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Important rivers in India

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Rivers in India are known not only as sources of water but also as important symbols of civilization, culture, and religious faith. Rivers flowing in different parts of the country are not only essential for agriculture and drinking water supply, but they also play an important role for regional development, trade, and transportation. Many important cities and pilgrimage sites are located on the banks of these rivers, which also have religious and cultural importance. In this article, we will give a brief introduction to the geography, history, and cultural significance of important rivers in India.

What are the major rivers in India?

There are many major rivers in India that flow in different parts of the country and have historical, cultural, religious, and economic importance. Here is a list of some of the major rivers of India:

  1. Ganges: Ganga is considered to be the most important and sacred river of India. It originates from Gangotri Glacier in Uttarakhand and joins the Bay of Bengal at Ganga Sagar in West Bengal. The religious and cultural importance of river Ganga is very high.
  2. Yamuna: This river is a tributary of Ganga and originates from Yamunotri Glacier in Uttarakhand. Yamuna flows through cities like Delhi, Agra, and Mathura.
  3. Brahmaputra: The Brahmaputra River originates in the Mansarovar region of Tibet and flows through Assam and Bangladesh. This river is known for its vastness and strong current.
  4. Narmada: Narmada River flows in Central India and it originates from the Western Ghats and joins the Arabian Sea. This river passes through many parts of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat.
  5. Godavari: Godavari River is also called “South Ganga”. It originates in Maharashtra and flows through Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Chhattisgarh. It is the second longest river of India.
  6. Krishna: Krishna River originates in the Western Ghats and flows through Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. It is found in the Bay of Bengal.
  7. Kaveri: Kaveri River is important in South India. It originates in Karnataka and flows through Tamil Nadu and joins the Bay of Bengal.
  8. Mahanadi: Mahanadi flows through Chhattisgarh and Odisha. This river also joins the Bay of Bengal.
  9. Tapti: Tapti River is located in Central India and it originates from the Western Ghats and joins the Arabian Sea.
  10. Saraswati: Saraswati River is considered a mythological river, but it has a lot of historical and religious importance.

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Classification of rivers in India

Rivers in India are classified on the basis of geography, source, and water flow. This classification helps in understanding the origin of rivers, their catchment area, and their flow patterns. Following are the major classifications of rivers in India:

  1. Himalayan rivers: These rivers originate from the Himalayan mountain range and their water source is mainly glacier melt and snow. The flow of these rivers remains throughout the year, but is higher in summer. Rivers like Ganga, Yamuna, Brahmaputra, and Sutlej fall in this category.
  2. peninsular rivers: These rivers originate from the peninsular part of India and their water source is rain water. These rivers flow more during the rainy season and can become dry in summer. Rivers like Godavari, Krishna, Kaveri, Narmada, and Mahanadi are examples of peninsular rivers.
  3. Tributaries: These rivers are tributaries of the main rivers and by joining them they increase their flow. Yamuna is a tributary of Ganga, while Chambal and Betwa are tributaries of Yamuna.
  4. inter-state rivers: These rivers flow through more than one state, making their water sharing and management important. Godavari, Krishna, and Brahmaputra are examples of inter-state rivers.
  5. river delta: These rivers form deltas at their mouths, where they meet the sea or any larger water source. The Ganga-Brahmaputra delta is the largest delta in the world. Other rivers, such as the Godavari and the Mahanadi, also form deltas.
  6. river valleys: These rivers form valleys, which are deep and narrow due to their flow. The Narmada River forms the Narmada Valley, while the Brahmaputra River forms the valleys in Arunachal Pradesh.

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Origin of major rivers of India

The major rivers of India originate from different places, which reflects the geographical and cultural diversity of the country. Here is a list of the sources of major rivers:

Origin of major rivers of India
river namepoint of origin
BrahmaputraCheemayungdung glacier located near Lake Manasarovar
SindhuSanokhwab Glacier located near Lake Mansarovar
GangesDevprayag, the confluence of Bhagirathi and Alaknanda.
ChenabBaralacha Pass (Lahaul-Spiti)
Godavari42 km south-west of Nashik (Maharashtra). a hill in a distant village
SatlujRakas Tal located near Mansarovar Lake
YamunaYamunotri glacier situated on the western slope of Bandarpunch
KrishnaFrom the mountains of the Western Ghats near Mahabaleshwar
NarmadaA place called Amarkantak situated in the Vindhyachal mountain ranges.
MahanadiLocated near Singhwa in Rampur district of Madhya Pradesh.
ghagraMatsatung Glacier
ChambalJanapav hill located near Mhow in Madhya Pradesh
KaveriBrahmagiri hill situated in Coorg district of Karnataka
goldAmarkantak Hills
KosiNorth of Gosai Tham Peak
JhelumSheshnag Lake near Berenag (Kashmir)
RaaviNear Rohtang Pass in Kangra district
TaptiBetul District (M.P.) Near Multai Nagar
RamgangaFrom a glacier near Nainital
loverVindhyachal mountain range
GhaghgharHimalayas near Kalka
BetwaVindhyachal Mountains
DiameterLake near Rohtang Pass
LoonieNag Pahar (Aravalli Mountains) located in Ajmer district
sabarmatiSouth western part (Aravalli Mountains) in Udaipur district

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longest rivers of india

India's longest rivers flow through different parts of the country, and they are not only important for India's climate, agriculture, and transportation, but also have religious and cultural significance. Here is a list of the longest rivers of India, ranked according to their approximate length:

longest rivers of india
RiverLength (in Km)

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