list-of-major-indian-rivers
List of All Major Indian Rivers with their Tributaries and Locations
Wednesday | January 31, 2024

Rivers are an important part of the geography syllabus. Many defence entrance exams, such as the NDA, CDS, AFCAT, and other competitive exams, cover questions on the Indian river system. Thus, it becomes vital for candidates to know all major Indian rivers, their tributaries, and important locations such as the point of origin and end of a river. In today’s important article, Centurion Defence Academy will discuss all groups of Indian rivers, be they Himalayan rivers, Deccan rivers, coastal rivers, or rivers of the inland drainage basin. Apart from their importance in competitive exams, rivers are also beneficial in energy production, construction materials, as a food source, navigation and transport, and determining the political borders of countries. Read on to learn more about all the major Indian rivers, along with their tributaries and locations.

 

The Indus River System

 

The Indus River originates in Lake Manasarovar, located on the Tibetan Plateau in Tibet, an autonomous region of China. Consequently, the river flows through three countries: China, India, and Pakistan.

 

The Zanskar River is a left-bank tributary of the Indus River in Ladakh. Conversely, the Panjnad River is a left-bank tributary of the Indus River in the plains. In essence, the five major tributaries of the Indus River—Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas, and Sutlej—converge to form the Panjnad River.

 

Specifically, the Jhelum and Ravi rivers join the Chenab River, the Beas River merges with the Sutlej River, and the Sutlej and Chenab rivers unite to create the Panjnad River. Ultimately, the Panjnad River meets the Indus River at Mithankot in Pakistan.

 

The source of the Indus River is Lake Manasarovar on the Tibetan Plateau in Tibet, and its mouth is the Indus River Delta on the Arabian Sea. The total length of the Indus River is 3,180 km, with a length of 1,114 km in India.

 

While the Indus River has numerous right and left-bank tributaries, the five major tributaries—Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas, and Sutlej—also contribute to the formation of the Panjnad River.

 

Among the left-bank tributaries of the Indus River are the Zanskar River, Suru River, Soan River, Panjnad River, and Ghaggar-Hakra River. Conversely, the right-bank tributaries include the Shyok River, Hunza River, Gilgit River, Swat River, Kunar River, Kabul River, Kurram River, Gomal River, and Zhob River.

 

       Particulars                       Details
Name of the River  Indus River
Point of Origin Lake Manasarovar, Tibet
Mouth Indus River Delta, Arabian Sea
Total Length 3,180 km
Length in India 1,114 km
Countries China, India, Pakistan
Major Tributary in Ladakh Zanskar River
Major Tributary in Plains Panjnad River (formed by Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas, and Sutlej)
Formation of Panjnad Convergence of Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas, Sutlej Rivers
Meeting Point of Panjnad with Indus Mithankot in Pakistan
Right-Bank Tributaries Shyok, Hunza, Gilgit, Swat, Kunar, Kabul, Kurram, Gomal, Zhob Rivers
Left-Bank Tributaries Zanskar, Suru, Soan, Panjnad, Ghaggar-Hakra Rivers

 

Jhelum

 

The Jhelum River originates from the Verinag Spring in the Anantnag district of the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir, India. It is the westernmost of the five rivers in the Punjab region, with a total length of 725 km. The river flows through Srinagar and Wular Lake, and Dal Lake is also connected to the Jhelum River. The Neelum River is its largest tributary. Apart from being a tributary of the Indus River, it also joins the Chenab River. In simpler terms, it merges with the Chenab River at Trimmu in the Jhang District of the Faisalabad division in Pakistan.

