Peninsular Rivers System

  • Peninsula rivers are much older river than Himalayan rivers
  • They are discordant rivers
  • They are non-perennial rivers
  • Peninsular rivers have reached mature stage and their vertical down cutting is negligible
  • Rivers are characterized by broad and shallow valleys.
  • Most of Rivers banks have gentle slopes
  • Western Ghats is the main water divider of peninsular rivers
Peninsular Rivers

Evolution of the Peninsular Drainage

Theory – 1

  • Geologists believe that the Sahyadri-Aravali axis was the main water divide in the past.
  • As per this theory, existing peninsula is the remaining half of bigger landmass.
  • Western Ghats were located in the middle of this landmass.
  • Western part of the Peninsula cracked and submerged in the Arabian Sea
  • Straight coastline, steep western slope of the Western Ghats, and the absence of delta formations on the western coast makes this theory a possibility.

Theory – 2

  • As per this theory, the west flowing peninsular rivers do not flow in the valleys formed by the rivers themselves.
  • They have occupied two fault rifts in rocks running parallel to the Vindhyas.
  • These faults are supposed to be caused by bend of the northern part of the Peninsula at the time of upheaval of the Himalayas.
  • Peninsular block, south of the cracks, tilted slightly eastwards during the event thus giving the orientation to the entire drainage towards the Bay of Bengal.

Peninsular River System

East flowing Rivers

  • Rivers that drain into Bay of Bengal
  • These rivers from deltas at their mouths
  • They carry larger amount of water than west flowing rivers
  • The Mahanadi, the Godavari, the Krishna, the Cauvery and several smaller rivers drains south-east into the Bay of Bengal.


West flowing Rivers

  • Rivers that drain into Arabian Sea
  • These rivers form estuaries at their mouths.
  • They carry a lesser amount of water
  • The Narmada, the Tapi, the Mahi flowing west as well as several small streams originating from the Western Ghats flow westwards into the Arabian Sea.
Himalayan River System
Peninsular River System
These rivets originate from the lofty Himalayan ranges
These rivers originate in the Peninsular
Catchment area
These rivers have large basins and catchment areas
These rivers have small basins and catchment areas
Himalayan rivers flow through deep Vshaped valleys called gorges
Peninsular rivers flow in comparatively shallow valleys.
Drainage Type
These are examples of antecedent drainage
These are examples of consequent drainage
Water Flow
Himalayan rivers are perennial in nature
Peninsular rivers receive water only from rainfall and water flows in these rivers in rainy season only
These rivers flow across the young fold mountains and are still in a youthful stage
These rivers have been flowing in one of the oldest plateaus of the world and have reached maturity
Rivers form meanders and often shift their beds.
Rivers of the Peninsular Plateau follow more or less straight courses.

East Flowing Rivers – North to South

Subarnarekha River

  • Source – Ranchi Plateau, Jharkhand
  • Passes through – Jharkhand, West Bengal and Odisha.
  • Left bank Tributaries -Dulang River
  • Right bank Tributaries – Kanchi River, Kharkai River, Raru River, Garru River
  • Hundru Falls is created on the course of the Subarnarekha River
  • Jamshedpur is located at the confluence of Kharkai and Subarnarekha Rivers

Budhabalanga River

  • Source – Similipal hills, Odisha
  • Passes through – Odisha
  • Barehipani Falls, the 2nd highest waterfall in India, located in Simlipal National Park Peninsular Rivers

Brahmani River

  • Source – confluence of the Sankh and South Koel rivers near Rourkela
  • Together with the Baitarani river, it forms a large delta before emptying into the Bay of Bengal at Dhamra

Mahanadi River

  • Source – Dandakaranya, Raipur District, Chhattisgarh
  • Length: 858 km
  • Flows through – Chhattisgarh, Odisha
  • Left bank TributariesShivnath, Hasdeo, Mand and Ib
  • Right bank TributariesOng, Tel and Jonk
  • Puri, at one of its mouths, is a famous pilgrimage site.
  • Hirakud Dam constructed on it, at Sambalpur
  • Important projects are the Mahanadi main canal and Tandula reservoir in Chhattisgarh

Rushikulya River

  • Source – Daringbadi, Kandhamal, Odisha
  • Mouth of the Rushikulya River is the largest mass nesting sites of olive ridley sea turtles in India

Gosthani River

  • Source – Ananthagiri Hills of the Eastern Ghats, Andhra Pradesh
  • Flows through the Borra Caves

Vamsadhara River

  • Source -Thuamul Rampur, Kalahandi district, Odisha
  • Flows through – Odisha, Andhra Pradesh
  • Mahendratanaya River is a major tributary of Vamsadhara

