Facts about Major Rivers of India


Major Rivers of India

Map of Indian Major Rivers


Indian river system is divided in two groups – Himalayan rivers and Peninsular rivers.

A.  Major Rivers of India from Himalayan Range

There are mainly three river system in Himalayan Range – Indus river system, Ganges river system, Brahmaputra river system.

 Indus and Tributaries

  • Length of Indus – 3200 Km,
  • Origin – Mount Kailash near Mansarovar lake,
  • Mouth – near Karachi, Arabian sea

The Indus river system is the most prominent system in the entire Himalayan range. Indus river is one of the longest river of Asia. It runs through Laddakh region then turns towards Gilgit Baltistn in Pakistan then flows entirely through Pakistan towards south at Karachi where it forms a delta before meeting Arabian Sea. Its left bank tributary is Zanskar in Laddakh. In the plains its left bank tributary is Chenab which itself has four major tributaries Jhelum, Ravi, Byas and Sutlej. It is joined by right bank tributaries – Shyoke, Shigar, Gilgit in Kashmir and Kabul, Kurram in Pakistan. The important tributaries Chenab, Jhelum, Ravi, Beas and Sutlej join it after entering Pakistan. Indus forms a large delta near Karachi before entering Arabian Sea.

Facts about Major Rivers of India : Ganga and Tributaries

  • Length of Ganga – 2525 Km
  • Origin – Gaumukh, Gangotri glacier
  • Mouth – Meghna Estuary near Dhaka

This is the second major system. It drains nearly 25 % of area of country. The main river Ganga is formed by the confluence of two rivers Bhagirathi and Alaknanda at Devprayag. Yamuna which has own tributaries Chambal, Betwa and Ken from Peninsular India joins Ganga at Allahabad. Yamuna is the second largest tributary of Ganga, first one being the Ghagra river in terms of flow rate. Other tributaries of Ganga are – Ghagra, Tamsa, Gomti, Gandak, Kosi from the north while Damodar and Son from south. Kosi is the third largest tributary after Ghagra and Yamuna. It forms a distributary Hoogly  in West Bengal. A channel of water from Ganga is taken out from Farakka Barrage and feed to Hooghly river near Malda district. Hooghly meets Bay of Bengal near Sagar Islands, Howrah. After entering Bangladesh main branch of Ganga is called Padma. Padma joins Jamuna which is largest distributary of Brahmaputra. Padma heading further south joins Meghna which is the second largest distributary of Brahmaputra and takes the name of Meghna just before emptying at Meghna Estuary at Bay of Bengal.

Facts about Major Rivers of India : Brahmaputra and Tributaries

  • Origin of Brahmaputra- Angsi Glacier, Tibet
  • Length – 2900 Km
  • Mouth – Meghna Estuary near Dhaka

Brahmaputra originates from Tibet where it is called Tsangpo, and enters the Indian territory under the name Dihang/Siang. Majuli is the river island formed by Brahmaputra in Assam state. The rivers Subansiri, Kameng, Dhansiri, Manas and Teesta are major rivers joining from north while Burhi Dihing, Disang Kopoli joint it from south. Lohit is also an important tributary of Brahmaputra.

Also Read : List of Major Rivers of India and their origin and Mouth

B. Major Rivers of India from Peninsular Part

This group can be subdivided into i) East flowing rivers towards Bay of Bengal and ii) West Flowing rivers towards Arabian Sea.

i). Major Rivers of India flowing to East (Bay of Bengal)

There are five groups in east flowing system. Mahanadi system, Brahmani and Subernarekha system, Godavari system, Krishana system and Kaveri system.

 Mahanadi and Tributaries

  • Origin of Mahanadi – Dhamtari, Chhattisgarh
  • Length – 858 Km
  • States – Chhattisgarh, Odisha,
  • Major Dams – Hirakud

It is a seasonal river which is combination of too many mountain streams. Mahanadi system consists of Mahanadi and its tributaries. The important tributaries are – Seonath, Hasdeo, Mand, Jonk, Tel. Mahanadi meets Hirakud dam near Sambhalpur city in Odisha. It forms a delta near Cuttack, Odisha where it divides into many distributaries before entering Bay of Bengal. The main stream of Mahanadi enters the sea at False Point, Paradeep.

