List of indian river and their origin


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indian River

List of indian river and their origin

India is drained by numerous rivers falling either into the Bay of Bengal or the Arabian Sea. The Ganga, Brahmaputra, Mahanadi, Godavari, Krishna and Cauvery are the major river systems draining into the Bay of Bengal, whereas the major river systems draining into the Arabian Sea are the Indus, Sabarmati, Narmada, Tapti and rivers of the west coast farther south.

Indian rivers may be classified into four types depending upon the nature of the river, geographical location, source and drainage area covered: Himalayan, peninsular, coastal and rivers of inland drainage basin.

Himalayan Rivers

• These rivers are perennial as they are generally snow- fed and have reasonable flow throughout the year. During the monsoon the Himalayas receive very heavy rainfall and the rivers discharge the maximum quantity of water causing frequent flood. Brahamputra, Ganga, Jamuna, Ghagra, Gandak, Kosi are the main rivers. • Some rivers are older than the mountain themselves. Their gorges are the evidence of it. So, they are also examples of antecedent rivers.

The Major river systems of the Himalayas Drainage

Indus River System

• Indus along with its tributaries forms one of the largest drainage systems of the world. • Also known as Sindhu. Indus originates from the northern slope of Kailash range (Tibet) enters India and continues to flow in the north- west direction between the Ladakh and the Zaskar ranges. • The Shyok and Gilgit are its important right bank tributaries and the Zaskar is left bank tributary.

Indus river ends its mountainous journey at Attock and is joined by the Kabul river from Afghanistan. • Just above Mithankot, it receives accumulated waters of five rivers (Panj-nad) Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas and Sutluj. • Finally, it empties itself in the Arabian Sea near Karachi, making a big delta. • It has length of 2900 km from its source to the Arabian sea. • It is known as Singi Khamban Tibet.


• It rises from a spring at Verinag (in Kashir). • Lidar, Sind and Pohru are the tributaries of in Kashmir. • At Muzaffarabad, the river takes a sharp hairpin swing southward and the Kishaganga joins at on its right bank. • Thereafter, it forms the India-Pakistan boundary for 170 km and emerges at the Potwar Plateau near Mirpur. It has total length of 724 km. • It joins the Chenab at Trimmu.


• It is the largest tributary of the Indus.

• It originates near the Bara Lacha Pass in the Lahul-Spiti part of the Zaskar Range. The united stream (Chandra and Bhaga) called the Chandrabhaga flows in the north-west direction through Himachal Pradesh and enters Jammu & Kashmir as Chenab river. • It enters the plain area near Akhnur in J&K. • It cuts a deep gorge near Kishtwar. • It receives waters of Jhelum and Ravi rivers.


• It originates from Kullu hills near the Rohtang Pass in Himachal Pradesh. • It cuts a deep gorge in the Dhaula Dhar range after crossing Chamba. • It enters Punjab Plains near Madhopur and later enters Pakistan 26 km below Amritsar. • It debouches into the Chenab a little above Rangpur in Pakistani Punjab.


• It also originates near Rohtang Pass, close to the source of the Ravi. • It crosses the Dhaula Dhar range through a deep gorge from Lorji to Talwara. • It debouches on the plain near Pong and meets the Satluj river at Harike. • It lies entirely within the Indian territory.


• It rises from the Mansarovar – Rakas Lake near Darma Pass in western Tibet, where it is also known as Langcher Khambab. • In Nari Khorsan province of Tibet, it has created an extraordinary canyon. • It is joined by the Spiti river at Namgia near the Shipki La.

• Before entering the Punjab Plain, it cuts a gorge in Naina Devi Dhar (Bhakra Dam has been constructed here). • It enters the plain at Rupnagar (Ropar). • It is joined by the Beas at Harike. • From near Ferozepur to Fazilka, it forms the boundary between India and Pakistan for nearly 120km. • It joins the Indus a few kilometers above Mithankot.

The Ganga River System

• It is the Largest in India. • The total area of the Ganga basin in India is 861,404 sq km which accounts for 26.3% of the geographical area of the country. • The Ganga basin covers over 12,500 sq km in northern India. This basin is shared by:– State (%) share Uttarakhand & UP MP & Chhattisgarh Bihar & Jharkhand Rajasthan West Bengal 34.2 23.1 16.7 13.0 8.3 Ganga • It originates as Bhagirathi from the Gangotri glacier.

Alaknanda joins it at Devaprayag. Pindar river joins it at Karan Prayag and Mandakini or Kali Ganga at Rudra Prayag. • The combined waters of the Bhagirathi and the Alaknanda flow in the name of the Ganga, below Devprayag. • It debouches on plain from hills in Haridwar. • It is joined by Yamuna in Allahabad. • Beyond Farakka, it is known as Padma in Bangladesh.

