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PANCHGANGA RIVER

Panchganga River is one of the important rivers in Maharashtra. In English, the name translates as "Five Rivers".

The Panchganga River flows through the borders of Kolhapur. It starts from Prayag Sangam (Village: Chikhli, Taluka: Karveer, Dist:Kolhapur). The Panchganga is formed, as has been noted already, by four streams, the Kasari, the Kumbhi, the Tulsi and the Bhogawati. Local tradition believes in an underground stream Saraswati which together with the other four streams make the Panchganga.

The Prayag Sangam confluence marks the beginning of the Panchganga river proper which after receiving the waters of the four tributaries continues in a larger pattern with the flow of waters received from the rivers. From North of Kolhapur it has a wide alluvial plain. After developing this plain the river resumes its course eastwards.

From Kolhapur the Panchganga River, as the river is now called, winds east about thirty miles till it falls into the Krishna at Kurundvad. In the thirty miles of its course, to the east of Kolhapur the Panchganga River receives only one considerable stream the Hatkalangale or Kabnur which, rising from the Alta hills and passing Hatkalangale and Korochi joins the Panchganga near Kabnur about fifteen miles below Kolhapur.

From Shiroli to its junction with the Krishna near Narsobawadi, it has an extensive alaviya floor bordered by the large worn out stumps of the Alta portion of the Panhala in the north and the Hupari part of the Phonda Sangaon range in the south. A characteristic feature of this basin is the contrast between the rounded worn out features locally known as Mals and the general entrenched nature of all the streams.

A further noteworthy aspect is the deeply incised course of the Panchganga itself. From Mangaon, the river flows in a deep bed that is well below 40 feet from the surrounding plain. Further downstream it develops an incised meander-core which includes the Narsobawadi area.

The valley of the Panchganga is reckoned the most fertile in Kolhapur and is famous for its hay. The bed of the river is shallow and its sloping banks yield rich crops during the cold weather. At Kolhapur the Panchganga is crossed by two beautiful bridges one near the Brahmapuri hill on the north side of Kolhapur town on the road leading to the Amba pass, and the other a few miles to the east on the Poona road. The Panchgnaga and its feeders are fordable in the hot season. In the rainy season large and small boats ply at twenty-three fords.

The waters of all the streams which join to form the Panchganga are much used for growing sugarcane. In October, towards the close of the south-west rains, a series of fair-weather earthen dams are built across the river beds and the water is raised by lifts worked by bullocks.