The river as distributary of Mahanadi starts from Shishua/Salipur, 20 kilometres (12 mi) downstream towards Kendrapara. Within 6 to 8 kilometres (4 to 5 mi) again it subdivides into Chitroptala (main river) and Luna (distributary). Luna being the deeper one carries almost 60 percent of water of the main river in dry season. In rainy season the equation changes when there is mammoth amounts of rain water to be evacuated. Chitroptala flows eastward approximately 60 kilometres (37 mi) and near Paradeep it joins with its tributary river Luna. It merges into the Bay of Bengal near Paradeep. It has six bridges across it in 60 kilometres (37 mi). The bridges are at Shishua, Nemala, Narendra pur, Gardapur, Patkura and finally near Haldia-Gada.
The river itself is quite famous for its sandy bed, Jhaun forest, local-myth and pilgrimage prospects. Nemala is quite famous in coastal Odisha for Malika-bachana (a purana) which was depicted by the famous saint Acyutananda five hundred years ego, since then the place is famous as Nemala-Bata. Another place is Kuda-Nagari at its bank, which famous for Magha-Mela. In the Hindu month of Magha, thousands of pilgrims from attack and Kendrapara district take the holy-dip in the river and offer tarpan to their ancestors (pitrupurush). Other famous places along its course are Gardpur (revenue office), Patkura (police-station) in Kendrapara district.
The river is useful to nearby villagers to cultivate winter crops and as well as summer crops. Surfaced roads have been constructed on the river embankments on both sides, which helps thousand of villagers to travel from their village to Cuttack/Bhubaneswar/Salipur. However in rainy season the river brings havoc to the nearby villages in terms of heavy flooding. Almost in every rainy season, the river brings trauma to the villages downstream.
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