Indian Geography Part 5 – Indian Drainage System

India’s Drainage System

Open and Closed Basins

A drainage system is the pattern formed by the streams, rivers, and lakes in a particular drainage basin. A drainage basin is an extent or an area of land where surface water from rain and melting snow or ice converges to a single point or where the waters join another water body, such as a river, lake, reservoir, estuary, wetland, sea, or ocean.

The basin can be closed basin or open Basin. In open basin, the water body is hydro-logically toward the sea. The rivers which drain to oceans and seas have open basins.

In closed drainage basins the water converges to a single point inside the basin, known as a sink, which may be a permanent lake, dry lake, or a point where surface water is lost underground. The drainage basin includes both the streams and rivers that convey the water as well as the land surfaces from which water drains into those channels, and is separated from adjacent basins by a drainage divide. The other words used for basin are catchment, catchment area, catchment basin, drainage area, river basin, water basin and watershed.

The river basins are controlled by the topography of the land such as rock types, gradient, soil type etc. The stream in a basin can be runoff, through flow or underground flow. The topographic barriers make watersheds. A watershed would represent all the stream tributaries that flow to some distance along the main stream. Almost all of India’s rivers are of open basin as more than 90% of total surface water runoff would go to Bay of Bengal. Rest goes to Arabian Sea.  There is just a small area in parts of Ladakh, northern parts of the Aravalli range and the arid parts of the Thar Desert, that have inland drainage.

Indus River System

Indus River System is made of Indus River and its tributaries viz. Ravi, Beas, Satluj, Jhelam, Kishenganga (Neelum) and Chenab.

The important facts about the rivers are as follows:

Indus River

  • Indus River originates in Tibet in northern slopes of Mount Kailash near lake Mansarovar. Running via Ladakh, it enters into Pakistan through Gilgit-Baltistan and ends in Arabian Sea near Karachi.
  • The total length of the river is 3,180 kilometers, making it Pakistan’s longest river and world’s 21st largest river in terms of annual flow. The river basin is 11,165,000 square kilometers.
  • Several tributaries of Indus River in Pakistan side are Nagar River, Astor River, Balram River, Dras River, Gar River, Ghizar River, Gilgit River, Gumal River Kabul River, Kurram River, Panjnad River, Shigar River, Shyok River, Sohan River, Tanubal River, Zanskar River etc. On the eastern side, portion of it does run through Indian territory, as do parts of the courses of its five major tributaries viz. Beas, Chenab, Jhelum, Ravi and Sutlej.
  • These tributaries are the source of the name of the Punjab region.

Beas River

  • Originates in the southern slopes of Pir Panjal ranges near Rohtang Pass in Himachal Pradesh.
  • It flows south past Manali and through the Kullu Valley before entering the Punjab plains. It meets the Sutlej River near the Harike Wetland south of Amritsar. The Sutlej continues into Pakistani Punjab and joins the Chenab River at Uch near Bahawalpur to form the Panjnad River; the latter in turn joins the Indus River at Mithankot. So, originating in India and running for 470 kilometers, the river meets Sutlej in Punjab of India.
  • The river is of Historic, known as Arjikuja and Vipasa in ancient times and Hyphasis to ancient Greeks.
  • Some of the tributaries of the river Beas are as
    • Parbati which rises in the snowy wastes above Manikaran. It joins the river Beas near Shamshi in the Kulu valley;
    • Haria which joins the river Beas near Bhuntar;
    • Sainj which rises in the snows of an off-shoot of the Pir Panjal range that marks the watershed of the Seas and Satluj rivers. It joins the river Beas near Larji;
    • Tirthan which rises in the snows of an off-shoot of the Pir Panjal range. It joins the river Beas near Larji.

Jhelum River

  • Jhelum rises from northern slopes of Pir Panjal ranges at Verinag spring (which is main source) which girdles the valley of Kashmir. It flows through Srinagar and the Wular Lake before entering Pakistan through a deep narrow gorge.
  • The Kishenganga (Neelum) River, the largest tributary of the Jhelum, joins it, at Domel Muzaffarabad. The Jhelum enters the Punjab in the Jhelum District. From there, it flows through the plains of Pakistan’s Punjab, forming the boundary between the Chaj and Sindh Sagar Doabs.
  • It ends in a confluence with the Chenab at Trimmu in District Jhang. The Chenab merges with the Sutlej to form the Panjnad River which joins the Indus River at Mithankot. Thus, In India it flows on in Jammu & Kashmir State.
  • Jhelam is the largest and most western of the five rivers of Punjab.Chenab is its tributary. It was called Vitasta in Rigveda and Hydaspes by the ancient Greeks. Alexander the Great and his army crossed the Jhelum in BC 326 at the Battle of the Hydaspes River where it is believed that he defeated the Indian king, Porus.
  • Verinag is situated at a distance of approximately 80 km from Srinagar. Considered to be the source of the River Jhelum, often termed as the lifeline of the province of Jammu and Kashmir, the beautiful region of Verinag a weekend getaway from Srinagar. The important dams and barrages on Jhelam river are Mangla Dam, Rasul Barrage, Trimmu Barrage.
  • Its major tributaries are –
    • Liddar which originates in the snowy wastes at Chandanwari. It joins the river Jhelum in the central pan of the Kashmir valley;
    • Sind River which originates in the southern slopes of the great Himalayan range which hems the Kashmir valley;
    • Kishenganga which also originates on the southern slopes of the great Himalayan range.

Chenab River

  • Chenab River was called Ashkini in Vedic times. It originates at snow melt from the Bara Lacha Pass in the Himachal Pradesh. The waters flowing south from the pass are known as the Chandra River and those that flow north are called the Bhaga River. Eventually the Bhaga flows around to the south joining the Chandra at the village of Tandi, forming the Chandrbhaga River at Tandi.
  • It becomes the Chenab when it joins the Marau River at Bhandera Kot, 12 km from Kishtwar Town in Jammu and Kashmir. It flows in the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir, then Pakistan Province of Punjab and merges with Jhelum River at Trimmu, Ravi River Ahmedpur Sialand Sutlej River near Uch Sharif, Pakistan to form the Panjnad or the ‘Five Rivers’, the fifth being the Beas River which joins the Satluj near Ferozepur, India. The Chenab then joins the Indus at Mithankot, Pakistan.
  • The total length of the Chenab is approximately 960 kilometres.The waters of the Chenab are allocated to Pakistan under the terms of the Indus Waters Treaty. It was known as Acesines to the Ancient Greeks.

