Ganga, Indus & Brahmaputra – Himalayan Rivers

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Drainage Systems Based on Origin

Himalayan Rivers

  • Those are Perennial rivers
  • The Indus river, the Ganga river, the Brahmaputra river and their tributaries.

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Peninsular Rivers

  • Those are NonPerennial rivers
  • Mahanadi, the Godavari, the Krishna, the Cauvery, the Narmada and the Tapi and their tributaries.

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Himalayan Rivers

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Based on Orientation to the Sea

Bay of Bengal Drainage

  • Rivers that drain into Bay of Bengal.
  • They are East flowing rivers
  • 77% of the drainage area of the country is oriented towards Bay of Bengal
  • 90% of the water drains into the Bay of Bengal

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Arabian Sea Drainage

  • Rivers that drain into Arabian sea
  • They are West flowing rivers.
  • 23% of the drainage area of the country is oriented towards Arabian sea
  • Less than 10% of the water drained into the Arabian Sea

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Himalayan River Systems

  • The Indus river, the Ganga river and the Brahmaputra river comprise the Himalayan river systems.
  • Himalayan Rivers existed even before the formation of Himalayas (Antecedent Drainage)
  • They were flowing into the Tethys Sea.
  • Himalayan Rivers had their source in the now Tibetan region.
  • The deep gorges of Indus rive, Satluj river, Brahmaputra river etc. indicate that these rivers are older than the Himalayas.
  • They continued to flow throughout the building phase of the Himalayas
  • Their banks rising steeply while the beds went lower and lower due to vertical erosion
  • In upper reaches (Youthful stage) they form Gorges, V-shaped valleys, rapids, waterfalls, truncated spurs etc.
  • In plain areas or middle part (Mature stage) they form depositional features like flat valleys, ox-bow lakes, flood plains, braided channels, and deltas near the river mouth.
  • Over the plains, Himalayan Rivers display a strong meandering tendency and shift their courses frequently

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Evolution of the Himalayan River System

  • A mighty river called Shiwalik or Indo-Brahma traversed the entire longitudinal extent of the Himalaya from Assam to Punjab and onwards to Sind
  • It discharged into the Gulf of Sind near lower Punjab
  • It was during the Miocene period some 5-24 million years ago.
  • Evidences – The remarkable continuity of the Shiwalik and its lacustrine origin and alluvial deposits consisting of sands, silt, clay, boulders and conglomerates support this viewpoint.
  • It is opined that in due course of time Indo–Brahma river was dismembered into three main drainage systems
    1. Indus river and its five tributaries in the western part;
    2. Ganga river and its Himalayan tributaries in the central part
    3. Stretch of the Brahmaputra river in Assam and its Himalayan tributaries in the eastern part.
  • The dismemberment was probably due to the Pleistocene upheaval in the western Himalayas
  • It includes the uplift of the Potwar Plateau (Delhi Ridge)
  • Potwar Plateau acted as the water divide between the Indus river and Ganga river drainage systems.
  • Malda gap is the area between the Rajmahal hills and Meghalaya plateau
  • It diverted the Ganga river and the Brahmaputra river systems to flow towards the Bay of Bengal.
  • During the mid-pleistocene period it came into excessed

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Indus River

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Indus River

  • India got her name from Indus river.
  • Source – Lake Manasarovar (5180 m) of Kailas Range, Tibet
  • Length is about 2,880 km
  • Right Tributaries – Shyok, Hunza, Gilgit, Kabul, Kurram, Gomal
  • Left Tributaries – Zanskar, Suru, Soan, Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas, Sutlej, Panjnad
  • Indus river is joined by Dhar River near Indo-China border

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Right Bank Tributaries of Indus River

Shyok River

  • It mean The River of Death
  • Source –  Rimo Glacier
  • Length – 550 km
  • Shyok River joins Indus river at Keris, to the east of the town of Skardu
  • Statue of Maitreya Buddha facing down the Shyok River
  • Tributaries – Chang Chen Mo, Galwan, Nubra, Saltoro

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Hunza River

  • Principal river of Gilgit–Baltistan region.