 

   Particulars                             Details
Name of the River Jhelum River
Origin Verinag Spring in the Anantnag district of Jammu and Kashmir, India
Total Length 725 km
Flow Through Srinagar and Wular Lake
Connected Lakes Dal Lake
Major Tributary Neelum River
Confluence Point Trimmu in the Jhang District, Faisalabad division, Pakistan
Geographical Region Westernmost of the five rivers of the Punjab region
End Point Confluence with the Chenab River

 

Chenab

 

The Chenab River is another significant tributary of the Indus River system. It is formed by the confluence of two rivers, the Chandra and the Bhaga, at Tandi in Keylong, located in the Lahaul and Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh. Its length is 1,200 km. The source of the Chenab is said to be the Baralacha La Pass, a high mountain pass in the Zanskar range. The Bhaga River originates from Saryu Taal Lake, while the Chandra River originates from glaciers near Chandra Taal Lake. The Chenab River ultimately meets the Sutlej River, forming the Panjnad River at its mouth.

 

 Particulars                             Details
Name of the River Chenab River
Origin Lahaul and Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh
Confluence Chandra and Bhaga rivers at Tandi, Keylong
Total Length 1,200 km
Source Baralacha La Pass in the Zanskar range
Bhaga River Origin Saryu Taal Lake
Chandra River Origin Glaciers near Chandra Taal Lake
Mouth Confluence with Sutlej River, forming the Panjnad River

 

Ravi

 

The Ravi River, originating from Bara Bhangal in the Kangra District of Himachal Pradesh, serves as a significant tributary of the Indus River. Spanning a length of 720 kilometers, it holds historical importance as per the Vedas, where it was referred to as Iravati or Purushni. The renowned Battle of the Ten Kings took place along its banks. Cutting through the Pir Panjal and Dhauladhar ranges, the river eventually merges with the Chenab River before joining the Indus River. The Ujh River contributes as one of its tributaries, adding to the river’s hydrological significance in the region. The Ravi River’s course showcases the geographical diversity of the landscape, and its eventual confluence with the Chenab and Indus rivers underscores its role in the broader riverine system of the Indian subcontinent.

 

     Particulars                      Details
Name of the River Ravi River
Origin Bara Bhangal, Kangra District in Himachal Pradesh
Length 720 kilometers
Tributaries Ujh River (a significant tributary)
Historical Names Iravati or Purushni (as per Vedas)
Historical Event Battle of the Ten Kings fought on its banks
Mountain Ranges Pir Panjal and Dhauladhar ranges
Mouth Merges with the Chenab River

 

Beas

 

The Beas River originates from Beas Kund in Kullu, Himachal Pradesh, and flows for a length of 470 kilometers. As it courses through the region, it eventually meets the Sutlej River, and its confluence precedes its joint entry into the Indus River. Referred to as Vipasa or Argrikiya, the Beas River holds ecological significance as it is home to the Indus dolphin. This waterway not only contributes to the local biodiversity but also plays a crucial role in the larger river system of the Indian subcontinent.

 

     Particulars                     Details
Name of the River Beas River
Origin Beas Kund in Kullu, Himachal Pradesh
Length 470 kilometers
Mouth Joins the Sutlej River
Historical Names Vipasa or Argrikiya
Ecological Significance Home to the Indus dolphin

 

Sutlej

 

The Sutlej River, a vital tributary of the Indus River system, holds a significant position as the easternmost and longest among the five important tributaries of the Indus. Originating from Lake Rakshastal in the Tibet Autonomous Region, China, situated west of Lake Manasarovar and south of Mount Kailash, the river flows for a length of 1450 kilometers. It enters India through the Shipki La Pass, Himachal Pradesh.

 

As the Sutlej continues its course, it meets the Beas River in Tarn Taran district, Punjab, where the Beas River merges into it. Further downstream in the Bahawalpur district of Punjab, Pakistan, the Sutlej joins forces with the Chenab River. Together, these two rivers form the Panjnad, a significant confluence that ultimately meets the mighty Indus River.