Ravi River

  • The Ravi or Iravati or Purushni of ancient Indiais smallest of Five Punjab Rivers. It originates in Bara Bhangal, District Kangra in Himachal Pradesh and gets hemmed by Dhauladhar range in the south and the Pir Panjal in the north. It originates in Bara Bangahal as a joint stream formed by:
    • The Bhadal which is fed by glaciers.
    • The Tant Gari, which is also fed by glaciers.
  • The river Ravi flows in more or less westerly direction before it cuts across the Dhauladhar range to enter the plains of Punjab. Its main northern bank tributaries are the snow fed Siul and Baira streams. It follows a north-westerly course, flows through Barabhangal, Bara Bansu and Chamba districts. It flows in rapids in its initial reaches with boulders seen scattered in the bed of the river. The Budhil River, in Himachal Pradesh is a major tributary of the Ravi River. Another major tributary that joins the Ravi River, just below Bharmour, the old capital of Chamba, is the Seul River from the northern direction.
  • The valley formed by the river was also exploited for its rich timber trees. However, the valley has large terraces, which are very fertile and known as “the garden of Chamba”. crops grown here supply grains to the capital region and to Dalhousie town and its surrounding areas. One more major tributary that joins the Ravi River near Bissoli is the Siawa. It enters the Punjab plain near Madhopur and Pathankot. It then flows along the Indo–Pak border for80 kilometres (50 mi) before entering Pakistan and joining the Chenab River. The total length of the river is about 725 kilometres.
  • Since this river flows at the boundary of India and Pakistan, studies have shown that the river is changing its course towards India due to heavy constructions in its way by Pakistan.

Sutlej River

  • Sutlej River was known as Śutudri in ancient India and is longest of the five rivers of Punjab. It originates near Lake Rakshastal in Tibet. It flows for a considerable distance before entering Indian Territory near Shipki La. Thereafter, it drains past the trans-Himalayan zone of Spiti. The major tributary which joins the river Satluj in this tract is the river Spiti. This tributary rises on the northern slopes of the great Himalayan range which hems the Lahaul and Spiti valleys. It drains the latter valley and flows in a eastern and south westerly direction before joining the river Satluj. The river Satluj has cut across the great Himalayan range through a deep gorge.
  • Just upstream of this gorge, it is joined by the river Baspa which drains the north eastern part of Himachal Pradesh. After crossing the great Himalayan range, the river Satluj flows in a more or less S W direction before emerging into the plains near Bhakra. In Pakistan, it waters the ancient and historical former Bahawalpur state. The region to its south and east is arid, and is known as Cholistan, is a part of Bahawalpur Division.
  • The Sutlej is joined by the Beas River in Hari-Ke-Patan, Amritsar, Punjāb, India, and continues southwest into Pakistan to unite with the Chenab River, forming the Panjnad River near Bahawalpur. The Panjnad joins the Indus River at Mithankot. Indus then flows through a gorge near Sukkur, flows through the fertile plains region of Sindh, and terminates in the Arabian Sea near the port city of Karachi in Pakistan. The waters of the Sutlej are allocated to India under the Indus Waters Treaty between India and Pakistan, and are mostly diverted to irrigation canals in India.

Ganges River System

The major river Ganga and its tributaries like Yamuna, Son, and Gandak make the biggest cultivable plains of north and eastern India, known as the Indo-Gangetic plains. The main river, Ganga forms by the joining of the Alaknanda River and Bhagirathi River at Devprayag. The Bhagirathi, which is considered the Ganga’ true source starts from Gomukh.

Course of Ganga

Gangotri is called the origin of the River Ganga and seat of the goddess Ganga. However, it is actually the source of one of the Ganga’s 6 headstreams known as Bhagirathi. Bhagirathi itself is joined by two headstreams called Bhilangna River and Jahnavi River. Another mighty headstream is river Alaknanda. Bhagirathi and Alaknanda are the two major rivers of the Garhwal Himalaya, both originating from the mighty Chaukhamba range of glaciers. Chaukhamba is a mountain massif in the Gangotri Group of the Garhwal Himalaya. Its main summit, Chaukhamba I, is the highest peak in the group. It lies at the head of the Gangotri Glacier and forms the eastern anchor of the group. Other peaks are Chaukhamba II, Chaukhamba III and Chaukhamba IV.

Bhagirathi has its origin at Gangotri (which is called Gangotri Glacier) on the north-western face of Chaukhamba.

Alaknanda rises at the confluence and feet of the Satopanth and Bhagirath Kharak glaciers, on the south-eastern slopes of glacier fields of Chaukhamba.

Gangotri & Gaumukh

Gangotri is one of the four sites in the Char Dham pilgrimage circuit, other being Yamunotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath. The Gangotri Glacier is located in Uttarkashi District, Uttarakhand. The terminus of the Gangotri Glacier is said to resemble a cow’s mouth, and the place is called Gomukh. Gaumukh is the source of Bhagirathi river. Gomukh is situated near the base of Shivling; in between lies the Tapovan meadow. The river Bhagirathi flows from Gangotri and at Devprayag, it meets another headstream of Ganga called Alaknanda.


As written above, Alaknanda rises at the confluence and feet of the Satopanth and Bhagirath Kharak glaciers, on the south-eastern slopes of glacier fields of Chaukhamba.  It meets the Bhagirathi river at Devprayag after flowing for approximately 190 km through the Alaknanda valley. After originating, it first meets the Saraswathi River and then flows in front of the Badrinath temple. After this, it meets its tributary and another headstream of Ganga called Dhauliganga. When Alaknanda meets Dhauliganga, it is called Vishnu Prayag. The two streams now become one and go ahead. Next headstream is Nandakini, which meets Alaknanda at Nandaprayag.

  • From here, the Alaknanda river becomes mighty and now meets Pindar River at Karnaprayag.
  • After Karnaprayag, the Mandakini river meets this stream and it is called Rudraprayag.
  • Finally, the Alaknanda meets Bhagirathi at Devprayag and from here, it is called Ganga.
  • These five Prayags or confluences are collectively called Panchaprayag. The Alaknanda contributes a significantly larger portion to the flow of the Ganga than the Bhagirathi.

Thus in all there are 6 headstreams that contribute in the making of Ganga. These are  Alaknanda, Dhauliganga, Nandakini, Pindar, Mandakini, and Bhagirathi rivers.

Further Course of Ganga till Kanpur

After flowing 250 kilometers, Ganga emerges from the mountains at Rishikesh, and then debouches onto the Gangetic Plain at Haridwar.

Some of the Ganga water at Haridwar is diverted into the Ganga Canal, which irrigates the Doab region of Uttar Pradesh. Till Haridwar, the route of Ganga is little southwest, from here it begins to flow southeast through the plains of northern India. It flows 800 kilometers passing via Kannauj, Farukhabad, and reaches Kanpur. Before Ganga reaches Kanpur, two important rivers join it. One is Kali River and another is Ramganga. Kali River is also known with this name in Nepal but is known as Sharda River in India. It originates at Kalapaani in Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand. Kali River makes India’s eastern boundary with Nepal at some places and when it reaches the plains of Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh, it would be called as Sharda.

Next is Ramganga. Please note that there are two Ramganga rivers. One of them starts from Doodhatoli ranges in Pauri Garhwal and another from Namik Glacier of Pithoragarh. The Bareilly of Uttar Pradesh is located on the banks of the first. After Bareilly , it meets Kali River. The Kali river keeps flowing till Bahraich, by then it is known as Saryu River. Saryu River meets Ganga in the Bahraich of Uttar Pradesh.

