12 Largest Rivers in India

India is considered a land of rivers as there are numerous rivers flowing to and fro across the country. The rivers in India have been divided into two - Himalayan Rivers (rivers that originate from the Himalayas) and Peninsular Rivers (rivers that originate in the Peninsula). Himalayan Rivers are perennial while Peninsular Rivers are rainfed. Here, in this article, we will talk about the major and the largest rivers in India. 

While some rivers are considered sacred by the Hindus, some are even worshipped in the form of gods and goddesses. Have a look at the largest rivers in India given below!

RiverTotal Length (km)
Indus3180 (1114 km in India)
Brahmaputra2900 (916 km in India)

1. Longest River in India: The Ganges - 2525 Km

River Ganges
Ganga is the longest river in India. Also known as the Ganges, it also the largest river of India. It is worshipped by the Hindus as Goddess Ganga. The river originates in the Western Himalayas and flows through the Gangetic plains before entering Bangladesh where it falls into the Bay of Bengal. Some of the prominent cities that are flanked by the river include Varanasi, Haridwar, Kanpur, Allahabad and Patna.

2. Godavari - 1465 Km

River Godavari
Godavari is the second-longest river in India which forms one of the largest river basins in the world. Other than that, it is considered sacred by the Hindus and is the second-largest mangrove formation in India. It is the longest river in South India and is popularly called as “Dakshina Ganga”. It originates in the Western Ghats near Trimbakeshwar in Maharashtra.

3. Yamuna - 1376 Km

River Yamuna
Yamuna, also called as Jamuna, originated from the Yamunotri glacier in the highest part of the Lower Himalayas in Uttarakhand. It is the longest tributary of River Ganges and it does not directly fall into the sea. The major states through which the river flows are Uttarakhand, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.

4. Narmada - 1312 Km

River Narmada
Narmada is the largest river of Peninsular India. It originates in the Amarkantak range of mountains in Madhya Pradesh. The river traverses the course of 1312 km where it passes across states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat. It eventually falls and merges into the Arabian Sea. It is also considered one of the holiest rivers by the Hindus and is worshipped as a Goddess. Besides, it supports rich wildlife and is the origin of several waterfalls.

5. Krishna - 1300 Km

River Krishna
Krishna is the fourth-longest river in India and a major source of irrigation and other water utilities in the Southern states of the country. The river originates in Mahabaleshwar and the delta is one of the most fertile in the region. Other than supporting rich wildlife, there are several dams built across the river in different cities to generate electricity and to provide water for drinking and irrigation purposes.

6. Brahmaputra - 916 Km

River Brahmaputra
Popularly known as the ‘Lifeline of Assam’, Brahmaputra is one of the most important rivers in the region. It originates in the Angsi glacier and is one of the most important sources of transportation in the state. The water from the river is also used for irrigation. The river enters from Arunachal Pradesh and then after traversing across different cities and states, it leaves through Bangladesh and China.

7. Mahanadi - 858 Km

River Mahanadi
Mahanadi River originates in the mountain streams of Eastern Ghats situated in Dhamtari district of Chhattisgarh. The world’s largest earthen dam called the Hirakund Dam is also built on this river. After Chhattisgarh, it flows into Odisha and eventually merges into the Bay of Bengal.

8. Kaveri - 800 Km

River Kaveri
River Kaveri is one of the holiest rivers in South India which forms the two quaint islands of Srirangapatna and Shivanasamudra. It originates near Kodagu in Karnataka, in the foothills of Western Ghats and runs through Karnataka and Tamil Nadu before it drains off into the Bay of Bengal. It is known as the lifeline of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu as it provides water for drinking, irrigation and other purposes. 

9. Tapti - 724 Km

River Tapti
Tapti river is one of the only three rivers that originate in Peninsular India and that runs from east to west. It rises in the Betul district and drains off into the Arabian Sea through Gulf of Khambat. It runs through Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat and has six tributaries. The river supports rich wildlife, especially in the Melghat forest and is considered holy and sacred by the Hindus.

10. Sutlej

River Sutlej
Sutlej is the easternmost tributary of the Indus river. It originates in the lake Rakshastal in Tibet and flows through Himachal Pradesh before entering Punjab. There are numerous hydroelectric plants on the river that are used to generate electricity. It eventually enters Pakistan, joins with Chenab and then merges with Indus.

11. Indus

River Indus
Indus River holds great historical and mythical significance for India. It was considered to be the birthplace of the Indus Valley Civilization and even the country name ‘India’ is derived from the same. The river starts its journey from the Tibetan plateau of the Kailash mountain range. It flows through Ladakh and enters Pakistan. Some of the tributaries of Indus river include Kabul, Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas and Sutlej etc.

12. Chambal

River Chambal
Chambal is a major tributary of Yamuna river. It originates in the Vindhya Range in Indore in Madhya Pradesh and runs across three major states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. Known to be one of the cleanest and unpolluted rivers in India, Chambal also supports rich and flourishing wildlife. It is also home to a diverse variety of marine animals. 

That was the list of the most popular and largest rivers of India. They are not only a major resource for the people but also holds immense cultural and religious significance for the people of India.

This post was published by Aqsa Aleem

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