Major Rivers of India

We have read that the rivers constitute the life blood of our country. India is very often called “the land of rivers”.

Major rivers of the Northern India

Indus System: It is one of the largest river systems in the world. It comprises the rivers—Indus, Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas and Satluj.

The Ganges: It is the most sacred river of India. From olden times, the Ganges is the story of Indian civilization and culture. The Ganges begins its journey from Gomukh glacier near Gangotri. It enters the plains at Haridwar. It meets Jamuna river at Prayag (Allahabad). The Ganges is a 2525 km long river. Many important cities of India like Haridwar, Kanpur, Allahabad, Patna and Calcutta (Kolkata) are situated on its banks.

Brahmaputra is a very important river system. This river is 2880 km long. It flows parallel to the Himalayas in Tibet. It enters India in Arunachal Pradesh. There are frequent floods in this river which cause huge loss. After passing through Assam, it enters Bangla Desh. It is joined there by Padma river and forms a large delta.

Major rivers of the Deccan Peninsula
The rivers of the Deccan Peninsula are seasonal. These flow through narrow and deep valleys.

The rivers falling in the Arabian Sea

  • Narmada- it rises from Amarkantak Plateau in Madhya Pradesh. It does not form delta on the western coast.
  • Tapti rises near Betul in Mahadev hills. It flows through a rift valley. The other rivers which fall in it are Looni, Sabarmati and Mahi. It is 724 kilometres long and falls in the Arabian Sea.

Rivers failing into the Bay of Bengal

The Damodar River rises from Chhota Nagpur plateau and is 570 km long. A multipurpose project known as Damodar Valley Project (DVC) has been constructed on it. It has checked floods and generates electricity The Mahanadi rises from Amarkantak plateau. It is 857 miles long. It is a navigable river and forms a fertile delta. The Godavari rises from Western Ghats. It is 1440 km long and is the longest river in the Deccan. It forms a delta on the east coast.

The Krishna rises in Western Chats. It is 1400 km long. It is joined by two main streams : Bhima and Tungabhadra. The Cauvery rises in the Coorg district. It is 800 km long. This river is much useful for irrigation, navigation and hydro-power generation. This river has a very beautiful waterfall named Shivsamudram. The river forms a delta on the East Coast.

The Himalayan rivers of the North have some different characteristics from those of the Deccan peninsular rivers. In the first place, the rivers of the North viz, the Indus and Ganges and their tributaries derive water from the Himalayan snow fields and have regular flow of water. But the Peninsular rivers are seasonal. They get water from the rainfall. Secondly, the Northern rivers have a few waterfalls. These are, therefore, not so useful for hydel power generation. On the other hand, Deccan rivers have waterfalls and are used for hydel electric power. Thirdly, the Himalayan rivers have large basins and have extensive catchment areas. These can be used to store large volumes of water. But the Peninsular rivers have small basins and small catchment areas. They do not have large volumes of water. Fourthly, the Northern rivers flow through the plains, they irrigate large tracts of land. But the Peninsular rivers flow on the rocky lands They are not much useful for irrigation or navigation. Fifthly, many important towns have developed on the banks of the rivers in the Northern India. But very few towns are situated on the banks of the rivers in the peninsula.