The Two Main Groups Of Rivers Of India & Drainage of India

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The Two Main Groups Of Rivers Of India & Drainage of India

The Two Main Groups Of Rivers Of India & Drainage of India

1. Himalayan Rivers

In this three major river systems are there

The Indus System

  • It has a total length of 2880 km (709 km in India). Rises in Tibet near Mansarovar Lake.
  • The tributaries of Indus are: Jhelum (725 km), Chenab (1800 km), Ravi (720 km), Beas (470 km), Sutlej (1050 km).

The Ganga System

It is 2525 km long of which 1450 km is in Uttarakhand and UP, 445 km in Bihar and 520 km in West Bengal.

Sources Bhagirathi from Gaumukh, Alaknanda from Badrinath, Mandakini from Kedarnath.

The Brahmaputra System

  • It is 2900 km long and rises in Tibet (from Chemayungdung glacier), where it is called Tsangpo, and it enters the Indian territory (in Arunachal Pradesh) under the name Dihang.
  • In Bangladesh, Brahmaputra is known by the name of Jamuna. Their combined stream (Jamuna + Ganga) is known as Padma. Meghna is the most important distributory before it enters the Bay of Bengal.
  • The combined stream of Ganga and Brahmaputra forms the biggest delta in the world, the Sundarbans, covering an area of 58752 sq km. Its major part is in Bangladesh.
  • On Brahmaputra is the river island, Majuli in Asom, the biggest river island in the world.

2. Rivers of the Peninsula

Different from the Himalayan rivers because they are seasonable in their flow (while Himalayan rivers are perennial).
Can be divided into two groups

Rivers Flowing into Bay of Bengal

(Delta forming rivers)

Mahanadi (858 km) Rises in Raipur distt. in Chhattisgarh. Main tributaries: lb, Sheonath, Hasdo, Mand, Jonk, Tel etc.

Godavari (1465 km) Also called Vriddha Ganga or Dakshina
Ganga. It is the longest peninsular river. Rises in Nasik. Main tributaries: Manjra, Penganga, Wardha, Indravati, Wainganga, Sabari etc.

Krishna (1327 km) Rises in Western Ghats near Mahabaleshwar. Tributaries: Koyna, Dudhganga, Panchganga, Malprabha, Ghatprabha, Bhima, Tungabhadra, Musi.

Cauvery (805 km) It is the largest peninsular river. Known as the ‘Ganga of the South’. Rises from Brahmagir range of Western Ghats. Tributaries: Hemavati, Lokpawni, Shimsa.

Subarnarekha (395 km) and Brahmani (705 km) From Ranchi plateau.

West Flowing Rivers

Narmada (1057 km) It has only 1/10th part in Gujarat and the rest in MP. Rises in Amarkantak Plateau and flows into Gulf of Khambat. Forms the Dhuan Dhar Falls. Main tributaries: Hiran, Burhner, Banjar, Shar, Shakkar, Tawa etc.

Tapti (724 km) Rises from Betul distt in MP. Also known as twin or handmaid of Narmada. Main tributaries: Purna, Betul, Arunavati, Ganjal etc.

Sabarmati (416 km) From Aravallis.

Mahi (560 km) From Vindhyas.

Luni (450 km) Rises from Aravallis. Also called Salt River. It is finally lost in the marshy grounds at the head of the Rann of Kachchh.

* Smart Facts *

Chilka Lake (Odisha) is the largest brackish lake of India. Otherwise also, it is the largest lake of India.

Wular Lake (J & K) is the largest fresh water lake of India. From Sambhar Lake (Rajasthan), salt is produced. Other important lakes are Vembanad in Kerala, Kolleru in Andhra Pradesh and Pulicat in Andhra Pradesh only.

The three important Gulfs in the Indian territory are

  • Gulf of Kuchchh (West of Gujarat) Region with highest potential of tidal energy generation.
  • Gulf of Cambay (South of Gujarat) Tapti, Narmada, Mahi and Sabarmati drain into it.
  • Gulf of Mannar (South-East of Tamil Nadu) Asia’s first marine biosphere reserve.


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