The mighty Mandovi River, also known as Mahadayi and Mhadei, is considered Goa’s lifeline. It languorously meanders across the state, weaving together an intricate pattern of bio-diversely rich wetlands, marshes, paddy fields, and supports complex cultural and ecological systems.
Stretching over a length of 77 kms. – divided as 29 kms. in Karnataka and 52 kms. in Goa – the river originates from a cluster of 30 streams within the dense forests surrounding Degao village, abutting the Bhimgad Wildlife Sanctuary, a crucial forest corridor in the Western Ghats of Karnataka’s Belgaum district. Along its lengthy course, its cerulean blue waters crash from steep cliffs to form breathtaking waterfalls like the Dudhsagar, Ladki, Vazrapoha and Vazra Sakla. Also known as the Gomati in a few regions, the Mandovi flows into Goa from its northern edge, through Sattari taluka, then gently caresses the Goan landscape at Kumbarjua, Divar and Chorao islands, before eventually pouring into the vast Arabian Sea.
Chorao is home to the fabled Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, named after the renowned ornithologist Dr. Salim Ali.
Much like any other great river, Mandovi’s banks are home to Panaji, the capital city of modern Goa, as well as to Old Goa, its ancient capital. The port of Mormugao, central to the economy of the state, is located at Cabo Aguada, the point where the Mandovi joins the Zuari River. The narrow Kumbarjua Canal, which links the two major rivers, acts as a conduit for ships carrying iron ore, the prime mineral of Goa, and gives access to the remote interior of villages located on the banks of the Mandovi.
The river helps balance salinity with fresh water and fosters marine nurseries and crucial fishing grounds, necessary to support the extensive fishing industry of Goa. The bio-diversely rich Mandovi and its many tributaries also support a variety of flora and fauna across the lush Western Ghats. The diverse life forms range from the superlative tiger to the graceful dolphin, and include a host of migratory birds, marsh crocodiles, and rare and endemic medicinal plants.
Although agriculture dominates the economic activity of the people living in the hinterlands of Goa, Mandovi and her tributaries sustain a variety of activities - agriculture farmlands, areca plantations, cashew plantations, and several other agro and pisciculture ventures.
Goa's 'Mother River', as Mandovi is known, is a cultural, ecological and anthropological symbol of the state. The yachts seamlessly weave these vital aspects together to provide a first of its kind experience along the river’s tranquil waters.