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Major Rivers Of Odisha

Odisha is drained by a number of rivers, which are lifelines for all living things. They serve as surface water drainage channels while also contributing to the state's economy. The state's major rivers are the Mahanadi, Brahmani, Baitarani, Subarnarekha, Budhabalanga, Rushikulya, Vamsadhara, and Indravati. Aside from rivers, Odisha offers a plethora of lakes, waterfalls, and springs. In this article we will delve into the origin, tributaries and distributaries of the major rivers of Odisha.

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Odisha's rivers are mostly Peninsular rivers. Because they are rainfed, they are not perpetual. Odisha's rivers play a significant role in the state's growth. These rivers also provide irrigation and hydroelectricity to the state.

Rivers of Odisha


Odisha has numerous rivers that feed into the Bay of Bengal. These rivers are classified into six groups based on their source or origin. These are their names:

i. Chota Nagpur Platean The Subarnarekha and the Brahmani.

ii. Amarkantak Plateau The Mahanadi river sourcing.

iii. Mahanadi Delta The Soamoli, the Gobari, the Prachi, the Kadua, the Dhanua, the Ratnachira and the Nuna river.

iv. Keonjhar Plateau The Baitarani river.

v. Eastern Slopes of Eastern Ghats The Budhabalanga, the Rushikulya the Salandi river.

vi.Other Rivers from Eastern Ghats The Bahuda, the Nagavali, the Vamsadhara and the Godavari system.


Rivers of Chota Nagpur Plateau

The following rivers flow from the Chota Nagpur Plateau:


Subarnarekha River

•It comes from the southern slopes of Bihar's Chota Nagpur plateau. This river has a total length of 433 kilometres and is approximately 70 kilometres long in Odisha. This river's overall catchment area is 19,500 square kilometres, with a catchment area of 3,200 square kilometres in Odisha. It is a multi-state river that flows across Jharkhand, Odisha, and West Bengal.

• It serves as the border between Odisha and West Bengal. It enters Odisha near Lakshmannath, north-east of Jaleshwar, and eventually drains into the Bay of Bengal. It originates in the Odisha districts of Mayurbhanj and Balasore. This river's significant right bank tributaries include Kanchi, Karkari, Kharkai (longest tributary), Raru, Garru and left bank tributary is Dulang.

Brahmani River

It rises on the southern slope of Bihar's Chota Nagpur plateau and flows into Odisha through the Sundargarh district. Brahmani is a river that flows across Jharkhand and Odisha. This river has a total length of 799 kilometres and is approximately 480 kilometres long in Odisha.


This river's catchment area in Odisha is 39,055 square kilometres. It is Odisha's second largest river. The Brahmani river is formed by the confluence of two minor rivers, the Sankh (right bank) and the Koel (left bank), at Vedvyasa near Rourkela in Sundargarh district. The Brahmani River makes a tiny gorge at Rengali. It runs north-south from Rourkela to Talcher, and its water is used for irrigation and hydropower at Rengali, south of Barkot.


It originates at Sundargarh, Angul, Dhenkanal, Deogarh, Jajapur, Kendrapara, and Cuttack. The right bank tributary of the Brahmani, Sankh, joins the left bank tributary of the Mahanadi, Birupa. The Brahmani and Mahanadi rivers share a shared outlet for flood water via Maipura. They created the Wheeler islands. The river receives flood spills from the adjacent Baitaran river before draining into the Bay of Bengal near Dhamra. Ramial, Samakoi, Mankada, and Kurali are prominent left bank tributaries of this river, as are Gohira, Lingarajara, Tikra, Singda, Nandia, and the River of Amarkantak Plateau.

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Mahanadi River

It gets its name from the Amarkantak hills of the Bastar plateau in Chhattisgarh's Raipur district. This river has a total length of 858 kilometres and is approximately 494 kilometres long in Odisha. Because to its frequent flooding, this river is also known as the Sorrow of Odisha. This river's catchment area in Odisha is 65,580 square kilometres. It is Odisha's largest river and India's sixth largest river.


It runs through Chhattisgarh before entering Odisha near Padigan. Hirakud is the world's longest dam, spanning the Mahanadi River. The Mahanadi river flows approximately north-south from Sambalpur to Sonepur, where a number of right bank tributaries join the main river. The Jira and Jhaun rivers, which drain the Baragarh plain, are the most important. The Tel river reaches the Mahanadi on its right bank at Sonepur, which is the river's greatest tributary.


