Brief Intro: There are somewhat 200 rivers in India. The longest river is Ganga which is 2525 Km in length and smallest is Poisar river in Mumbai which is 7 KM in length. The seven holy rivers of India are Ganga, Saraswathi, Yamuna, Godavari, Sindhu, Kaveri and Narmada. All main rivers of India originate from following ranges:
- The Himalayan Ranges & The Hindu Kush Range (In North India)
- Vindhya and Satpura Ranges (in Central India)
- Sahyadri or Western Ghats (in western India)
Rivers plays a vital role in lives of many Indian. Not merely people utilize river water but worship them solely due to some divine powers. Rivers that flow from Himalayas carry vital nutrient water that supplies excellent habitat and food for many of the soil organisms and to Indian fields. They even play an important part in the water cycle behaving as drainage channels for surface water. Many exceptional plants and trees like Reeds and bulrushes grow by rivers. Animals like bear, antelopes use the river water for food & drink. Birds like duck & kingfishers eat small fish from the river. Many Indian Rivers have provided travel routes for commerce, exploration and recreation. Most importantly, rivers provides energy source to entire nation. They are the only source to power large Dams and other small hydroelectric plants with electricity.
Please Note: We have arranged rivers sequence in longest flowing distance (from start to end, covering two or three nations on its way). Below are the top 10 largest, Sacred and Important Rivers of India.
- Indus River – is one of the longest rivers in Asia which is 3200 KM in length. It originates from Tibetan Plateau (surrounding area of Lake Mansarovar), enters Indian territory of Jammu and Kashmir and shortly takes a turn to the south west direction to enter Pakistan and finally falls into the Arabian Sea. It has a large number of tributaries in both India and Pakistan and has a total length of about 3200 KM. The main tributaries of the Indus in India are:
Chenab – 960 kilometres
Jhelum – 813 kilometres
Ravi – 720 kilometres
Sutlej – 529 kilometres
Beas – 460 kilometres
- Brahmaputra River – is also commonly known as the only male river of India. The Brahmaputra originates from Angsi Glacier in Himalayas. The river is shorter than the Indus with a total of 2900 KM in length, and most of its route lies outside India. It flows from Himalayas, reach to Pi (Pe) in Tibet and after a long stretch enters Siang in Arunachal Pradesh and thereafter enters Bangladesh. In India, it flows through Arunachal Pradesh and Assam, and it is an important source for transportation and irrigation. The river is joined by several tributaries such as the Lohit, the Dibang, the Subansiri, the Jiabharali, the Dhansiri, the Manas, the Torsa, etc. Many of its offshoot rivers are worshiped in small village of India.
- Ganga River– In Hindu religion, the Ganga or Ganges is considered one of the most sacred river as it is visage of goddess known as Ganga. It is believed that bathing in the Ganga river eradicate all sins and help in Moksha. River flows through the nations of India and Bangladesh with total lenght of 2525 km. The Ganga is formed with the union of the Alaknanda River and Bhagirathi River and at Devprayag. The Bhagirathi rises from Gangotri Glacier, at Gaumukh in Himalayas. And Alaknanda from the foot of Naina Devi & Trishul Mountains. After flowing 250 KM through its narrow Himalayan gorge, the Ganga emerges from the mountains at Rishikesh and after that pilgrimage town of Haridwar. The main tributaries of the Ganga rivers are Yamuna, Gomati, Ram Ganga, Ghaghara, Son, Damodar and Sapt Kosi.
- Godavari River – originates from Brahmagiri Mountain in Nashik, Maharashtra. It is the second longest river in India and is commonly known as Dakshin (South) Ganga. The River is sacred to Hindus and many pilgrimage centers are there on the banks of this river from past thousands of years. It flows for 1,465 KM starting from the Deccan Plateau of Madhya Pradesh to Karnataka then turns southeast entering district of Andhra Pradesh until it splits into two watercourses and finally flow into the Bay of Bengal. Some of its tributaries are Manjira, Indravati River, Bindusara and Sabari. Some important city and town on its banks are Bhadrachalam, Nasik, Rajahmundry and Narsapur.