After Kanpur

After Kanpur, Ganga joins the Yamuna at the Triveni Sangam at Allahabad, a holy confluence in Hinduism. At their confluence the Yamuna is larger than the Ganga. After this, several stream such as Tamsa River, Ghaghara river, Gandaki River, Kosi River join it at various places which shall be discussed in this module. Ganga remains one stream flowing southeast till Bhagalpur. From Pakur in Jharkhand, Ganga starts dividing into various distributaries. In the Murshidabad District of West Bengal at the Farakka Barrage, Ganga’s first distributor Bhāgirathi-Hooghly gets branched out. This Bhāgirathi-Hooghly river later becomes Hooghly river and then enters the twin cities of Kolkata and Howrah. At Nurpur it enters an old channel of the Ganga and turns south to empty into the Bay of Bengal.

The Farakka Barrage controls the flow of the Ganga, diverting some of the water into a feeder canal linked to the Hooghly for the purpose of keeping it relatively silt-free. Before the Hooghly river empties into Bay of Bengal, it meets Damodar River. But, the main branch of Ganga has to go a long way still. It enters Bangladesh from India near Chapai Nababganj and now its name is Padma River.

Here Padma meets one of the distributaries of Brahmaputra called Jamuna or Jomuna.

This combined stream meets Meghna river, that is another distributary of Brahmaputra at Chandpur in Bangladesh. The Meghna River finally flows into the Bay of Bengal.

The above discussion makes it clear that various distributaries of Ganga and Brahmaputra meet along the Bay of Bengal and these make one of the largest delta in the world called Gangaes Delta or Ganges-Brahmaputra delta.

They also create underwater Bengal Fan, which is one of the largest submarine fans on Earth. The fan is about 3000 km long, 1000 km wide with a maximum thickness of 16.5 km. Most of the sediment is supplied by the confluent Ganga and Brahmaputra Rivers through the Ganga Delta in Bangladesh and West Bengal, India, with several other large rivers in Bangladesh and India providing smaller contributions.

Tributaries of Ganga

The main tributaries of Ganga River are as follows:

Son River

Son River is largest of southern tributaries of Gangathat originates near Amarkantak in Madhya Pradesh near the source of Narmada River, and flows north-northwest through Madhya Pradesh before turning sharply eastward where it encounters the southwest-northeast-running Kaimur Range.

  • The Son parallels the Kaimur hills, flowing east-northeast through Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Bihar states to join the Ganga just above Patna. Geologically, the lower valley of the Son is an extension of the Narmada Valley, and the Kaimur Range an extension of the Vindhya Range.
  • Chief tributaries of Son river are Rihand and the North Koel. The Son has a steep gradient (35–55 cm per km) with quick run-off and ephemeral regimes, becoming a roaring river with the rain-waters in the catchment area but turning quickly into a fordable stream.
  • The Rihand River is a tributary of the Son River and flows through the Indian states of Chhattisgarh and Uttar Pradesh. It rises in Chhattisgarh at Matiranga hills and there is a Rihand Dam that was constructed at Pipri in Sonbhadra district of Mirzapur division in 1962 for hydropower generation. The reservoir of this dam is called Govind Ballabh Pant Sagar. Rihand meets Son at Sonbhadra of Uttar Pradesh.

Ghaghara River

Karnali or Ghaghara originates in glaciers of Mapchachungo on the Tibetan Plateau near Lake Mansarovar, cuts through the Himalayas in Nepal and joins the Sarda River at Brahmaghat in India. With a length of 507 kilometers it is the largest river in Nepal. The total length of Ghaghara River up to its confluence with the Ganga at Doriganj in Bihar is 1,080 kilometers.

It is the largest tributary of the Ganga by volume and the second longest tributary of the Ganga by length after Yamuna.

In Chinese it is called K’ung-ch’iao Ho, in Nepali it is called Kauriala and Karnali.

  • Before Ghaghara joins the Ganga, river West Rapti joins it as an important tributary.
  • West Rapti is known as “Gorakhpur’s Sorrow”.
  • West Rapti is itself tributed by Rohni River in Gorakhpur.

Gomti River

The Gomti originates from Gomat Taal which formally known as Fulhaar jheel, near Madho Tanda, Pilibhit, India. It extends 900 km through Uttar Pradesh and meets the Ganga River near Saidpur, Kaithi in Ghazipur.

Yamuna River

India’s Yamuna River is largest tributary of Ganga River, while Bangladesh’s Jamuna River is largest distributary channel of the Brahmaputra River. Origin of Yamuna is at Yamunotri Glacier on the south western slopes of Banderpooch peak in the Lower Himalayas in Uttarakhand. From there it travels a total length of 1,376 kilometers before merging with the Ganga at Triveni Sangam or Prayag at Allahabad.

Yamuna River

Yamuna River is largest tributary of Ganga River, while Bangladesh’s Jamuna River is largest distributary channel of the Brahmaputra River. Yamuna is another sacred river of India that origins from Yamunotri Glacier at height 6,387 metres, on the south western slopes of Banderpooch peak, in the Lower Himalayas in Uttarakhand. From there it travels a total length of 1,376 kilometers and has a drainage system of 366,223 km², 40.2% of the entire Ganga Basin, before merging with the Ganga at Triveni Sangam or Prayag at Allahabad.

  • From Uttarakhand, Yamuna river flows for some 200 kilometers in Lower Himalayas and Shivalik Ranges.
  • Its largest tributary Tons River flows through Garhwal region in Uttarakhand, and meets Yamuna near Dehradun.
  • The other rivers such as Giri, Rishi Ganga, Kunta, Hanuman Ganga and Bata tributaries meet Yamuna, before it descends on to the plains of Doon Valley, at Dak Pathar near Dehradun.
  • Further down, Yamuna is met by the Assan River, lies the Assan barrage, which hosts a Bird Sanctuary as well.
  • After passing Paonta Sahib, it reaches Tajewala in Yamuna Nagar district, of Haryana, where a dam built in 1873, is the originating place of two important canals, the Western Yamuna Canal and Eastern Yamuna Canal, which irrigate the states of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.
  • The Western Yamuna Canal (WYC) crosses Yamuna Nagar, Karnal and Panipat before reaching the Haiderpur treatment plant, which supplies part of municipal water supply to Delhi, further it also receives waste water from Yamuna Nagar and Panipat cities.
  • Yamuna is replenished again after this by seasonal streams and groundwater accrual, in fact during the dry season, it remains dry in many stretches from Tajewala till Delhi, where it enters near Palla village after traversing 224 km.

Along with Ganga to which run almost parallel after it touches the Indo-Gangetic plain and creates the Ganga-Yamuna Doab region. From Delhi onwards Yamuna gets polluted due to discharge of waste water through 15 drains between Wazirabad barrage and Okhla barrage renders the river severely polluted after Wazirabad in Delhi

Tributaries of Yamuna

Betwa River

  • Betwa or Vetravati originates in Vindhya Range just north of Hoshangabad in Madhya Pradesh and flows north-east through Madhya Pradesh and flow through Orchha to Uttar Pradesh. It meets Yamuna at Hamirpur town in Uttar Pradesh.

Sindh River

  • Sindh River originates on the Malwa Plateau in Vidisha district, and flows north-northeast through the districts of Guna, Ashoknagar, Shivpuri, Datia, Gwalior and Bhind in Madhya Pradesh to join the Yamuna River in Etawah district, Uttar Pradesh.
  • Manikheda Dam has been constructed across the Sindh River in Shivpuri district, Madhya Pradesh.