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Gilgit River

  • Source –  Shandur Lake
  • Gilgit river joins the Indus River at junction point of three mountains ranges near town of Juglot

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Kabul River

  • Source – Hindu Kush,  Afghanistan
  • Joins Indus river near Attock

 

Gomal River

  • Source – Katawaz Region, Afghanistan

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Indus river
Manasarovar lake

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Left Bank Tributaries of Indus River

Zanskar River

  • Zanskar river joins the Indus river near “Nimmu” in Ladakh

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Suru River

  • Source – Panzella glacier, Pensi La Kargil
  • Join with the Indus River at Nurla
  • Kargil town is situated on the banks of it
  • A branch of the ancient Silk Road ran alongside the Suru River

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Jhelum River (Vitasta / Hydaspes)

  • Source Verinag Spring in the south-eastern part of the Kashmir Valley
  • Jhelum river flows northwards into Wular Lake
  • It forms steep-sided narrow gorge through Pir Panjal Range below Baramula.
  • Jhelum river forms the IndiaPakistan boundary for 170 km
  • It joins the Chenab at Trimmu.
  • Kishanganga, is a tributary of Jhelum river.

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Chenab River (Chandrabhaga River)

  • SourceBara Lacha Pass, Himachal Pradesh
  • Chenab river formed by the confluence of two rivers, Chandra and Bhaga.

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Ravi River (Iravati )

  • SourceKullu hills near Rohtang Pass, Kangra district, Himachal Pradesh.
  • Ravi river debouches into the Chenab a little above Rangpur
  • Ujh is a tributary of Ravi river

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Beas River (Vipasa)

  • Source – Beas Kund, near Rohtang Pass, Himachal Pradesh
  • Beas river meets the Satluj river at Harike in Punjab.
  • It lies entirely within the Indian territory
  • Beas river marks the eastern-most border of Alexander the Great’s conquests

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Sutlej River (Shatadrum)

  • SourceManasarovar-Rakas Lakes in Tibet at a height of 4,570 m within 80 km of the source of the Indus river.
  • Tibetan name Langqên Zangbo mean Elephant River
  • Sutluj river forms the boundary between India and Pakistan for nearly 120 km.

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Panjnad River

  • Jhelum and Ravi join Chenab, Beas joins Sutlej, and then Sutlej and Chenab join to form Panjnad 10 miles north of Uch Sharif in Muzaffar Garh district
  • Length – 71 km
  • Sources – Chenab River, Sutlej, Ravi River, Jhelum River, Beas River
  • Panjnad river joins the Indus river a few kilometres above Mithankot.

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Indus Water Treaty

  • Water-distribution treaty between India and Pakistan, brokered by the World Bank
  • Signed in Karachi on Sept 19, 1960 by Jawaharlal Nehru and President of Pakistan Ayub Khan
  • Eastern rivers of India – the Beas, the Ravi and the Sutlej given to India
  • Western rivers of India – the Indus river, the Chenab and the Jhelumgiven to Pakistan
  • India can use nearly 20% of the total water carried by the Indus river system

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indus river ganga river brahmaputra river Himalayan river

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Ganga River

  • Source – Gangotri glacier (7,010 m), Uttar Kashi District, Uttarakhand
  • Lenth is 2,525 km in India
  • Alaknanda River joins Bhagirathi river at Devaprayag.
  • From Devapryag the river called as Ganga river.
  • Ganga river enters the plains at Haridwar
  • Ganga river is one of the most polluted river of the world.
  • Pollution threatens many fish species and amphibian species and the endangered Ganga river dolphin (Blind Dolphin).
  • Near Rajmahal Hills it turns to the south-east.
  • At Farraka, Ganga river bifurcates into Bhagirathi-Hugli in West Bengal and Padma-Meghna in Bangladesh
  • Brahmaputra river joins Padma-Meghna in Bangladesh.
  • Gangetic dolphin is the National Water Animal of India
  • Left Tributaries – Alaknanda, Ramganga, Gomti, Ghaghara, Gandak, Kosi, Mahananda
  • Right Tributaries – Yamuna river, Tamsa river, Son, Punpun