Nagavali River

  • Source – Thuamul Rampur, Odisha
  • Flows through – Odisha, Andhra Pradesh

Godavari River

  • SourceBrahmagiri Mountain (1,067 m), Tryambakeshwar, Nashik, Maharashtra
  • Length – 1,465 km.
  • Flows through – Maharashtra , Telangana, AP, Puducherry (Yanam)
  • Godavari is the largest river system of the Peninsular India
  • It is called as Dakshin Ganga.
  • Left Bank Tributaries – Banganga, Kadva, Shivana, Purna, Kadam, Pranahita, Indravati, Taliperu, Sabari
  • Right Bank Tributaries – Nasardi, Darna, Pravara, Sindphana, Manjira, Manair, Kinnerasani
  • Below Rajahmundry, the river divides itself into two main streams
    • Gautami Godavari on the east
    • Vashishta Godavari on the west

Tributaries of Godavari river

Pranhita River

  • Source – Confluence of Wardha and Wainganga
  • Flows through – Maharashtra , Telangana
  • Join at Godavari River at Kaleswaram, Telangana
  • Largest tributary of Godavari River
  • Penganga River is an important tributaries of Wardha River

Indravati River

  • Source – Dandakaranya Range, Kalahandi, Odisha
  • Flows through – Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra
  • It joins Godavari River at the junction of the boundaries of Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Telangana states

Manjira River

  • Source – Balaghat range of hills, Maharashtra
  • It is 724 km long, important right bank tributary.
  • It joins the Godavari after passing through the Nizam Sagar.
  • Join Godavari at Nizamabad, Telangana

Krishna River

  • SourceMahabaleswar, Satara, MH
  • Length – 1300 km
  • Flows through – Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh
  • 2nd largest east flowing river of the Peninsula
  • 4th biggest river in terms of water inflows and river basin area in India
  • Krishna delta appears to merge with that formed by the Godavari and extends about 35 km into the sea.
  • Left Bank tributariesBhima, Dindi, Peddavagu, Musi, Paleru, Munneru
  • Right bank tributaries – Venna, Koyna, Panchganga, Dudhaganga, Ghataprabha, Malaprabha, Tungabhadra
  • Amaravati city, Guntur district new capital of Andhra Pradesh and Vijayawada city are located on the banks of the Krishna river

Tributaries of Krishna River

Koyna River

  • Source – Mahableshwar, Satara, Maharashtra
  • Koyna Dam was the main cause of a devastating earthquake (6.4 richter scale) in 1967 that killed 150 people
  • For electricity generating potential it is known as the Life Line of Maharashtra

Tungabhadra River

  • Source – confluence of Thunga and Bhadra rivers
  • Flows through – Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh
  • Join Krishna River near Alampur, Mehaboobnagar District, Telangana
  • In the epic Ramayana, it was known as Pampa
  • Flood protection walls all along the rivers, constructed by Sri Krishna Devaraya

Bhima River

  • Sour – Bhimashankarce, near pune
  • Passes through – Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Telangana
  • Bhima passes through the town of Koregaon Bhima

Musi River

  • Source – Anantagiri Hills, Vikarabad, Telangana
  • Hyderabad stands on the banks of Musi river
  • Himayat Sagar and Osman Sagar dams built on it to

Penner River

  • Source – Nandi Hills, Chikkaballapur district, Karnataka
  • Passes through – Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka
  • The only major project in the basin is the Somasila project

Palar River

  • Source – Nandi Hills, Karnataka
  • Passes through -Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu
  • It flows as an underground river for a long distance

Ponnaiyar River

  • Source – Nandi Hills, Karnataka
  • Passes through – Karnataka and Tamil Nadu

Cauvery River

  • Source – Talakaveri, Brahmagiri hills,Western Ghats, Karnataka
  • Length – 800 km
  • Passes through – Karnataka and Tamil Nadu
  • Left Bank tributaries – Harangi, Hemavati, Shimsha, Arkavathy
  • Right bank tributaries – Lakshmana Tirtha, Kabini, Bhavani, Noyyal, Amaravati, Moyar, Suvarnavati
  • It is called as Ganga of South
  • Sivasamudram waterfalls is created on the course of the it
  • Krishnarajasagar in Karnataka, Mettur Dam in Tamil Nadu are important projects on it
  • Srirangam Island is formed by the river Cauvery and the Kollidam, a tributary of the Cauvery
  • Grand Anicut (Kallanai Dam) was constructed by aChola king Karikalan in 1st Century, inThanjavur District.

