Rivers In India: A Quick Guide To The Top 20 Major Rivers Of India

Officially and proudly named as Bharat, India is a country in South Asia with the most popular democracy in the world. The country’s rich architectural heritage, serene Ghats, picturesque landscapes, tiger reserves, diverse culture and aesthetic hill stations make it one of the most preferred tourist destinations on the globe. From the 7th wonder of the world to the artistic palaces and forts, each monument in India narrates a story of its regality. Above everything, the rivers in India are inspirations to millions of souls from across the nation and the globe. Each river is a source of livelihood for a large number of people and holds a special significance.

Why Go There? 
Spectacular Landscapes | Majestic Forts | Hill Stations

Ideal For: Photographers | Travel Writers | Spiritualists | Nature Lovers

Trivia: The Hindu Mythology considers the rivers of India as ‘deities’. These rivers are much more than just sources of water for people and have unique myths and stories revolving around them. It is believed that a holy dip in one of these rivers, particularly the Holy Ganges can wash away the sins and unlock the door to moksha (salvation).

Things To Bring Back: Madhubani Paintings | Silk Sarees | Pashmina Shawl | Silver Jewelry | Indian Spices | Holy Water

Major Rivers In India: Guide To The Most Popular Rivers In India

1. Ganga River in India


The third largest river on the globe, Ganga is the most sacred river in India. It holds a specific prominence in the Hindu Mythology. The river is worshipped as the ‘Goddess of Divine Purification’ and is also a lifeline to millions of people who rely on it for their daily needs.

Origin Gangotri (Himalaya)
Length 2525 Km
Depth 56 feet
Major Cities Patliputra, Kashi, Allahbad, Varanasi, Kolkata, Badrinath, Haridwar, Kanpur, Patna, Farrukhabad, Fatehgarh, Kannauj, Chakeri
Major Tributaries Gomti, Ghaghra, Tamsa, Yamuna, Koshi
Merges into Bay of Bengal


2. Yamuna River in India


Often known as ‘Jamuna’, Yamuna is the largest tributary river of the Ganga. It is believed that ‘Lord Krishna’ had washed his feet in its holy water soon after the time of his birth when he was being secretly transferred across the river to his nurture home. The river originates from the Yamunotri Glacier and merges with the Ganges at the Triveni Sangam, Allahabad.

Origin Yamunotri Glaciers (Himalaya)
Length 1376 Km
Depth 60 feet
Major Cities & States Etawah (UP), Auraiya (UP), Mathura, New Delhi, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi
Major Tributaries Hanuman Ganga, Sharda, Chambal
Merges into Ganga, Allahabad


3. Indus River in India


One of the longest rivers in Asia, Indus has historically been important to many cultures of Punjab. The river is locally known as Darya-e-Sindh and is also the national river of Pakistan.

Origin Tibetan Plateau
Length 3180 Km
Depth 15,000–17,000 feet
Major Cities Leh, Sukur, Hyderabad (Pakistan)
Major Tributaries Balram river, Beas, Chenab, Dras, Gilgit, Jhelum, Ravi, Satluj
Merges into Arabian Sea


4. Brahmaputra River in India


Known as the ‘lifeline of Assam’, the Brahmaputra river is one of the major rivers of Asia. Unlike most rivers on the Indian subcontinent recognized as Goddesses, this river has a rare masculine name, meaning ‘son of Brahma’ in Sanskrit.

Origin Bhagirath Glacier (Tibet)
Length 2900 Km
Depth 393 feet
Major Cities Dibrugarh (Assam), Guwahati
Major Tributaries  

Dibang River, Lohit River, Dhansiri River, Kolong River, Kameng River, Manas River, Beki River, Raidak River, Jaldhaka River, Teesta River, Subansiri River
Merges into Padma river of Bangladesh

5. Mahanadi River in India


The Mahanadi river flows through the states of Chhattisgarh and Odisha. Initially, the river was known as ‘the sorrow of Orissa’ for its devastating floods. The construction of the Hirakud Dam greatly altered the situation, keeping the river well in control.

Origin Sihawa, Dhamtari, Dandakaranya, Chhattisgarh
Length 858 Km
Major Cities Cuttak, Sambalpur
Major Tributaries Seonath, Mand, Hasdeo, Parry river, Jonk, Telen
Merges into False Point (Odisha)


6. Godavari River in India


Well respected in the Hindu scriptures, Godavari is the second longest river in India after the Ganga. The river had been labelled as Dakshina Ganga and is the largest in peninsular India.

Origin Tryambakeshwar, Maharashtra
Length 1465 Km
Depth 131 feet
Major Cities & States Rajahmundry (AP), Nashik (MH), Nanded (MH), Nizamabad (AP), Maharashtra, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Puducherry (Yanam)
Major Tributaries Banganga, Kadva, Shivana, Purna, Kadam, Darna, Pravara
Merges into Bay of Bengal


7. Krishna River in India


The Krishna river originates from the Western Ghats near Mahabaleshwar. Also referred to as Krishnaveni, this fast and furious waterbody may reach depths of over 75 feet. Krishna is also India’s fourth-biggest river in terms of water inflows and river basin area.