• It bifurcates itself into Bhagirathi-Hooghly in West Bengal and Padma-Meghna in Bangladesh. • The delta formed by the Ganga-Brahmaputra is the largest delta of the world covering an area of 58,752 sq km. • Sundarbans is a part of the world’s largest delta.

• The total length, 2525 km, is distributed among states:

(i) Uttar Pradesh – 1140, (ii) W. Bengal – 520 km, (iii) Bihar – 445 km, (iv) Uttrakhand – 310 km.


• It is the largest and the most important tributary of the Ganga. • It originates from the Yamunotri glacier on the Bandarpunch Peak in Garhwal in Uttarakhand. • It enters the plains near Tajewala.

• Tons, a tributary of it, joins it below Kalsi. At this site, the water carried by the Tons is twice the water carried by the Yamuna. • It takes a southerly course upto Mathura and south easterly in its onward journey upto Allahabad where it unites with the Ganga.


• It rises near Mhow in the highlands of Janapao Hills in MP. • It enters a gorge at Chaurasigarh. • It joins Yamuna in Etawah district of Uttar Pradesh. • Banas joins it near Sawai Madhopur. • Betwa, rising in Bhopal, joins the Yamuna near Hamirpur. Dhasan is an important tributary of Betwa Son • It is a large south bank tributary of the Ganga.

• The Son river springs from the Amarkantak Plateau. • It joins the Ganga near Danapur in Patna district. • Its catchment area is 71,259 sq km. • Almost all the tributaries join it on its right bank. • Tributaries are Johilla, Rihand, Kanhar and North Koel.


• It rises in the hills of the Chotanagpur plateau and flows through a rift valley. • It is also called ‘Sorrow of Bengal’ • It joins the Hugli 48 km below Kolkata. • The total length of the river is 541 km. • Its catchment area is 25,820 sq km. Ramganga • It rises in the Garhwal district of Uttaranchal.

• It enters the Ganga plain near Kalagarh. • Its basin covers 32,493 sq km. Ghaghra • It originates near the Gurla Mandhota peak, south of Manasarovar in Tibet. • It is known as the karnali in Western Nepal. • It joins Ganga a few kilometres downstream of Chapra in Bihar. • The total catchment area of the river is 127,950 sq km out of which 45% is in India. Kali

• It rises in high glaciers of snow covered region of trans- Himalayas. • It forms the boundary between Nepal and Kumaon. • It is known as the Sarda or Chauka after it reaches the plains near Tanakpur.


• It originates near the Tibet-Nepal border. • Kali Gandak, Mayangadi, Bari and Trishuli are the major tributaries of it. • Its drainage area is 46,300 sq km out of which 7620 sq km is in India. Burhi Gandak

• Originating from the western slopes of Sumesar hills near the India-Nepal border, it joins the Ganga opposite Monghyr town. • Its length is 610 km and drainage area is 12,200 sqkm.


• The Kosi river consists of seven streams, namely, Sut Kosi, Tamba Kosi, Talkha, Doodh Kosi, Botia Kosi, Arun and Tamber and is popularly known as Saptkaushiki.

• Seven rivers mingle with each other to form three streams named the Tumar, Arun and Sun Kosi. • Then all three streams unite at Triveni north of the Mahabharat Range to form the Kosi.

The Brahmaputra River System

• The Brahmaputra rises in the great chemayungdung glacier in the Kailas range of the Himalayas. • It flows eastward from its source region. • Mariam La separates the source of the Brahmaputra from the Manasarovar lake.

• With a total length of 2900 km, it is one of the longest rivers of the world & passes through Tibet, India and Bangladesh. • It is known as Tsangpo(means purifier) in Tibet and Yarlung Zangbo Jiangin in Chinese language. • It is one of the most remarkable navigable waterways of the world where boats sail at an altitude of about 3000 metre above sea level.

• It emerges as a dynamic river after carving out a deep gorge near Namcha Barwa. • It emerges from the foothills under the name of Siong or Dihang. • It enters India west of Sadiya town in Arunachal Pradesh where it receives the Dibang and the Lohit. From here after ward, it is known as the Brahmaputra. • It has a braided channel along most of its length in Assam. • It is among the four largest rivers of the world in terms of volume of discharge at the mouth.

• The look is like a delta in reverse where Dibang and Lohit rivers meet the Brahmaputra river. • Tista, a tributary of the Brahmaputra, was a tributary of the Ganga prior to the devastating floods of 1787. • Majuli is the river island of the river Brahmaputra (area- 1250 sq km).

Majuli island is Largest riverine island of world.

• National waterways – 2 is on the Brahmaputra river from Sadiya to Dhubri.

The Peninsular River System Three main directions of flow: • Mahanadi, Godavari, Krishna, Cauvery and several smaller rivers draining towards south-east towards into the Bay of Bengal. • The Narmada and the Tapi flowing towards west as well as several small rivers originating from the Western Ghats flow westwards into the Arabian Sea.