Major Rivers of India : Brahmani and Subernarekha system

Both of these rivers originate from Chhota Nagpur plateau near Ranchi in Jharkhand. These rivers flows through states of Jharkhand, West Bengal and Odisha. The Baitarni river which is also a important part of the system originates from Keonjhar plateau of Odisha.

Godavari and Tributaries

  • Origin of Godavari – near Nashik, Western Ghats
  • Length – 1465 Km
  • States – Maharashtra, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh

It is the largest system of all in peninsular India. This river originates near Nashik from the Sahyadri hills of Western Ghats. Manjira, Penganga, Wardha, Pranhita, Indravati and Sabri are the main tributaries. After crossing Rajahmundry Godavari splits in two parts Gautami Godavari and Vasistha Godavari . Both of these branches further split in two distributaries. All of these four branches form a delta before entering Bay of Bengal. The delta of Godavari along with delta of Krishna is called “Rice Granary of India”.

Indian Rivers facts about Krishna and Tributaries

  • Origin of Krishna – near Mahabaleshwar, Western Ghats
  • Length – 1400 Km
  • Major Dams – Nagarjuna Sagar Dam and Srisailam Dam
  • States – Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu

It is the second largest east flowing system of peninsular region, and third longest river of India after Ganga and Godavari. The river Krishna originates from Western Ghats near Mahabaleshwar and flows eastward towards Andhra Pradesh. Four rivers meet Krishna near Satara district at “Preeti Sangam” – Venna, Urmodi, Tarli and Koyna. Its major tributaries are Koyna, Dudhganga, Wainganga, Panchganga, Bhima, Tunghbhadhra and Musi.

Kaveri and Tributaries

  • Origin of Kaveri – Talakaveri, Coorg, Western Ghats of Karnataka
  • Length – 765 Km
  • Major Dams – Krishna Raj Sagar Dam, Mettur Dam
  • States –  Karnataka, Tamilnadu

This is the southernmost major river in Peninsular part of India. Its main tributaries are Hemavati, Lokpawni, Shimsa, Akrawati, Lakshmantirtha and Bhavani. Kaveri is not seasonal as compared to other rivers of Deccan plateau as its catchment receives rains in summer as well as winter.

ii). Major Rivers of India Flowing to West (Arabian Sea)

There are three main rivers flowing to west in Peninsular India.

1. Narmada and Tributaries

  • Origin of Narmada – Amarkantak, Satpura Hills, Madhya Pradesh
  • Length – 1312 Km
  • Dams – Sardar Sarovar Dam, Indira Sagar Dam
  • States – MP, Maharashtra, Gujarat

It originates from Amarkantak of Satpura Range, flows through the valley of Satpura and Vindhya range and makes number of falls. The Dhuadhar falls near Jabalpur in marble mountains is the popular one. Burhner, Banjar Shar, Shakkar, Dudhi, Tawa, Hiran, Barna and Kolar are main tributaries.

2. Tapti and Tributaries

  • Origin of Tapti – Multai, Betul, Satpura Range, Madhya Pradesh
  • Length – 724 Km,
  • States – Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat

It is the second major west flowing river system. Purna is the most important tributary of Tapti. Other tributaries are Betul, Patki, Ganjal, Guli, Aner, Arunavati, Kapra, Ksipra, Mona and Amravati.

3. Sabarmati and Tributaries

  • Origin of Sabarmati – Dhebar lake, Aravali range, Udaipur, Rajasthan
  • Length – 371 Km
  • States – Gujarat, Rajasthan

This river originates from Aravalli range in Rajasthan and flows into Gulf of Cambay.

In addition to these there are several other important rivers which originates from western ghats and flows westwards. These are Mandovi, Zuari and Rachol in Goa ; Kalinadi, Sharavati, Tadri and Netravati in Karnataka; Baypore, Ponnar, Periyar and Pamba in Kerala. These west flowing rivers runs very fast due to the slopes of Western Ghats and hence they do not form Estuaries. Famous Jog falls of Karnataka is on river Sharavati.