Longest rivers in India- Point of Origin and their tributaries


There are two types of rivers in India- Himalayan and Peninsular rivers. Most of the rivers drain into the Bay of Bengal except a few like Narmada and Tapi which drain into the Arabian Sea.

In India, the Ganga is the longest river. It originates from the Gangotri Glacier and finally drains into the Bay of Bengal. In Bangladesh, the Ganga joins the Brahmaputra and continues its flow under the name Padma or Ganga. Finally, it joins the Meghna River which drains into the Bay of Bengal.

Longest rivers in India

S. No

River

Total Length in India (km)

1

Ganga

2525

2

Godavari

1465

3

Krishna

1400

4

Yamuna

1376

5

Narmada

1312

6

Indus

1114 (total length-3180)

7

Brahmaputra

916 (total length-2900)

8

Mahanadi

851

9

Kaveri

800

10

Brahmani

799

11

Son

784

12

Tapti

724

13

Manjira

724

14

Pennar

597

15

Damodar

592

 

We will see details about all rivers below:

Ganga River

  • The Ganges basin is spread over an area of 10,86,000 km in India, Tibet (China), Nepal, and Bangladesh.
  • In India, it covers the states of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar, West Bengal, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh and Union Territory of Delhi.
  • It is draining an area of 8,61,452 sq km, which is about 26% of the total geographical area of the country.
  • The basin is bounded on the north by the Himalayas, on the west by the Aravalli, on the south by the Vindhyas and the Chhotanagpur plateau, and on the east by the Brahmaputra Ridge.

Origin of Ganga river

  • The Ganges originates from the Gangotri Glacier in the Himalayas at an altitude of about 7,010 meters in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand. At its source, the river is called Bhagirathi.
  • The Bhagirathi joins the Alaknanda at Devprayag and the combined stream under the name Ganga.
  • It flows through the mountainous region into the plains of Rishikesh.
  • The total length of the river Ganges (measured along the Bhagirathi and the Hooghly) till its fall into the Bay of Bengal is 2,525 km.

Tributaries of Ganga River

  • The Yamuna and the Sone are the major tributaries that join the river from the right.
  • The other tributaries joining the river from the left are Ramganga, the Ghaghra, the Gandak, the Kosi and the Mahananda.
  • Chambal and Betwa are two other important tributaries.
  • The river splits into two arms near Farakka in West Bengal:
    • The Padma, which flows to Bangladesh.
    • The Hooghly River or the 'Bhāgirathi-Hooghly', which flows through West Bengal.

NOTE: 

The entire Ganga-Brahmaputra-Meghna basin covers about one-third of the land area of the Indian Union.

The Ganga-Brahmaputra-Meghna system is the third-largest river on Earth by discharge.

Godavari River

  • The Godavari River, also referred to as the "Dakshina Ganga," is the largest river in peninsular India.
  • The Godavari Basin is the second largest basin in the country after the Ganges basin.
  • It accounts for about 9.50% of the country's total geographical area.
  • The basin is bounded by Satmala hills, the Ajanta range, and the Mahadeo hills on the north, by the Eastern Ghats on the south and the east, and by the Western Ghats on the west.
  • The river flows through the States of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Chhattisgarh and Odisha in addition to smaller parts in Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Union territory of Puducherry.
  • The drainage area of the Godavari River is 3,12,812 sq km.

Origin of Godavari River

  • The Godavari river originates in the Sahyadris at an altitude of 1,067 m above the mean sea level near Trimbakeshwar in the Nashik district of Maharashtra.
  • It flows across the Deccan Plateau from the Western to the Southern India.
  • Finally, the river joins the Bay of Bengal at Narasapuram in the West Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh.

Tributaries of Godavari River

The major tributaries of the river are the Pravara, the Purna, the Manjra, the Penganga, the Wardha, the Wainganga, the Pranhita (combined flow of Wainganga, Penganga, Wardha), the Indravati, the Maner and the Sabri.

Krishna River

  • The river is also known as Krishnaveni. The basin is spread over Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka.
  • Its total area is 2,58,948 sq km, which is about 8% of the total geographical area of the country.
  • It is bordered on the north by the Balaghat Range, on the south and east by the Eastern Ghats, and on the west by the Western Ghats.
  • The river's total length from its origin to its fall in the Bay of Bengal is 1,400 km.

