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The Peninsular River System

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Peninsular River System: Peninsular River System is an Indian River System. It is one of the two important Indian River Systems, along with the Himalayan River System. Some of the major rivers of the Peninsular River System are the Mahanadi, Godavari, Krishna, Kaveri, Narmada, and Tapti Rivers.

Peninsular rivers are mostly fed by rainfall and during the summer season, their discharge is much less. The catchment region of the Godavari River in the peninsula is one of the biggest ones in India, covering 10 % of the territory of the whole country.

Peninsular River System

The Peninsular Rivers

Peninsular rivers are seasonal rivers as their flow is dependent on seasonal rainfall. Even the large area has reduced the flow of water in the dry season. 

The peninsular drainage system is older than the Himalayan one. It is evident from the broad, largely graded shallow valleys, and the maturity of the rivers. The Western Ghats running close to the western coast act as the water divide between major peninsular rivers. Most peninsular rivers, except Narmada and Tapi flow from west to east. Peninsular rivers are characterized by fixed courses, the absence of meanders, and the non-perennial flow of water. 

These rivers have shorter and shallower courses as compared to their Himalayan counterparts, some of the rivers are originated from western ghats and flow towards the Bay of Bengal and some of them originate in the central highlands and flow towards the west. Here western ghats work as a water divide that runs from north to south close to the western coast. 

Peninsular major Rivers like: the Mahanadi, the Godavari, the Krishna, and the Kaveri flow from eastwards and drain into the way of Bengal and these rivers make deltas (triangular-shaped alluvial deposits at the mouth of rivers where they enter the sea) at their mouth. Some peninsular rivers originated in the central highland and flow towards the west. Narmada and Tapi are the two rivers that flow towards the west and make estuaries. The Peninsular drainage system is basically narrow as compared to others.

Evolution of Peninsular Drainage System

There are three important geological events that shaped the present drainage systems of Peninsular India:

  1. The first one is the subsistence of the western flank of the Peninsula, which led to its submergence below the sea during the early tertiary period.
  2. Secondly, the upheaval of the Himalayas when the northern flank of the peninsular block was subjected to subsidence and trough faulting. Narmada and Tapi flow in trough faults and fill the original cracks with detritus materials.
  3. The slight tilting of the peninsular block from northwest to south-eastern direction gave orientation of the entire drainage system towards the Bay of Bengal during the same period.

Rivers in Peninsular India

There are some important basins of Peninsular rivers are,

The Narmada Basin

The Narmada flows towards the west in a rift valley formed due to faulting or a geological fault and it originated in the Amarkantak hills of Madhya Pradesh. While flowing to the sea on its way Narmada has creates many picturesque locations. For Example,

  • The Marble Rocks near Jabalpur where flow through a deep gorge.
  • The Dhuandhar falls where the river flows over the steep rocks.

The catchment area is about 98,796 sq km. The Sardar Sarovar Project has been constructed on this river. All the stream flowing through the Narmada River is short in length and many of these joins the main stream at right angles. Basically, the Narmada Basin covers parts of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. Madhya Pradesh government has started the Narmada River Conservation Mission under the scheme named Namami Devi Narmada.

The Tapi Basin

The Tapi river flows in a rift valley parallel to the Narmada river but it is very shorter in length and it originated in the Satpura Ranges in the Betul district of Madhya Pradesh. It is 724 km long and drains an area of 65,145 sq. km.

The Tapi Basin covers parts of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat and Maharashtra. Between the Western ghats and the Arabian sea, the coastal plains are very narrow. Hence The main flowing rivers from the west are Sabarmati, Mahi, Bharathapuzha, and Periyar.

The Godavari Basin

The Godavari River is the largest peninsular river which originates from the slopes of the Western Ghats in the Nasik district of Maharashtra. Its length is 1500 km. The Godavari river drains into the Bay of Bengal which is also the largest basin and Largest delta of the Peninsular Rivers. This basin covers parts of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, and Andhra Pradesh.

Manjra, Wainganga and Penganga, Purna, Wardha, and Pranhita are the tributaries of Godavari. Because of its length and cover the Godavari is also known as Dakshin Ganga.

The Mahanadi Basin

The Mahanadi river flows through Orissa to reach the Bay of Bengal and rises in the highlands of Chhattisgarh. The length of The Mahanadi River is about 860 km. 

The Mahanadi basin is shared by Maharashtra, Gujarat, Jharkhand, and Orissa. The Mahanadi was also known as “the sorrow of Orissa”.

The Krishna Basin

The Krishna river is the second-largest east-flowing Peninsular river which originates near Mahabaleshwar in Sahyadri and It flows into the Bay of Bengal. Its length is 1400 km. The drainage basin of The Krishna river covers parts of Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh. Some of the tributaries of The Krishna Rivers are Tungabhadra, Koyna, Ghatprabha, Musi, and Bhima.

The Kaveri Basin

The Kaveri river rises in the Brahmagiri range of Western Ghats, Kogadu district in Karnataka. It flows through the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and reaches the Bay of Bengal. The length of the river is 760 km.

  • The Drainage basin of The Kaveri river has covered Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu.
  • The important tributaries of The Kaveri river are Amravati, Bhavani, Hemavati, and Kabini.
  • The Kaveri river makes the second biggest waterfall in India which is known as Shivanasamudra Falls. 
  • The hydroelectric power generated from this second biggest waterfall falls is supplied to some of the areas like Mysore, Bengaluru, and the Kolar Gold Field.
  • The Drainage basin of the Kaveri river receives rainfall during the summer monsoon as well as during the retreating and winter monsoon. Due to this, the Kaveri river carries water throughout the year that’s why it has less fluctuation as compared to the other Peninsular rivers.

Related Resources

  1. Difference between Himalayan Rivers and Peninsular Rivers
  2. Features of east and west flowing rivers in Peninsular plateau
  3. List of Major Rivers in India
  4. Peninsular Plateau of India
  5. Drainage System of India

FAQs on the Peninsular River System

1. Which Peninsular river is least seasonal in flow?

Godavari river is the least seasonal in flow.

2. What is the Peninsular river?

Peninsular River System is an Indian River System. It is one of the two important Indian River Systems, along with the Himalayan River System. Some of the major rivers of the Peninsular River System are Mahanadi, Godavari, Krishna, Kaveri, Narmada, and Tapti Rivers.

3. Which is the longest river in Peninsular India?

The longest river in Peninsular India is the Godavari river. It is also known as “Dakshin Ganga” or South Ganges.

4. Which river divides Peninsular Plateau?

Narmada river divides Peninsular Plateau into two clusters.

5. Which river of Peninsular India flows east?

Major East flowing rivers of India are Krishna, Godavari, Kaveri, Mahanadi, Subarnarekha, Vagai, Pennar etc.

Last Updated : 22 Dec, 2023
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