 

   Particulars                                Details
Name of the River Sutlej River
Origin Lake Rakshastal in the Tibet Autonomous Region, China
Length 1450 kilometers.
Entry into India Enters India through the Shipki La pass, Himachal Pradesh.
Confluence with the Beas River Meets the Beas River in Tarn Taran district, Punjab, where the Beas River merges into it.
Confluence with the Chenab River Merges with the Chenab River in the Bahawalpur district of Punjab, Pakistan. The combined flow of Chenab and Sutlej forms the Panjnad, which eventually meets the Indus River.
Hydroelectric Project The Bhakra Nangal dam in the Bilaspur district of Himachal Pradesh.
Ecological Feature The Ropar Wetland in Punjab is situated on the banks of the Sutlej River.
Formation of Panjnad The confluence of the Sutlej and Chenab rivers results in the formation of Panjnad, which contributes to the collective flow into the Indus River.
Length and Longest Tributary Status With a length of 1450 kilometers, the Sutlej River holds the distinction of being the longest among the five important tributaries of the Indus River.
Easternmost Tributary The Sutlej River holds the distinction of being the easternmost among the five major Indus tributaries.

 

The Ganga River System

 

The Ganges, or the Ganga, is a significant Himalayan river formed by the confluence of two other Himalayan rivers, Alaknanda and Bhagirathi, at Devprayag in the Tehri Garhwal district of Uttarakhand. The Ganga River has a length of 2525 km and discharges into the Bay of Bengal.

 

Let’s delve into the two rivers that contribute to the origin of the Ganga River. The Bhagirathi river originates from Gaumukh, Gangotri in Uttarkashi district, Uttarakhand. In contrast, the Alaknanda River originates from the Satopanth glacier in Uttarakhand. These two rivers join at Devprayag and then flow as the Ganga River.

 

From a mythological perspective, the Bhagirathi River is considered the source stream for the Ganga River. However, from a hydrological standpoint, the Alaknanda River is regarded as the source stream. In conclusion, both rivers are equally vital in forming the Ganga River at Devprayag.

 

The Tehri Dam, the tallest dam in India, is constructed on the Bhagirathi River in Tehri Garhwal district, Uttarakhand.

 

The Alaknanda River has numerous tributaries, and their confluence is referred to as Prayag. The Saraswati River, a tributary of the Alaknanda, joins at Keshav Prayag near Mana village in Badrinath.

 

In the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand, there are five sacred confluences known as Panch Prayag. Here are the details:

 

  1. Vishnuprayag: Confluence of Alaknanda and Dhauliganga in Chamoli district, Uttarakhand.
  2. Nandaprayag: Confluence of Alaknanda and Nandakini in Chamoli district, Uttarakhand.
  3. Karnaprayag: Confluence of Alaknanda and Pindar in Chamoli district, Uttarakhand.
  4. Rudraprayag: Confluence of Alaknanda and Mandakini in Rudraprayag district, Uttarakhand.
  5. Devprayag: Confluence of Alaknanda and Bhagirathi in Tehri Garhwal district, Uttarakhand.

 

The left-bank tributaries of the Ganga River include Ramganga, Garra, Gomti, Tamsa, Ghaghara, Gandak, Burhi Gandak, Koshi, Mahananda, Brahmaputra, and Meghna.

 

The right-bank tributaries of the Ganga River are Yamuna, Tamsa (also known as Tons River), Karamnasa, Sone, Punpun, Falgu, Kiul, Chandan, Ajay, Damodar, and Rupnarayan.

 

    Particulars                                 Details
Name of the River Ganga River
Formation A significant Himalayan river was formed by the confluence of Alaknanda and Bhagirathi at Devprayag in Uttarakhand.
Length 2525 kilometers.
Mouth Bay of Bengal
Bhagirathi River Originates from Gaumukh, Gangotri in Uttarkashi district, Uttarakhand.
Alaknanda River Originates from the Satopanth glacier in Uttarakhand.

