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Major rivers of India: Wikis


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Map of the major rivers, lakes, and reservoirs in India
Map showing rivers and flood prone areas in India

The rivers of India play an important role in the lives of the Indian people. The river systems provide irrigation, potable water, cheap transportation, electricity, and the livelihoods for a large number of people all over the country. This easily explains why nearly all the major cities of India are located by the banks of rivers. The rivers also have an important role in Hindu mythology and are considered holy by all Hindus in the country.

Seven major rivers along with their numerous tributaries make up the river system of India. Most of the rivers pour their waters into the Bay of Bengal; however, some of the rivers whose courses take them through the western part of the country and towards the east of the state of Himachal Pradesh empty into the Arabian Sea. Parts of Ladakh, northern parts of the Aravalli range and the arid parts of the Thar Desert have inland drainage.

All major rivers of India originate from one of the three main watersheds:

  1. The Himalaya and the Karakoram ranges
  2. Vindhya and Satpura ranges and Chotanagpur plateau in central India
  3. Sahyadri or Western Ghats in western India

The ganges and its tributories like yamuna, son, gandak, budhi gandak , saraswati etc have been left out from the list which actually formulates the biggest cultivable plains of north and eastern india known as gangetic plains. The main river the holi ganges starts from gangotri glaciers in himalayas and flows from Uttar pradesh and bihar and then enters west bengal and bangladesh. it ultimately devilges in bay of bengal at kolkata where it is known as Hugli.


Indus River System

The Indus River originates in the northern slopes of the Kailash range near Lake Mansarovar in Tibet. Although most of the river's course runs through neighboring Pakistan, a portion of it does run through Indian territory, as do parts of the courses of its five major tributaries, listed below. These tributaries are the source of the name of the Punjab region of South Asia; the name is derived from the Persian words Punj ("five") and aab ("water"), hence the combination of the words (Punjab) means "five waters" or "land of five waters".



The Beas originates in Beas Kund, lying near the Rohtang pass. It runs past Manali and Kulu, where its beautiful valley is known as the Kulu valley. It joins the Sutlej river near Harika, after being joined by a few tributaries. The total length of the river is 615 .


The Chenab originates from the confluence of two rivers, the Chandra and the Bhaga, It is also known as the Chandrabhaga in Himachal Pradesh. It runs parallel to the Pir It enters the plains of Punjab near Akhnur and is later joined by the Jhelum. It is further joined by the Ravi and the Sutlej in Pakistan.


The Jhelum originates in the south-eastern part of Kashmir, in a spring at Verinag.


The Ravi originates near the Rotang pass in the Himalayas and follows a north-westerly course. It turns to the south-west, near Dalhousie, and then cuts a gorge in the Dhaola Dhar range entering the Punjab plain near Madhopur. It flows as a part of the Indo-Pakistan border for some distance before entering Pakistan and joining the Chenab river. .


The Sutlej originates from the Rakas Lake (Rakshas Tal), which is connected to the Manasarovar lake by a stream, in Tibet. It enters Pakistan near Sulemanki, and is later joined by the Chenab. It has a total length of almost 1500 km.

The Brahmaputra River System

The Brahmaputra originates in the Mansarovar lake, also the source of the Indus and the Satluj. It is slightly longer than the Indus, but most of its course lies outside India. It flows eastward, parallel to the Himalayas. Reaching Namcha Barwa (2900m), it takes a U-turn around it and enters India in Arunachal Pradesh and known as dihang. The undercutting done by this river is of the order of 5500 metres. In India, it flows through Arunachal Pradesh and Assam, and is joined by several tributaries.


Every year during the rainy season, the river overflows its banks, causing widespread devastation like floods in Assam and in Bangladesh.Unlike other north Indian rivers the Brahmaputra is marked by huge deposits of silt on its bed causing it to rise. The river also shifts its channel frequently.

