The term drainage describes the river system of an area. TheThe term drainage describes the river system of an area. The
are drained by a single river system is called aare drained by a single river system is called a Drainage Basin.Drainage Basin.
Any elevated area, such as a mountain or an upland is knownAny elevated area, such as a mountain or an upland is known
as aas a Water Divide.Water Divide. The drainage systems of India are mainlyThe drainage systems of India are mainly
controlled by the broad relief features of the subcontinents.controlled by the broad relief features of the subcontinents.
Accordingly, the IndianAccordingly, the Indian
rivers are divided intorivers are divided into
two parts:two parts:
The Himalayan RiversThe Himalayan Rivers
The Peninsular riversThe Peninsular rivers
Let us discuss Himala-Let us discuss Himala-
yan riversyan rivers
The streams within a drainage basin formcertain patterns, depending on the slopeof land,
underlying rock structure as wellas the climatic conditions of the area.These
aredendritic,trellis,rectangular,andradial patterns. The dendritic patterndevelops where
the river channel followsthe slope of the terrain. The stream withits tributaries resembles
the branches ofa tree, thus the name dendritic. A riverjoined by its tributaries, at
approximatelyright angles, develops a trellis pattern. Atrellis drainage patterndevelops
wherehard and soft rocks exist parallel to eachother. A rectangular drainage
patterndevelops on a strongly jointed rocky
terrain. The radial pattern develops when streams flow in different
directions from a central peak or dome like structure.
A combination of several patterns may be found in the same drainage basin.
Rippling along rough surfaces and the beautiful meadows, the
numerous rivers that dot Indian mainland are central to our history as
well as to Indian mythology. The main rivers of the Himalayas group
are the Indus, the Ganga and the Brahmaputra. These rivers are both
snow-fed and rain-fed and therefore they are flow through so many
year. Himalayan rivers discharge about 70% of
their inflow into the sea. This includes about
5% from central Indian rivers. They join the
Ganga and drain into the Bay of Bengal.
Let us discuss about main RIVERS OF
The major Himalayan rivers are the Indus, the Ganga and the Brahmaputra.
These rivers are long, and are joined by many large and important
tributaries. A river along with its tributaries may be called a river system.
It has believed by the early Tibetans that this forceful and full river that guarded
the frontiers of united India rises from the lake Mansarovar in Tibet. A few
expeditions later, it was discovered that the Indus actually originates a few
kilometers north of lake Mansarovar and together with it arise the Brahmaputra
and the river Sutlej, through Mansarovar. The four rivers that separated from this
area were described as rising out of certain animals mouths, thereby ascribing the
qualities to the river. The Pakshu went westward in the beginning and then came
out of a horse’s mouth to the east to be called the Brahmaputra. The Sita went
southwards in the beginning and then came out of a lion’s mouth to the north to be
called the river Sindhu. The Ganga came out of an elephant’s mouth and the
Karnali from a peacock’s mouth.
Derivation Of The Name - Indus
The lion river, the Indus derives its name from the Sanskrit word, Sindhu, which means a
large water body, a sea or an ocean. In Greek, it is called “Sinthos” and in Latin, the
“Sindus”. The name gradually came to represent the people who lived beyond it and the
name Hindus was born. It took less time to derive the name - Indus gave people a lot more.
The Ganges has many names associated with its many roles in SanskritThe Ganges has many names associated with its many roles in Sanskrit
mythology. Bhagiratha himself is the source of the name Bhagirathi (ofmythology. Bhagiratha himself is the source of the name Bhagirathi (of
Bhagiratha), which is its initial stream, but is also another name for theBhagiratha), which is its initial stream, but is also another name for the
Hooghly. At one point, Bhagiratha went too close to the sage Jahnu'sHooghly. At one point, Bhagiratha went too close to the sage Jahnu's
meditation site, and the disturbed hermit immediately gulped up all the waters.meditation site, and the disturbed hermit immediately gulped up all the waters.
Eventually, after more persuasion from Bhagiratha, the sage yielded the waters,Eventually, after more persuasion from Bhagiratha, the sage yielded the waters,
but Ganges retained the name "Jahnavi“. Water from the Ganga has thebut Ganges retained the name "Jahnavi“. Water from the Ganga has the
recursive property that any water mixed with even the minutest quantity ofrecursive property that any water mixed with even the minutest quantity of
Ganga water becomes Ganga water, and inherits its healing and other holyGanga water becomes Ganga water, and inherits its healing and other holy
properties. Also, despite its many impurities, Ganga water does not rot or stinkproperties. Also, despite its many impurities, Ganga water does not rot or stink
if stored for several days.if stored for several days.
The Glacier, a vast expanse of ice five miles by fifteen, at the foothills of the Himalayas
(14000 ft) in Northern Uttaranchal is the source of Bhagirathi, which joins with
Alaknanda to form Ganga at the craggy canyon-carved town of Devprayag. Interestingly,
the sources of Indus and the Brahmaputra are also geographically fairly close; the former
goes through Himachal Pradesh and fans out through Punjab and Sindh (Pakistan) into
the Arabian Sea. The latter courses for most of its tremendous length under various
names through Tibet/China, never far from the Nepal or Indian borders, and
The Course Of River Ganges & Its Tributries
then takes a sharp turn near the northeastern tip of India, gathers momentum through Assam
before joining the major stream of the Ganga near Dacca in Bangladesh to become the mighty
Padma, river of joy and sorrow for much of Bangladesh.
