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Rivers of India
In India, the rivers can be divided into two main groups:
1. Himalayan Rivers
2. Peninsular Rivers
Himalayan Rivers of India
In this three major river systems are there:
The Indus System
* It has a total length of 2880 km (709 km in India). Rises in Tibet (China) near Mansarovar Lake.
* In Jammu and Kashmir, its Himalayan tributaries are: Zanskar, Dras, Gartang, Shyok, Shigar, Nubra, Gilgit, etc.
* Its most important tributaries, which join Indus at various places, are: Jhelum (725 km), Chenab (1800 km), Ravi (720 km), Beas (470 km) & Sutlej (1050 km).
* Sources: Jhelum from Verinag (SE Kashmir), Chenab from Bara Lacha Pass (Lahaul-Spiti, H.R), Ravi from Kullu Hills near Rohtang Pass in H. R, Beas from a place near Rohtang Pass in H.E and Satluj from Mansarovar â€“ Rakas lakes in W. Tibet.
* In Nari Khorsan province of Tibet, Satluj has created an extraordinary canyon, comparable to the Grand Canyon of Colorado (US).
* According to the Indus Water Treaty signed between India and Pakistan in 1960, India can utilize only 20% of the total discharge of Indus, Jhelum and Chenab.
* It is 2525 km long of which 1450 km is in Uttarakhand and UP, 445 km in Bihar and 520 km in West Bengal.
* The Ganga, the head stream is constituted of two main rivers â€“ Bhagirthi and Alaknanda, which combine at Devprayag to form Ganga.
* Before Alaknanda meets Bhagirthi at Devprayag, Mandakini meets Alaknanda at Rudraprayag.
* Sources: Bhagirthi from Gaumukh, Alaknanda from Badrinath, Mandakini from Kedarnath (all from Uttarakhand).
* Yamuna (1375 km) is its most important tributary (on right bank). It rises at the Yamunotri glacier in Uttarakhand. It runs parallel to Ganga for 800km and joins it at Allahabad. Important tributaries of Yamuna are Chambal (1050 km), Sind, Betwa (480 km) and Ken (all from south).
* Apart from Yamuna, other tributaries of Ganga are Ghaghra (1080 km), Son (780 km), Gandak (425 km), Kosi (730 km), Gomti (805 km), Damodar (541 km). Kosi is infamous as â€˜Sorrow of Biharâ€™, while Damodar gets the name â€˜Sorrow of Bengalâ€™ as these cause floods in these regions.
* Hooghli is a distributory of Ganga flowing through Kolkata.
The Brahmaputra system
* It has a total length of 2900 km. It rises in Tibet (from Chemayungdung glacier), where it is called Tsangpo, and enters the Indian territory (in Arunachal Pradesh) under the name Dihang.
* Important Tributaries: Subansiri, Kameng, Dhansiri, Manas, Teesta.
* In Bangladesh, Brahmaputra is known by the name of Jamuna while Ganga gets the name Padma. Their combined stream is known as Padma only. Meghna is the most important distributory before it enters the Bay of Bengal.
* The combined stream of Ganga and Brahmaputra forms the biggest delta in the world, the Sundarbans, covering an area of 58,752 sq. km. Its major part is in Bangladesh.
* On Brahmaputra is the river island, Majuli in Assam, the biggest river island in the world.
* Brahmaputra, or the Red River, is navigable for a distance of 1384 km up to Dibrugarh and serves as an excellent inland water transport route.
Rivers of the Peninsula in India
* Different from the Himalayan rivers because they are seasonable in their flow (while Himalayan rivers are perennial).
* They can be divided into two groups:
A. East Flowing Rivers of India (or Delta forming rivers)
* Mahanadi River (858 km) : Rises in Raipur distt. in Chhatisgarh. Main tributaries: lb, Seonath, Hasdo, Mand, Jonk, Tel, etc.
* Godavari River (1465 km) : Also called Vriddha Ganga or Dakshina Ganga. It is the longest peninsular river. Rises in Nasik. Main tributaries: Manjra, Penganga, Wardha, Indravati, Wainganga, Sabari, etc.
* Krishna River (1327 km) : Rises in Western Ghats near Mahabaleshwar. Main tributaries: Koyna, Dudhganga, Panchganga, Malprabha, Ghatprabha, Bhima, Tungabhadra, Musi, etc.
* Cauvery River (805 km) : It is the largest peninsular river (maximum amount of water). Infact, it is the only peninsular river which flows almost throughout the year. Known as the â€˜Ganga of the Southâ€™. It rises from the Brahmagir range of Western Ghats. Main tributaries: Hemavati, Lokpawni, Shimsa. It is less seasonal than others as its upper catchment area receives rainfall during summer by the S.W monsoon and the lower catchment area during winter season by the retreating N.E. monsoon. Its 90% â€“ 95% irrigation and power production potential is already being harnessed.
* Swarnarekha River (395 km) and Brahmani (705 km) : Rises from Ranchi Plateau.
B. West Flowing Rivers in India
* Narmada River (1057 km) : Has only l/10th part in Gujarat. Rises in Amarkantak Plateau and flows into Gulf of Khambat. It forms the famous Dhuan Dhar Falls near Jabalpur. Main tributaries: Hiran, Burhner, Banjar, Shar, Shakkar, Tawa, etc.
* Tapti River (724 km) : Rises from Betul distt in MR Also known as twin or handmaid of Narmada. Main tributaries: Purna, Betul, Arunavati, Ganjal, etc.
* Sabarmati River (416 km) : Rises from Aravallis in Rajasthan.
* Mahi River (560 km) : Rises from Vindhyas in MR
* Luni River (450 km) : Rises from Aravallis. Also called Salt River. It is finally lost in the marshy grounds at the head of the Rann of Kuchchh.
* Sharavati is a west flowing river of the Sahyadris. It forms the famous Jog or Gersoppa or Mahatma Gandhi Falls (289 m), which is the highest waterfall in India.
Some rivers of India are not able to reach the sea and constitute inland drainage. Ghaggar (494 km) is the most important of such drainage.
It is a seasonal stream which rises on the lower slopes of the Himalayas and gets lost in the dry sands of Rajasthan near Hanumangarh. It is considered the old Saraswati of the Vedic times.
* The largest man-made lake in India is Indira Sagar Lake, which is the reservoir of Sardar Sarovar Project, Onkareshwar Project and Maheshwar Project in Gujarat-MP.
* Chilka Lake (Orissa) is the largest brackish water lake of India. Otherwise also, it is the largest lake of India.
* Wular Lake (J & K) is the largest fresh water lake of India. Dul Lake is also there in J & K.
* From Sambhar and Didwana Lake (Rajasthan), salt is produced.
* Other important lakes are Vembanad in Kerala and Kolleru & Pulicat in AP.
* The three important Gulfs in the Indian Territory are:
* Gulf of Kuchch (west of Gujarat) : Region with highest potential of tidal energy generation
* Gulf of Cambay or Gulf of Khambat (Gujarat) : Narmada, Tapti, Mahi and Sabarmati drain into it.
* Gulf of Mannar (south east of Tamil Nadu) : Asiaâ€™s first marine biosphere reserve.