Major Rivers of India:

The rivers of India have played an important role in the economic and cultural development of the country since ancient times. In the valleys of the Indus and Ganges rivers, the world's oldest civilizations - the Indus Valley and the Aryan civilization emerged. Even today, most of the country's population and the concentration of agriculture are found in the river valley areas.

In ancient times, due to the convenience of trade and transport, most of the cities of the country were developed on the banks of rivers and even today almost all the religious places of the country are associated with some river or the other.

The rivers of India can be classified into four groups such as:-

  • Rivers originating from the Himalayas
  • Rivers originating from the south
  • Coastal rivers
  • Rivers of the basin area from inland drains

List of major rivers of India:

Here we are giving you the list of names of all the major rivers of India, questions related to these are always asked in this IAS exam.

River name Point of origin Tributaries and streams
Indus River Near Lake Mansarovar (Tibet) Sutlej, Beas, Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Shingar, Gilgit, Shyok (Jammu and Kashmir, Leh)
Jhelum River Sheshnag Lake, Jammu and Kashmir Kishan, Ganga, Poonch, Lidar, Karewal, Sindh (Jammu and Kashmir, Kashmir)
Chenab River Near baralacha pass Chandrabhaga (Jammu and Kashmir)
Ravi River Rohtang Pass, Kangra Saaho, Suil (Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab)
Sutlej River Raksatal near Mansarovar Beas, Spiti, Baspa (Himachal Pradesh, Punjab)
The River Ganges From Gomukh near Gangotri Yamuna, Ramganga, Gomti, Bagmati, Gandak, Kosi, Son, Alaknanda, Bhagirathi, Pindar, Mandakini (Uttaranchal, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal)
Yamuna river Yamunotri Glacier Chambal, Betwa, Ken, Tons, Giri, Kali, Sindh, Asan (Uttaranchal, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi)
Ramganga River From a glacier near Nainital Khon (Uttaranchal, Uttar Pradesh)
Ghaghra River Mpsatung (Nepal) glacier Sharda, Karnali, Kuwana, Rapti, Chowkia (Uttar Pradesh, Bihar)
Gandak River Near Mustag on the Nepal-Tibetan border Kali, Gandak, Trishul, Ganga (Bihar)
Kosi River Saptakoshiki (Gonsaidham) in Nepal Indravati, Tamur, Arun, Kosi (Sikkim, Bihar)
Chambal River From Janapav hill near Mau Kali, Sindh, Sipta, Parvati, Banas (Madhya Pradesh)
Betwa River Near bhopal Near Ubedullah Ganj - (Madhya Pradesh)
Son river From the hills of amarkantak Rihand, Kunhad (Madhya Pradesh, Bihar)

List of ancient names and modern names of major rivers of India:

Ancient name of major rivers of India Modern names of major rivers of India
Krubhu Kurram
Kubha Kabul
Vitasta Jhelum
Askin Chennai
Purushni Ravi
Shatudri Sutlej
Vipasha Vyas
Evergreen Gandak
Visually Impaired
Gomti Gomal
Swaastu Swat
Indus Sindh
Saraswati / Drishdarvarti Ghaggar / Rakshi / Chittag

Frequently Asked question:

What is the Indus River System?

  • The Indus rises from the northern slopes of the Kailash range in Tibet near Lake Manas Sarovar.
  • It has a large number of tributaries in both India and Pakistan and has a total length of about 2897 km from the source to the point near Karachi where it drains into the Arabian Sea of ​​which about 700 km lies in India.
  • It enters Indian territory in Jammu and Kashmir by forming a picturesque gorge.
  • In the Kashmir region, it joins with several tributaries - the Zaskar, Shyok, Nubra and Hunza.
  • It flows between the Ladakh Range and the Zaskar Range in Leh.
  • It crosses the Himalayas from a 5181 m deep gorge near Attack, which lies to the north of Nanga Parbat.
  • The major tributaries of the Indus River in India are the Jhelum, Ravi, Chenab, Beas and Sutlej.

What is the Brahmaputra river system?

  • What is the Brahmaputra river system? The Brahmaputra originates from Lake Mansarovar, which is also a source of the Indus and the Sutlej.
  • It is 3848kms long, slightly longer than the Indus River.
  • Most of its courses are outside India.
  • It flows parallel to the Himalayas in the east. When it reaches Namcha Barwa, it takes a U-turn around it and enters the state of Arunachal Pradesh.
  • Here it is known as Dihang River. In India, it flows through the states of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam and is connected by several tributaries.
  • The Brahmaputra has a braided channel for most of its length in Assam.

The river is known as Tsangpo in Tibet. It receives less amount of water and the Tibet region has less siltation. But in India, the river passes through an area of ​​heavy rainfall, and as such, the river carries a large amount of water and a significant amount of silt during the rainy season. It is considered one of the largest rivers of India in terms of volume. It is known to create disaster in Assam and Bangladesh.

What is the Ganges River System?

