West Godavari District
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West Godavari is one of the 23 districts of Andhra Pradesh. It’s located directly west of the coastal district of East Godavari, so only a small part of it is actually located on the coast. It is the delta region of two big rivers of India: the Krishna and Godavari rivers. The district boundaries are the district of Khammam to the north, East Godavari district to the east, the Bay of Bengal to the south, and the district of Krishna to the west. According to the Indian census taken in 2001, West Godavari’s population was 3,803,517, with most of the people living in rural conditions and only 19.74% were urban. The whole district has a total area of 7,742 square kilometers, bringing the population density to about 491 people per square kilometer. Literacy rate is at 73.95%, which is higher than the national average of 59.5%. The town of Eluru is West Godavari’s district headquarters.
West Godavari’s district headquarters used to be a part of the Machilipatnam district, during the time when the northern local administrative units were being divided into districts. In 1859, it was later included in the Godavari district. In 1925, West Godavari was established after Godavari was split into two and Eluru was designated as its headquarters. All the district offices and regional offices were also set up in Eluru town. From then on, it has remained as it was until today.
The district has a richly cultivated land, fed mainly by the rivers that run through it. As a result, a large percentage of the people living in its rural areas depend on agriculture as their livelihood. About 68% of the irrigated areas have canals as their source of irrigation, while tube wells and tanks come next. West Godavari is popularly known as India’s Granary, with about 50% of the state’s rice production coming from the district. The cultivated lands are divided into two: the Delta and the uplands. Coconut planting, rice farming and aquaculture are practiced mainly in the Delta. In the uplands, a more diverse crop farming is practiced. Oil palm, cotton, tobacco, sugar cane, mango, banana and other fruits are being farmed on a regular basis. On the coastal part of the district, aquaculture yields fish and prawns, a large part of which is exported to other countries such as Japan and the United States. Tanuku, one of the towns in West Godavari, is famous for its Andhra sugars, while Vendra paper mills, food processing and fertilizer production are among the industries in towns such as Bhimavaram and Tadepalligudem.
Tourism-wise, the district holds an enormous potential for revenue. There are several noteworthy religious monuments and temples that hold rich and historical or archaeological heritage. The major ones include Bhimeswara and Someswara located in Bhimavaram, the Sri Kshira Rama Lingeswara Swami Temple in Palakol, and the Veerabhadra and Bhavanarayana temples in Pattisam. Other tourist attractions include the Kolleru Lake, which is the largest freshwater lake in Asia and Indira Sagar project at Polavaram.