Rivers of India – Detailed Analysis of Structure of Rivers in India

Almost all the important Indian cities are situated on the banks of the rivers of India. Rivers in India also possess a crucial role in Hindu mythology and are regarded sacred by all the followers of Hindu religion in India. There are nine important rivers of India, and they are The Ganges, Yamuna (a tributary of Ganges), Brahmaputra, Mahanadi, Narmada, Godavari, Tapi, Krishna, and Kaveri. The river systems of India can be classified into four groups

Rivers of India

  1. Himalayan rivers
  2. Deccan rivers
  3. Coastal rivers
  4. Rivers of the inland drainage basin

The Himalayan Rivers

These are formed by melting snow and glaciers and therefore, continuously flow throughout the year. Indus and Ganga-Brahmaputra-Meghna are the main formations of this region.

  1. Indus River – rises near Mansarovar in Tibet flows through India-Pakistan and merge into the Arabian Sea.
  • Tributaries are Sutlej (originating in Tibet), the Beas, the Ravi, the Chenab and the Jhelum

Indus river basins river of india

  1. Ganga-Brahmaputra-Meghna System

The Ganga – Bhagirathi and the Alaknanda, which join at Dev Prayag to form the Ganga. Travels through Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal. Below Rajmahal Hills, the Bhagirathi takes off, while the Padma (Ganga) continues eastward and enters Bangladesh.

  • Tributaries the Yamuna, the Ramganga, the Ghaghra, the Gandak, the Kosi, the Mahananda and the Sone.
  • Sub-Tributaries of Yamuna Rivers Chambal and Betwa
  • Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna basins

The Padma and the Brahmaputra join at Bangladesh and continue to flow as the Padma or Ganga.

The Brahmaputra rises in Tibet (called Tsangpo). Flows through Arunachal Pradesh where it is called Dihang

  • Tributaries of the Brahmaputra in India are the Subansiri, Jia Bhareli, Dhansiri, Puthimari, Pagladiya and the Manas. In Bangladesh its tributary is Teesta.

The Meghna the Barak River, the head stream of Meghna, rises in the hills in Manipur.

  • Tributaries of the river are Makku, Trang, Tuivai, Jiri, Sonai, Rukni, Katakhal, Dhaleswari, Langachini, Maduva and Jatinga.

It flows through Bangladesh and meets combined Ganga-Brahmaputra near Bhairab Bazar.

The Deccan Rivers are rain-fed Rivers of India and therefore fluctuate in volume. Many of these are non-perennial. Flowing generally in east direction fall into the Bay of Bengal.

  • East flowing rivers are Godavari, Krishna, Cauvery (Bay of Bengal) and Mahanadi.
  • Narmada (Arabian Sea) and Tapti are major west flowing rivers.
  • The Godavari in the southern Peninsula has the second largest river basin covering 10 percent of the area of India.

The Coastal Rivers especially on the west coast are short in length and have limited catchment areas. Most of them are non-perennial. There are almost 600 small rivers on the west coast.

The streams of the inland drainage basin of western Rajasthan are few and far apart. Most of them are of an ephemeral character. These are Luni, Machhu, Rupen, Saraswati, Banas, Ghaggar and others. They drain into salt lakes and get lost in the sand with no outlet to the sea. Most of these rivers are in Rajasthan.

Rivers in India and Their Structure

The whole country is divided into 20 River basins out of 12 are major and eight composites. The 12 major River basins each of them has a drainage area exceeding 20,000 sq.km.

Indus Pennar
Ganga-Brahmaputra-Meghna Brahmani-Baitarani
Godavari Sabarmati
Krishna Mahi
Cauvery Narmada
Mahanadi Tapti

The eight composite river basins (drainage area of 2,000 to 20,000 sq.km) and small river systems (drainage area less than 2000 sq.km) are:

    • Subarnarekha—combining Subarnarekha and other small rivers between Subarnarekha and Baitarani
    • East flowing rivers between Mahanadi and Penner
    • East flowing rivers between Pennar and Kanyakumari
    • Area of Inland drainage in Rajasthan desert
    • West flowing rivers of Kutch and Saurashtra including Luni
    • West flowing rivers from Tapi to Tadri
    • West flowing rivers from Tadri to Kanyakumari and
    • Minor rivers are draining into Myanmar (Burma) and Bangladesh.

Major River flowing in India and their finishing point-

Rivers flowing into Bay of Bengal Rivers flowing into the Arabian Sea
Meghna River Basin Karnataka Coastal Rivers
Brahmaputra River Basin Kerala Coastal Rivers
Ganges River Basin Coastal rivers of Goa
West Bengal Coastal Maharashtra Coastal Rivers
Odisha(Orissa) Coastal Narmada River Basin
Godavari River Basin Mahi River Basin
Krishna River Basin Sabarmati River Basin
Andhra Pradesh Coastal Rivers Indus River Basin
Pennar River Basin Tapi River Basin
Kaveri River Basin
Tamil Nadu Coastal Rivers

Source: Wikipedia