The district is bounded on the North by the district of Gulberga, on the West by the districts of Bijapur and Dharwar, on the East by the district of Mababoobnagar of Andhra Pradesh, and on the South are the districts of Kurnool also of Andhra Pradesh, and Bellary. The two rivers, the Krishna and the Tungabhadra from the entire North and Southern boundaries of the district.
The geographical area of the district, according to the Central statistical organization of the Government of India, is 14,013 Sq Kilometers which works out to 5410 sq. miles. But the reporting area of the district for land utilization purposes, as worked out by the Commissioner for Survey, Settlement and Land Records in Mysore, Bangalore is 14007.9 Sq.Kilometers or 5,435.5 sq.miles. This slight difference is due to the different methods employed by them in measuring the area. The population of the district according the 1961 census, was 11,00,895. In terms of area, the district occupies the third place among the districts of the State, while in respect of population it occupies the tenth place. It accounts for 7.36 percent of the total area and 4.6 percent of the total population of the State in 1961; the density of population then worked out to 202.51 per square mile or 77 per square kilometer and this was much below the State average, which was 319 per square mile or 123 per square kilometer, and the lowest next only to North Kanara district.
The population of the district according the 1961 census, was 11,00,895. In terms of area, the district occupies the third place among the districts of the State, while in respect of population it occupies the tenth place. It accounts for 7.36 percent of the total area and 4.6 percent of the total population of the State in 1961; the density of population then worked out to 202.51 per square mile or 77 per square kilometer and this was much below the State average, which was 319 per square mile or 123 per square kilometer, and the lowest next only to North Kanara district.
The climate of the district is characterised by dryness for the major part of the year and a very hot summer. The low and highly variable rainfall renders the district liable to drought. The year may be divided broadly into four seasons. The hot season begins by about the middle of February and extends to the end of May The South-west monsoon is from June to end of September. October and November are the post monsoon or retreating monsoon months and the peirod from december to the middle of Febrary is the cold season.
The only meteorological observatory in the district is at Raichur. The data of this observatory may be taken as representative of the conditions in the district. December is the coldest month with the mean daily maximum temperature at 29.3 Degree C. (84.8 F) and the mean daily minimum at 17.7C (63.9F) The nights are generally cool in the season, but day temperatures sometimes reach 35 to 38 Degree C.The period from about the middle of February to May is one of continuous rise in tenoeratyres, May is the hottest month, the mean daily maximum temperature being 39.8 (103.7 F) The heat is oppressive till the onset of the south-west mansoon by about the first week of June. Thereafter the weather becomes slightly cooler and continues to be so till the end of the South-west mansoon season. Day temperatures show a slight increae in October. From November, both day and night tmperatures gradually decrease till December.
The highest maximum temperature ever recorded at Raichur was 45.6 C (114.1F) on 23rd May 1928 and the lowest minimum was 10.0 C (50.0F) on 14th January 1899 and 13th December 1945.
The only two rivers of importance in this district are the Krishna and the Tungabhadra which form the entire northern and southern boundaries of the district, respectively. They have been associated from time immemorial with religious and cultural activities and have several famous shrines on their banks. Picturesque spots on their banks have been also abodes of spiritual sadhana. In the historical and cultural development of the country, the great rivers have played a vital role. Legend and tradition have sanctified these perennial sources of water, which have given an immense impetus to civilization and prosperity of the land. These beneficent river have exercised a strong influence on the life and imagination of the people.
The Krishna seems to have been serving as an artery of commerce since ancient times. The river must have been navigable a long way inland during the early centuries. Dr. Pandurangarao Desai is of the opinion that Ptolemy referred to this river, at least in its lower course, as Maisolos, which name has survived in the modern Masulipatam. He also says that the river Krishna is typical of the Deccan rivers; its maximum flood discharge is said to be almost double that of the Nile river, while in summer it dwindles down to a mere 100 cusecs. But all the same, it is a perennial river and has been the source of livelihood for a number of villages and towns on its banks. The bed of the river is rough and stony. It has low banks and is about half-a-mile wide. It has a few islands in it and when the river is in flood, it is difficult for the inhabitants of the island villages to communicate with the people of the mainland. In the rainy season, when the river generally overflows its banks, its waters enrich the soil with a rich deposit of natural manure and there is luxuriance of crops on these lands.
The Krishna is also called Hire-hole (big or great river) in the region, and old Kannada inscriptions mention it as Perddore with the same meaning. The river has its source in the Western Ghats north of the Mahabaleshwar hill station. In its upper course, it rushes through deep and narrow gorges. While flowing through the broken ridges of the Dharwars in the Deccan proper, it receives many streams. It enters Raichur district to the north of Uppinhal village in Lingsugur taluk and flows for a distance of about 104 miles in the district. There is a steep drop in the level of the river in its course through this district, as much as 300 feet, in a distance of about three miles. The river Bhima joins this river to the north of Kadlur in Raichur taluk. About 15 major and 21 minor streams and nalas also flow into the river along its course, important among them being the Hutti nala (30 miles), Chiksugur nala (22 miles), Ramdurg nala (20 miles), Mandargi nala (19 miles), Kodihal nala (17 miles), Ramanhal nala (16 miles), Hirebudur nala (15 miles) and Timmapur and Budadipad nalas (14 miles each). The river leaves the district north of Budadipad village in Raichur taluk and enters Andhra Pradesh.
The Tungabhadra is formed by the union of two rivers, viz., the Tunga and the Bhadra, both of which rise at Gangamula in Varaha Parvata of the Western Ghats. This is also a perennial river, very deep in certain places and almost unaffordable even in the dry season. This river enters the district near Kesalapur village at the south-western tip of Koppal taluk. The general slope of the land in the district being north-west to south-east, the Tungabhadra has a large number of rivulets and streams serving as tributaries, as compared to the Krishna. But none of these streams is of any great importance by itself and they generally go dry during the summer.
Old Kannada inscriptions have hailed the river as the Ganga of South India. In the past, notably during the days of Vijayanagar kings, it had been dammed at several places for purposes of irrigation and, in this district also, anicuts of large blocks of stones were constructed in several places in Koppal and Gangavati taluks. Canals were laid along both sides of the river. Most of these canals had been silted up and the water courses were in a dilapidated state. If kept in constant repair, these canals can serve as effective means of irrigation for the cultivation of rice and surgarcane, in places not benefited by the recent Tungabhadra Dam at Munirabad. The Tungabhadra river also is reputed as one of the important rivers of South India.
The river which forms the southern boundary of the district flows for a distance of about 130 miles along the district touching Koppal, Gangavathi, Sindhanur, Manvi and Raichur regions and leaves the district to the south-east of Talamari village in Raichur taluk. As stated above, a number of streams and nalas flow into the river along its course in the district, the more important among them being the Maski nala (70 miles), Hirehalla (50 miles), Alawandi nala (20 miles), sindhanur nala (50 miles), Siddapur stream (32 miles), Marli stream (26 miles), Inchnal nala (50 miles), Kanakgiri nala (32 miles), Nandihal nala (26 miles) and Kapgol nala (24 miles).