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Sharavathi (ಶರಾವತಿ)
Jog Falls formed by the Sharavathi river.
Country India
State Karnataka
Cities Hosanagara, Honnavar
Source Ambutheertha
 - location Thirthahalli Taluk, Shimoga, Karnataka
 - elevation 730 m (2,395 ft)
 - coordinates 14°19′27″N 75°18′8″E / 14.32417°N 75.30222°E / 14.32417; 75.30222
Mouth Arabian Sea
 - location Honnavar, Uttara Kannada, Karnataka
 - elevation ft (0 m)
 - coordinates 14°17′56″N 74°25′27″E / 14.29889°N 74.42417°E / 14.29889; 74.42417
Length 128 km (80 mi)
Basin 2,985 km2 (1,153 sq mi)

Sharavathi River (Kannada: ಶರಾವತಿ ನದಿ) is a river which originates and flows entirely within the state of Karnataka in India. 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 Falls 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 Thirthahalli taluk of Shimoga district. 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[1] The total length of the river is around 128 km and it joins the Arabian Sea at Honnavar near Uttara Kannada district. [2] On its way, the Sharavathi forms the Jog Falls where the river falls from a height of 253 mts. The river is dammed at Linganamakki 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.[2] Sharavathi river basin falls into two districts of Karnataka namely Uttara Kannada and Shimoga. The upstream river basin is extended to two taluks in Shimoga viz. Hosanagara and Sagara. The entire basin has an area of 2985.66 km². with upstream being 1988.99 km². and the downstream being 996.67 km². [2]


The river basin mainly consists of Pre-Cambrian rocks. The two major groups of rocks found in the Sharavathi river basin are the Dharwar system and the peninsular gneiss.[2]

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. [3] Four soil orders are found in the upstream river basin viz. ultisols, alfisols, inceptisols and entisols.[2]




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.[2] 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.[2]


April is usually the hottest month with the mean daily maximum temperature at 35.8oC and the mean daily minimum at 22.2oC.[2]


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%.[2]


Linganamakki dam

The Linganamakki dam across Sharavathi

The Linganamakki dam located in the Sagara 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.[2] 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 Linganamakki 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. [4]

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 Kannada district. It has a height of 56 metres and a length of 545 metres.


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.


Jog Falls

Jog Falls is the highest waterfall in India.[5] 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 Falls is controlled upstream by the Linganamakki dam and the falls are at their mightiest when water is released from the dam.

Flora and fauna

The endangered Lion-tailed macaque found in the Sharavathi Valley wildlife sanctuary

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.[8] Spread over an area of 431.23 km²., it has dense evergreen and semi-evergreen forests. Linganamakki 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.).[8] 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.[8]


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. [8] 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.[8]


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.[8] 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.[8]

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 Hosanagara in Shimoga district. 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 is an island on the reservoir formed by the Linganamakki dam. It is located in the Sagara taluk of Shimoga district. 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.


  1. ^ in marriage. A brief description of Ambutheertha is provided by Padma Ramachandran. "Malnad splendour". Online webpage of the Deccan Herald, dated 2004-07-12. 2004, The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd.. Retrieved 2007-05-21.  
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j A detailed study on the Sharavathi river is made by Saira Varghese Kidangan. "Quantification of Hydrological responses to landuse changes using Remote Sensing and GIS techniques" (PDF). Online webpage of Indian Institute of Remote Sensing, National Remote Sensing Agency. Dept. of Space, Govt. of India. Retrieved 2007-05-21.  
  3. ^ A detailed description of the Sharavathi river basin is provided by Karthick B. and Ramachandra T.V.. "Water Quality status of Sharavathi river basin, Western Ghats" (PDF). ENVIS TECHNICAL REPORT: 23 May 2006. Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. Retrieved 2007-05-21.  
  4. ^ A description of Linganamakki dam is provided by "Proceedings of National Conference on 'Control Of Industrial Pollution and Environmental Degradation', Coimbatore, September 14th and 15th 2001, pp 262-275". Online Webpage of the Centre for Ecological Sciences. Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. Retrieved 2007-05-21.  
  5. ^ "Showing all Waterfalls in India". World Waterfalls Database. Retrieved 2007-02-19.  
  6. ^ Discovery of Batasio sharavatiensis has been mentioned by Anuradha Bhatt and K.C. Jayaram. "A new species of the genus BATASIO BLYTH (Siluriformes: Bagridae) from Sharavathi river, Uttara Kannada, Karnataka" (PDF). February 2004, Zoos' Print journal 19(2): 1339-1342. Zoos' Print Journal. Retrieved 2007-05-07.  
  7. ^ Details regarding new fishes of genus Schistura found in Sharavathi river is provided by Sreekantha, K.V.Gururaja, K.Remadevi, T.J.Indra, T.V. Ramachandra. "Two new fish species of the genus Schistura Mcclelland (Cypriniformes: Balitoridae) from Western Ghats, India" (PDF). Zoos' Print Journal 21 (4): 2211-2216 (April 2006). Zoo Outreach Organisation.,%202006.pdf. Retrieved 2007-05-07.  
  8. ^ a b c d e f g 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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