Rivers have always played an important role in human’s life. Many of the great civilizations flourished around the rivers, for example, Egyptian Civilization started around Nile River, Mesopotamian Civilization near Tigris River and Indus civilization around Indus River. Civilizations tended to grow up in river valleys as they provide irrigation, potable water, cheap transportation, electricity, as well as provide livelihoods.
Major Rivers of India: An overview
India is known as the land of rivers. There are Seven major rivers (Indus, Brahmaputra, Narmada, Tapi, Godavari, Krishna and Mahanadi )along with their numerous tributaries that make up the river system of India.
Rivers in India can be categorized in many ways out of which some prominent ways are:
- Perennial and Non- Perennial River
- East flowing Vs West flowing Rivers
- On the basis of their origin
Let us first understand these categories one by one.
Perennial River – Rivers that flow throughout the year are called perennial river. They usually originate from mountains. They are also known as Permanent River. Almost all the rivers originating in the Himalayan region are perennial rivers. They are found in regions with humid climate where evaporation rates are much lesser than the rainfall.
Perennial rivers include The Ganges and The Yamuna.
Non- Perennial River – Rivers which do not have a constant flow throughout the year are known as non- perennial rivers. It mainly consists of those rivers which flow only during the rainy season and usually originate in plateau region. They are also called Periodic Rivers. These rivers are found in areas with arid climates where evaporation tends to be greater than precipitation.
Examples of Non- perennial river are Godavari, , Krishna, Kaveri, etc.
Non-perennial rivers can be further classified into semi-permanent, ephemeral and episodic.
- Semi-permanent are those rivers which are deprived of the flow 1 to 25 percent of time.
- Ephemeral are those rivers which possess no flow 26 to 75 percent of time.
- Episodic rivers are those rivers that have no flow at least 76 percent of time.
East flowing Vs West flowing river: If the river falls into Bay of Bengal then it is east flowing river whereas if it drains into Arabian Sea then it is west flowing river.
On the basis of their origin
There are three main sources form which rivers originate and they are:
- The Himalaya and the Karakoram ranges
- Vindhya and Satpura ranges and Chotanagpur plateau in central India
- Sahyadri or Western Ghats in western India
Let us now have a look at some important rivers with their point of origin and the place where they drain.
Gangotri Glacier (Bhagirathi), Uttarakhand
Bay of Bengal
Yamunotri Glacier, Uttarakhand
Merges with Ganga at Allahabad
Angsi Glacier in Himalayas in Tibet, but enters India in Arunachal Pradesh
Merges with Ganga and ends in Bay of Bengal
Originates in Tibetan plateau, Enters India in J&K
Tributary of Ganga near West Bengal
Merges with Ganga at Bay of Bengal
Tributary of Ganga, starting at Gomat Taal, UP
Joins Ganga in Varanasi
Tributary of Ganga, starting at Amarkantak, Madhya Pradesh
Joins Ganga just above Patna
Nepal; Ganges tributary at Indo-Nepal border
Joins Ganga near Patna
Starts from Bihar near Indo-Nepal border
Joins Ganga near Katihar district of Bihar
Sihawa mountain of Chhatisgarh
Bay of Bengal
Tributary of Chenub river, Punjab
Merges with Chenab at Jhang (Pakistan)
Starts from Bara Bhangal, Kangra district, Himachal Pradesh
Joins Chenab in Pakistan
Tributary of Indus river, originates at Rakshastal, Tibet
Meets Beas river in Pakistan and ends at Arabian sea
Rises at Himalayas in central Himachal Pradesh
Joins Sutlej river in Punjab
Talakaveri in Western Ghats in Karnataka
Ends in Bay of Bengal
Originates in the Western Ghats near Mahabaleshwar in Maharashtra
Ends in Bay of Bengal near Andhra Pradesh
Starts in Maharashtra
Ends in Bay of Bengal
Tributary of Krishna river staring at Karnataka
Joins Krishna river along the border of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh
Rises in Eastern Satpura Ranges, Madhya Pradesh
Ends into Gulf of Khambat, Gujarat
Rises in Madhya Pradesh
Flows into Arabian sea from Gujarat
Starts from Amarkantak, Madhya Pradesh
Drains into Arabian sea via Gulf of Cambay
Quick Facts About Indian Rivers
- Tons River is the largest tributary of Yamuna.
- Hirakund Dam, the largest earthen dam in the world is built on Mahanadi River.
- Nagarjuna Sagar Dam, the world’s largest masonry dam and India’s largest dam in length is built across Krishna River.
- Mettur Dam on Kaveri River is considered as the oldest dam in India constructed in 1934.
- Sardar Sarovar Dam is built on Narmada River.
- Godavari is the second longest river in India.
- Brahmaputra River is called Yarlung Tsangpo in Tibet, Dihang in Arunanchal Pradesh, Brahmaputra in Assam and Jamuna in Bangladesh.
- Ganges is known as Padma river in Bangladesh.
Going through the previous year question papers, we found that in many of the competitive exams, questions on rivers and their tributaries have been asked. Here are few previously asked questions on Rivers of India.
Question : Which is the largest river of Indian Sub-Continent? (GIC AO Exam 2013)
Answer: Indus River
Question : ‘Tawa’ is the tributary of which river? ( MP Police SI Exam 2014)
Answer : Narmada
Question : On which river is Chamba situated? ( HPAS 2005)
Answer : Ravi
Question : “Tons’ is the tributary of which river? (HPAS 2005)
Answer : Yamuna