The Mahanadi river passes through Odisha's districts of Sambalpur, Sonepur, and Cuttack, as well as cities like as Bhubaneshwar, Subalaya, Kantilo, Boudh, and Banki. It forms a distributary called Kathajodi before entering Cuttack. The Mahanadi flows across the Eastern Ghats from Boudh to Banki towns, forming a gorge near Satkosia.

The Mahanadi River enters the plain region of Naraj in Cuttack district, where it meets the historic Bay of Bengal shoreline and forms a delta. Silari, Sondur, Jonk, Sukha, Kharkhara, and Brutanga are important right bank tributaries of the Mahanadi, and Chhinar, Seonath, Hasdeo, Son, Mand, Kelo, Surli, and Bhidan are key left bank tributaries. Except for the Daya and Bhargavi rivers, which flow into Chilika Lake, all of these rivers, including the Mahanadi, flow into the Bay of Bengal.


Rivers of Mahanadi Delta

The Mahanadi delta gives rise to numerous rivers. These are Mahanadi River tributaries. These are the following:


Soamoli River- It originates from Hirapur village and flows into Bay of Bengal.

Gobari River- It starts from Devidola. It is also known as Gobardhana river.

Prachi River- It starts from Kuakhai. Now, it flows from Phulnakhara and drain the area between Kandal and Kushabhadra.

Kadua River- It drains interfloves between Prachi and Kushabhadra.

Dhanua River- It is a small river which originate from Balipatna.

Ratnachira River- It originates near Mukundapur village and drains into the Bhargavi river.

Nuna River- It starts near Ghoradia hills and drains into Daya river near Sahupara.


River of Keonjhar Plateau

The River Baitarani It gets its name from the Gonasika or Guptaganga hills in the Odisha district of Mayurbhanj. It is a river in Peninsular India that flows eastward.

• At first, this river serves as the border between Odisha and Jharkhand. It is 365 kilometres long in total. This river's overall catchment area is 12,190 square kilometres.

• This river flows in a northerly direction before abruptly turning 90 degrees and flowing eastward.

It originates in the Odisha districts of Keonjhar, Mayurbhanj, Sundargarh, Bhadrak, Jajpur, and Kendrapara.

The Salandi and Matai rivers are important tributaries to this river. Kangira, Ardei, Khairi Bhandan, Deo, Kanjhari, Sita, Musal, and Kusei are other tributaries.

• It joins the Bay of Bengal after joining the Brahmani near Dhamra in the district of Bhadrak.


Rivers of Eastern Slopes of Eastern Ghats

The Budhabalanga River

It is formed by the Simlipal massif (a compact series of mountains) to the south of the Simlipal Garh in the Odisha district of Mayurbhanj. This river is 175 kilometres long in total.

This river's total catchment area is 4,840 square kilometres. In the river valley, there are palaeolithic and neolithic sites. It originates in two districts of Odisha: Mayurbhanj and Balasore. This river's major tributaries include the Sanjo, Deo Kalo, Sone, Palpala, Katra, and Gangadhar. It empties into the Bay of Bengal off the shore of Balasore, which is somewhat north of Chandipur.

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The Rushikulya River

It gets its name from the Rushimal mountain in Odisha's Kandhamal district. It has a total length of 165 kilometres and a catchment area of approximately 8,963 square kilometres. It originates in the Odisha cities of Berhampur, Chhatrapur, Asika, Bhanjanagar, and Sarada. This river flows south-east across Ganjam district, passing through all of the cities named above.


Finally, it drains into the Bay of Bengal via the Chhatrpur block. It is also known as the Ganjam district's lifeline. There is no delta at the mouth of this river. This river basin is nearly pear-shaped, with a dense dendritic (branched) tributary system. Padma and Ghodahad are important right bank tributaries of this river, whereas Baghu and Dhanei are important left bank tributaries.

The Salandi River

• It rises from the southern slopes of the Simlipal massif near the Meghasani mountain in Odisha's Keonjhar district.

• Its overall length is around 144 km. It has a catchment area of approximately 1,790 square kilometres. The river passes through the district of Bhadrak.

