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The state of Gujarat marks the Western Frontiers of India’s geography. Although mostly comprised of arid regions, this state does have quite a few rivers, some might big and some small that cut across the length and breadth of the state.
One of the important names in this regard is ‘Ambica’. The Ambica River is a major westward flowing river that has a huge catchment area in two states, namely Gujarat and Maharashtra. Although the basin is known to have hot summers when there is dryness prevailing, the Southwest Monsoons bring in moisture and increase the flow of the river by a bounty. The temperatures in the river basin of Ambica range from 32-40 degree maximum and 25-8 degrees minimum.
With over 87000 hectares of forested area, the Ambica River proves to be quite an important asset to the people of Gujarat where this river flows. With large number of industries thriving upon this water body, the Ambica has been fostering spinning & textile mills, ginning & pressing units and cane & bamboo workshops across its floodplain. Besides these there also are leather industries and paper processing units that are setup in the region that support the livelihood of millions of people.
The composition of the agriculturally rich soils of the basin area of Ambica is a mixture of Laterite, Alluvial and deep black soil. This composition not only proves useful in producing different varieties of crops in the region but also compliments each other at times to provide better yield and healthier produce.
The Ambica river basin can be studied in two distinct regions; one the eastern rugged mountains of the Saputara range, and the western side which is a descending region till the uplands of Surat district. The range of elevation in this region is between 100m to 1050m. In the next section we look into the course that the river follows to reach the Arabian Sea from its source in the Saputara Hills in Nasik district of Maharashtra.
Talking about the importance of Ambika River, the water content of the river is highly complimented by its tributaries that flow into the river increasing its flow and capacity. Some of the important tributaries of the Ambica River are namely, the Kaveri, Kharera, Kapri and the Wallan. The Ambica runs a course of about 136 kilometers forming a drainage area of over 2715 sq. km.
The Ambica River has its birthplace in the Saputara Hills, near Kotambi Village in the Nasik district of Maharashtra. The Ambica river basin extends from Maharashtra into Gujarat where it flows out at its mouth into the Arabian Sea. The Ambica River basin comprises of a catchment area roughly over 2715 sq. km.
Although the major part of the river flows in Gujarat, but some regions of Maharashtra that fall in the river basin are small portions adjoining the Nasik district; and in Gujarat, the river Ambika flows through the districts of Valsad, Dangs and Surat.
Covering a distance of over 136 kilometers, the Ambica River is joined by many tributaries along the way; some of the notable ones are Kapri, Kaveri, Wallan and Kharera. The Ambica river basin lies between the latitudes and longitudes of 20o31’ & 20o57’ and 72o48’ & 73o52’ respectively.
Although many river projects are in progress on the Ambica, but one of the most important ones are the Ambica Dam on the main river near the Mandvi; another notable water project is on the Kaveri River called the Jhuj Dam, mainly utilized in providing water for irrigation.
This small stream joins the Ambica along with the Kharera in the Navsari district of Gujarat. One important city on the banks of the Ambica River is Bilimora; 25 kilometers south of Navsari, this touristic destination is famous for the confluence of Ambica with its tributaries. As Kharera, Kaveri and join the Ambica flowing out towards the Arabian Sea.
The Kaveri and Kharera join first on the southern reaches of Bilmora, before falling into the Ambica ahead of Bilmora; thus the city is sometimes called to be between two rivers. The mighty Ambica carries on towards its mouth making huge meanders in regions of Morali and forming the delta near Dholai where it falls into the Arabian Sea.
Besides the Kaveri and Kharera, Ambica is also joined by smaller streams along its course which increase its water content to make it into an important river of the area.