Godavari is entrenched in popular culture

Filmmakers have long been enchanted by the Godavari, as is evident by the numerous movies that have been set in the backdrop of the mighty river.

Andala Ramudu, an evergreen classic directed by Bapu, inspired generations of Telugus to board a cruise on the Godavari and get away from the hustle and bustle of urban life.

The movie begins in Rajamahendravaram and is shot entirely on-location in a cruise boat sailing along the Godavari, ending once the boat reaches its destination of Bhadrachalam. The camera work is magnificent, capturing the grandeur of the mighty river.

A remake of Andala Ramudu by National Film award winner Sekhar Kammula, with the eponymous title Godavari, is another romantic tribute to the river. The film won five Nandi Awards and was nominated for four more.

One would be hard-pressed to find a film by director Vamsi that does not have a song, or a scene, shot on the Godavari. Starting with Gundello Godari based on ‘Godavari Kathalu’ directed by Manchu Lakshmi to the more recent blockbuster Rangasthalam, there are many Telugu movies in which the Godavari itself is an important character. Over the years, the river has come to occupy a dominant place in the State’s popular culture.

From Rajamahendravaram to Bhadrachalam, cruise boats have to sail upstream against a strong current, particularly during and after the monsoon. The boats travel slowly, taking around 12 to 14 hours to reach Bhadrachalam via the beautiful Papikondalu. The journey is a memorable one for passengers who take in the sights of the breathtaking river and the surrounding hills in the distance.

Perennial river

As there are not many dams on the Godavari, there is always sufficient water for even big cruise boats to ply across the river, that too during summers. However, the ideal time for a cruise is during the winter when the climate is cool and the current is also weak.

An added attraction are the several shrines en-route Bhadrachalam. Those who opt for the river cruise can offer prayers at Pattiseema, Gandi Pochamma, Perantalapalli, Sriramagiri and finally Bhadrachalam. The beauty of the Godavari, which is several kilometres wide, can be enjoyed in the first part of the boat trip from Rajamahendravaram to Pattiseema. In the second leg of the journey, from Polavaram to Bhadrachalam, the Papikondalu and the lush greenery are a delight.

These days, demand has risen for cruises all the way from Rajamahendravaram to Bhadrachalam before the completion of the Polavaram Earth-Cum-Rock Filled Dam. The completion of the dam will result in breaking up of the long cruise into two parts — one till the dam and the other after it.

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