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Rivers and their Tributaries

Rivers and their Tributaries

Himalayan River systems

Indus River System(1114 km Length in India)

  • The Indus arises from the northern slopes of the Kailash range in Tibet near Lake Manasarovar.
  • Ancient name of Indus is Sindhu
  • It enters the Indian Territory in Jammu and Kashmir by forming a picturesque gorge.
  • It has a large number of tributaries in both India and Pakistan and has a total length of about 2897 km from the source to the point near Karachi where it falls into the Arabian Sea out of which approx 700 km lies in India.
  • In the Kashmir region, it joins with many tributaries – the Zaskar, the Shyok, the Nubra and the Hunza.
  • It flows between the Ladakh Range and the Zaskar Range at Leh.
  • It crosses the Himalayas through a 5181 m deep gorge near Attock, which is lying north of Nanga Parbat.

Brahmaputra River System(916 km Length in India)

  • The Brahmaputra originates from Mansarovar Lake, which is also a source of the Indus and Sutlej.
  • The river is known as the Tsangpo in Tibet. It receives less volume of water and has less silt in the Tibet region. But in India, the river passes through a region of heavy precipitation, and as such, the river carries large amounts of water during rainfall and a significant amount of silt.
  • Most of its course lies outside India.
  • It flows parallel to the Himalayas in the eastward direction. When it reaches Namcha Barwa, it takes a U-turn around it and enters India in the state of Arunachal Pradesh.
  • Here it is known as the Dihang River.
  • In India, it flows through the states of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam and is connected by several tributaries.
  • The Brahmaputra has a braided channel throughout most of its length in Assam.

Ganga River System (2510 km Length in India) | Rivers and their Tributaries

  • This system drains a very large area comprising the middle part of the Himalayas in the north, the northern part of the Indian Plateau in the south and the Ganga Plain in-between.
  • This basin is shared by ten states: Uttaranchal and Uttar Pradesh (34.2%), Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh (23.1%), Bihar and Jharkhand (16.7%), Rajasthan (13.0%), West Bengal (8.3%), Haryana (4.0%) and Himachal Pradesh (0.5%) and the Union Territory of Delhi ( 0.2%).
  • The Ganga originates as Bhagirathi from the Gangotri glacier in Uttarkashi District of Uttaranchal
  • Before entering the Bay of Bengal, the Ganga, along with Brahmaputra, forms the largest delta of the world between two arms: the Bhagirathi Hugli and the Padma/Meghna.
  • The delta front of the Ganga is a highly indented area of about 400 km length extending from the mouth of the Hugli to the mouth of the Meghna. The delta is made of a web of distributaries and islands and is covered by dense forests called the Sunderbans.

Yamuna river System (1376 km Length in India)

  • The Yamuna River is the largest tributary of the Ganga River.
  • It originates from the Yamunotri glacier, at the Bandarpoonch peak in Uttarakhand.
  • The Tons is the largest tributary of the Yamuna.
  • The catchment of the river extends to the states of Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh.

Peninsular River Systems | Rivers and their Tributaries

Godavari River System(1465 km Length in India)

  • The Godavari River is the second-longest course in India with brownish water.
  • This river originates from Trimbakeshwar, near Nasik in Maharashtra.
  • The river is often referred to as the Dakshin (South) Ganga or Vriddhi (Old) Ganga.
  • It is a seasonal river, dried during the summers, and widens during the monsoons.
  • It flows southeast across south-central India through the states of Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, and Orissa, and drains into the Bay of Bengal.
  • The banks of this river have many pilgrimage sites, Nasik(MH), Bhadrachalam(TS), and Trimbak. Some of its tributaries include Pranahita (Combination of Penuganga and Warda), Indravati River, Bindusara, Sabari, and Manjira.
  • Asia’s largest rail-cum-road bridge which links Kovvur and Rajahmundry is located on the river Godavari.

Krishna River System(1400 km Length in India)

  • Krishna is one of the longest rivers of India, which originates from Mahabaleshwar in Maharashtra.
  • The river flows through the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
  • It flows through Sangli and drains the sea in the Bay of Bengal.
  • Tungabhadra River is the main tributary which itself is formed by the Tunga and Bhadra rivers that originate in the Western Ghats.

Cauvery River System(805 km Length in India)

  • The Cauvery is also known as Dakshin Ganga.
  • It originates from Talakaveri located in the Western Ghats.
  • The headwaters of the river are in the Western Ghats range of Karnataka state, and from Karnataka through Tamil Nadu.
  • It is a famous pilgrimage and tourist place in the Kodagu district of Karnataka.
  • The river drains into the Bay of Bengal.

Mahanadi River System(851 km Length in India)

  • The Mahanadi originates from the Satpura Range of central India
  • It flows east to the Bay of Bengal.
  • It is a river in eastern India.
  • The river drains of the state of Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, and Orissa.
  • The largest dam, the Hirakud Dam is built on the river.

West Flowing Peninsular River Systems | Rivers and their Tributaries

Narmada River System(1312 km Length in India)

  • Origin – Amarkantak plateau, Shahdol district, Madhya Pradesh
  • It outlines the traditional frontier between North India and South India.
  • Makes an estuary before entering into Gulf of Khambhat.
  • There are several islands in estuary formed by Narmada. Aliabet is an important estuary island.
  • This river system covers three States – M.P., Maharashtra, Gujarat
  • It drains into the Arabian Sea in the Bharuch district of Gujarat.

Tapi River System(724 km Length in India)

  • It originates in the Eastern Satpura Range of southern Madhya Pradesh state.
  • It flows in a westward direction, draining some important historic places like Madhya Pradesh’s Nimar region, East Vidarbha region and Maharashtra’s Khandesh in the northwest corner of the Deccan Plateau and South Gujarat before draining into the Gulf of Cambay of the Arabian Sea.
  • The river covers some districts of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat as well.
  • The River Basin of Tapi River lies mostly in eastern and northern districts Maharashtra state.



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