1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Godavari (river)

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

GODAVARI, a river of central and western India. It flows across the Deccan from the Western to the Eastern Ghats; its total length is 900 m., the estimated area of its drainage basin, 112,200 sq. m. Its traditional source is on the side of a hill behind the village of Trimbak in Nasik district, Bombay, where the water runs into a reservoir from the lips of an image. But according to popular legend it proceeds from the same ultimate source as the Ganges, though underground. Its course is generally south-easterly. After passing through Nasik district, it crosses into the dominions of the nizam of Hyderabad. When it again strikes British territory it is joined by the Pranhita, with its tributaries the Wardha, the Penganga and Wainganga. For some distance it flows between the nizam’s dominions and the Upper Godavari district, and receives the Indravati, the Tal and the Sabari. The stream has here a channel varying from 1 to 2 m. in breadth, occasionally broken by alluvial islands. Parallel to the river stretch long ranges of hills. Below the junction of the Sabari the channel begins to contract. The flanking hills gradually close in on both sides, and the result is a magnificent gorge only 200 yds. wide through which the water flows into the plain of the delta, about 60 m. from the sea. The head of the delta is at the village of Dowlaishweram, where the main stream is crossed by the irrigation anicut. The river has seven mouths, the largest being the Gautami Godavari. The Godavari is regarded as peculiarly sacred, and once every twelve years the great bathing festival called Pushkaram is held on its banks at Rajahmundry.

The upper waters of the Godavari are scarcely utilized for irrigation, but the entire delta has been turned into a garden of perennial crops by means of the anicut at Dowlaishweram, constructed by Sir Arthur Cotton, from which three main canals are drawn off. The river channel here is 31/2 m. wide. The anicut is a substantial mass of stone, bedded in lime cement, about 21/4 m. long, 130 ft. broad at the base, and 12 ft. high. The stream is thus pent back so as to supply a volume of 3000 cubic ft. of water per second during its low season, and 12,000 cubic ft. at time of flood. The main canals have a total length of 493 m., irrigating 662,000 acres, and all navigable; and there are 1929 m. of distributary channels. In 1864 water-communication was opened between the deltas of the Godavari and Kistna. Rocky barriers and rapids obstruct navigation in the upper portion of the Godavari. Attempts have been made to construct canals round these barriers with little success, and the undertaking has been abandoned.