Godavari (gōdäˈvərē) [key], river, c.900 mi (1,450 km) long, rising in the Western Ghats in Maharashtra state, W central India, and flowing SE across the Deccan Plateau to the Bay of Bengal. The Manjra and Indravati rivers are its chief tributaries. Below Rajahmundry, c.50 mi (80 km) from the coast, the river divides into two streams that form a large delta. The delta, site of some of the earliest European settlements in India, has an extensive navigable irrigation-canal system, linking the region to the Krishna River delta to the southwest. A dam NW of Rajahmundry provides water for irrigation and generates hydroelectricity. The Godavari River is sacred to Hindus and has several pilgrimage centers on its banks.
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