From Devprayag to the Bay of Bengal and the vast Sundarbans Delta, the Ganga flows some
1,550 miles, passing and giving life to some of the most populous cities of India, including
Kanpur, Allahabad, Varanasi, Patna, and Kolkatta. Dacca, the capital of Bangladesh is on a
tributary of the Brahmaputra, just before it joins the Ganga to form Padma. A large number of
tributaries join and flow from the Ganges to drain the Northern part of India and Bangladesh.
One of the great rivers of Asia, the Brahmaputra commences its 3,000-km journey to the Bay
of Bengal from the slopes of Kailash in western Tibet. As Tibet's great river, the Tsangpo,
transverses east across the high-altitude Tibetan plateau north of the Great Himalayan
Range, carving out myriad channels and sandbanks on its way. As it tumbles from the
Himalayan heights towards the plains of the subcontinent it twists back on itself, cutting a
deep and still unnavigated gorge, until finally turning south it emerges in Arunachal Pradesh
as the Dihong. Just beyond Pasighat, it meets the Dibang and Lohit where it finally becomes
There are many mythological stories on Brahmaputra. But the most popular and sacred one is about the
river's birth in 'Kālikā Purāna'. It describes how Parashurama, one of the ten incarnations of Lord
Vishnu, got rid of his sin of murdering his own mother with an axe (or Parish) by taking bath in this
sacred river. On strict order from his father Jamadagni (who had suspected his wife Renuka of adultery),
Parashurām had to murder his own mother by severing her head with an axe. As a result of this nefarious
act, the axe got stuck to his hand and he was unable to take it off his hand. On advice from sages, he
started on a pilgrimage and ultimately reached the place, which is presently known as Parashurām
Kunda (about 25 km north of Tezu in in Arunāchal Pradesh). The story says that the mighty river was
then confined to a Kind (or Kunda) or a small lake surrounded by hills. Parashurām cut down the hills on
one side to release the sacred water for the benefit of the common people. By this act, Parashurām’s axe
came out of his hand to his great relief and he knew that he had been exonerated from his sin.
The main water divide in Peninsular India isformed by the Western Ghats,
which runs fromnorth to south close to the western coast.Mostof the major
rivers of the Peninsula such asthe Mahanadi, the Godavari, the Krishna
andthe Kaveri flow eastwards and drain into theBay of Bengal. These rivers
make deltas attheir mouths. There are numerous smallstreams flowing west
of the Western Ghats.The Narmada and the Tapi are the only longrivers,
which flow west and make esturies.Thedrainage basins of the peninsular
rivers arecomparitevely small in size.
The Narmada rises in the Amarkantak hillsin Madhya Pradesh. It flows towards the westin
a rift valley formed due to faulting. On itsway to the sea, the Narmada creates
manypicturesque locations. The ‘Marble rocks’,near Jabalpur where the Narmada
flowsthrough a deep gorge, and the ‘Dhuadharfalls’ where the river plunges over steep
rocks,are some of the notable ones.
All the tributaries of the Narmada are veryshort and most of these join the main streamat
right angles. The Narmada basin covers partsof Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat.
The Tapi rises in the Satpura ranges, in the Betul district of Madhya Pradesh. It also flows
in a rift valley parallel to the Narmada but it is much shorter in length. Its basin covers
parts of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra.
The coastal plains between western ghats and the Arabian sea are very narrow. Hence , the
coastal rivers are short. The main west flowing rivers are Sabarmati, Mahi ,Bharathpuzha
and Periyar. Find out the states in which these rivers drain the water.
The Godavari is the largest Peninsular river.It rises from the slopes of the Western
Ghatsin the Nasik district of Maharashtra. Itslength is about 1500 km.It drains into theBay
of Bengal. Its drainage basin is also thelargest among the peninsular rivers.Thebasin covers
parts of Maharashtra (about 50per cent of the basin area lies in Maharashtra),Madhya
Pradesh, Orissa and AndhraPradesh. The Godavari is joined by a numberof tributaries
such as the Purna, the Wardha,the Pranhita, the Manjra, the Wainganga andthe
Penganga.The last three tributaries arevery large. Because of its length and thearea it
covers, it is also known as the‘Dakshin Ganga’.
The Mahanadi rises in the highlands of Chhattisgarh. It flows through Orissa to reach the
Bay of Bengal. The length of the river is about 860 km. Its drainage basin is shared by
Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, and Orissa.
Rising from a spring near Mahabaleshwar, the Krishna flows for about 1400 km and
reaches the Bay of Bengal. The Tungabhadra, the Koyana, the Ghatprabha, the Musi and
the Bhima are some of its tributaries. Its drainage basin is shared by Maharashtra,
Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
The Kaveri rises in the Brahmagri range of the Western Ghats and it reaches the Bay of
Bengal in south of Cuddalore, in Tamil Nadu. Total length of the river is about 760 km.