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Alaknanda River

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Alaknanda River

  • Source – Satopanth Glacier
  • Several rivers in the Garhwal region merge with the Alaknanda river at places called Prayag or ‘holy confluence of rivers
    • Vishnuprayag – met by the Dhauliganga River
    • Nandaprayag – met by the Nandakini River
    • Karnaprayag – met by the Pindar River
    • Rudraprayag – met by the Mandakini or Kali ganga
    • Devprayag – meets the Bhagirathi River

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Yamuna River

  • Largest and the most important tributary
  • Source – Yamnotri glacier (6330 m) Bandarpunch Peak in the Garhwal region, Uttarakhand
  • Length – 1,376 km
  • Yamuna river unites with Ganga river near Triveni Sangam, Allahabad.
  • Its main affluent in the upper reaches is the Tons which also rises from the Bandarpunch glacier.
  • Tons river joins Yamuna river below Kalsi before the latter leaves the hills.
  • Left bank tributaries – Hindon, Sharda, Giri, Rishiganga, Hanuman Ganga, Sasur Khaderi
  • Right bank tributariesChambal, Betwa, Ken, Sindh, Tons

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Important Tributaries of Yamuna River

Tons River

  • Source – Bandarpunch, Uttarakhand
  • It joins Yamuna river at Dehradun, Uttarakhand
  • Length – 150 km

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Betwa River

  • SourceVindhyan Range, Bhopal, MP
  • Betwa river joins Yamuna river in Hamirpur, Uttar Pradesh
  • Runs over the Malwa Plateau

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Ken River

  • SourceKaimur Range, Vindhya Range, MP
  • Ken river joins in Yamuna river near Chila, UP

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Chambal river

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Chambal River

  • SourceJanapav Hills (700 m), Vindhyan Range, MP
  • Chambal river flows through the Malwa Plateau.
  • It joins Yamuna river in Etawah district of Uttar Pradesh.
  • Chambal river flows much below its banks due to severe gully erosion.
  • Chambal Valley, giving rise to badland topography.
  • Keoladeo National Park is supplied with water from Chambal river irrigation project.
  • Left tributary – Banas, Mej
  • Right tributary – Parbati, Kali Sindh, Shipra

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Important tributary of the Chambal river

Banas River

  • SourceAravalli Range
  • Banas river joins the Chambal river on Rajasthan – Madhya Pradesh border near Sawai Madhopur.

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Shipra River

  • Source – Kakri Bardi Hills
  • Kumbh Mela takes place on Ujjain river-side ghats

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Other Right Bank Tributaries of Ganga River

Son River

  • Source –  Amarkantak Plateau.
  • Son river joins Ganga river near Danapur in Patna, Bihar.
  • Tributaries – Ghaghar, Johilla, Gopad, Rihand, Kanhar and North Koel.

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Damodar river

  • SourcrChotanagpur plateau
  • Flows through a rift valley.
  • Tributaries –  Barakar, Konar, Bokaro, Haharo etc.
  • Barakar is the most important tributary of the Damodar.
  • Damodar valley is called “the Ruhr of India”.
  • It called ‘Sorrow of Bengal
  • It joins the Hugli River 48 km below Kolkata.

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Left Bank Tributaries of The Ganga River

  • These rivers originate in the Himalayas.

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Ramganga River

  • Source – Namik Glacier, Garhwal, Uttarakhand
  • It enters the Ganga Plain near Kalagarh.
  • It joins the Ganga river at
  • Ganga Dassahra is organised on its banks near Bareilly.

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Ghaghra River

  • SourceMapchachungo Glacier, Manasarovar, Tibet
  • Ghaghra river is a trans-Himalayan river.
  • It known as the Karnaili river in Western Nepal.
  • Tributaries – Kai or Sarda, Sarju (Ayodhya is located on its bank), Rapti
  • Ghaghra river joins the Ganga river a few km downstream of Chhapra in Bihar.
  • It has a high flood frequency and has shifted its course several times.