Hindon River

  • Hindo River is a rainfed river that originates in the Saharanpur District. It flows between Ganges and Yamuna rivers and joins Yamuna river just outside Delhi.

Chambal River

  • Chambal River is one of the most pollution free rivers of India.
  • It’s a 960 Kilometer long river that originates at the Singar Chouri peak in the northern slopes of the Vindhyan mountains, 15 km West-South-West of Mhow in Indore District in Madhya Pradesh.
  • From there, it flows in a northerly direction in Madhya Pradesh(M.P.) for a length of about 346 km and then in a generally north-easterly direction for a length of 225 km through Rajasthan.
  • It enters U.P. and flows for about 32 km before joining the Yamuna River in Etawah District at an elevation of 122 m, to form a part of the greater Gangetic drainage system. Chambal is a rainfed river and its basin is bounded by the Vindhyan mountain ranges and on the north- west by the Aravallis.

Tributaries of Chambal:

Banas River: Banas river is a rainfed river that flows in Rajasthan. Banas means hope of forests. It originates in Khamnor Hills of the Aravalli Range, about 5 km from Kumbhalgarh in Rajsamand and flows northeast through Mewar region of Rajasthan, meets the Chambal near the village of Rameshwar in Sawai Madhopur District. The cities of Nathdwara, Jahanpur, and Tonk lie on the river.

Kali Sindh River: The Kali Sindh is a river in the Malwa region of Madhya Pradesh, that joins the Chambal River at downstream of Sawai Madhopur in Rajasthan

Parbati River: Parbati River is a river in Madhya Pradesh, India that flows into the Chambal River. It is one of the Chambal River’s three main tributaries, along with the Banas River and the Kali Sindh River.

Brahmaputra River System

Brahmaputra originates on the Angsi Glacier located on the northern side of the Himalayas in Burang County of Tibetas the Yarlung Tsangpo River and flows southern Tibet to break through the Himalayas in great gorges. Tsangpo enters India after taking a U turn at Namcha Barwa and flows in Arunachal Pradesh and here we call it Dihang River or Siang River. This U turn marks the starting point of the Grand Canyon, known as Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon, which has been confirmed as the largest in the world. It is 496.3 kilometers long, 56.3 kilometers longer than the Colorado Grand Canyon, previously considered the world’s longest. It is 5,382 meters deep, much deeper than the 3,200 meters of Peru’s Colca Canyon, previously known as the world’s deepest canyon.

After taking this U -turn, Dihang meets Dibang River and the Lohit River at the head of the Assam Valley and then flows southwest through the Assam Valley, where it is known as Brahmaputra. In Assam it becomes a wide stream. Then its enters Bangladesh. In Bangladesh, the Brahmaputra is joined by the Teesta River, one of its largest tributaries. Below the Teesta, the Brahmaputra splits into two distributary branches. The western branch, which contains the majority of the river’s flow, continues due south as the Jamuna to merge with the lower Ganges, called the Padma River. The eastern branch is called the lower or old Brahmaputra . It curves southeast to join the Meghna River near Dhaka. The Padma and Meghna converge near Chandpur and flow out into the Bay of Bengal. Brahmaputra is 3,848 km long, and its drainage area is 712,035 km².

The waters of the River Brahmaputra are shared by China, India, and Bangladesh. In the 1990s and 2000s, there was repeated speculation about China building a dam at the Great Bend, with a view to divert the waters to the north of the country. This was denied by the Chinese government, later on.

Important Tributaries of Brahmaputra

Teesta River

  • Teesta River is lifeline of Sikkim and makes a border between Sikkim and West Bengal before joining the Brahmaputra as a tributary in Bangladesh. The total length of the river is 315 kilometres.
  • It originates at Tso Lhamo Lake in North Sikkim and is formed by the melting of the Tista Khantse glacier.
  • Just before the Teesta Bridge, which joins Kalimpong with Darjeeling, the river is met by its main tributary, the Rangeet River.
  • At this point, it changes course southwards flowing into West Bengal. The river hits the plains at Sevoke, at a distance of 22 Km from Siliguri, where it is spanned by the Coronation Bridge which links the north-east states to the rest of India.
  • The river then courses its way to Jalpaiguri and then to Rangpur District of Bangladesh, before finally merging with the mighty Brahmaputra at Fulchori.

Manas River

  • Manas River folows in India and Bhutan and is the largest river system of Bhutan. Three other river systems of Bhutan are Amo Chu or Torsa, Wong Chu or Raidak, Mo Chu or Sankosh. It is met by three other major streams before it again debouches into India in western Assam.
  • After flowing a total of 376 kilometers, it meets Brahmaputra River at Jogighopa. Its river valley is home to Royal Manas National Park in Bhutan and the contiguous Manas Wildlife Sanctuary of India which is a Project Tiger Reserve, an Elephant Reserve and a Biosphere Reserve as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Rivers of Peninsular India

As a general observation, the Rivers of Peninsular India are rainfed and they shrink during the dry season. The line created by the Narmada River and Mahanadi River is the traditional boundary between northern and southern India. The Narmada flows westwards in the depression between the Vindhya and Satpura ranges. The plateau is watered by the east flowing Godavari and Krishna rivers. The other major rivers of the Deccan plateau are the Pennar and the Tungabhadra, a major tributary of the Krishna. There are numerous very small rivers on the Deccan plateau which flow mostly north to south and also south to north mixing with any of the west or east flowing major rivers.

Mahanadi River Basin

The 858 Kilometers long Mahanadi river flows through the states of Chhattisgarh and Odisha. It gets formed by numerous mountain streams and the farthest headstream is located in hills of the Dhamtari district of Chhattisgarh. These hills are extensions of the Eastern Ghats and are a source of many other streams which then go on to join the Mahanadi. The river first flows in north and drains Raipur. After Bilaspur, it is joined by its major tributary river Seonath.

After that the river flows eastward and joined by Jonk, Hasdeo rivers and reaches Odisha. Near Sambalpur of Odisha, the largest dam of the world Hirakud Dam blocks its water, spread between Lamdungri and Chandili Dunguri hills. After reaching Dholpur in Odisha, the rivers rolls towards the Eastern Ghats and passes the Satkosia Gorge. After crossing the Gorge, it meets the plains of Odisha and reaches Cuttak. Before entering Cuttack city, it gives off a large distributary called the Kathjori. Cuttack is located between these two channels. The Kathjori then throws off many streams like the Kuakhai, Devi and Surua and becomes Jotdar River, which fall into the Bay of Bengal after entering Puri district. The main stream of Mahandi gets divided into several distributaries such as Paika, Birupa, Chitartala, Genguti and Nun. These all distributares form the Mahandi Delta which is one of the largest deltas in India. The Mahandi river empties into Bay of Bengal via several channels near Paradeep at False Point, Jagatsinghpur.

Importance of Mahanadi River

  • Mahanadi valley is best known for its fertile soil and flourishing agriculture. Before the Hirakud dam was built, the river carried a huge amount of silt and its delta had one of the highest yield per acre in the whole of India. At present, agriculture primarily depends on a network of canals that arise from the river. Rice, oilseeds and sugarcane are the principal crops here.
  • The river was notorious for devastating floods, but the construction of Hirakud Dam has altered the situation.