• Tributaries of Ganga and Yamuna such as Chambal, Betwa, Ken, Son and Damodar flow in the north-easterly direction. The East Flowing Rivers Mahanadi • It has its source in Dandakaranya near Sihawa in Raipur district of Chhattisgarh. • Its upper course lies in the saucer-shaped basin called the ‘Chhattisgarh Plains’ • Hirakud dam is built on this river. Godavari

• It is the largest river system of the Peninsular India. • It is held in reverence as ‘Vridha Ganga’ or ‘Dakshina Ganga’ • It has a catchment area of 312,812 sq km which covers about 10% of the area of India. • It flows in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Karntaka.

The source of the river is in the Trimbak Plateau of North Sahyadri near Nasik in Maharashtra and discharges its water into the Bay of Bengal. • Manjra is the only important right bank tributary which joins the Godavari near Kondalwadi. • Below Rajahmundry, the river Godavari divides itself into two main streams – the Gautami Godavari on the east and the Vashishta Godavari on the west – and forms a large delta before it pours into the Bay of Bengal.


• It is the second largest east flowing river of Peninsula in India. • It rises in Western Ghats near Mahabaleshwar.

• It debouches into the Bay of Bengal, forming a big delta in arcuate shape. • The Koyna, Tungbhadra and Bhima are its major tributaries. • Koyna Dam is made on the Koyana river, a tributary of the Krishna river. Cauvery • It is designated as “the Ganga of the South” or ‘Dakshina Ganga’. • Its source lies at Taal Cauvery on the Brahmagiri range of hills in the Western Ghats.

• Its upper catchment area receives rainfall during summer by the south-west monsoon and the lower catchment area receives rainfall during winter season by the retreating northeast Monsoon.

• It is one of the best regulated rivers and 90 to 95% of its irrigation and power potential already stands harnessed. • Sivasamudram waterfalls is on this river. • The river divides itself into two distinct channels at Srirangam, the northern channel is called Kollidam and the southern one retains the name Cauvery. • Cauvery river also forms a big delta in a quadrilateral shape.


• It originates from the Ranchi plateau in Jharkhand.

• It forms the boundary between West Bengal and Orissa in its lower course. • Its total length is 395 km. Brahmani • It comes into existence by the confluence of the Koel and the Sankh rivers near Rourkela in Odisha. • It has a total length of 800 km. • Its main tributaries are Kura, Sankhad and Tikra.


• It springs from the Nandi Durg peak in Karnataka. • The total length is 597 km. • The principal tributaries are the Jayamangli, the Kunderu, the Chitravari, the Papagani and the Cheyyeru.

The West Flowing Rivers Narmada

• It is the largest of all the west flowing rivers of the Peninsula. • It rises from the Amarkantak plateau in Shahdol district of Madhya Pradesh. • It flows through a rift valley between the Vindhyan Range on the north and the Satpura range on the south. • The Dhuandhar (Clouds of Mist) falls is formed by the Narmada river in Jabalpur. • It makes an estuary studded with several islands. Aliabet is the largest island.

• The Sardar Sarovar Project has been constructed on this river. Tapi (or Tapti) • It is the second largest west flowing river of the Indian peninsula. • It is also known as ‘the twin’ or of the Narmada. • It originates from Multai in Betul district of Madhya Pradesh.


• This 320 km long river is the name given to the combined streams-the Sabar and the Hathmati. • It rises from the hills of Mewar in the Aravalli Range. Its tributaries are Hatmati, Sedhi, Wakul, Meshwa, Vatrak etc. Mahi • It rises in the Vindhyan range and debouches into the Gulf of Khambhat. • Its length is 533 km. • It drains an area of 34,862 sq km. • The main tributaries are Som, Anas and Panam.

• Mahi river cuts tropic of cancer twice. Luni (or the Salt River) • Its water is brackish below Balotra. • Its source lies to the west of Ajmer (Rajasthan) in the Aravallis. • The river is known as the Sagarmati in its upper course and from Govindgarh, where Sarsuti joins it, becomes Luni. Finally, it is lost in the Rann of Kachchh. Inland Drainage Some rivers of India do not reach upto the sea and constitute inland drainage. These rivers are mostly present in the drier regions of the country like Western Rajasthan, Ladakh and Aksai Chin etc. Ghaggar river is the most important example of inland drainage.

it is a seasonal stream rising from the lower slopes of Himalayas and is said to flow on the dried bed of ancient river Saraswati. It forms boundary between Punjab and Haryana for much of its length and gets subsumed in Rajasthan desert. Another such river is Luni, which is the largest river of Rajasthan. It originates near Pushkar and flows South-West of Aravalis till it reaches Rann of Kutch.

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