Tributaries of Cauvery River

Amaravati River

  • Source – Anamalai Hills, Kerala
  • Passes through – Kerala, Tamil Nadu

Bhavani River

  • Source – Silent Valley National Park, Nilgiri hills, Kerala
  • Passes through – Kerala, Tamil Nadu

Vaigai River

  • Source – Varusanadu Hills, Tamil Nadu
  • Passes through – Tamil Nadu
  • Discharged in – Palk Strait
  • Madurai situated on the bank of Vaigai

Thamirabarani River

  • Source – Pothigai hills, Tamil Nadu
  • Passes through – Tamil Nadu
  • Discharged in – Gulf of Mannar

West Flowing Rivers – North to South

Ghaggar-Hakra River

  • Source – Shivalik Hills, Himachal Pradesh
  • Passes through – Thar Desert of Rajasthan
  • Discharged in -Ottu, Haryana
  • Its main tributaries are the Tangri, the Markanda, the Saraswati and the Chaitanya
  • It is an inland drainage river
  • It is a seasonal river
  • Most sites of the mature Harappan Civilisation are found along the bed of the Ghaggar-Hakkar

Luni (Salt River)

  • SourcePushkar Lake,Aravalli ranges, Rajasthan
  • Passes through – Thar Desert of Rajasthan
  • Length – 511 km
  • Discharged in –Rann of Kachchh
  • It is an inland drainage river

Sabarmati River

  • Source – Dhebar lake, Aravalli ranges, Rajasthan
  • Passes through – Rajasthan, Gujarat
  • Discharged in –Gulf of Khambhat of Arabian Sea
  • Left Bank tributaries – the Wakal, the Hathmati and the Vatrak.
  • Right bank tributaries – the Sei
  • Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar situated on the bank of it
  • Mahatma Gandhi established Sabarmati Ashram as his home on the banks of this river
  • The Dharoi dam is located on the main river

Mahi River

  • Source – Vindhyas, Madhya pradesh,
  • Passes through – Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat
  • Discharged in – Gulf of Khambhat of Arabian Sea

Narmada River

  • SourceAmarkantak Plateau, Madhya Pradesh
  • Length – 1310km
  • Passes through – Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat
  • Discharged in – Gulf of Khambhat of Arabian Sea
  • Left Bank tributaries – Burhner, Banjar, Sher, Shakkar, Dudhi, Tawa, Ganjal, Chhota Tawa,Kundi, Goi
  • Right bank tributaries – Hiran, Tendoni, Choral, Kolar, Man, Uri, Hatni, Orsang
  • It is the largest west flowing river of the peninsular India
  • It flows in a rift valley, between the Satpura and Vindhya ranges
  • Dhuan Dhar Falls and Sahasradhara Falls created on the way of Narmada river
  • It created estuary before its mouth.
  • There are several islands in the estuary of the Narmada of which Aliabet is the largest.
  • The major Hydro Power Project in the basin are Indira Sagar, Sardar Sarovar, Omkareshwar, Bargi & Maheshwar

Tapti River

  • Source – Multai, Saptura range, Madhya Pradesh
  • Passes through – Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat
  • Discharged in – Gulf of Khambhat of Arabian Sea
  • Left Bank tributaries – Vaghur, Amravati, Buray, Panjhra, Bori, Girna, Purna, Mona and Sipna
  • Right bank tributaries – Suki, Gomai, Arunavati and Aner
  • It flows in a rift valley
  • Nepanagar and Surat situated on the bank of Tapti
  • Hathnur Dam, Ukai Dam, Girna Dam are important project on this river

Mandovi River (Mhadei)

  • Source – Bhimgad,Western Ghats, Karnataka
  • Passes through – Karnataka ,Goa, Maharashtra
  • Discharged in – Arabian Sea
  • The river Mapusa is a tributary of the Mandovi
  • Dudhsagar Falls and Varapoha Falls are located on this river

Kali River

  • Source – Diggi, Karnataka
  • Passes through – Karnataka
  • Supa Dam constructed on it

Gangavali River

  • Source – South of Dharwad, Western Ghats, Karnataka
  • Passes through – Karnataka
  • Magod Falls is created on the course of it

Sharavati River

  • Source – Ambutheertha, Shimoga, Karnataka
  • Passes through – Karnataka
  • Jog Falls is created by the Sharavathi River
  • Linganamakki dam, Gerusoppa dam constructed on it

Beypore / Chaliyar River

  • Source – Elambaleri Hills, Wayanad Plateau of Kerala
  • Passes through – Kerala
  • Discharged in – Lakshadweep Sea

Bharathapuzha River

  • Source – Anamalai Hills, Tamil Nadu
  • Passes through – Tamil Nadu, Kerala
  • 2nd longest river of Kerala
  • Flows through Palghat gap
  • Malampuzha dam is constructed on it

Periyar River

  • Source –Sivagiri Hills, Cardamom Hills, Idukki, Kerala
  • Discharged in – Vembanad Lake
  • Left Bank tributaries – Cheruthoni
  • Right bank tributaries – Mullayar, Perinjankutti, Muthirapuzha, Edamala
  • Periyar is the longest river of Kerala
  • Mullaperiyar dam, Idukki dam are important project on it

Pampa River

  • Source – Pulachimalai hill, Western Ghats, Kerala
  • Discharged in – Vembanad Lake
  • 3rd longest river of Kerala
  • Sabarimala temple dedicated to Lord Ayyappa is located on the banks of it.
  • It is also known as Dakshina Bhageerathi
See Also