Peninsular Rivers




Peninsular Rivers:

  • The rivers in south India are called the Peninsular rivers.
  • The Western Ghats are the source of the majority of these rivers.
  • These are seasonal rivers. They have a large seasonal variation in water volume because they are solely fed by rain. These rivers run through valleys with steep gradients.
  • The peninsular rivers are classified according to their flow in a particular direction.
    1) East flowing rivers
    2) West flowing rivers

1. East flowing rivers/ Rivers meeting the Bay of Bengal

a) Mahanadi River 

  • The Mahanadi River rises near Sihawa in the Raipur district of Chattisgarh and flows through Odisha. It stretches for about 851- 860 kilometres.
  • Its major tributaries are the Seonath, Telen, Sandur, and Ib.
  • The Mahanadi's main stream is divided into several distributaries, including Paika, Birupa, Chitartala, Genguti, and Nun. All these distributaries form the Delta of Mahanadi which is one of the largest deltas in India.
  • Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, and Odisha all share its drainage basin.

b) Godavari River 

  • Godavari is the longest river (1,465 km) with an area of 3.13 lakh km2 among the Peninsular rivers. It is also called Vridha Ganga.
  •  It rises from the slopes of the Western Ghats in Nasik district of Maharashtra.
  • The basin includes parts of Maharashtra (about 50 per cent of the basin area lies in Maharashtra), Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, and Andhra Pradesh.
  • The Godavari is joined by several tributaries, including the Purna, Wardha, Pranhita,Pranitha, Indravati, Tal, and Salami, Manjra, Wainganga, and Penganga. The last three tributaries are massive.
  • The river near Rajahmundry is divided into two channels, Vasistha and Gautami, and forms one of India's largest deltas.
  • Kolleru, a fresh water lake, is located in the Godavari deltaic region.
  • It is also known as the Dakshin Ganga due to its length and the area it covers.

c) Krishna River 

  • The Krishna River originates from a spring in Mahabaleshwar, Maharashtra's Western Ghats.
  • It has a length of 1,400 kilometres and an area of 2.58 lakh square kilometres.
  • It is the Peninsular's second longest river after Godavari.
  • The major tributaries of this river are the Bhima, Peddavagu, Musi, Koyna, Ghatprabha and Thungabhadra.
  • It runs through Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh before joining the Bay of Bengal at Hamasaladeevi.

d) Kaveri River 

  • The river Kaveri originates in the Kudagu hills of Karnataka at Talakaveri. It is 800 kilometres long. The river kaveri is called Dhakshin Ganga or Ganga of south.  
  • The river splits twice in Karnataka, forming the sacred islands of Srirangapatnam and Sivasamudram.
  • The Kaveri flows through a series of twisted wild gorges as it enters Tamil Nadu until it reaches Hogenakkal Falls and flows through a straight, narrow gorge near Salem.
  • The Kaveri River splits at Srirangam Island into two channels, the Coleroon and the Kaveri.
  • Amravati, Bhavani, Hemavati, and Kabini are its major tributaries. Parts of Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu are drained by its basin.
  • Finally, at Poompuhar, it empties into the Bay of Bengal.

2. West flowing rivers/Rivers meeting the Arabian Sea

a) Narmada River

  • This river originates in Madhya Pradesh's Amarkantak Plateau at an elevation of approximately 1057 m and flows for distance of about 1,312 km. It covers an area of 98,796 square kilometres and forms a 27-kilometer-long estuary before emptying into the Arabian Sea via the Gulf of Cambay.
  • It is the largest of Peninsular India's west-flowing rivers.
  • Burhner, Halon, Heran, Banjar, Dudhi, Shakkar, Tawa, Barna, and Kolar are its major tributaries.
  • The Narmada creates many picturesque locations on its way to the sea. Some of the most notable are the 'Marble rocks' near Jabalpur, where the Narmada flows through a deep gorge, and the 'Dhuadhar falls,' where the river plunges over steep rocks.

b) Tapti River 

  • With a length of about 724 kilometres, the Tapti is one of Peninsular India's major rivers. It has a total area of 65,145 square kilometres.
  • Tapti river rises near Multai tank in Madhya Pradesh's Betul district at an elevation of about 752 m.
  • It flows in a rift valley parallel to the Narmada, but it is much shorter in length. Its basin includes parts of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, and Maharashtra.
  • It is one of only three rivers in Peninsular India that flows east to west, the others being the Narmada and the Mahi.
  • The major tributaries are Vaki, Gomai, Arunavati, Aner, Nesu, Buray, Panjhra, and Bori.
  • It empties into the Arabian Sea through the Gulf of Cambay.


Do you know?

The coastal rivers in Kerala have long extending backwaters near their mouths. These water bodies are locally known as ‘Kayals’. 


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The Chola king constructed a dam on the river Kaveri in the 2nd century A.D. near Tiruchirapalli and started irrigation in this deltaic region. Till today, the dam and its canals are operational.


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The Narmada river conservation mission has been undertaken by the government of Madhya Pradesh by a scheme named Namami Devi Narmade. 


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The river Kaveri makes the second biggest waterfall in India, known as Shivasamudram Falls. The hydroelectric power generated from the falls is supplied to Mysuru, Bengaluru and the Kolar Gold Field.


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71 per cent of the world’s surface is covered with water, but 97 per cent of that is salt water. Of the 3 per cent that is available as freshwater, three quarters of it is trapped as ice. 


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Jog Falls, also called Gersoppa Falls, cataract (a large waterfall) of the Sharavati River, western Karnataka state, southwestern India. The Jog Falls are located 18 miles (29 km) upstream from Honavar at the river's mouth on the Arabian Sea.

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