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5 Rivers of India: An Overview

Last Updated : 27 Mar, 2024
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If we talk about geography, based on their source, Indian rivers are classified as Himalayan rivers and Peninsular rivers. The five rivers of India are the Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, Krishna, and Narmada rivers.

In this article, we will provide b, their importance, characteristics, tributaries, and important facts related to them. Along with this, apart from these 5 rivers of India, we will also know about some other rivers of India.

5 Rivers of India on Map


5 rivers of India

5 Rivers Name in India

Here’s a table showcasing five prominent rivers in India along with some key details:

River Location Length (approx.) Source Major Cities
Ganga North India 2,525 km Gangotri Glacier, Uttarakhand Varanasi, Kanpur, Allahabad, Kolkata
Yamuna North India 1,376 km Yamunotri Glacier, Uttarakhand Delhi, Agra, Mathura
Brahmaputra Northeast India 2,900 km Chemayungdung Glacier, Tibet Guwahati, Dibrugarh, Tezpur, Siliguri
Godavari South India 1,465 km Trimbak, Maharashtra Nashik, Nanded, Rajahmundry, Kakinada
Krishna South India 1,400 km Mahabaleshwar, Maharashtra Vijayawada, Hyderabad, Kurnool, Sangli

5 rivers of India: Ganga

  • Ganga is the most sacred river for Hindus and is worshiped as Goddess Ganga. Ironically, it is also one of the most polluted rivers. Due to its pollution, not only humans but also many water species are in danger.
  • Its place of origin is Gangotri (Himalayas). The Ganges River and its surrounding watershed support one of the most fertile and densely populated regions on the planet. Its total length is 2525 km. Ganga, the first of the five rivers of India, is the third largest river in the world.
  • The Ganges River originates from the Himalayan mountain Gomukh, which is at the end of the Gangotri Glacier. When the ice of this glacier melts, it forms the clear water of the Bhagirathi River. As the Bhagirathi River flows down from the Himalayas, it joins the Alaknanda River, officially forming the Ganga River. The Ganges River Basin is sometimes considered part of a larger river basin consisting of the nearby Brahmaputra and Meghna rivers. Known as the Ganga-Brahmaputra-Meghna (GBM) river basin, it is one of the largest river systems in the world.
  • The major cities situated on the banks of this river are Patliputra, Kashi, Prayagraj (formerly Allahabad), Varanasi, Kolkata, Badrinath, Haridwar, Kanpur, Patna, Farrukhabad, Fatehgarh, Kannauj, and Chakeri.
  • It also forms the world’s largest delta, the Sundarban Delta, in West Bengal. The main tributaries of the Ganga are Gomti, Ghagra, Tamsa, Yamuna, and Koshi.

Dams and Projects on the Ganga

There are several dams on the Ganges River, including the following:

  • Tehri Project
  • Ramganga Project
  • Tanakpur Project
  • Gandak Project
  • Kosi Project
  • Rihand Project
  • Bansagar Project
  • Matatila Project
  • Chambal Project
  • Damodar Valley
  • Mayurakshi Project

5 rivers of India: Brahmaputra

  • Brahmaputra Basin, the second major river among the 5 rivers of India, is spread in the countries of Tibet (China), Bhutan, India, and Bangladesh, whose total area is 5,80,000 square km. In India, it is spread over the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, West Bengal, Meghalaya, Nagaland, and Sikkim and lies between 88°11′ to 96°57′ east longitude and 24°44′ to 30°3′ north latitude. area of 1,94,413 square km, which is about 5.9% of the total geographical area of the country.
  • The Brahmaputra River originates in the Kailash range of the Himalayas in the north, just south of the lake Konggyu Tsho, at an altitude of 5,150 meters and flows for a total length of about 2,900 km. In India, it is 916 km. Flows till. The major right-side tributaries are Lohit, Dibang, Subansiri, Jiyabharali, Dhansiri, Manas, Torsa, Sankosh, and Teesta, while Burhi Dihing, Desang, Dikho, Dhansiri, and Kopili are the left-side tributaries.
  • The Brahmaputra originates east of Lake Mansarovar in Tibet. It is slightly longer than the Indus, and most of its flow is outside India.
  • Assam has a braided channel throughout its length and forms many river islands.
  • Every year, during the rainy season, the river overflows its banks, causing massive floods in Assam and Bangladesh. (iv) Due to the accumulation of a huge amount of silt on the bed of the river Bralunaputra, the level of the river increases.
  • One of the top 5 rivers in India, the Brahmaputra, also keeps changing its course again and again.
  • The Brahmaputra River flows through Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, West Bengal, Meghalaya, Nagaland, and Sikkim.

