June 06, 2015

A brief description of the list of the major important rivers in India


The Indian River system is classified as Himalayan, peninsular, coastal, and inland-drainage basin rivers and the important rivers of India are Ganga, Yamuna, Brahmaputra, Indus, Mahanadi, Godavari, Krishna, Kaveri, Narmada and Tapti.

The rivers of India provide irrigation, cheap transportation, electricity, and livelihoods for a large number of people. The river system of India also holds significance from a religious point of view.

Rivers of India play an important role in the lives of the Indians. They provide potable water, cheap transportation, electricity, and the livelihood 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 Dharma 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. The largest basin system 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:
  • The Himalaya and the Karakoram ranges
  • Vindhya and Satpura ranges and Chotanagpur plateau in central India
  • Sahyadri or Western Ghats in western India
The rivers is played very important role in providing irrigation water, drinking water, electricity, easy cheap transportation, other miscellaneous works has been done with the help of rivers.

The important rivers of India are Ganga, Yamuna, Brahmaputra, Indus, Mahanadi, Godavari, Krishna, Kaveri, Narmada and Tapti.

A brief description of these rivers is given below


Ganga is the most holy river according to Hindu. It has started from the Gangotri in the Himalayas and poured into the Bay of Bengal by traveling of around 2525 km. It is ranked 3rd largest river in the world. There are a number of cities had been developed across the banks of Ganga like Pataliputra, Kashi, Allahabad, Varanasi, Kolkata etc. It had also created the World’s largest delta in West Bengal named as Sundarban delta. The largest river basin of India is the Ganga basin, which receives water from Himalayas in the north and the Vindhyas in the South. The Ganga, the Yamuna, the Ghagra, Gandak and Kosi are the main constituents of this basin. The Ganga and its tributaries such as Son, Yamuna, Budhi Khandak, Gandak, and Sabazpati have been omitted from the list, which originally creates the largest cultivable plains of northern and eastern India, named as the Gangetic plains. The principal river, the sacred Ganga is formed by the union of Andha and Alaknanda. Ganga originates from Gangotri glaciers(Gaumukh - 13,858 ft) in the Himalayan mountain range and gushes from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, and then comes into West Bengal and Bangladesh. It finally finishes in the Bay of Bengal in Bangladesh, where the name of the river is Padma.


Yamuna River had originated from Yamunotri Glacier in the Himalayas, then travels across several states and merged into the Ganga at Triveni, Allahabad. Its total length is 1376 km. Yamuna River’s water contributed nearly 70 percent of Delhi’s water supply. The Taj Mahal is situated on the banks of Yamuna River.


Brahmaputra River is originated from Angsi Glacier, the northen Himalayas in Tibet, then entered into the Arunachal Pradesh to Assam and then merges with the Padma river in Bangladesh. Its length is around 2900 km and plays an important role in the irrigation and transportation. It emptied into the Bay of Bengal. The Brahmaputra has the greatest volume of water of all the rivers in India. It is the source of the Indus and the Satluj and flows through Arunachal pradesh and Assam. The Brahmaputra starts off from the Mansarovar lake, which is also the place from where the Sutlej and the Indus have originated. It is somewhat longer than the Indus, however the greater portion of its itinerary is situated outside India. It runs to the east in China, adjacent to the Himalayas, known as Tsang-Po. When it arrives at Namcha Barwa (2900 m), it takes an about turn close to it and moves into India in Arunachal Pradesh and is named as Dihang.

Indus River

The Indus River is a historically famous in Asia. It originated from the Tibetan Plateau, and then flows through the Ladakh then entered into Pakistan and finally merge into the Arabian Sea after traveling a distance of 3180 km.

Mahanadi River

Mahanadi is a major river in the state of Chhattisgarh and Odisha. Mahanadi’s water is used in the irrigation and drinking purpose, it is also called the ruin of Orissa due its devastating floods over the years but till Hirakud Dam was constructed. Its total length is 858 km. The Mahanadi is an important river in the state of Orissa. This river flows slowly for 900 kms and deposits more silt than any other river in the Indian subcontinent.


