Tungabhadra River

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Tungabhadra River
Tungabhadra river at Hampi.jpg
Tungabhadra River at Hampi
Karnataka topo deu.png
A map featuring the river
StateKarnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh
CitiesHarihar, Hospet, Hampi, Mantralayam, Kurnool
Physical characteristics
SourceKoodli (place where the Thunga and Bhadra rivers meet
 - locationKoodli, Bhadravathi, Karnataka, India
 - coordinates14°0′30″N 75°40′27″E / 14.00833°N 75.67417°E / 14.00833; 75.67417
 - elevation610 m (2,000 ft)
MouthKrishna River
 - location
Sangameswaram, kurnool District, India
 - coordinates
15°53′19″N 78°09′51″E / 15.88861°N 78.16417°E / 15.88861; 78.16417Coordinates: 15°53′19″N 78°09′51″E / 15.88861°N 78.16417°E / 15.88861; 78.16417
 - elevation
264 m (866 ft)
Length531 km (330 mi)
Basin size71,417 km2 (27,574 sq mi)
 - locationKrishna River
Basin features
 - leftTunga River, Kumudvati River, Varada River
 - rightBhadra River, Vedavathi River, Handri River, Image

The Tungabhadra River is a river in India that starts and flows through the state of Karnataka during most of its course, before flowing along the border between Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh and ultimately joining the Krishna River near Alampur village in Mehaboobnagar District of Telangana. In the epic Ramayana, the Tungabhadra River was known by the name of Pampa.


The Tungabhadra River is formed by the confluence of the Tunga River and the Bhadra River at Koodli which flow down the eastern slope of the Western Ghats in the state of Karnataka. The two rivers originate in Mudigere Taluk of Chikmagalur District of Karnataka along with the Nethravathi (west-flowing river, joining the Arabian Sea near Mangalore), the Tunga and the Bhadra rise at Gangamoola, in Varaha Parvatha in the Western Ghats at an elevation of 1198 metres (near Samse Village). According to Hindu Mythology legend, Varaha Swamy( Third Incarnation of Lord Shri Hari Vishnu) after killing the Demon was very tired. After that war, He took rest by sitting on present day Varaha Parvatha peak. When He sat on that Peak, Sweat over flowed from his scalp. The Sweat which flowed from his left side of Scalp became Tunga River and the Sweat which flowed from his right side of Scalp became Bhadra River. After emerging from the Source, The Bhadra river flows through Kudremukh mountain region, Tarikere Taluk and the industrial city Bhadravathi. Where as, Tunga River flows through Sringeri Taluk, Thirthahalli Taluk and Shimoga Taluk. More than 100 tributaries, streams, creeks, rivulets and the like contribute to the two rivers. The journey of the 'Tunga' and the 'Bhadra' is 147 km (91 mi) and 171 km (106 mi) respectively, till they join at Koodli, at an elevation of about 610 metres near Holehonnur, about 15 km (9.3 mi) from Shivamogga, areca granary of the country. Though both Tunga and Bhadra rivers start at same source(Gangamoola), they flow separately for some distance and then they later unite with each other at Koodali village. Hence from there, Collective name "TungaBhadra" was given. From there, the Tungabhadra meanders through the plains to a distance of 531 km (330 mi). After confluence, The mighty Tunga Bhadra river flows through Honnali, Harihara and Harapanahalli taluks of Davangere district. Then It flows through Hoovina Hadagali, Hagaribomannahalli, Hospet and Siruguppa Taluks of Bellary district. In Siruguppa Taluk of Bellary district, It receives its tributary Vedavathi River. The river forms natural boundary between Bellary and Koppal districts and then between Bellary and Raichur districts along its course. After entering Andhra pradesh State, It flows through temple town of Mantralaya and then through Kurnool City. It receives its tributary Handri river near Kurnool City. Then It mingles with the Krishna near Alampur Village of Mehaboobnagar district of Telangana state. The Place of confluence of TungaBhadra and Krishna River is a holy pilgrimage site. The Sangameshwara temple and Jogulamba temple(dedicated to Lord Shiva and Goddessess Devi respectively) are present near Alampur village. The Varada flowing through Shimoga, Uttara Kannada and Haveri districts and Vedavathi in Chikkamagalur, Chitradurga and Bellary districts in Karnataka and the Handri in Kurnool district of Andra Pradesh are the main tributaries of the Tungabhadra. Many rivulets and streams join these tributaries. There is a popular saying in Kannada "Tunga Paana, Ganga Snana", which means "Drink Tunga River water, which is tasty & sweet and Bath in Ganga River, which is holy".

There are many holy places all along the rivers: primarily temples of Saiva Cult on the banks of the Bhadra and all the cults on the banks of the Tunga. Sringeri, Sarada Petham established by the Adi Shankaracharya is the most famous one on the left bank of the Tunga, about 50 km (31 mi) downstream of its origin. Manthralayam Sree Raghavendra Swamy Muth in Kurnool District and Alampur in Mahaboobnagar District, Jogulamba is the presiding deity, known as Dakshina Kashi are the other important pilgrimage centres. There is a cluster of Nava Brahma temples constructed by the early Chalukyas.

An important feature of the river banks is the flood protection walls all along the rivers, constructed by Sri Krishna Devaraya between 1525 and 1527 AD. They are found wherever there is a possibility of land erosion during the floods. It starts at Sringeri and ends at Kurnool, just few kilometers from its mouth. They are stone constructions and still intact. Very large boulders of 3' x 4' x 5' are also used in its construction.