Tributaries of Mahanadi

The following flowchart shows the flow of Mahanadi from Source to Sea.

The major tributaries of Mahanadi are Seonath, Jonk, Hasdo, Mand, Ib, Ong, Tel etc.

  • Seonath River: The Seonath River is the longest tributary of Mahanadi. It rises in an undulating region with numerous small groups of hills at Kotgal and flows 383 kilometers to join Mahanadi at its left bank at Khargand. Tributaries of Seonath are Kharahara, Tandula, Kharun, Surhi, Agar, Arpa rivers. The total drainage area of Seonath is 22% of the total drainage area of Mahanadi Basin.
  • Jonk River: Jonk River originates from the Khariar Hills of Kalahandi district of Odisha at an elevation of 762 meters. It flows 196 kilometers to join the Mahanadi on ints right at Sheorinarayan.
  • Hasdo River: It rises in the Sarguja district of Chhattisgarh and traverses 333 kilometers to meet Mahanadi at Mahuadih.
  • Gej River is a principle tributary of Hasdo River Mand River: Mand River originates at an elevation of 686 meters in Sarguja district of Odisha and flows 241 kilometers to meet Mahanadi at Chandarpur.
  • Ib River: Ib originates in Pandrapat of the Raigarh distriuct of Chhattishgarh and flows 251 kilometers to fall into Hirakud Dam. Its a rainfed river.
  • Ong River: It rises at an elevation of 457 meters on a hill in the northern outskirts of hills located on the course of Jonk River and flows 204 kilometers to meet Mahandi at Sonepur.
  • Tel River: Tel river originates in plain in the Koraput of Odisha. It traverses 296 kilometers to meet Mahanadi at Sonepur.

Hirakud Dam on Mahanadi River

  • Built across Mahanadi River, about 15 km from Sambalpur in Odisha.
  • Built in 1957, the dam is one of the world’s longest earthen dam.
  • Behind the dam extends a lake, Hirakud Reservoir, 55 km long.
  • Initially proposed Sir M. Visveswararya in 1937, Central Waterways, Irrigation and Navigation Commission took up the work, and in 1946, Sir Howthrone Lewis, then the Governor of Orissa, laid the foundation stone of the Hirakud Dam.
  • There are two observation towers on the dam one at each side. One is “Gandhi Minar” and the other one is “Nehru Minar”. Both the observation towers present breathtaking views of the lake.
  • Helps control floods in the Mahanadi delta and irrigates 75,000 square kilometres of land. Hydroelectricity is also generated.
  • Cattle Island is located in one of the extreme points of Hirakud Reservoir, a natural wonder. Completely inhabited by wild cattle, without any trace of humans.
  • Debrigarh wildlife sanctuary is located here.

Brahmani River

Brahmani River is NOT a tributary of Mahanadi. It’s a seasonal river that flows in Odisha. It is formed by the confluence of the Sankh and South Koel rivers near Raurkela, and flows through the districts of Sundargarh, Kendujhar, Dhenkanal, Cuttack and Jajapur. Together with the rivers Mahanadi and Baitarani, it forms a large delta before entering into the Bay of Bengal at Dhamra. Both headstreams of Brahmani river viz. Sankh and South Koel originate in Choota Nagpur Plateau.

  • Sankh has its origins near the Jharkhand-Chhatisgarh border, near Netarhat Plateau.
  • South Koel too arises in Jharkhand, near Lohardaga, on the other side of a watershed that also gives rise to the Damodar River.

Brahmani river is 480 kilometers long and is the second longest river in Orissa after the Mahanadi.

Tributaries of Brahmani River

Baitarni River: Baitarani River is another one of six major rivers of Odisha, which earn the name of coastal plains of Odisha as “Hexadeltaic region”. The river originates in Guptaganga hills in Gonasika of Keonjhar district in Odisha and flows to make a natural boundary between Odisha and Jharkhand. It travels a distance of 360 km to drain into the Bay of Bengal after joining of the Brahmani at Dhamra mouth near Chandabali.

Krishna River

The 1300 Kilometers long Krishna River or Krishnaveni is one of the longest rivers in Peninsular India. It is the fourth largest river in India after the Ganga, Godavari and the Narmada.

Origin & Course

Krishna River rises at Mahabaleswar in district Satara, Maharashtra in the west and meets the Bay of Bengal at Hamasaladeevi in Andhra Pradesh, on the east coast. It flows through Maharastra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. The delta of this river is one of the most fertile regions in India and was the home to ancient Satavahana and Ikshvaku Dynasty kings. Vijayawada is the largest city on the River Krishna.

The river flows quickly, causing much erosion in June and August. During this time, Krishna takes fertile soil from Maharashtra, Karnataka and western Andhra Pradesh towards the delta region.

The river has a number of tributaries but Tungabhadra is the principal tributary. Other tributaries include the Mallaprabha, Koyna, Bhima, Ghataprabha, Yerla, Warna, Dindi, Musi and Dudhganga. Leaving Mahabaleswar behind, the Krishna takes the form of the Dhom lake in Panchgani, a popular hill station just 17 km from Mahabaleswar. Crisscrossing its way through Wai, Narsobachi and Wadi (near Kolhapur) in Maharashtra, the river enters Karnataka at Kurundwad, 60 km from Kolhapur. In Karnataka, the river passes through the Belgaum, Bijapur and Gulbarga districts, covering a total distance of 220 km. The Krishna enters Andhra Pradesh near Deosugur in Raichur district and meanders through Mehbubnagar, Kurnool, Guntur and Krishna districts. The river merges into the Bay of Bengal at Hamasaladeevi. Two dams, Srisailam and Nagarjuna Sagar  are constructed across the Krishna River. Nagarjuna Sagar Dam is world’s tallest masonry dam (124 meters).

Krishna River Basin

Krishna Basin extends over an area of 258,948 square kilometers which is nearly 8% of total geographical area of the country. The basin lies in the states of Andhra Pradesh (113,271 km2), Karnataka (76,252 km2) and Maharashtra (69,425 km2). Most part of this basin comprises rolling and undulating country except the western border which is formed by an unbroken line of ranges of the Western Ghats. The important soil types found in the basin are black soils, red soils, Laterite and lateritic soils, alluvium, mixed soils, red and black soils and saline and alkaline soils. An average annual surface water potential of 78.1 km³ has been assessed in this basin. Out of this, 58.0 km³ is utilizable water. Culturable area in the basin is about 203,000 km2, which is 10.4% of the total culturable area of the country. In 2009 October heavy floods occurred, isolating 350 villages and leaving millions homeless, which is believed to be first occurrence in 1000 years. The flood resulted in heavy damage to Kurnool, Mahabubnagar, Guntur, Krishna and Nalagonda Districts.

Tributaries of Krishna

Major Tributaries of Krishna River are as follows:

  • Left: Bhima, Dindi, Peddavagu, Halia, Musi, Paleru, Munneru
  • Right: Venna, Koyna, Panchganga, Dudhganga, Ghataprabha, Malaprabha, Tungabhadra

Tungabhadra River

Most important tributary of Krishna River is the Tungabhadra River, which is formed by the Tunga River and Bhadra River that originate in the Western Ghats. Tungbhadra flows in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. It was known as Pampa during the epic period.  The name of famous tourist spot Hampi is derived from Pampa, which is the old name of the Tungabhadra River on whose banks the city is built.

