Godavari River

The Godavari river is the largest river system of Peninsular India. The Godavari basin extends over States of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Odisha in addition to smaller parts in Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Puducherry (Yanam) having a total area of approximately 3 lakh Sq.km.

The river is 1,465 km long and considered the second-longest river in the country (after the Ganges).

This article contains information about one of the important river system in Peninsular India – Godavari river in the context of IAS Exam.

It is a part of geography segment of the UPSC Syllabus, useful for both UPSC Prelims and Mains (GS 1).

The candidates can read more relevant information for their upcoming government exams from the links provided below:

Inter-State Water Disputes Tribunals in India National Water Informatics Centre
Central Water Commission (CWC) National Water Mission
Important Lakes in India The Major Indian River Systems
West Flowing Rivers of Peninsular India Interlinking of Rivers

Facts about Godavari River for UPSC

Brief Facts about Godavari River – UPSC Prelims
What are the other names for Godavari River? Vriddh (Old) Ganga or the Dakshin (South) Ganga.
Where does Godavari river drain into? Bay of Bengal
In which State does Godavari River originate? Maharashtra (Nashik)
Is Godavari River west flowing or east flowing? It is an East flowing river
Which is the longest tributary of Godavari River? Manjira
Which is the largest tributary of Godavari River? Pranahita
Which is the biggest city on the riverbanks of Godavari? Rajahmundry

About Godavari River

  • Origin – The River rises in the Sahyadris, near Trimbakeshwar in the Nashik district of Maharashtra.
  • Godavari river originates from Bramhagiri mountains at Trimbakeshwar.
  • The Godavari River drains about 10% of India’s total geographical area. The drainage basin of the river is present in seven states of India. They are:
States Percentage (%)
Maharashtra 48.66
Telangana 19.87
Chhattisgarh 10.69
Madhya Pradesh 10.17
Odisha 5.67
Andhra Pradesh 3.53
Karnataka 1.41
Puducherry 0.001

Source – Ministry of Jal Shakti

  • The river Godavari rises at an elevation of 1,067 m in the Western Ghats.
  • The main river forms the inter-State boundary between the States of Telangana and Maharashtra; and Telangana and Chhattisgarh.
  • The delta of the Godavari is of lobate type with a round bulge and many distributaries.

What is the course of Godavari River?

The river flows across the Deccan Plateau from the Western to the Eastern Ghats. The river flows in southeast direction across south-central India states. After flowing for about 1,465 km., in a generally southeast direction, it falls into the Bay of Bengal. At Rajahmundry, 80 km from the coast, the river splits into two streams, thus forming a very fertile delta.

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Tributaries of Godavari River

Godavari River Basin

Source: Ministry of Jal Shakti

The Godavari river system has been divided into twelve sub-basins by Krishna – Godavari Commission. The important tributaries along with their facts related to their important tributaries, catchment areas are tabled below:

Sub-basins of Godavari River Important facts
Upper Godavari (G-1)
  • Source to Manjira confluence;
  • Drainage area – Maharashtra
Pravara (G-2)
  • Originates in the Western Ghats;
  • Flows in an easterly direction;
  • Important tributary – Mula;
  • Drainage area – Maharashtra
Purna (G-3)
  • Originates in the Ajanta Range of hills;
  • Flows in south-easterly direction;
  • Drainage area – Maharashtra
Manjira (G-4)
  • The longest tributary of Godavari;
  • Drainage areas – Maharashtra, Karnataka and Telangana;
  • Originates in Balaghat range of hills;
  • Joining Manjira from right side:
  •  Terna,
  • Karanja and
  • Haldi
  • Joining Manjira from left side:
  • Lendi
  • Maner
Middle Godavari (G-5)
  • It is an inter-State sub-basin between the States of Telangana and Maharashtra;
  • Located between confluence points Manjira and Pranhita
Maner (G-6)
  • Right bank tributary;
  • Originates in Rajanna Sirisilla district of Telangana;
  • Catchment area – Telangana
Penganga (G-7)
  • Important tributaries are:
    • Kayadhu,
    • Pus,
    • Arunavati,
    • Waghadi,
    • Khuni
  • It is an inter-State sub-basin between the States of Telangana and Maharashtra;
  • It forms an inter-State boundary between the two States.
Wardha (G-8)
  • Interstate sub-basin – Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Telangana.
  • The important tributaries are:
  • Bembla
  • Wunna
Pranahita (G-9)
  • It is the largest tributary of the Godavari.
  • It covers about 34% of its drainage basin.
  • Inter-state sub-basin – Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and Telangana;
  • Important tributaries are:
  • Bagh,
  • Wainganga,
  • Bawanthadi,
  • Pench,
  • Kanhan,
  • Chulband,
  • Garvi,
  • Andhari,
  • Kobragarhi,
  • Dina nadhi and
  • Peddavagu
Lower Godavari (G-10)
  • Interstate river – Telangana, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh;
  • Important tributaries are:
    • Taliperu,
    • Lakhnawarm,
    • Peddvagu,
    • Kinnerasani
Indravati (G-11)
  • Originates on the western slopes of the Eastern Ghats in Odisha.
  • Interstate river – Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra.
  • Its important tributaries are:
  • Right side
    • Narangi,
    • Boardhig,
    • Kotri,
    • Nibra
    • Bandia
  • Left side
    • Nandiraj
    • Dantewara
Sabari (G-12)
  • Originates in Sinkaram hill range of the Eastern Ghats in Odisha.
  • Potteru is another important tributary of Sabari joining on the left side.
  • Machkund or Sileru is the major tributary of Sabari on the left bank.

UPSC 2023

Rainfall pattern

  • The Godavari basin receives its maximum rainfall in the Southwest monsoon.
  • All parts of the basin receive the maximum rainfall in the period from June to September.
  • January and February are almost entirely dry in the Godavari basin, the rainfall during these two months being less than 15 mm.
  • The basin receives 84% of the annual rainfall on an average during Southwest monsoon.

To know more about Monsoon, check the linked article.

Geography of the basin

The Godavari basin is bounded by the different physical features. They are:

  1. North – Satmala hills, the Ajanta range and the Mahadeo hills
  2. South – Balaghat and the Mahadeo ranges
  3. East – Eastern Ghats and the Bay of Bengal
  4. West – Western Ghats

The interior part of the Godavari basin lies in Maharashtra Plateau.

Religious Importance

  • Apart from Ganga and Yamuna, Godavari also holds the special religious importance in India.
  • Godavari is considered as one of the sacred rivers in India.
  • The major bathing festival called as Pushkaram (Kumbh Mela) is celebrated on the banks of Godavari River.
  • The two bathing ghats, Ramkund and Kushavarta holy reservoirs situated in the Godavari river holds high significance as thousands of sadhus, holy men and millions of pilgrims take dips in holy river on the specific date and at specific time during Kumbh Mela.
  • Apart from Kumbh Mela, the Hindus perform many other religious rituals at river Godavari.

Godavari River – UPSC Notes:-Download PDF Here

FAQ about Godavari River


What is a tributary?

A stream or river that flows into a larger river.

What are the tributaries of Pranhita river?

The Pranhita River System consists of mainly four major tributaries namely a) Wainganga b) Wardha c) Penganga d)Peddavagua river. Pranhita is composed of all these rivers.

What is the significance of Trimbakeshwar?

Triambakeshwar, is a place where the Godavari originates, and is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas in India. Triambakeshwar is one of the four places where the Kumbh Mela takes place every twelve years.
Other relevant links:

UPSC Calendar 2023 UPSC Age Limit
UPSC Prelims UPSC Mains GS-III Strategy, Structure & Syllabus
UPSC Mains GS-I Strategy, Structure & Syllabus Topic-Wise GS 1 Questions of UPSC Mains
Topic-Wise GS 2 Questions of UPSC Mains Geography Optional for UPSC
Static GK Current Affairs Quiz
IAS Eligibility IAS Salary


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