Two coracles in the river

Piles of granite in varying shades of grey, ochre and pink dominate the landscape. The river has cut through weaker rocky substrata of the Hampi landscape and created a narrow gorge where granite hills confine the river in a deep ravine.[1]

In this setting the ruins of Vijayanagara and Hampi, the seat of power of the Vijayanagar empire, overlook this holy river, creating a mythological landscape merging sacred traditions about a multitude of significant divinities.[2]

The granite outcrops slowly disappear as the river flows south and the land opens into a long, broad plain ending at the rising slopes of the Sandur hills, rich in iron and manganese, beyond which is the town of Hosapete. The Tungabhadra Dam was constructed at Hosapete in the middle of the 20th century to harness the river water, aiding the growth of agriculture and industry in the region.

The Tungabhadra River then flows east, joining the Krishna in Andhra Pradesh. From here the Krishna continues east to empty into the Bay of Bengal. The wedge of land that lies north of the Tungabhadra River, between the Tungabhadra and the Krishna, is known as the Raichur Doab.


  • There are a number of ancient and holy sites on the banks of the Tungabhadra River. At Harihara there is a temple dedicated to Harihareshwara. Surrounding the modern town of Hampi are the ruins of Vijayanagara, the site of the powerful Vijayanagara Empire's capital city and now a World Heritage Site. The site, including the Vijayanagara temple complex ruins, are being restored.
  • Alampur, on the left northern bank of the river, known as Dakshina Kashi in Mahaboobnagar District about 25 km from Kurnool is another important place, where the early Chalukyas built a cluster of temples. The Nava Brahma Temples complex is one of the earliest models of temple architecture in India. Jogulamba is the presiding deity.
  • The Moola Brindavana of Guru Raghavendra is located on the banks of the Tungabhadra at Mantralayam, Andhra Pradesh.


A dam was constructed about 15 km upstream from Shimoga at Gajanur across the River Tunga. Another dam was constructed at Lakkavalli about 15 km upstream of Bhadravati across the River Bhadra. They are multipurpose dams and irrigate lands in Shimoga, Chikkamagalur, Davanagere and Haveri.

Tungabhadra Dam is across the river Tungabhadra, a tributary of River Krishna. The dam is near the town of Hosapete in Karnataka. It is considered a multipurpose dam. Its storage capacity is 135 Tmcft. Owing to siltation, the capacity has come down by about 30 tmcft. If there are seasonal and late rains, the dam releases an estimated 235 tmcft. It is filled when water is let into the canals during the rainy season. The main architect of the dam was Thirumalai Iyengar, an engineer from Madras; a general-purpose hall was named after him. (Multipurpose dams help in generation of electricity, irrigation of land, prevention and control of floods, etc.) It has become a picnic or tourist spot over the years. Tungabhadra Dam is near heritage site Hampi. One of the major problems and concerns associated with TB Dam is it has been undergoing lot of silting. Because of silt deposition in the dam, the storage capacity of the dam is coming down. Another major problem associated with TB Dam is increased pollution, resulting in decreasing fish population. This is seriously affecting fishermen, who are solely dependent on the river for their livelihood.

Few miles upstream the Tungabhadra river from Mantralayam town, Interstate Rajolibanda barrage is located which supplies water for irrigation in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh on the right bank of river.

At Sunkesula, about 25 km upstream from Kurnool, a barrage was constructed around 1860 by the British engineer, hailed as Bhagiratha for Andhras, Arthur Cotton. Originally it was intended to be used for navigation also. As the road and rail transportation increased it is now an irrigation project, for Kurnool and Kadapa districts, carrying water through the K. C. Canal (Kurnool-Cuddapah; until recently Kadapa was spelled "Cuddapah"). The barrage was replaced by the Kotla Vijayabhaskara Reddy Project, a permanent dam. It impounds about 15,000,000,000 cubic feet (0.42 km3) of water and irrigates about 300,000 acres (1,200 km2) of land in Kurnool and Kadapa districts.[citation needed]


Industrial pollution has damaged the Tungabhadra River. Industry and mining on its banks in the Chikkamagaluru, Shimoga, Davangere, Haveri, Bellary, Koppal and Raichur districts of Karnataka, Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh and Mahaboobnagar district of Telangana (almost all the districts along the course of the river) generate enormous amounts of effluents. Nearly three crore litres of effluents are being released to the Tunga from [Shimoga] every year."[3] This is the contribution of just one city which, unlike Bhadravathi and Hospet, cannot boast of being an industrial city. It is one of the most polluted rivers in the country.

Downriver from the industries, the water has turned dark brown and has a pungent odor. Tungabhadra river's pollution has affected 1 million people in the sub-basin as most villages use the river water for drinking, bathing, irrigating crops, fishing and livestock water, previously obtained through an ancient tank system. The livelihood of village fishermen has been harmed by regular fish kills that have exhausted Tungabhadra's fisheries.[4]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Physical landscape of Vijayanagara". Retrieved 20 September 2006.
  2. ^ "Vijayanagara Site". Retrieved 18 June 2014.
  3. ^ The Hindu, 6 June 2008
  4. ^ "River Krishna". Retrieved 20 September 2006.

External links[edit]