• Because it is a tributary of the Baitarani river, it does not flow directly into the Bay of Bengal, but instead discharges water into the Baitarani river a few kilometres upstream of Chandbali. Salandi Dam is being built on this river as part of the Salandi Project. Its water is utilised to irrigate crops.


Rivers of Eastern Ghats

The Bahuda River

The Singharaj hills of the Eastern Ghats in Odisha's Gajapati district inspired the name. It is a total of 96 km long.

The river travels north-east for 55 kilometres in Odisha before turning south-east for 17 kilometres. The river then flows into Andhra Pradesh for 18 km.

• It then curves north-east for 6 km in Odisha state before meeting the Bay of Bengal at the hamlet of Sunapurapeta.

This river's tributaries are the Poichandia, Bogiriadi, Batrada Nalla, and Kantajura Nalla.

The Nagavali River

• It is derived from the eastern slopes of the Eastern Ghats near Lakhbahal in the Odisha district of Kalahandi. Langulya river is another name for it.

• It is 256 kilometres long in total, with 161 kilometres in Odisha and the remainder in Andhra Pradesh. The river's catchment area in Odisha is around 4,500 square kilometres.

The river flows through Vizianagaram and Srikakulam before emptying into the Bay of Bengal near Mofaz Bandar.

Pitadar, Satnala, Barha, Srikona Nadi, Vegavati, Baldiya Nadi, Jhanjavathi, Sitagurha, Gumudugedda, and Vonigedda are notable right bank and left bank tributaries.

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The Vamsadhara River

It gets its name from the Niyamagiri hill in Odisha's Kalahandi district. It is around 230 km long in total, with 150 kilometres located in Odisha.

The river's catchment area in Odisha is approximately 8,960 square kilometres. It is a large east-flowing river in southern Odisha and north-eastern Andhra Pradesh, located between the Mahanadi and Godavari rivers. It enters Andhra Pradesh after flowing for 150 kilometres. It originates in the Odisha cities of Paralakhemundi, Gunupur, Kashinagar, and Bissam Cuttack. The river empties into the Bay of Bengal near Kalingapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. This river's right bank tributaries are Poladi, Bhangi, and Pedagoda, while its left bank tributaries include Badanalla, Chauladhua, Pandaka Nalla, Badajhar, Harbhangi, Sananadi, and Mahendratanaya.


The Godavari System

This system contains the Godavari River's tributaries. These tributaries are the rivers Indravati, Kolab, Machkund, and Sileru.

The Indravati River

It flows from the Dandakaranya range of the Eastern Ghats in the Odisha district of Kalahandi. It has a total length of roughly 530 km and flows about 167 km in Odisha. The river's catchment area in Odisha is 7,400 square km. The river travels south-east before turning west through the districts of Kalahandi, Nabarangpur, and Koraput.


It forms the border between Odisha and Chhattisgarh and flows into Chhattisgarh's Bastar district. Significant left bank tributaries of this river include Keshadhara Nalla, Kandabindha Nalla, Chandragiri Nalla, Golagar Nalla, Poragarh Nalla, Kapur Nalla, Muran river, Bangiri Nalla, Telengi Nalla, and Narangi Gudar.



The Kolab River

It gets its name from the Sinkaran hills in Koraput's Eastern Ghats. It is approximately 270 kilometres long in Odisha. The river's catchment area in Odisha is around 10,300 square kilometres.

The higher Kolab Hydro Electric Project is housed in Kolab Dam. In Andhra Pradesh, the river merges with the Godavari. Karandi Nalla, Guradi Nalla, Kangar Nalla, Garia, Dharmageda Nallah, Jamnadi, Jalengar, Mulervagu Nalla, and Potteru Vagu Nalla are important tributaries of this river.


Machkund or Sileru Rivers

In the Eastern Ghats in north-eastern Andhra Pradesh, the Sileru river rises as the Machkund river. The river then flows north into the Jalaput reservoir at the Odisha state boundary. From this reservoir, the Machkund river is known as the Sileru river. It flows across the south-western sections of Odisha after making a sharp curve to the south-west from this reservoir. At Motu, Odisha's extreme south-west corner, the Sileru river merges with the Sabari river. Hydroelectric dams on the Machkund river at Jalaput reservoir, as well as on the upper and lower Sileru river courses, provide a substantial supply of power for the region. The Balimela reservoir was built to generate hydroelectric power across Sileru.

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