Dams and Projects on the Brahmaputra River

There are several dams on the Brahmaputra River, including the following:

  • Tawang Hydroelectric Project
  • Subansiri Lower Hydel Power Project
  • Ranganadi Hydroelectric Project
  • Pakistan Hydro Power Project
  • Papumpap Hydroelectric Project
  • Dhinkrong Hydroelectric Project
  • Upper Lohit Hydroelectric Project
  • Damway Hydel Power Project
  • Kameng Hydel Power Project
  • Rangit Hydel Power Project
  • Teesta Hydroelectric Project
  • Kopli Hydroelectric Project
  • The New Umtru Hydel Power Project
  • Doyang Hydel Power Project
  • Loktak Hydroelectric Project
  • Tipaimukh Hydroelectric Project
  • Tuibai Hydroelectric Project
  • Tuirial Hydel Power Project
  • Dhaleshwari Hydroelectric Project

5 rivers of India: Godavari

Godavari River is the largest river in Peninsular India and is known as ‘Dakshin Ganga’. The Godavari basin is the second-largest basin after the Ganga basin and covers about 9.50% of the total geographical area of the country.

  • The Godavari River, one of the top 5 rivers in India, originates in the Sahyadris at an altitude of 1,067 meters above sea level near Trimbakeshwar in the Nashik district of Maharashtra.
  • The Godavari River forms the border between the states of Telangana and Maharashtra and Telangana and Chhattisgarh. The total length of the Godavari River is 1,465 kilometers. The main river flows through the states of Maharashtra, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, and Andhra Pradesh and ultimately falls into the Bay of Bengal.
  • At Dowlaiswaram, the river splits into two branches, the Gautami and the Vashishtha. The Godavari Central Delta is situated between the two. The Gautami branch flows from the Yanam region of the Union Territory of Puducherry and joins the Bay of Bengal. The drainage area of the Godavari River is 3,12,812 square km.
  • The length of the Godavari River in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana is approximately 772 km. The Western Ghats (also known as the Sahyadri mountain range) form a continuous watershed in the west. In the north, the basin is bounded by the Satmala Hills, the Ajanta Range, and the Mahadev Hills.
  • This basin is bounded by the Eastern Ghats and the Bay of Bengal on the east. In the south, it is bounded by the Balaghat and Mahadev ranges that extend along the eastern edge of the Western Ghats, Ananthagiri, and other ranges of hills.

Dams and Projects on the Godavari River

There are several dams on the Godavari River, including the following:

  • Polavaram Irrigation Project
  • Kaleshwaram
  • Sadarmat Anicut
  • Inchampalli Project
  • Upper indravati
  • Upper collab
  • Balimela
  • Jaikwadi
  • Upper sileru
  • Lower sileru

5 rivers of India: Krishna

  • The Krishna River is the fourth longest river among the five rivers of India, with a total length of about 1,400 km.
  • The Krishna River basin covers an area of approximately 258,948 km2, which is shared by four states.
  • The Krishna River, one of the five rivers of India, originates near Mahabaleshwar, which is located in Maharashtra. The river flows into the Bay of Bengal at Hamsaladeevi in Andhra Pradesh, on the east coast of India.
  • The Krishna River Delta, included among the top 5 rivers of India, is one of the most productive regions of India. The prehistoric Ikshvaku and Satavahana Surya kings also ruled in the region.
  • Wai is the oldest city in Maharashtra, located on the banks of the Krishna River in Satara district. Sangli city in Maharashtra is the largest city on the banks of the river, while Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh is the largest city on the banks of the Krishna river.
  • The Krishna River is one of the five most environmentally damaging rivers in India, as it causes large-scale land erosion during the monsoon season.
  • The Tungabhadra River, which is the result of the union of two rivers, the Tunga River and the Bhadra River, is the most important tributary of the Krishna River. The Western Ghats mountain ranges are the source of both of these rivers.
  • From the right bank, rivers like Koyna, Venna, Panchganga, Vasna, Ghataprabha, Dudhganga, Tungabhadra, and Malaprabha join Krishna. The Musi River, Yerla River, Bhima River, and Maneru Rivers all join the river at the same time on the left bank.
  • The Krishna River is the fourth-longest river in India, with a total length of around 1,400 km.
  • The Krishna River basin covers an area of about 258,948 square km, which is shared by four states.