The Tunga and Bhadra Rivers rise at Gangamoola, in Varaha Parvatha in the Western Ghats forming parts of the Kuduremukh Iron Ore Project, at an elevation of 1198 metres. Bhadra flows through Bhadravati city and is joined by numerous streams.  At Koodli, a small town near Shimoga City, Karnataka, the two rivers meet and called with the common name Tungabhadra. From here, Thungabhadra meanders through the plains to a distance of 531 km (330 mi) and mingles with the Krishna at Gondimalla, near Mahaboobnagar in Andhra Pradesh.

Importance of Tungabhadra River

There are a number of ancient and holy sites on the banks of the Tungabhadra River.

  • At Harihara there is a temple dedicated to Harihareshwara.
  • The river surrounds the modern town of Hampi, where are the ruins of Vijayanagara, the site of the powerful Vijayanagara Empire’s capital city and now a World Heritage Site. The site, including the Vijayanagara temple complex ruins, is being restored.
  • Alampur, on the left – northern bank of the river, known as Dakshina Kashi in Mahabubnagar Dist. The Nava Brahma Temples complex is one of the earliest models of temple architecture in India.
  • Bhadravthi, Hospet, Hampi, Mantralayam, Kurnool are located on its bank.

Tributaries of Tungabhadra: Tunga River, Kumudvati River, Varada River, Bhadra River, Vedavathi River, Handri River

Bhima River

Bhima River originates in Bhimashankar hills near Karjat in Maharashtra  and flows southeast for 861 km through Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh states. Bhima is a major tributary of the Krishna River. Its banks are densely populated and form a fertile agricultural area. During its 861 kilometer journey, many smaller rivers flow into it. Kundali River, Kumandala River, Ghod river, Bhama, Indrayani River, Mula River, Mutha River and Pavna River are the major tributories of this river around Pune. Of these Indrayani, Mula, Mutha and Pawana flow through Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad city limits. Chandani, Kamini, Moshi, Bori, Sina, Man, Bhogwati and Nira are the major tributaries of the river in Solapur. Of these Nira river meets with the Bhima in Narsingpur, in Malshiras taluka in Solapur district.

  • The holy city of Pandharpur is on the bank of Bhima River.
  • Bhimashankar is one of the twelve esteemed Jyotirlinga shrines.Other temples are Siddhatek, Siddhivinayak Temple of Ashtavinayak Ganesh Pandharpur Vithoba Temple in Solapur district., Sri Dattatreya Temple, Ganagapura, Gulbarga district, Karnataka, Sri Kshetra Rasangi Balabheemasena Temple in Rasanagi, Jevargi Taluq, Gulbarga district, Karnataka

Tributaries of Bhima are: Ghod, Sina, Kagini, Bhama, Indrayani, Mula-Mutha, Nira

Malaprabha River

Malaprabha River is another important tributary of Krishna River, which flows in Karnataka.It rises at Kanakumbi in the Belgaum district and joins Krishna River at Kudalasangama in Bagalkot district. It also flows through Dharwar District. Hubli city gets its drinking water from this reservoir.

  • Tributaries of Malprabha: Bennihalla, Hirehalla and Tuparihalla are the major tributaries to Malaprabha.

Ghataprabha River

Ghataprabha is a tributary of Krishna that flows in Karnataka. The Ghataprabha Project at Hidkal is a hydroelectric and irrigational dam across the river. Tributaries of Ghataprabha: Hiranyakeshi and Markandeya rivers are tributaries of Ghataprabha

Other Tributaries of Krishna

Other tributaries include the Kudali river, Venna River, Koyna River, Yerla River, Warna River, Dindi River, Paleru River, Musi River, Urmodi River, Tarli River and Dudhganga River. The rivers Venna, Koyna, Vasna, Panchganga, Dudhganga, Ghataprabha, Malaprabha and Tungabhadra join Krishna from the right bank; while the Yerla River, Musi River, Maneru and Bhima rivers join the Krishna from the left bank.

Important places on banks of River Krishna


  • Mahabaleshwar besides being a popular hill station and a weekend getaway from Mumbai is also the source of the Krishna River
  • Mahabaleshwar is located at an altitude of 1,372 meters in the Western Ghats.
  • Mahabaleshwar can also be called the ‘land of five rivers’, since the holy streams Krishna, Koyna, Venna, Gayatri and Savitri emerge from here.
  • There are many places of tourist interest in Mahabaleshwar. Lodwick Point is an important landmark in Mahabaleshwar. It is considered one of the finest locations in Mahabaleshwar from where one can enjoy the beauty of the surrounding area. This point was earlier known as Sydney Point. Arther Point is the queen of all points. It is fascinating to see the barren deep valley Savitri on the left and shallow green valley on the right.
  • Other places of tourist interest in Mahabaleshwar include Elphinstone Point, Tiger’s Spring, Kate’s Point, Bombay Point, Wilson Point, Venna Lake and Kate’s Point. Lingmala, Chinaman and Dhobi Waterfalls are also worth visiting in Mahabaleshwar. Kate’s Point (also known as sunrise point) in particular offers fabulous view of the Krishna River.


  • Leaving Mahabaleshwar behind, the Krishna river takes the form of Dhom in Panchgani, a beautiful hill station close (17 km) to Mahabaleshwar.
  • It meanders through Narsobachi, Wadi in Maharashtra and crisscrosses its way through Karnataka before entering Andhra Pradesh.
  • Srisailam (in Andhra Pradesh) is a holy town located on the banks of the Krishna. Srisailam is surrounded by lush greenery and has beautiful locations around.
  • It is a wonderful weekend getaway from Hyderabad. Srisailam Sanctuary is the main attraction that covers an area of 3568 sq kms. The down waters Srisailam dam is home to a variety of crocodiles.

Nagarjuna Sagar

  • Popularly known for the Nagarjuna Sagar Dam, Nagarjuna Sagar is approximately 170 km from Hyderabad. The dam is an engineering marvel. Stretching across the mighty river Krishna, the barrage also has another distinction to its credit – it has created one of the world’s largest man-made lake.
  • The dam has played an important role in agricultural sector of the state.
  • Nagarjunakonda was the largest and most important Buddhist centres in South India.
  • The place derives its name from Acharya Nagarjuna, a renowned Buddhist scholar and philosopher, who had migrated here from Amaravati to propagate and spread the Buddha’s message of universal peace and brotherhood.
  • Not too far from Nagarjunakonda is Anupa, where a Buddhist University and Stadium were excavated.


  • Situated on the banks of the Krishna, Amaravati is a small town in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh. Amaravati is an excavation site and was once the capital of Satavahanas. It is one of the important Buddhist sites in India. Amaravati is located about 60 km from Vijayawada.
  • Amareswara Temple is the major tourist attraction in Amaravati. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is believed that Lord Shiva is present here in the form of five lingams – Pranaveswara, Agasteswara, Kosaleswara, Someswara and Parthiveswara. The temple is built in the Dravidian style of architecture and has many legends associated with it.
  • The remains of a 2000-year-old Buddhist settlement along with the great Buddhist stupa are among the main attractions in Amaravati. Mahachaitya or the Great Stupa was constructed approximately 2000 years ago. The stupa is made of brick with a circular vedika and depicts Lord Buddha in a human form, subduing an elephant.


