The River Krishna (Sanskrit:कृष्णा नदी))(meaning "dark" (feminine) in Sanskrit, also called the Krishnaveni, is one of the longest rivers of India (about 1300 km in length). It originates from Mahabaleswar in Maharashtra in the west and meets the Bay of Bengal at Hamasaladeevi in Andhra Pradesh, on the east coast. It also flows through the state of Karnataka. The delta of the river is one the most fertile regions in India and was the home to ancient Satavahana and Ikshvaku kings. Vijayawada is the largest city on the River Krishna.
The legendary source of the river is a spout from the mouth of a statue of a cow in the ancient temple of Mahadev in Mahabaleshwar. Legend has it that Krishna is Lord Vishnu himself as a result of a curse on the trimurtis by Savitri. Also, its tributaries Venna and Koyana are said to be Siva and Brahma themselves. An interesting thing to notice is that 4 other rivers come out from the cow (bull's) mouth apart from Krishna and they all travel some distance before merging into Krishna. The rivers are Koyana, Venna(Veni), Savitri and Gayatri.
Ecologically, this is one of the disastrous rivers in the world, in that it causes heavy soil erosion during the monsoon season. It flows fast and furious, often reaching depths of over 75 feet (23 m). Ironically, there is a saying in Marathi (language of Maharashtra) "sunt vaahate Krishnamaai" which means "quiet flows Krishna". This term is also used to describe how a person should be, as quiet as Krishna. But, in reality, Krishna causes a high degree of erosion between June and August. During this time, Krishna takes fertile soil from Maharashtra, Karnataka and western Andhra Pradesh towards the delta region.
Two big dams have been constructed on the river, one at Srisailam called Srisailam Dam and the other at Nagarjuna Hill. The latter, the Nagarjuna Sagar Dam, is considered to be the largest earth dam in the world with a natural reservoir spanning tens of square kilometres.
Temples like Dattadeva temple, which is very dear to the people of Maharashtra is localed on the banks of Krishna at Narasoba Waadi. Also, Sangameshwar Shiva Temple at Haripur and Ramling Temple are located on the banks of river Krishna near Sangli.
Popular pilgrim spots like Audumber and Narsobawadi are located on the banks of river Krishna near Sangli in Maharashtra state.More pilgrim spots especially that of Srisailam, one of the twelve jyotirlingas which also has a shrine for one of the shaktipeethasis on the river. Nagarjuna konda was a Buddhist centre under Acharya Nagarjuna and once was a centre for buddhist learning. Amaravati near Guntur is also a buddhist and a Hindu site dedicated to Siva, the international Kalachakra festival was celebrated here with the presence of Dalai Lama. Vijayawada on its banks has a rich and great temple on the hill of Indrakeeladri a temple of Goddess Kanaka Durga.
Three tributaries meet Krishna river near Sangli. Warana River meets Krishna river near Sangli at Haripur. This spot is also known as Sangameshwar. Panchaganga River meets Krishna river at Narsobawadi near Sangli. These places are considered among the holiest in Hindu mythology. It is said that Lord Dattatraya spent some of his days at Audumber on the banks of river Krishna.
Krishna river rises in the Western Ghats at an elevation of about 1337 m just north of Mahabaleshwar, about 64 km from the Arabian Sea and flows for about 1400 km and outfalls into the Bay of Bengal. The principal tributaries joining Krishna are the Ghataprabha, the Malaprabha, the Bhima, the Tungabhadra and the Musi.
Most part of this basin comprises rolling and undulating country except the western border which is formed by an unbroken line of ranges of the Western Ghats. The important soil types found in the basin are black soils, red soils, laterite and lateritic soils, alluvium, mixed soils, red and black soils and saline and alkaline soils.
An average annual surface water potential of 78.1 km³ has been assessed in this basin. Out of this, 58.0 km³ is utilisable water. Culturable area in the basin is about 203,000 km², which is 10.4% of the total culturable area of the country.