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Sharavathi River ( ) is a river which originates and flows entirely within the state of Karnatakamarker in Indiamarker. It is one of the few westward flowing rivers of India and a major part of the river basin lies in the Western Ghats. The famous Jog Fallsmarker are formed by this river. The river itself and the region around it are rich in biodiversity and are home to many rare species of flora and fauna.

Origin and topography

The river Sharavathi originates at a place called Ambutheertha in the Thirthahallimarker taluk of Shimoga districtmarker. According to a legend of the times of Ramayana, this is the place where the Hindu God Rama broke a bow to win the hand of Sita The total length of the river is around 128 km and it joins the Arabian Seamarker at Honnavarmarker near Uttara Kannadamarker district. On its way, the Sharavathi forms the Jog Fallsmarker where the river falls from a height of 253 mts. The river is dammed at Linganamakkimarker and the portion of the river above the dam is upstream and the remaining is downstream. The major tributaries of the river are Nandihole, Haridravathi, Mavinahole, Hilkunji, Yennehole, Hurlihole, and Nagodihole. Sharavathi river basin falls into two districts of Karnatakamarker namely Uttara Kannadamarker and Shimogamarker. The upstream river basin is extended to two taluks in Shimoga viz. Hosanagaramarker and Sagaramarker. The entire basin has an area of 2985.66 km². with upstream being 1988.99 km². and the downstream being 996.67 km².

Geology

The river basin mainly consists of Pre-Cambrian rocks. The two major groups of rocks found in the Sharavathi river basin are the Dharwarmarker system and the peninsular gneiss.

Soils in the Sharavathi basin are mainly lateritic in origin and tend to be acidic and reddish to brownish in colour. The various type of soil found here are clay loamy, clayey, clayey-skeletal, and loamy. Four soil orders are found in the upstream river basin viz. ultisols, alfisols, inceptisols and entisols.

Climate

Rainfall

With a major part of the river lying in the Western Ghats, the Sharavathi river basin receives a large amount of rainfall. Mean annual rainfall ranges from 6000 mm in the western side to 1700 mm in the eastern side of the basin. About 95% of the rainfall is received during the month of June to September (July being the rainiest) when the southwest monsoon is at its peak. There is some rainfall in the post monsoon season in the form of thundershowers mostly during October and some rainfall also occurs during the summer months of April and May.

Temperature

April is usually the hottest month with the mean daily maximum temperature at 35.8oCand the mean daily minimum at 22.2oC.

Humidity

During the morning, the relative humidity exceeds 75% for most times of the year. During the months of monsoon, the relative humidity during the afternoons is approximately 60%. During the driest months (January to March), the relative humidity in the afternoon is less than 35%.

Dams

Linganamakki dam



The Linganamakkimarker dam located in the Sagaramarker taluk has a length of 2.4 km and was constructed across the Sharavathi river in the year 1964. It was designed to impound 4368 million cubic meter of water in an area of around 300 km², submerging 50.62 km² of wetland and 7 km² of dry land, the remaining being forest land and wasteland. The dam's height is 1819 feet above sea level. The total capacity of the reservoir is 152 TMC (Thousand Million Cubicfeet). It has a catchment area of nearly 1991.71 km². It receives water mainly from rainfall and also from the Chakra and Savahaklu reservoirs, which are linked through Linganamakki through a canal. The water from Linganamakkimarker dam flows to Talakalale Balancing Reservoir through a trapezoidal canal with a discharge capacity of 175.56 cumecs. The length of this channel is about 4318.40 m with a submersion of 7.77 km². It has a catchment area of about 46.60 km². The gross capacity of the reservoir is 129.60 cu meters.

Gerusoppa dam

The Gerusoppa dam project was completed in the year 2002 with the main purpose of generation of electricity. It was constructed near the Gerusoppa village in the Uttara Kannadamarker district. It has a height of 56 metres and a length of 545 metres.