- Yamuna River – is also known as Jamuna which is the largest branch river of the Ganga. It travels a total length of 1,376 kilometers starting from Yamunotri Glacier in Uttarakhand and then travelling to state of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and later Delhi before merging with the Ganga River at a holy spot of Triveni Sangam in Allahabad. Yamuna is considered very important river as almost 58 million people of four states depend on the Yamuna waters. Like Ganga, the Yamuna River too is highly respected in Hinduism and worshipped as goddess Yamuna, throughout its route. The top cities of India like, Delhi, Noida, Mathura, Agra, Firozabad, Etawah, Hamirpur, Allahabad lie on its banks.
- Narmada River– is also known as Rewa, which is in central India and the fourth longest river in the Indian subcontinent with length of 1312KM. The origin of the Narmada is from Amarkantak hill in Anuppur District of Madhya Pradesh. It journey starts from Madhya Pradesh to Maharashtra and finishes at Arabian Sea in the Bharuch district of Gujarat. To Hindus the Narmada is one of the seven holy rivers of India and many hermit claims that the Narmada River is older than the river Ganga. Many important religious places and Ghats are their along the course of this river. Two main tributaries of Narmada, namely, Hallon and Banjar, flow through Kanha National Park (one of the best National Parks of Asia).
- Krishna River – is also known as Krishnaveni. The river is somewhat 1300 km in length which originates from Mahabaleswar (in Maharashtra) and flows to the state Karnataka before entering Andhra Pradesh and finally pours into the Bay of Bengal at Hamasaladeevi. River is also a major source of irrigation for Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh state. River most important tributary is the Tungabhadra River, which itself is formed by the Tunga and Bhadra rivers that originate in the Western Ghats. Other tributaries are Koyna, Bhima, Mallaprabha, Ghataprabha, Yerla, Warna, Dindi, Musi and Dudhganga rivers. Like other rivers Krishna too is considered holy by many Hindus and believed to eradicate all sins by taking a bath in this river.
- Mahanadi River – is a major river in East Central India. It is the largest river of Orissa state. The river start from Sihawa, in Chhattisgarh flows over Madhya Pradesh & Odisha state and finally joins the Bay of Bengal, covering total course of 858 kilometres. The Mahanadi is known for its devastating floods for much of Odisha state recorded history. Famous Hirakud Dam is built on this River. It is best known for its fertile soil and flourishing agriculture. The river carried more silt than any other river in the Indian subcontinent. The main branches of River Mahanadi are Seonath, Mand, Hasdeo, Ong, Jonk, Telen. The important cities based on the banks of this river are Sambalpur, Cuttack, Sonepur, Birmaharajpur, Subalaya, Kantilo, Boudh.
- Kaveri River– is also stated as Cauvery in English. The river origins from Talakaveri (Kodagu in the Western Ghats in Karnataka) and travels to the state of Tamil Nadu and finally empties at Bay of Bengal, covering total length of 765 KM. It has many tributaries including Kapila, Hemavati, Shimsha, Arkavathy, Honnuhole, Lakshmana Tirtha, Noyyal, Kabini, Lokapavani, Bhavani and Famous Amaravati. The river is an important source for an extensive irrigation system and for hydroelectric power. It served as the source of revenue in ancient kingdoms and today modern cities of South India. The cities of Bangalore and Mysore depend almost completely on the Kaveri river for their drinking water supply.
- Tapti River– is one of the important Rivers of peninsular India with a total length of around 724 KM. It begins its journey from eastern Satpura Range of southern Madhya Pradesh, and flows westward to Madhya Pradesh and then to Maharashtra and east Vidarbha regions of south Gujarat, before emptying into Arabian Sea, in the Surat District of Gujarat. The chief tributaries of the Tapti River are the Waghur, Mindhola, Girna, Panzara, Bori and Aner River. Major towns and cities along the river are Betul, Multai, Nepanagar, and Burhanpur in Madhya Pradesh; Bhusawal in Maharashtra and Surat & Songadh in Gujarat.
For your better understanding, above mentioned river locations, we have enclosed a river map of India with this post below.
Above are the 10 Major Rivers of India