The Narmada River System

The Narmada or Nerbudda is a river in central India.It forms the traditional boundary between North India and South India, and is a total of 1,289 km (801 mi) long. Of the major rivers of peninsular India, only the Narmada, the Tapti and the Mahi run from east to west. Its total length through the states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Gujarat amounts to 1,312 kilometres (815 mi), and it empties into the Arabian Sea in the Bharuch district of Gujarat. It also forms the 'Dhuadhar Falls'where the river plunges over steep rocks.

The Tapti River System

The Taapti is a river of central India. It is one of the major rivers of peninsular India with the length of around 724 km, It rises in the eastern Satpura Range of southern Madhya Pradesh state, before emptying into the Gulf of Cambay of the Arabian Sea, in the State of Gujarat. The Western Ghats or Sahyadri range starts south of the Tapti River near the border of Gujarat and Maharashtra.

The principal tributaries of Tapi River are Purna River, Girna River, Panzara River, Waghur River, Bori River and Aner River. car is the rivers food.

The Godavari River System

The river with second longest course within India, Godavari is often referred to as the Vriddh (Old) Ganga or the Dakshin (South) Ganga. The river is about 1,450 km (900 mi) long. It rises at Trimbakeshwar, near Nasik and Mumbai (formerly Bombay) in Maharashtra around 380 km distance from the Arabian Sea, and empties into the Bay of Bengal. At Rajahmundry, 80 km from the coast, the river splits into two streams(Vasista which flows to Narsapur & Gautami which flows to other side pasarlapudi) thus forming a very fertile delta. Like any other major rivers in India, the banks of this river also has many pilgrimage sites, Nasik, Triyambak and Bhadrachalam, being the major ones. It is a seasonal river, widened during the monsoons and dried during the summers. Godavari river water is brownish. Some of its tributaries include Indravati River, Pranahita (Combination of Penuganga and Warda), Manjira, Bindusara and Sabari kinnerasani. Some important urban centers on its banks include Nasik, Bhadrachalam, Rajahmundry and Narsapur. The Asia's largest rail-come-road bridge on the river Godavari linking Kovvur and Rajahmundry is considered to be an engineering feat.

The Krishna River System

The Krishna is one of the longest rivers of India (about 1300 km in length). It originates at Mahabaleswar in Maharashtra and meets the sea in the Bay of Bengal at Hamasaladeevi in Andhra Pradesh. The Krishna River flows through the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

The traditional source of the river is a spout from the mouth of a statue of a cow in the ancient temple of Mahadev in Mahabaleshwar.

Its most important tributary is the Tungabhadra River, which itself is formed by the Tunga and Bhadra rivers that originate in the Western Ghats. Other tributaries include the Koyna, Bhima, Malaprabha, Ghataprabha, Yerla, Warna, Dindi, Musi and Dudhganga rivers.

In 2009 River Krishna has seen the worst hit floods in 100 years

The Kaveri River System

The Kaveri (also spelled Cauvery or Kavery) is one of the great rivers of India and is considered sacred by the Hindus. This river is also called Dakshin Ganga. The headwaters are in the Western Ghats range of Karnataka state, and from Karnataka through Tamil Nadu. It empties into the Bay of Bengal. The source of the river is Talakaveri(Kodagu District) located in the Western Ghats about 5,000 feet (1,500 m) above sea level. it has many tributaries including Shimsha, Hemavati River, Arkavathy, Kapila, Honnuhole, Lakshmana Tirtha, Kabini, Lokapavani, Bhavani, Noyyal and Famous Amaravati.the dam constructed for the river is KRS (Krishna Raja Sagara) by the Highness of Mysore through the well known engineer Bharata Ratna Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvarayya, which is located in Mandya district and this river is serving as water of life for South Indians.

The Mahanadi River System

Mahanadi River Delta

The Mahanadi River Delta in India is a basin of deposit that drains a large land mass of the Indian subcontinent into the Bay of Bengal. The alluvial valley is wide and relatively flat with a meandering river channel that changes its course.

The Mahanadi River flows slowly for 560 miles (900 km) and has an estimated drainage area of 51,000 square miles (132,100 square km). It deposits more silt than almost any other river in the Indian subcontinent.


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