Hydroelectricity

The Sharavathi Hydroelectric project was started to tap the electricity generating potential of the river. There are three power generating stations in this project viz.
  • The Sharavathi Generating Station with 10 Units and an installed capacity of 1035 MW
  • The Linganamakki Dam Powerhouse with 2 units and an installed capacity of 55 MW
  • The Gerusoppa Dam Project with 4 units totalling to 240 MW.


Waterfalls

Jog Falls

Jog Fallsmarker is the 11th highest waterfall in India. The Sharavathi river plunges 253 metres into a deep gorge here in four different segments called as Raja, Roarer, Rocket and Rani. The volume of water that reaches Jog Fallsmarker is controlled upstream by the Linganamakkimarker dam and the falls are at their mightiest when water is released from the dam.

Flora and fauna

The Sharavathi river basin is rich in biodiversity. In a survey conducted in the basin, 23 amphibians belonging to the families of Bufonidae, Ichthyophiidae, Microhylidae, Ranidae and Rhacophoridae were recorded. Out of these 23 amphibians, 15 species are endemic to the Western Ghats. The river lends its name to the following species of fish that have been discovered in its waters:

Sharavathi Valley Wildlife Sanctuary

A part of the Sharavathi river basin was declared as a wildlife sanctuary on 20 April 1972. Spread over an area of 431.23 km²., it has dense evergreen and semi-evergreen forests. Linganamakkimarker reservoir spread over an area of 128.7 km². is a part of this sanctuary. The remaining area has been divided into core zone (74.33 km².), buffer zone (170.67 km²) and tourism zone (57.53 km².). The altitude in the sanctuary varies from 94 to 1102 mts, the highest point being Devarakonda on the southern edge of the sanctuary. Temperatures range from 15° to 38 °C and mean annual rainfall is 4500 mm.

Flora
The sanctuary has mainly evergreen, semi-green and some moist deciduous forests. Trees in the evergreen forest include species such as Dipterocarpus indicus, Calophyllum tomentosum, Machilus macrantha, Caryota urens and Aporosa lindleyana. In the semi-evergreen and moist deciduous forests, common species include Lagerstroemia lanceolata, Hopea parviflora, Dalbergia latifolia, Dillenia pentagyna, Careya arborea, Emblica officinalis, Randia sp., Terminalia sp. and Vitex altissima.

Fauna
The sanctuary is a refuge of the endangered Lion-tailed macaque. Other mammals include tiger, leopard (black panther), wild dog, jackal, sloth bear, spotted deer, sambar, barking deer, mouse deer, wild pig, common langur, bonnet macaque, Malabar giant squirrel, giant flying squirrel, porcupine, otter and pangolin. Reptiles include king cobra, python, rat snake, crocodile and monitor lizard. Some of the avian species found in the sanctuary include three species of hornbill, paradise flycatcher, racket-tailed drongo, blue-throated barbet and Indian lories and lorikeets.

Places of interest

A view of Honnemaradu
Ramachandrapura Math
Ramachandrapura Math is a Hindu religious institution located on the banks of the river Sharavathi in the town of Hosanagaramarker in Shimoga districtmarker. One of the goals of this institution is the protection of Indian breed cattle (Bos indicus). A World Cattle Conference was organised by this institution in the year 2007 to promote propagation and improvement of Indian breeds of cattle.

Honnemaradu
Honnemaradu is an island on the reservoir formed by the Linganamakki dammarker. It is located in the Sagaramarker taluk of Shimoga districtmarker. This place is good for watersports and hence attracts its enthusiasts. Some of the water sports possible here are canoeing, kayaking and wind surfing. Bird-watching enthusiasts also visit this place.

Notes

  1. in marriage. A brief description of Ambutheertha is provided by
  2. A detailed study on the Sharavathi river is made by
  3. A detailed description of the Sharavathi river basin is provided by
  4. A description of Linganamakki dam is provided by
  5. Discovery of Batasio sharavatiensis has been mentioned by
  6. Details regarding new fishes of genus Schistura found in Sharavathi river is provided by
  7. A Walk on the Wild Side, An Information Guide to National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries of Karnataka, Compiled and Edited by Dr. Nima Manjrekar, Karnataka Forest Department, Wildlife Wing, October 2000


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