River length

858 km

Basin area

141,600 sq km

Population in basin

28.3 million (2001)

States in basin

Chhattisgarh, Odisha

Major cities using water

Cuttack (pop: 606,007), Sambalpur (pop: 335,761)

River Depletion

  • Water depletion: 9%
  • Dry season drought risk: Low to Medium
  • Monsoon flood risk: High
  • Seasonal variability of water levels: High

Economic & Environmental Significance

  • The Mahanadi valley is known for its fertile soil and flourishing agriculture. The Hirakud Dam across the river is India’s longest major earthen dam in India. The Hirakud irrigates over 150,000 hectares during the Kharif season and over 100,000 hectares during the Rabi season in Odisha. The dam also supplies 260 MW of hydroelectric power.

Spiritual & Cultural Significance

The river has many temples along or near its bank. The Lakshmana Temple at Sirpur, along the river, was built about 1500 years ago. It is considered among the finest brick temples in India.

The Leaning Temple of Huma, a temple for Lord Shiva, is perhaps one of the few leaning temples in the world! It is nestled on a rocky cradle on the Mahanadi’s banks.

References and Credit


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