River Godavari is second largest river in India, Godavari is often referred to as the Vriddh (Old) Ganga or the Dakshin (South) Ganga.Godavari is one of the most sacred rivers of India.The Godavari river rises near the Trimbak in the district of Nasik in the Indian state of Maharashtra. The river is approximately 1,465 km long and has a total catchment area of 31 mha. It flows in the eastward direction through the states of Maharashtra and joins the Bay of Bengal in Andhra Pradesh. The principal tributaries of the River Godavari are Penganga, Pranahita, Sabari, Indravati, Manjeera and Manair. It is the second largest river in India
Apart from Ganga and Yamuna, Godavari also holds the special religious importance in India. Godavari is one of the sacred river in India. According to the puranas River Ganga should only be visited after the visit to the Godavari. There are several pilgrimage places on the banks of the river. Some of them include Trimbakeshwar – the ancient temple of Lord Shiva, Nanded Takht Sri Hazur Sahib, one of the sacred place among the Sikhs, Bhadrachalam – temple of Lord Rama and many more.
Godavari is sometimes also referred to as the 'Ganga of the South'. After every twelve years, a major bathing festival called as Pushkaram is held on the banks of the Godavari river. Thousands of people have a holy dip in the sacred waters of the river to purify themselves of all their sins. Some of the prominent personalities who took bath in its holy water include Baladeva and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Kumbh Mela at Nashik is well known as an important centre of Pilgrimage in India because of the holy river Godavari.
Legend has it that Sage Gautama lived on the Brahmagiri Hills at Triambakeshwar with his wife Ahalya. The rishi kept his stock of rice in a granary. Once, a cow entered his granary and ate up the rice. When the rishi tried to ward the cow away with Durbha grass, it fell dead. The rishi wanted to relieve himself of the sin of ‘Gauhatya’. He worshipped Lord Shiva and requested him to bring Ganga to purify his hermitage. Lord Shiva pleased with the rishi appeared as Triambaka and brought along river Ganga. Since Ganga was brought down to Triambakeshwar by Sage Gautama, she is known here as Gautami. She is also known as Godavari because the river helped Sage Gautama to releive of his sins.