Godavari is the longest river in the southern India and 2nd largest in India after Ganga. It is originated from Maharashtra and flows through Andhra Pradesh, then merges into the Bay of Bengal after traveling a distance of 1465 km.The river Godavari is the longest among all the rivers of South India. This river, which is 1584 Kilometers long originates in Western Ghats at Triyambak near Nasik in Maharashtra. It enters Andhra Pradesh near Basar in Adilabad District. It flows to a length of about 770 Kilometers in Andhra Pradesh. Some of the important tributaries of Godavari are Manjeera, Pranhita, Indravati, Kinnerasani, Sabari, Sileru e.t.c., An Anicut is built over this river at Dowleiswaram near Rajahmundry. At the lower reaches near Rajahmundry, Godavari divides into three major distributories called Gouthami, Vasishta and Vainateya and finally reaches Bay of Bengal after forming a delta. The Godavari River System has second longest course within India. The banks of this river have many pilgrimage sites like Nasik, Triyambak and Bhadrachalam.


The 3rd longest river in India after Ganga and Godavari, Krishna River which is originated from Mahabaleswar in Maharashtra and flows through the state of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and finally merges into the Bay of Bengal by traveling a distance of 1400 km.Originating in the Western Ghats near Mahabaleswar in Maharashtra, the river Krishna flows Eastwards and enters Andhra Pradesh at Thangadi in Mahaboobnagar District. After joining with its tributary Tungabhadra, at Sangam in Kurnool district, it flows across Srisailam, and Vijayawada and reaches Bay of Bengal near Hamsaladeevi. Its total length is 1440 Kilometers. The length of Krishna river in Andhra Pradesh is about 720 Kilometers. Prakasam Barrage was constructed on the Krishna river at Vijayawada, and a road was laid over it. At a distance of 64kilometers, from Vijayawada, the river Krishna divides into two distributories and again merge into one. The area in between these two distributories is called "Diviseema". Nagarjuna Sagar Dam was built across the river Krishna at Nandikonda. This Dam is one of the biggest dams in India. One more dam was constructed at Srisailam. Hydro-Electricity is also being generated from waters of the reservoirs of these dams. The important tributaries of the river Krishna are Tungabhadra, Dindi, Palem, Koyana, Varna, Panchagana, Musi, Bheema, Ghantaprabha, Munneru, etc. The Krishna is the third longest river in India with a length of about 1300 kms. It rises in the Western Ghats and flows east into the Bay of Bengal.


The Kaveri River is one of the large rivers in India which is originated from Talakaveri in the Western Ghats of Karnataka and flows through the states of Karnataka,Tamilnadu, finally merges into Bay of Bengal by traveling a distance of 765 km. The source of the Kaveri is located in the Western Ghats. It has many tributaries including Shimsha, Hemavati River, Arkavathy, Kapila, Honnuhole, Lakshmana Tirtha, Kabini, Lokapavani, Bhavani, Noyyal and famous Amaravati. Kaveri is a major source of irrigation in Tamil Nadu.


Narmada River is the 5th Longest in the Indian sub-continent. It is also called the Life line of Madhya pradesh due to its huge contributions. Narmada River is originated from Narmada Kund, Amarkantak in Madhya Pradesh and merges into the Arabian Sea near Gujarat after traveling a distance of 1312 km. The Narmada and the Tapti are the only major rivers that flow into the Arabian Sea. The total length of Narmada through the states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharastra, and Gujarat amounts to 1312 kms. The Tapti follows a parallel course to the south of the Narmada, flowing through the states of Maharashtra and Gujarat on its way into the Gulf of Khambhat.


Tapti River is one of the major rivers in Central India. Its total length is around 724 km which flows through the states of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra and finally merges into the Gulf of Cambay of Arabian Sea near Gujarat.

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