Its main tributaries are Amravati, Bhavani, Hemavati and Kabini. Its basin drains parts of
Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
Dal Lake (Hindi: डल झील) is a lake in Srinagar, the summer capital of the northernmost Indian
state of Jammu and Kashmir. The urban lake, which is the second largest in the state, is integral to
tourism and recreation in Kashmir and is nicknamed the "Jewel in the crown of Kashmir"or
"Srinagar's Jewel".The lake is also an important source for commercial operations in fishing and
water plant harvesting.
The shore line of the lake, about 15.5 kilometres (9.6 mi), is encompassed by a boulevard lined with
Mughal era gardens, parks, houseboats and hotels. Scenic views of the lake can be witnessed from
the shore line Mughal gardens, such as Shalimar Bagh and Nishat Bagh built during the reign of
Mughal Emperor Jahangir) and from houseboats cruising along the lake in the colourful shikaras
. During the winter season, the temperature sometimes reaches −11 °C(12 °F), freezing the lake.
The lake covers an area of 18 square kilometres (6.9 sq mi) and is part of a natural wetland
which covers 21.1 square kilometres (8.1 sq mi), including its floating gardens. The floating
gardens, known as "Rad" in Kashmiri, blossom with lotus flowers during July and August.
The wetland is divided by causeways into four basins; Gagribal, Lokut Dal, Bod
Dal and Nagin(although Nagin is also considered as an independent lake). Lokut-dal and
Bod-dal each have an island in the centre, known as Rup Lank (or Char Chinari) and Sona
At present, the Dal Lake and its Mughal gardens, Shalimar Bagh and the Nishat Bagh on
its periphery are undergoing intensive restoration measures to fully address the serious
eutrophication problems experienced by the lake. Massive investments of around US $275
million (Rs 1100 crores) is being made by the Government of India to restore the lake to
its original splendour.
The lake covers an area of 18 square kilometres (6.9 sq mi) and is part of a natural wetland which
covers 21.1 square kilometres (8.1 sq mi), including its floating gardens. The floating gardens, known
as "Rad" in Kashmiri, blossom with lotus flowers during July and August. The wetland is divided by
causeways into four basins; Gagribal, Lokut Dal, Bod Dal and Nagin(although Nagin is also considered
as an independent lake). Lokut-dal and Bod-dal each have an island in the centre, known as Rup
Lank (or Char Chinari) and Sona Lank respectively.
At present, the Dal Lake and its Mughal gardens, Shalimar Bagh and the Nishat Bagh on its
periphery are undergoing intensive restoration measures to fully address the seriouseutrophication
problems experienced by the lake. Massive investments of around US $275 million (Rs 1100 crores)
is being made by the Government of India to restore the lake to its original splendour.
Loktak Lake, the largest freshwater lake in India, also called the only Floating lake in the
world due to the floating phumdis (heterogeneous mass of vegetation, soil, and organic
matters at various stages of decomposition) on it, is located
near Moirang in Manipur state, India. The etymology of Loktak is Lok = "stream"
and tak = "the end". The Keibul Lamjao National Park, which is the last natural refuge of
the endangered sangai or Manipur brow-antlered deer (Rucervus eldi eldi), one of three
subspecies of Eld's Deer, covering an area of 40 km2
(15 sq mi), is situated in the
southeastern shores of this lake and is the largest of all the phumdis in the lake.
Rivers have been of fundamental importance throughout theRivers have been of fundamental importance throughout the
human history. Water from the rivers is a basic natural resource,human history. Water from the rivers is a basic natural resource,
essential for various human activities . Therefore , the river banksessential for various human activities . Therefore , the river banks
have attracted settlers from ancient times. These settlements havehave attracted settlers from ancient times. These settlements have
now become big cities.now become big cities.
Using rivers for irrigation , navigation , hydro-power generation isUsing rivers for irrigation , navigation , hydro-power generation is
of special significance – particularly to a country like India , whereof special significance – particularly to a country like India , where
agriculture is the major source of livelihood of the majority of itsagriculture is the major source of livelihood of the majority of its
The growing domestic, municipal, industrial land agricultural demand for water from
rivers naturally affects the quality of water. As a result, more and more water is being
drained out of the rivers reducing their volume. On the other hand, a heavy load of
untreatedsewage and industrial effluents are emptied into the rivers. This affects not only the quality
of water but also the self-cleansing capacity of the river. For example, given the adequate
stream flow, the Ganga water is able to dilute and assimilate pollution loads within 20 km
of large cities. But the increasing urbanisation and industrialisation do not allow it to
happen and the pollution level of many rivers has been rising. Concern over rising
pollution in our rivers led to the launching of various action plans to clean the rivers. Have
you heard about such action plans? How does our health get affected by polluted river
water? Think about “ life of human beings without fresh water” Arrange a debate on this
topic in the class.