1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Kistna (river)

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KISTNA, or Krishna, a large river of southern India. It rises near the Bombay sanatorium of Mahabaleshwar in the Western Ghats, only about 40 m. from the Arabian Sea, and, as it discharges into the Bay of Bengal, it thus flows across almost the entire peninsula from west to east. It has an estimated basin area of 97,000 sq. m., and its length is 800 m. Its source is held sacred, and is frequented by pilgrims in large numbers. From Mahabaleshwar the Kistna runs southward in a rapid course into the nizam's dominions, then turns to the east, and ultimately falls into the sea by two principal mouths, carrying with it the waters of the Bhima from the north and the Tungabadhra from the south-west. Along this part of the coast runs an extensive strip of land which has been entirely formed by the detritus washed down by the Kistna and Godavari. The river channel is throughout too rocky and the stream too rapid to allow navigation even by small native craft. In utility for irrigation the Kistna is also inferior to its two sister streams, the Godavari and Cauvery. By far the greatest of its irrigation works is the Bezwada anicut, begun by Sir Arthur Cotton in 1852. Bezwada is a small town at the entrance of the gorge by which the Kistna bursts through the Eastern Ghats and immediately spreads over the alluvial plain. The channel there is 1300 yds. wide. During the dry season the depth of water is barely 6 ft., but sometimes it rises to as much as 36 ft., the maximum flood discharge being calculated at 1,188,000 cub. ft. per second. Of the two main canals connected with the dam, that on the left bank breaks into two branches, the one running 39 m. to Ellore, the other 49 m. to Masulipatam. The canal on the right bank proceeds nearly parallel to the river, and also sends off two principal branches, to Nizampatam and Comamur. The total length of the main channels is 372 m. and the total area irrigated in 1903-1904 was about 700,000 acres.