • Upper Godavari: The Upper Godavari is the source of the Manjira confluence. It drains out in Maharashtra.
  • Pravara: It origianates in the Western Ghats and drains in Maharastra. It flows towards the east.
  • Purna: It originates in the Aajanata range and flows in the southeast direction.
  • Manjira: It is the longest tributary of Godavari that originates in the Balaghat range of hills. It is joined by Terna, Haldi, and Karanja from the right and Lendi and Maner from the left.
  • Middle Godavari: It flows in two states- Maharashtra and Telangana.
  • Maner: Maner originates from Rajanna Sirisilla. It is a right-bank tributary.
  • Penganga: It flows between Telangana and Maharashtra. Khuni, Waghadi, Arunavati, Pus, and Kyaydhu are its important tributaries.
  • Wardha: It flows through Telangana, Maharashtra, and Madhya Pradesh.
  • Pranahita: It is the largest tributary of the Godavari that flows through Telangana, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, and Madhya Pradesh.
  • Lower Godavari: It flows through Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, and Telangana. Its important tributaries include Kinnerasani, Peddvagu, Lakhnawarm, and Taliperu.
  • Sabari: It originates in Odisha from the Sinkaram hill range of the Eastern Ghats.

Godavari River Projects

The important Godavari River projects that have been completed to date are Upper Wardha, Upper Indravati, Upper Wainganga, Jaikwadi, Upper Penganga, Godavari barrage, and Srisama Sagar.

The prominent ongoing projects on the Godavari River include Polavaram and Prnahita-Chevala.

Godavari Basin Industry

Godavari has its major urban centers at Rajahmundry, Nashik, Aurangabad, and Nagpur. Among these cities, there are a huge number of automobile industries in Aurangabad and Nashik. Apart from the automobile industry, the agriculture industry and small engineering industries are also based on the basins of the Godavari River. These include rice milling, oil extraction, sugar, weaving, cotton spinning, and other agricultural-produced industries.

Religious Importance of Godavari River

Along with adding cultural value, the Godavari River holds religious importance. Like Ganga and Yamuna, Godavari is regarded as the sacred river in India. Indian religious festival Kumbh Mela, i.e., Pushkaram, is a month-long festival, it is celebrated on the Godavari River banks.

During Kumbh, Indians (Hindus) perform religious rituals at the river. Along with this, It has two bathing ghats, i.e., Kushavarta and Ramkund. Both these ghats hold importance for Hindus.

Godavari River UPSC

Godavari River is the second longest river in India, holds immense geographical and cultural significance. The topic of the Godavari River is covered under the Geography subject of the UPSC Syllabus. Understanding the Godavari River’s characteristics and its role in the Indian landscape is essential for aspirants preparing for the UPSC Exam.

Candidates must study Courses, Tributaries, Project and Religious importance of Godavari River System in detail to understand this topic better. Candidates can also go through the NCERT Books for UPSC and reference books for Geography to prepare well for this topic.

Godavari River UPSC Questions

This topic is important for UPSC aspirants. Practicing sample questions or previous year’s questions on the Godavari River will give you an idea of the questions commonly asked in exams about this topic.

Question: Which of the following river is known as Dakshina Ganga? (A) Krishna, (B) Mahanadi (C) Godavari, (D) Cauvery

Answer:(C) Godavari

Question: From which city does the Godavari river originate? (A) Ambala, (B) Nashik, (C) Kanpur, (D) Kota

Answer:(B) Nashik

For UPSC Mains

Question: Godavari River is often referred to as the “Ganga of the South.” Analyze the similarities and differences between the Godavari River and the Ganges River in terms of their ecological importance, religious significance, and impact on surrounding communities.

Question: Analyze the environmental challenges and conservation efforts related to the Godavari River basin, highlighting the impact of human activities and the role of government policies in ensuring its sustainability.

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