 

Important Tributary of Ghaghara River

Kali River

  • It rises in the high glaciers of trans-Himalaya.
  • Kali river forms the boundary between Nepal and India.
  • It known as the Sarda river after it reaches the plains near Tanakpur.
  • Kali river joins Ghaghra River in Uttar Pradesh

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Gandak River

  • SourceNhubine Himal Glacier, Tibet (7,620 m)
  • Tributaries – Kali Gandak, Mayangadi, Bari and Trishuli.
  • Gandak river joins Ganga river at Hajipur in Bihar.

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Burhi Gandak River

  • Source – Chautarwa Chaur, Bihar
  • It joins the Ganga river near Khararia town.

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Kosi River

  • The Kosi river consists of seven streams namely Sut Kosi, Tamba Kosi, Talkha, Doodh Kosi, Botia Kosi, Arun and Tamber and is popularly known as Saptakoshi
  • Seven streams mingle with each other to form three streams named the Tumar, Arun and Sun Kosi.
  • They unite at Triveni north of the Mahabharata Range to form the Kosi river.
  • Kosi river joins the Ganga river near Kursela, Bihar
  • It is often termed as the ‘Sorrow of Bihar’ for frequent flood.
  • Embankments for flood control have been constructed as a joint venture of India and Nepal.

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Ganga River Water Treaty

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Brahmaputra River

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Brahmaputra River

  • SourceChemayungdung glacier, Kailas Range (5,150 m)
  • length – 2,900 km
  • Left TributariesDibang River, Lohit River, Dhansiri River, Kolong River
  • Right tributaries – Kameng River, Manas River, Beki River, Raidak River, Jaldhaka River, Teesta River, Subansiri River (antecedent river)
  • Source of Brahmaputra river is very close to the sources of Indus river and Satluj river.
  • Mariam La separates the source of the Brahmaputra river from the Manasarovar Lake.
  • Name of Brahmaputra river is Tsangpo in Tibet
  • Brahmaputra river takes a south ward turn around Namcha Barwa and enter in Arunachal Pradesh.
  • Here it first flows under the name of Siong and then as the Dihang.
  • Brahmaputra river is joined by two tributaries Dibang from the north and Lohit river from the south.
  • From Sadiya (Assam Valley) onwards, it is known as Brahmaputra river.
  • The Brahmaputra river is nearly 16 km wide at Dibrugarh and forms many islands, the most important of which is Majuli
  • Brahmaputra river bends southwards and enters Bangladesh near Dhubri.
  • Its called Jamuna river in Bangladesh.
  • The united stream of the Jamuna river and Ganga river flows further in the name of Padma river.
  • Padma river is joined on the left bank by the Meghna river.
  • Confluence of Padma river and Meghna river, the combined river is known as the Meghna river.
  • Tsangpo Grand Canyon in Namcha Barwa is regarded by some as the deepest canyon in the world at (5,500 m).
  • Other people consider the Kali-Gandaki Gorge in Nepal to be the deepest canyon, with a 6400 m

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Important Tributaries of Brahmaputra River

Lohit River ( Zayü River)

  • Source –  Kangri Garpo range, Tibet
  • Lohit river joins the Siang (Brahmaputra river) at the head of the Brahmaputra valley
  • Longest bridge of India Dhola–Sadiya Bridge (Bhupen Hazarika Setu) 9.15 km constructed on Lohit river.

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Subansiri River

  • Source – Himalayas, in China
  • Largest tributary of the Brahmaputra river.
  • Subansiri river joins the Brahmaputra river in Lakhimpur district and Majuli island created on the mouth of it

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Manas River

  • Manas river joins Brahmaputra river at Jogighopa, Assam.
  • It is the largest river system of Bhutan.

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Teesta River

  • Source –  Zemu Glacier, Kangchenjunga, Sikkim
  • Tista river was a tributary of the Ganga river befor 1787.
  • After a flood it diverted its course eastwards to join the Brahmaputra river.

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