Origin of Krishna River

At an altitude of 1,337 m, just north of Mahabaleshwar, the Krishna River originates from the Western Ghats near Jor village in the Satara district of Maharashtra.

Tributaries of Krishna River

The main tributaries joining Krishna are the Ghataprabha, the Malaprabha, the Bhima, the Munneru, the Tungabhadra, and the Musi.

Yamuna River

  • The Yamuna is the biggest tributary of the Ganga River and the second-largest tributary of the Ganges by discharge.
  • The river covers a total distance of 1,376 km.
  • The river passes through several states like Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, and Haryana, passing through Himachal Pradesh and then Delhi.
  • It joins the Ganges at Triveni Sangam in Allahabad, which hosts the Kumbh Mela, a Hindu celebration celebrated every 12 years.

Origin of Yamuna River

The Yamuna River Originates from the Yamunotri Glacier near Banderpoonch peaks in the Mussourie range of the lower Himalayas at an altitude of around 6,387 metres above mean sea level in Uttarkashi district (Uttarakhand).

Tributaries of Yamuna river

  • The main tributaries of the Yamuna River are Tons, Chambal, Hindon, Betwa, and Ken.
  • Other small tributaries of the Yamuna River include the Giri, Sind, Uttangan, Sengar, and Rind.

Narmada River

  • It is also known as Rewa, and is a major river in central India.
  • The Narmada basin is spread over the states of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Chhattisgarh.
  • Its area is 98,796 sq km which is about 3% of the total geographical area of the country.
  • It is bounded on the north by the Vindhyas, on the east by the Maikla range, on the south by the Satpuras, and on the west by the Arabian Sea.
  • Due to its enormous contribution to the two states in many ways, it is also known as the "Life Line of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat."

Origination of Narmada River

  • It originates at an altitude of about 1057 meters from the Maikalla range near Amarkantak in the Anuppur district of Madhya Pradesh.
  • The total length of the river is 1,312 km and, for the first 1079 km, it flows through Madhya Pradesh.
  • Narmada flows through the Gulf of Khambhat and drains into the Arabian Sea.

Tributaries of Narmada River

  • Important tributaries of Narmada are the Burhner, the Banjar, the Sher, the Shakkar, the Dudhi, the Tawa, the Ganjal, the Kundi, the Goi, and the Karjan which join from left
  • Other tributaries of Narmada are the Hiran, the Tendoni, the Barna, the Kolar, the Man, the Uri, the Hatni, and the Orsang which join from the right.

Indus River

  • The Indus Basin extends over China (Tibet), India, Afghanistan, and Pakistan and covers an area of 11,65,500 km.
  • The basin is spread over the states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana, and the Union Territory of Chandigarh in India.
  • Its area is 3,21,289 sq km which is about 9.8% of the total geographical area.
  • The basin is bounded on the east by the Himalayas, on the north by the Karakoram and Haramosh ranges, on the west by the Sulaiman and Kirthar ranges, and on the south by the Arabian Sea.

Origin of Indus River

  • The Indus River rises at an altitude of 5,182 meters from the high mountains of the Himalayas around Lake Mansarovar in Tibet.
  • The total length from the origin of the Indus to its outfall into the Arabian Sea is 2,880 km, of which 1,114 km flows through India.

Tributaries of Indus River

Major tributaries of Indus river are Sutlej, Beas, Ravi, Chenab, and Jhelum.

Indus Water Treaty 1960

The World Bank had arranged and negotiated a water-distribution treaty between India and Pakistan to utilize the water available in the Indus River and its tributaries.

It was signed by Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Pakistani President Ayub Khan in Karachi on 19 September 1960.

The treaty gives India control over the waters of three "eastern rivers" - the Beas, the Ravi, and the Sutlej, while giving Pakistan control over the waters of three "western rivers" - the Indus, the Chenab, and the Jhelum.