  • Vijayawada being a popular trade and commerce centre is also referred to as ‘the business capital of Andhra Pradesh’. Vijayawada is the 3rd largest city in Andhra Pradesh and is the largest city on the banks of Krishna River.

Kaveri River Basin

Kaveri or Cauvery flows in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The river covers a distance of about 765 km and flows through the state of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. On its journey to the Bay of Bengal, the river is joined by its tributaries, which include Shimsa, Hemavathi, Honnuhole, Arkavathi, Kapila, Lakshmana Theertha, Kabini, Lokapavani, Bhavani, Noyil and Amaravathy.

Talacauvery (also Talakaveri) located about 5000 ft above sea level is considered the source of the Cauvery.

Talacauvery is located in Coorg district of Karnataka and is 47 km from Maidekri. Talacauvery is considered a famous pilgrimage site in Karnataka.  At the source of the Cauvery there is a temple where every year on Tula sankramana thousands of pilgrims gather to pay their respects to the Cauvery.

The river then flows through Mysore district where two islands Srirangapatnam and Shivanasamudram are formed.  At Sivasamudram the river drops 98 meters forming famous falls known as Gagan Chukki and Bara Chukki. After meandering through Karnataka, the river then enters Tamil Nadu and forms the boundary between the Erode and Salem districts. The Cauvery is joined by the Bhavani River at Bhavani. Hogenakkal is a major landmark on the course of the Cauvery in Tamil Nadu. Trichy and Thanjavur are other important towns on the banks of the Cauvery.

The river after covering a distance of 765 km merges into the Bay of Bengal through two principal mouths. One of the important distributory is Kollidam , which is is the northern distributary of the Kaveri River as it flows through the delta of Thanjavur. It splits from the main branch of the Kaveri River at the island of Srirangam and flows eastward into the Bay of Bengal.


Amaravati, Arkavathy, Bhavani, Chinnar, Hemavati, Honnuhole, Kabini, Kannika, Kollidam, Lakshmana Tirtha, Lokapavani, Noyyal, Pambar, Shimsha, Sujyothi

Riparian States and UTs

Karnataka, Kerala, Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu

Cauvery River Basin

The Kaveri basin is estimated to  72,000 km2 with many tributaries including the Shimsha, the Hemavati, the Arkavati, Honnuhole, Lakshmana Tirtha, Kabini, Bhavani River, the Lokapavani, the Noyyal and the Amaravati River.

Tributaries of Cauvery

Amaravathi River: Amaravati River is a tributary of Kaveri River in Coimbatore. It is continuation of the Pambar and Chinnar rivers in Kerala. It begins at Manjampatti Valley between the Annamalai Hills and the Palni Hills in Indira Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park. It descends in a northerly direction through Amaravathi Reservoir and Amaravathi Dam at Amaravathinagar. It is joined by the Kallapuram River at the mouth of the Ajanda valley in Udumalaipettai. It joins with the Kaveri at Thirumukkudal, about 10km from Karur.

Arkavati River: It originates in Nandi Hills of Karnataka and joins Cauvery at Kanakapura, called Sangama in Kannada, after flowing through Kolar District and Bangalore Rural district. The river is used by the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board to provide 135 million liters of drinking water per day to the city of Bangalore, or about 20% of all the city’s water. The river drains into the Chikkarayappanahalli Lake near Kanivenarayanapura.

Tributaries of Akravati

Kumudavathi and Vrishabhavathi rivers are tributaries to this river.

  • Bhavni River: Its is a major tributary of Cauvery River. It originates in Nilgiri Hills, where 12 major rivulets join Bhavani. The west and East Varagar tributaries coming from the Nilgiris are the largest and each have dams in Tamil Nadu. The Bhavani is a 217 km. long perennial river fed mostly by the southwest monsoon and supplemented by the northeast monsoon. Its watershed drains an area of 6,200 km² spread over Tamil Nadu (87%), Kerala (9%) and Karnataka (4%).
  • Hemavati River: It starts in the Western Ghats at an elevation of about 1,219 meters near Ballala rayana durga in the Chikmagalur District of the state of Karnataka, in southern India, and flows through Chikkamagaluru, Hassan District and Mysore district before joining the Kaveri near Krishnarajasagara.

Godavari River Basin

With a length of 1465 Kilometers, Godavari is India’s second largest river that runs within the country and also the longest river in South India. It originates near Trimbak in Nashik District of Maharashtra state and flows east across the Deccan Plateau into the Bay of Bengal near Narasapuram in West Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh.

The river is also known as Dakshin Ganga and Gautami. The Manjra and Indravati rivers are its major tributaries.

The Godavari is sacred river and there are several places of pilgrimage on its banks. Trimbakeshwar and Nasik are major pilgrimage sites where one of the four Sinhastha Kumbh Mela takes place. Every twelve years, Pushkaram, a major bathing festival, is held on the banks of the Godavari. The next Pushkaram festival is scheduled to be held in 2015.

Course of Godavari River

The river originates from Trimbak and then flows in the east across the Deccan Plateau traversing through the Trimbakeshwar, Nashik, Kopargaon, Paithan, Nanded, Rajahmundry, Adilabad and Bhadrachalam.

Just after Rajahmundry, the river splits into two streams that widen into a large river delta, which provides an extensive navigable irrigation. In Nizamabad district of Andhra Pradesh, there is a multipurpose project on the Godavari, which is called the Sriramsagar Project. Godavari empties into the Bay of Bengal near Narasapuram in West Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh.

  • A barrage was built on the river at Dowleswaram by Sir Arthur Cotton in 1852. As it was damaged in 1987 floods, it was rebuilt as a barrage and roadway during 1987 and named after him. The roadway connects Dowleswaram in East Godavari and Vijjeswaram in West Godavari.
  • There is also a big dam built just after the source of the river at Trimbakeshwar. The dam is in the town of Gangapur, which literally means a town on a river. The dam provides drinking water to the residents of Nashik and also supplies water to the thermal power station situated downstream at Eklahara, which provides power to the town.
  • There is another multipurpose project on the Godavari River named Sriram Sagar Project on the borders of Adilabad and Nizamabad District. It is in the town of Pochampad, 60 km away from Nizamabad. It irrigates 4 districts of Northern Telangana Region of Andhra Pradesh and supplies power.
  • The Jayakwadi dam near Paithan is one of the largest earthen dam in India. This dam was built to address the problem of drought in Marathwada region and problem of flood along the bank of river. Two ‘left’ and ‘right’ canals provide the irrigation to fertile land up to Nanded district. This dam has major contribution in industrial development of Aurangabad Maharashtra.
  • Havelock bridge is on Godavari River. It was constructed under the supervision of F.T. Granville Walton who had constructed the Dufferin Bridge over the Ganges, and Granville Mills, British engineers. Spanning over 3 km in length, it linked the East Godavari and West Godavari districts. The brige has been a vital link enabling trains to run between Chennai and Howrah. Trains continued to ply over the bridge for a century until 1997, when train services over the bridge were suspended after the construction of 2 additional bridges.
  • The Coringa mangrove forests in the Godavari delta are the second largest mangrove formation in the country. Part of this has been declared as the Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary, renowned for its reptiles. They also provide an important habitat to a wide variety of fish and crustaceans. These forests also act as barriers against cyclones, tropical storms and tidal waves thus protecting the nearby villages.
  • The Krishna Godavari basin is one of the main nesting sites of the endangered Olive Ridley turtle.