  • The river is known as Tsangpo in Tibet. It receives less amount of water and the Tibet region has less siltation. But in India, the river passes through an area of ​​heavy rainfall, and as such, the river carries a large amount of water and a significant amount of silt during the rainy season. It is considered one of the largest rivers of India in terms of volume. It is
  • known to create disaster in Assam and Bangladesh.
  • What is the Ganges River System?
  • The Ganges originates from the Gangotri Glacier in the form of Bhagirathi.
  • The Mandakini, Pindar, Dhauliganga and Bishanganga rivers join the Bhagirathi at the Alaknanda and Bheling nallahs before reaching Devprayag in the Garhwal division.
  • The Pindar River originates from the eastern Trishul and the Nanda Devi Karan joins the Alaknanda at Prayag. Mandakini joins Rudraprayag.
  • The water of both Bhagirathi and Alaknanda flows in Devprayag in the name of Ganga.

Concept of Panch Prayag

  1. Vishnuprayag: Where Alaknanda River meets Dhauli Ganga River
  2. Nandprayag: Where Alaknanda River meets Nandakini River
  3. Karnprayag: Where Alaknanda River meets Pindar River
  4. Rudraprayag: Where Alaknanda River meets Mandakini River
  5. Devprayag: Where Alaknanda River meets Bhagirathi-Ganga River
  6. The Yamuna River is the largest tributary of the Ganges River.
  7. It originates from the Yamunotri Glacier on the Bandarpoon peak of Uttarakhand.
  8. The main tributaries joining the river include the Pap, Hindon, Betwa Ken and Chambal.
  9. Tons is the largest tributary of Yamuna.
  10. The catchment area of ​​the river extends to Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh,
  11. Haryana, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.

What is Tapi River System?

  • It is a central Indian river. It is one of the most important rivers of peninsular India, running from east to west.
  • It originates in the eastern Satpura of the southern Madhya Pradesh state.
  • It flows in a westward direction, before flowing into the Gulf of Cambay of the Arabian Sea in the north-west corner of the southeast plateau from some important historical places such as the Nimar region of Madhya Pradesh, the eastern Vidarbha region and Khandesh of Maharashtra. 
  • The river basin of the Tapi River lies mostly in the eastern and northern districts.
  • The river also covers some districts of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat.
  • The major tributaries of Tapi River are Vaghur River, Anar River, Girna River, Poorna River, Panjara River and Bori River.

What is Godavari river system?

  • The Godavari river is the second longest course in India with ground water.
  • The river is often referred to as Dakshina (South) Ganga or Vriddha (Old) Ganga.
  • It is a seasonal river, which dries up during the summer, and widens during the monsoons.
  • This river originates from Trimbakeshwar near Nashik in Maharashtra.
  • It flows through the states of Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Orissa in south-central India and flows into the Bay of Bengal.
  • The river forms a fertile delta at Rajahmundry.
    There are many pilgrimage sites on the banks of this river, Nashik (Maharashtra), Bhadrachalam (TS), and Trimbak. Some of its tributaries include Pranahita (combination of Penunga and Wardha), Indravati River, Bindusara, Sabari and Manjira.
  • Asia's largest rail-cum-road bridge connecting Kovur and Rajahmundry is located on the Godavari River.

What is Krishna river system?

  • Krishna is one of the longest rivers in India, originating from Mahabaleshwar in Maharashtra.
  • It flows through Sangli and drains the sea into the Bay of Bengal.
  • This river flows through the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
  • The Tungabhadra River is the main tributary which itself is formed by the Tunga and Bhadra rivers originating in the Western Ghats.
  • Dudhganga rivers, Koyna, Bhima, Mallaprabha, Bindi, Ghataprabha, Varna, Yerla, and Musi are some other tributaries.

What is Kaveri river system?

  • Kaveri is also known as Dakshin Ganga.
  • It originates from Talakaveri in the Western Ghats.
  • It is a famous pilgrimage and tourist place in Kodagu district of Karnataka.
  • The river's headwaters are in the Western Ghats range of the state of Karnataka, and from Karnataka through Tamil Nadu.
  • The river flows into the Bay of Bengal. The river supports irrigation for agriculture and is considered a means of supporting the ancient kingdoms and modern cities of South India.
  • The river has several tributaries, called Arkavathi, Shimsha, Hemavati, Kapila, Shimsha, Honnuhol, Amravati, Lakshmana Kabini, Lokapavani, Bhavani, Nauyyal and Tirtha.

Now practice related questions and see what you learnt?

Rivers of India GK Questions and Answers 🔗

Read also:

Rivers of India FAQs:

The annular pattern is a major drainage system which is a special arrangement of water flow created by the river and its tributaries. In this type of drainage pattern, the subsequent rivers pass through a curved or arcuate path before joining the subsequent river.

Punjab is a state where five rivers flow. It is called Punjab because of five rivers flowing through it. These five rivers are Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas and Sutlej.

The Handi, Godavari, Krishna and Kaveri flow east and drain into the Bay of Bengal. These rivers form deltas at their mouths.

Varuna, Kosi and Gomti are important tributaries of the Ganga. The Chambal and the Betwa are important sub-tributaries that join the Yamuna before joining the Ganges. The Padma and the Brahmaputra meet in Bangladesh and continue to flow as the Padma or the Ganges.

The name of the confluence of Alaknanda and Bhagirathi river is "Devprayag". It is located in the state of Uttarakhand and is an important confluence of the river Ganges. Here both the rivers together form the river Ganga.

  Last update :  Fri 14 Oct 2022
  Post Views :  13443
  Post Category :  Human Geography of India