Brahmaputra River

  • The Brahmaputra is also known as the Yarlung Tsangpo in Tibet, the Siang/Dihang River in Arunachal Pradesh, Luit in Assamese, and the Jamuna River in Bangladesh.
  • The Brahmaputra basin spans the countries of Tibet (China), Bhutan, India, and Bangladesh, with a total area of 5,80,000 km.
  • In India, it is spread over the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, West Bengal, Meghalaya, Nagaland, and Sikkim.
  • It is spread over an area of 1,94,413 sq km which is about 5.9% of the total geographical area of the country.
  • It is bounded on the north by the Himalayas, in the east by the Patkari range of hills running along the Indo-Myanmar border, on the south by the Assam range of hills and the Himalayas, and the ridge separating it from the Ganga basin on the west.     
  • The Brahmaputra River is considered the 9th largest river in the world by discharge volume and the 15th longest river.

Origin of Brahmaputra river

  • It rises in the north from the Kailash range of the Himalayas, at an altitude of 5,150 meters, to the south of the lake called Kongyu Tsho.
  • It flows a total length of about 2,900 km and it flows 916 km in India.
  • The Brahmaputra River has its origin in southwest Tibet. It flows there as the Yarlung Tsangpo River.

Tributaries of Brahmaputra River

  • The major tributaries of the Brahmaputra river that meet on the right side are Lohit, the Dibang, the Subansiri, the Jiabharali, the Dhansiri, the Manas, the Torsa, the Sankosh, and the Teesta.
  • Burhidihing, the Desang, the Dikhow, the Dhansiri and the Kopili join it from the left.

Mahanadi River

  • The Mahanadi basin extends over the states of Chhattisgarh and Odisha and a comparatively small part of Jharkhand, Maharashtra, and Madhya Pradesh.
  • It drains an area of 1,41,589 square kilometers, which is about 4.3% of the country's total geographical area.
  • It is bounded on the north by the Central India hills, on the south and east by the Eastern Ghats, and on the west by the Maikala range.
  • Mahanadi is also known for the Hirakud Dam.

Origin of Mahanadi river

  • It rises from a pool 6 km from Farsiya village in the Dhamtari district of Chhattisgarh.
  • The river's total length from its origin to its fall in the Bay of Bengal is 851 km, of which, 357 Km lies in Chhattisgarh and balance 494 Km in Odisha.

Tributaries of Mahanadi River

Its main tributaries are the Seonath, the Jonk, the Hasdeo, the Mand, the ib, the Ong, and the Tel.

Kaveri River

  • It is also known as the Cauvery River.
  • The Cauvery basin is spread over Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, and the Union Territory of Puducherry.
  • It drains an area of 81,155 sq km which is about 2.7% of the total geographical area of the country.
  • It is bordered on the west by the Western Ghats, on the east and south by the Eastern Ghats, and on the north by the ridges separating it from the Krishna basin and the Pennar basin.
  • It is the third largest river in South India, after Godavari and Krishna.
  • It is the largest in the state of Tamil Nadu, which divides the state into north and south.

Origin of Kaveri River

  • It rises at Talakaveri, on the Brahmagiri range near Cherangala village in Kodagu district of Karnataka, at an altitude of 1,341 metres.
  • The river's total length from its origin to its outfall into the Bay of Bengal is 800 km.

Tributaries of Kaveri River

  • Major tributaries of Kaveri river that meet the left side are the Harangi, the Hemavati, the Shimsha, and the Arkavati.
  • Lakshmantirtha, the Kabbani, the Suvarnavati, the Bhavani, the Noyil and the Amaravati join from the right.

Brahmani River

  • The Brahmani is a prominent river in the eastern Indian state of Odisha.
  • It is known as South Koel.
  • The Brahmani Basin covers an area of 39,033 sq km and is shaped like a sausage long.
  • In the reaches of its tail, the river is known as Mapura.
  • It forms a large delta with the Baitarani River before draining into the Bay of Bengal at Dhamra.
  • After the Mahanadi, it is the second-widest river in Odisha.

Origin of Brahmani River

Brahmani rises at an altitude of about 600 meters near Nagri village in Ranchi district of Jharkhand. The total length of the river is 799 km.

Tributaries of Brahmani River

The major tributaries of Brahmani are the Karo, the Sankh, and the Tirka.

Sone River

  • The Sone River is an important right bank tributary of the Ganges River.
  • The Sone basin is spread over State of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar.
  • After the Yamuna River, the Sone River is the Ganges' second-largest southern tributary.
  • The river system's overall catchment area is 70,055 square kilometres.

Origin of Son River

  • It rises from the Amarkantak hill in the Maikala Range hills at an altitude of 640 meters in the Bilaspur district of Chhattisgarh.
  • The river's total length is 784 km.
  • It joins the Ganges River near Patna in Bihar.