Important Places on the Bank of River Godavari

  • Trimbakeshwar: The source of the Godavari – Trimbakeshwar is one of the holy places in the country. It is located about 40 km from Nashik. Trimbakeshwar is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva. It is believed that there is no sacred place like Trimbakeshwar, no river like Godavari and no mountain like Bhrahmagiri.
  • Nashik: Nashik is the first major city on the banks of the Godavari after Trimbakeshwar. Nashik is located about 185 km from Mumbai. It is an important religious center and attracts thousands of pilgrims every year from different parts of the country.
  • Paithan: Famous for its Paithani sarees, Paithan is located on the banks of the Godavari in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra. It is 56 km south of Aurangabad, the ancient capital city of the Satvahanas. Paithan is associated with great saint Eknath. His ‘samadhi’ is located here. The Eknath Shrine comes alive during ‘Paithan Yatra’, also known as Nath Shashti, when devotees from Maharashtra and neighbouring states come to pay their respects to the saint.
  • Nanded: Nanded is famous for the Sikh gurudwara – Takhat Sachkhand Shri Hazur Abchalnagar Sahib. A town of great antiquity, Naded was earlier known as ‘Nandigram’. Gurudwara Shri Hazur Sahib is the main landmark in Nanded. It is one of the four high seats of authority of the Sikhs. This is the place where Shri Guru Gobind Singhji breathed his last. The gurudwara was built by Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
  • Bhadrachalam: Bhadrachalam is situated on the banks of the Godavari and is 161 km from Rajahmundry and 200 km from Vijayawada. Bhadrachalam is regarded to be one of the holiest shrines in South India.

Tributaries of Godavari

  • Indravati River: Indravati River rises in the Eastern Ghats in Kalahandi Orissa, and flows west to join the Godavari, forming the boundary between Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh states at places. The river flows for a length of 535 km with a drainage area of 41,665 Indravati is sometimes known as the “lifeline” of the Bastar District, one of the most green districts in India.
  • Pranahita River: Pranhita River flows on the border of Gadchiroli district in Maharashtra and Adilabad district in Andhra Pradesh. It forms with the confluence of two rivers called Wardha and Wainganga. The Painganga River joins Vainganga near Aheri. The river then flows up to Sironcha before it empties into the Godavari River,near Sironcha in Maharashtra. The River course is mainly through the dense forests which are rich in Sagwan (timber).

Narmada River

Narmada or Rewa River is the third largest river that completely flows within India after Ganga & Godavari. It forms the traditional boundary between North India and South India. Narmada flows in a rift valley between the Satpura and Vindhya Ranges. It has been mentioned as Nammadus in the Periplus of Erythrean Sea.

Source and Course

Narmada origins in a small tank called Narmada Kund located on the Amarkantak hill in the Anuppur District of eastern Madhya Pradesh. The river descends from the Amarkantak hill range at the Kapildhara falls over a cliff and meanders in the hills flowing through a tortuous course crossing the rocks and islands up to the ruined palace of Ramnagar. Between Ramnagar and Mandla, (25 km (15.5 mi)), further southeast, the course is comparatively straight with deep water devoid of rocky obstacles. The Banger joins from the left. The river then runs north–east in a narrow loop towards Jabalpur. Close to this city, after the Dhuandhara falls, Narmada enters three narrow valleys between the Vindhya scarps in the north and the Satpura range in the South. The southern extension of the valley is wider at most places. These three valley sections are separated by the closely approaching line of the scarps and the Satpura hills.  It forms the traditional boundary between North India and South India and flows westwards over a length of 1,312 km before draining through the Gulf of Cambey  into the Arabian Sea, 30 km (18.6 mi) west of Bharuch  of Gujarat


Between Vindya and Satpura ranges, Narmada extends over an area of 98,796 km² . The basin covers large areas in the states of Madhya Pradesh (86%), Gujarat (14%) and a comparatively smaller area (2%) in Maharashtra. In the river course of 1,312 km, there are 41 tributaries, out of which 22 are from the Satpuda range and the rest on the right bank are from the Vindhya range.


Narmada is one of the most sacred rivers of India. Geologically, Narmada River is older than the river Ganges. The river has been mentioned by Ptolemy in the Second century AD as Namade. In Puranas, it has been mentioned as Rewa. In Indian history, Kannada emperor from Chalukya dynasty Pulakeshin II is said to have defeated emperor Harshavardhana of Kannauj on the banks of Narmada. The valley is famous for the gorgeous Maheshwari saris, which are handwoven; comfortable in warm and cold weather, dressy and yet light; these saris have a dedicated, select following among Indian women. The Bhimbetka caves are located in a dyke of the Narmada valley at about 45 km northeast of Bhopal.

Mahi River

Mahi rises in Minda Village, in sardarpur district Madhaya Pradesh and, after flowing through the Vagad region of Rajasthan, enters Gujarat and falls into the sea by a wide estuary near Khambhat. Mahi encircles entire Banswara District in Rajasthan and first dam known as Mahi dam is at right side in Rajasthan. Kadana Dam is on Mahi in Gujarat. It is one of only three major rivers in peninsular India that runs from east to west along with the Tapti River and the Narmada River.

Tapti River

Tapi River, with length of 724 km, is one of only three rivers in peninsular India that run from east to west – the others being the Narmada River and the Mahi River. The river rises in the eastern Satpura Range of southern Madhya Pradesh state, and flows westward, draining Madhya Pradesh’s Nimar region, Maharashtra’s Kandesh and east Vidarbha regions in the northwest corner of the Deccan Plateau and south Gujarat, before emptying into the Gulf of Cambay of the Arabian Sea, in the Surat District of Gujarat. The river, along with the northern parallel Narmada river, form the boundaries between North and South India. The Western Ghats or Sahyadri range starts south of the Tapti River near the border of Gujarat and Maharashtra. The Tapti (Tapi) River empties into the Gulf of Khambhat near the city of Surat in Gujarat. Tapti Basin lies in the states of Maharashtra (51,504 km²), Madhya Pradesh (9,804 km²) and Gujarat (3,837 km²).

Ghaggar-Hakra River

Ghaggar-Hakra River flows in monsoon season only. It is known as Ghaggar before the Ottu barrage and as the Hakra downstream of the barrage. It originates in the Shivalik Hills of Himachal Pradesh and flows through Punjab and Haryana states into Rajasthan; just southwest of Sirsa, Haryana and by the side of talwara jheel in Rajasthan, this seasonal river feeds two irrigation canals that extend into Rajasthan. The downstream Hakra is a dried up stream that possibly end in Rann of Katch.

January 16, 2018

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