The Mahanadi is a major river in East Central India. The name of the river is an Odia term consists of 2 words i.e Maha and Nadi. Maha means “Great” and Nadi means “River”. The river flows through the states of Odisha and Chhattisgarh. The Mahanadi is a combination of many mountain streams like many other seasonal Indian rivers, and thus its precise source is impossible to pinpoint. However, its farthest headwaters lie 6 km from Pharsiya village 442 m above sea level south of Nagri town.
Near the city of Sambalpur, it is dammed by the largest earthen dam in the world, the Hirakud Dam. A composite structure of the earth, concrete, and masonry, the dam measures 24 km including the Dykes. It spans two hills; the Lamdungri on the left and the Chandili Dunguri on the right. It also forms the biggest artificial lake in Asia, with a reservoir holding 743 km² at full capacity, with a shoreline of over 640 km.[ in Dhamtari district of Chhattisgarh.The river traverses Cuttack district in an east-west direction. Just before entering Cuttack city, it gives off a large distributary called the Kathjori. The Silvercity Cuttack stands on the spit separating the two channels.
The Kathjori then throws off many streams like the Kuakhai, Devi, and Surua which fall into the Bay of Bengal after entering Puri district. The Kathjori itself falls into the sea as the Jotdar. Other distributaries of Mahanadi include the Paika, Birupa, Chitroptala river, Genguti, and Nun.
Mahanadi gives off another distributary “The Birpupa river” near Zobra Cuttack. The bridge at Zobra is the location of a hangout for the Katkis and many people come to visit and enjoy the river bank site in the evening.A park named after the place “Zobra park” is also quite famous among the localities.
The Birupa then goes on to join the Brahmani River at Krushnanagar and enters the Bay of Bengal at Dhamra. The Mahanadi proper enters the sea via several channels near Paradeep at False Point, Jagatsinghpur. The combined Delta of the Mahanadi’s numerous distributaries and the Brahmani is one of the largest in India.
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