Panch Prayag (Confluences in Garhwal)

Vishnuprayag Alaknanda and Dhauliganga in Chamoli district, Uttarakhand.
Nandaprayag Alaknanda and Nandakini in Chamoli district, Uttarakhand.
Karnaprayag Alaknanda and Pindar in Chamoli district, Uttarakhand.
Rudraprayag Alaknanda and Mandakini in Rudraprayag district, Uttarakhand.
Devprayag Alaknanda and Bhagirathi in Tehri Garhwal district, Uttarakhand.
Left-Bank Tributaries of Ganga Ramganga, Garra, Gomti, Tamsa, Ghaghara, Gandak, Burhi Gandak, Koshi, Mahananda, Brahmaputra, and Meghna.
Right-Bank Tributaries of Ganga Yamuna, Tamsa (Tons River), Karamnasa, Sone, Punpun, Falgu, Kiul, Chandan, Ajay, Damodar, and Rupnarayan.

 

  • The Ganges River is known as the Padma in Bangladesh.

 

  • The Brahmaputra River is known as the Jamuna in Bangladesh.

 

  • When the Padma and Jamuna rivers meet, they form the Meghna.

 

  • The source of the Ramganga River is Dudhatoli Hill in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand.

 

  • The source of the Gomti River is Gomat Taal, Madho Tanda, Pilibhit, Uttar Pradesh.

 

  • The source of the Tamsa River is Maihar tehsil, Satna district, Kaimur Range, Madhya Pradesh.

 

The Brahmaputra River System:

 

The Brahmaputra is an important Himalayan river that originates from the Chemayungdung glacier, Manasarovar in Tibet. It is a transboundary river that flows through three countries, namely Tibet in China. Then, it enters India and, from there, it enters Bangladesh, eventually joining the Ganges delta.

 

The Brahmaputra river is known by different names in different regions. In Assam, it is known as Brahmaputra or Luit, while in Tibet, people call it Yarlung Tsangpo. In Arunachal Pradesh, it is known as the Dihang or Siang River, and in Bangladesh, it is referred to as the Jamuna.

 

The Brahmaputra river enters India through Gelling village, located in the Upper Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh. According to available data, the total length of the Brahmaputra river is 3,969 km. Majuli Island in Assam, the largest river island in the world, is also situated on the Brahmaputra river.

 

The left-bank tributaries of the Brahmaputra river include the Lhasa River, Nyang River, Parlung Zangbo, Lohit, Nao Dihing, Buri Dihing, Dangori, Disang, Dikhow, Jhanji, Dhansiri, Kolong River, Kopili, Bhorolu, Kulsi, and Krishnai. On the right bank, tributaries include Kameng/Jia Bhoroli, Manas, Beki, Raidak, Jaldhaka, Teesta, Subansiri, Jia Dhol, Simen, Pagladia, Sonkosh, and Gadadhar.

 

Particulars Details
Origin Chemayungdung glacier, Manasarovar, Tibet
Transboundary Countries China (Tibet), India, Bangladesh
Names Tibet – Yarlung Tsangpo; Assam – Brahmaputra/Luit; Arunachal Pradesh – Dihang/Siang; Bangladesh – Jamuna
Entry into India Gelling village, Upper Siang district, Arunachal Pradesh
Total Length 3,969 km
Largest River Island in the World Majuli Island, Assam (On Brahmaputra river)
Left-bank Tributaries Lhasa River, Nyang River, Parlung Zangbo, Lohit, Nao Dihing, Buri Dihing, Dangori, Disang, Dikhow, Jhanji, Dhansiri, Kolong River, Kopili, Bhorolu, Kulsi, Krishnai
Right-bank Tributaries Kameng/Jia Bhoroli, Manas, Beki, Raidak, Jaldhaka, Teesta, Subansiri, Jia Dhol, Simen, Pagladia, Sonkosh, Gadadhar
Alternate Name in Bangladesh (Brahmaputra) Known as Jamuna in Bangladesh
Confluence with Ganges (Brahmaputra) When it meets the Ganges, it forms the Meghna River in Bangladesh

 

Apart from these rivers, there are some other important rivers such as the Teesta River, the Barak River, the Godavari River, the Narmada River, the Krishna River, the Mahanadi river, and the Kaveri River.

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