Tributaries of Sone/ Son river

Its major tributaries are the Rihand, Kanhar and the North Koel.

Tapti River/ Tapi River

  • Tapi river basin is spread over the states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat, with an area of 65,145 sq km out of which nearly 80 percent lies in Maharashtra.
  • The basin is situated on the Deccan plateau and is bounded on the north by the Satpura range, on the east by the Mahadev hills, on the south by the Ajanta Range and the Satmala hills, and on the west by the Arabian Sea.
  • The Tapi is the second largest west flowing inter-state river basin, after the Narmada River.
  • Along with the Narmada and the Mahi rivers, it is one of only three rivers in peninsular India that flow from east-to west.

Origin of Tapi River

  • It rises near the Multai Reserve Forest at an altitude of 752 meters in the Betul district of Madhya Pradesh.
  • The river's total length from its origin to its outfall in the Arabian Sea is 724 km.

Tributaries of Tapti River

  • There are 14 major tributaries of Tapi river.
  • On the right bank, the Tapi is joined by four tributaries: the Vaki, the Gomai, the Arunavati and the Aner.
  • On the left bank, 10 important tributaries namely the Nesu, the Arunavati, the Buray, the Panjhra, the Bori, the Girna, the Vaghur, the Purna, the Mona and the Sipna.

Manjira River

  • Manjara is a tributary of the Godavari River. It is also known as Manjara or Manjira.
  • It flows through Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Telangana.
  • Manjira is not a cross-border river.
  • It originates and ends within Indian borders. It empties into the Godavari River.

Origin of Manjira River   

  • At an elevation of 823 metres, it rises in the Balaghat range of hills near Ahmednagar district and falls into the Godavari River.
  • Its total catchment area is 30,844 square kilometres.

Tributaries of Manjira River

The main tributaries of Manjira river are Terna, Tawarja, Gharni, Manyad, Teru and Lendi.

Pennar River

  • The Pennar is also known as Uttara Pinakini, which is one of the major rivers of the peninsula.
  • The Pennar Basin is spread over the states of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, with an area of 55,213 sq km.
  • The fan-shaped basin is bounded by the Erramala range on the north, by the Nallamala and Velikonda ranges of the Eastern Ghats on the east, by the Nandidurg hills on the south, and by the Vedavati valley of the Krishna Basin on the west.

Origin of Pennar River

  • The Pennar originates in the Chenna Kasava hill of the Nandidurg range in the Chikkaballapura district of Karnataka.
  • It flows eastwards and eventually falls into the Bay of Bengal.
  • The river's total length from its origin to its outfall in the Bay of Bengal is 597 km.

Tributaries of Pennar River

The major tributaries of the Pennar river are the Jayamangali, the Kunderu, the Sagileru, the Chiravati, the Papagni, and the Cheyyeru.

Damodar River

  • Damodar River is an Indian river that flows through Jharkhand and West Bengal.
  • The valley, which is rich in mineral resources, is home to large-scale mining and industrial activity.
  • It was earlier known as the Sorrow of Bengal due to the devastating floods in the plains of West Bengal.
  • Damodar and its tributaries have been controlled to some extent by the construction of several dams.

Origin of Damodar River

  • The Damodar River originates at an altitude of about 609.75 meters in the Palamu Hills of Chota Nagpur.
  • The river's total length is 592 km.

Tributaries of Damodar River

  • Major tributaries of Damodar river are Barakar, Konar, Bokaro, Haharo, Jamunia, Ghari, Guaia, Khadia and Bhera.
  • Barakar is the biggest tributary of the Damodar.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Longest rivers in India

Which is the longest river in India?

Ganga is the longest river in India with a length of 2525 kms.

Which is the largest tributary of river Ganga?

Yamuna is the largest tributary of river Ganga.

River Godavari originates from which state?

The river Godavari originates in the Sahyadris at an altitude of 1,067 m above the mean sea level near Trimbakeshwar in the Nashik district of Maharashtra.

Gataprabha and Malaprabha are the tributaries of which river?

Gataprabha and Malaprabha are the tributaries of river Krishna.

Which river is also known as Rewa?

Narmada river is also known as Rewa river. Its basin is spread over the states of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Chhattisgarh.

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