Dam on the Krishna River

There are several dams on the Krishna River, including the following:

  • Dhom Dam
  • Dhoam Balakwadi
  • almaty dam
  • Basava Sagar Dam
  • Nagarjuna Sagar Dam
  • Srisailam Dam
  • Jurala Dam
  • Narayanpur Dam (downstream of Almaty Dam)
  • Prakasam Barrage
  • Pulichithanthala Dam (under construction)
  • amar dam

5 rivers of India: Narmada

  • The Narmada River, included in the top 5 rivers of India, is the largest west-flowing river in peninsular India.
  • The Narmada flows west through a rift valley between the Vindhya Range in the north and the Satpura Range in the south.
  • It originates from the Maikal mountain range near Amarkantak in Madhya Pradesh, at an altitude of about 1057 meters.
  • The Narmada Basin extends across the states of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Chhattisgarh, with an area of ~1 lakh square km.
  • It is bounded by the Vindhyas in the north, the Maikala ranges in the east, the Satpuras in the south, and the Arabian Sea in the west.
  • Its total length from its origin in Amarkantak to its mouth in the Gulf of Khambhat is 1,310 km.
  • Hilly areas are in the upper part of the basin, and the lower-central part is extensive and fertile, suitable for farming.
  • Jabalpur is the only significant urban center in the basin.
  • Near Jabalpur, the river slopes downward, where it falls into a 15-meter-deep gorge (a small waterfall, especially one in a series) and forms the Dhuan Dhar (cloud of mist) waterfall.
  • Since this gorge is made of marble, it is popularly known as Marble Rocks.
  • It forms two waterfalls of 12 meters each at Mandhar and Dardi. Near Maheshwar, the river again falls over another small waterfall of 8 meters, known as Sahastradhara Falls.
  • There are many islands at the mouth of Narmada, of which Aliabhet is the largest.

Dams and projects on the Narmada River

The major hydropower projects in the basin are as follows:

  • Indira Sagar Project
  • Sardar Sarovar Project
  • Omkareshwar Project
  • Bargi and Maheshwar Project
  • The Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, Krishna, and Narmada rivers are the top 5 rivers in India.
  • Luni, Macchu, Rupen, Saraswati, Banas, and Ghaggar are some of the rivers that do not flow into the sea but merge into the sand.
  • Examples of some coastal rivers are Subarnarekha, Vamshadhara, Nagavali, Vaigai, Netravati, and Sharavati.
  • The longest river in India is the Ganga, and in second, third, fourth, and fifth place are Godavari, Yamuna, Krishna, and Narmada.
  • The longest river flowing through India is the Indus River, which originates in Tibet, flows through India and Pakistan, and enters the Arabian Sea.
  • Ganga is also known as Bhagirathi because it is believed that King Bhagiratha was the one who brought Ganga from heaven to earth. Bhagirathi and Alaknanda meet at Devprayag and are known as Ganga. The part of the Ganges river that flows in Bangladesh is known as Padma.
  • Most of the Indian rivers flow into the Bay of Bengal, but the Narmada, Tapti, and Periyar rivers end in the Arabian Sea.
  • Godavari is also known as Dakshin Ganga.
  • Brahmaputra is known as Yarlung Tsangpo in Tibet and Dihang in Arunachal Pradesh. It is known as Jamuna in Bangladesh.
  • The Indus River is known as Singi Khamban (Lion’s Mouth) in Tibet.
  • The Damodar River is also called the sorrow of Bengal.
  • Prayagraj, or Allahabad, is considered to be the confluence of three rivers (Ganga, Yamuna, and the legendary Saraswati).
  • Twelve rivers have been classified as major rivers by the government.
  • Indus, Brahmaputra, and Sutlej are three such rivers that originate in the Tibetan Plateau and enter India after crossing the mighty Himalayan mountain range. These are called trans-Himalayan rivers.


In conclusion, Ganga, Brahmaputra, Godavrai, Krishna, and Narmada are the main rivers of India and are considered sacred by the people. In the above article, we have discussed these rivers, their tributaries, and associated projects. Also, explore some interesting facts related to these rivers.

FAQs: 5 rivers of India

What are the five rivers of India?

The five major rivers of India, often referred to as the “Five Rivers of India,” hold significant cultural, historical, and geographical importance. They are Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, Krishna, and Narmada.

Which state contains the confluence of five rivers?

The state where five rivers meet is the Indian state of Punjab. Punjab, which translates to “Land of Five Rivers” in Punjabi, is named after the five rivers that flow through its territory. The five rivers that converge in the Punjab region are the Sutlej, Beas, Ravi, Chenab, and Jhelum rivers.

What are the eight major rivers in India?

Major river systems in India are the Indus River System, Brahmaputra River System, Ganga River System, Yamuna River System, Narmada River System, Tapti River System, Godavari River System, and Krishna River System.

Which is the longest river in India?

The Ganges (Ganga) is the longest river in India. It originates from the Gangotri Glacier in the state of Uttarakhand and flows through northern India, passing through states such as Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, before eventually emptying into the Bay of Bengal.

Which is the oldest river in India?

The Narmada River is often considered one of the oldest rivers in India. It is believed to be one of the few rivers in the Indian subcontinent that has maintained its course, exhibiting a relatively stable geological profile over millions of years.

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