Indian Geography / Indian River System
South Indian rivers are those rivers that are flowing in the peninsular India. The most important rivers of south India are Mahanadi,
Godavari, Cauvery, Krishna, Narmada and Tapti. All the major southern rivers of India drain into the Bay of Bengal except Narmada and Tapti or Tapi.
South Indian rivers are seasonal or ephemeral rivers and their source is mainly Monsoons. Only Cauvery is regarded as perennial river of south
India because it receives rains from both South-West as well as North-East monsoons.
Generally, the Peninsular rivers are called consequent rivers because here the topography is formed first and channels are formed next. These are old or
mature rivers having meandering course. The inflows in these rivers is less and Damming is relatively easier on South Indian rivers.
Major Rivers of Peninsular India
- Godavari river originates from Trimbak near Nasik. It is also called Vridha Ganga or Dakshin Ganga of India or Ganga of South India.
It is the biggest and longest river in South India and is the second largest river in India next only to river Ganga.
The total length of Godavari river is 1465 km.
- The catchment area of Godavari river is highest in Maharashtra having a share of 48.6%. The other states it covers are Telangana (18.8%), Madhya Pradesh (10.0%),
Chhattisgarh (10.9%), Odisha (5.7%), Andhra Pradesh (4.5%) and Karnataka (1.4%).
- The important left bank tributaries of Godavari are Pranahita, Indravati, Sabari, Sileru, etc. and important right bank tributaries are Pravara, Sindphana,
Manjira, Kinnerasani, etc. Rivers Wardha, Penganga and Wainganga confluence together to form Pranahita, which remains the largest tributary of Godavari.
- Beyond Rajahmundry, river Godavari splits into 2 streams named Vriddha Gautami and Vasishta. Again the Vriddha Gautami splits into two streams namely,
Gautami and Nilarevu. Vasishta branch splits into 2 streams namely, Vasishta and Vainateya.
- The source of origin of river Krishna is Mahabaleshwar in Maharashtra. The river runs through the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana
and Andhra Pradesh.
- The important left bank tributaries of Krishna are Bhima, Dindi, Musi, Paleru, Munneru, etc. and important right bank tributaries are Koyna,
Ghataprabha, Malaprabha, Tungabhadra, etc. Tungabhadra remains the largest tributary of Krishna.
- Krishna river joins Bay of Bengal at Hamsaladeevi in Andhra Pradesh.
- The source of Mahanadi river is Sihawa Range in Raipur district of Chhattisgarh and it drains into Bay of Bengal near False Point in Odisha.
The river flows through Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Odisha. The famous Hirakud Dam is located on Mahanadi river in Sambalpur, Odisha .
- The important left bank tributaries of Mahanadi are Hasdeo, Seonath, Ib, etc. and right bank tributaries are Jonk, Ong, Tel, which
is the largest tributary of Mahanadi.
River Cauvery or Kaveri
- The origin of Cauvery river is Tala Kaveri in Brahmagiri hills in Karnataka. It descends the plateau through a waterfall at
Shivasamudram in Karnataka. Kaveri river reaches the Bay of bengal in Kaveripattinam in Nagapattinam district of Tamil Nadu.
- Cauvery flows through the states of Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The upper catchment area of Kaveri river receives rainfall by
South-West monsoon in summer and the lower catchment area by North-East monsoon in winter. Hence, it is perennial in nature.
- The left bank tributaries of Kaveri are Harangi, Hemavati, Shimsha, Arkavati, Lokapavani, etc. The right bank tributaries are Lakshmana Tirtha,
Kabini, Suvarnavathi, Bhavani, Amravati, etc.
- It is the largest west flowing river in India. River Narmada has its source at Amarkantak plateau in Madhya Pradesh and it runs
through Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat.
- It flows through the rift valley between Vindhya and Satpura ranges and emerges into the plains in Gujarat and joins in the Gulf of Khambhat (part of
Arabian Sea) near Bharuch city of Gujarat.
- Hiran, Barna, Kolar, Choral, etc. are its right bank tributaries and Sher, Shakkar, Dudhi, Tawa (largest tributary of Narmada) are
its left bank tributaries. Aliabet island in Gujarat is the largest island formed by river Narmada.
- River Tapti is the second longest westward flowing river in India after Narmada. It is also known as "The Handmaid" or "The Twin"
of Narmada river.
- The origin of Tapti river lies near Multai in Betul Plateau of Madhya Pradesh in the Satpura ranges. It runs through Madhya Pradesh,
Maharashtra and Gujarat.
- Tributaries of Tapi river include Poorna (largest tributary of Tapi), Amaravati, Arunavati, Gomai, etc.
Other Important Rivers in Indian Peninsula
- In between Mahanadi delta and Hooghly Delta, there exits three important rivers namely, (i) Brahmani, which comes into existence by the
confluence of the Koel and Sankh rivers near Rourkela in Odisha, (ii) Baitarani and (iii) Subarnarekha, which forms the boundary between West
Bengal and Odisha. The steel city, Jamshedpur is located on the banks of river Subarnarekha.
- South of Cauvery in Tamil Nadu, Vaigai river is located. It is the southernmost major river in the South Indian rivers.
The city of Madurai is located on the banks of river Vaigai.
- Sabarmati river originates from the hills of Mewar in the Aravali Range and runs through the states of Rajasthan and Gujarat.
- Luni remains the largest river system of Rajasthan. The origin of Luni river lies in the west of Ajmer in the Aravalli ranges. Luni river
drains into the Rann of Kutch.
- Coastal Drainage System - Rivers Mandovi, Zuari and Rachol in Goa, Sharavati in Karnataka and Pamban and Idukki in Kerala are the western coastal rivers
which are rich in Hydro power potential. Harnessing them for irrigation is very difficult. These are parallel drainage systems.