Origin Mahabaleshwar (Maharashtra)
Length 1400 Km
Depth 75 feet
Major Cities Sangali (MH), Konya (MH), Vijaywada (AP)
Major Tributaries Bhima, Paleru, Malaprabha, Tungbhadra
Merges into Bay of Bengal

8. Kaveri (Cauveri) River in India

Kaveri (Cauveri)

The holiest river of South India, the Kaveri River is also known as ‘Ponni’. The river provides water for irrigation, household consumption, and generation of electricity in South India. Doddabetta is the highest point of the Kaveri basin.

Origin Talakaveri (Western Ghats, Karnataka)
Length 765 Km
Depth 217 feet
Major Cities Kushalnagar, Mysuru northern suburbs, Srirangapatna, Karur, Tiruchirapalli (TN), Kumbakonam, Mayiladuthurai, Poompuhar
Major Tributaries Amravati, Shimsha, Hemavati
Merges into Bay of Bengal

9. Narmada River in India


Popularly known as the ‘lifeline of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh’, river Narmada is the fifth longest river in the Indian subcontinent. It is also one of the three major rivers in peninsular India that flows in a rift valley.

Origin Narmada Kund, Madhya Pradesh
Length 1,312 Km
Major Cities & States Dindori, Vadodara, Barwani, Madhya Prdesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat
Major Tributaries Kundi River, Goi River, Karjan River
Merges into Garudeshwar

10. Tapti River in India


Running from east to west, the Tapti River flows through Surat, and is crossed by the Magdalla ONGC Bridge. The river was named after the goddess Tapati and is one of the main rivers of peninsular India.

Origin Multai
Length 724 Km
Major Cities & States Nepanagar, Burhanpur, Bhusawal, Surat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat
Major Tributaries Vaki, Gomai, Arunavati, Aner, Nesu, Arunavati, Buray, Panjhra, Bori, Girna, Vaghur, Purna, Mona, Sipna
Merges into Dumas Beach

11. Sutlej River in India


The easternmost tributary of the Indus River ‘Sutlej’ originates from Langqên Zangbo in Tibet. Sutlej river basin area has several major hydroelectric projects such as the Bhakra Dam and the Nathpa Jhakri Dam.

Origin Langqên Zangbo (Tibet)
Length 1500Kms
Major States Tibet, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan
Major Tributaries Baspa, Spiti, Beas
Merges into Ropar

12. Chambal River in India


A legendary river, the Chambal is one of the tributaries of the Yamuna that originates in Madhya Pradesh. Considered as a pollution-free river, Chambal finds a mention in the ancient scriptures becoming famous by the name of Charmanvati.

Origin Janapav Hills (Madhya Pradesh)
Length 960 Km
Depth 164 feet
Major States Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh
Major Tributaries Banas, Mej, Parbati, Kali Sindh, Shipra
Merges into Yamuna River

13. Chenab River in India


Formed by the convergence of two rivers, Chandra and Bhaga, Chenab is a significant river that flows in India and Pakistan. The river merges into an archaeological site in Jammu district and is one of the 5 major rivers of Punjab.

Origin Baralacha La pass (Himachal Pradesh)
Length 960 Km
Major States Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir
Major Tributaries Marusadar River
Merges into Akhnoor

14. Jhelum River in India


A tributary of the Indus River, Jhelum is referred to as ‘Vitasta’ in the Sanskrit language. It is a river of west Kashmir and eastern Pakistan. The river was regarded as the god by the ancient Greeks.

Origin Verinag Spring
Length 725 Km
Depth 7000 feet
Major Tributaries Lidder River, Neelum River, Sind River
Merges into Baramulla

15. Ravi River in India


Also named as Iravati, the river Ravi originates in the Himalayas and merges into the Arabian Sea. It is a perennial river and is the smallest of the five rivers of Punjab. The surplus water of the Ravi river is transferred directly to the Beas river.

Origin Chamba District (Himachal Pradesh)
Length 720 Km
Major Tributaries Siul
Merges into Arabian Sea

16. Sabarmati River in India


One of the major west-flowing rivers in India, the Sabarmati was traditionally known as ‘Bhogwa’. Mahatma Gandhi established his home by the bank of this river and named the home as Sabarmati Ashram. Additionally, it is believed that the river came into being when Lord Shiva brought Goddess Ganga to Gujrat.

Origin Dhebar Lake (Rajasthan)
Length 371 Km
Major Cities & States Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar, Gujarat, Rajasthan
Major Tributaries Wakal River, Madhumati River,
Merges into Ahmedabad

17. Beas River in India


Home to a tiny isolated population of the Indus Dolphin, the Beas river rises in the Himalayas and discharges into the Mandi plain. The river was developed in the 20th century for irrigation and hydroelectric power generation purposes.

Origin Beas Kund (Himachal Pradesh)
Length 470 Km
Depth 14308 feet
Major States Himachal Pradesh, Punjab
Major Tributaries Bain, Banganga, Luni and Uhal, along with Banner, Chakki,Gaj, Harla, Mamuni, Parvati, Patlikuhlal, Sainj, Suketi and Tirthan
Merges into Mandi Plain

18. Betwa River in India


Betwa river is referred to as Vetravati in the Sanskrit language. It is a tributary of the Yamuna and originates in the Vindhya range. The convergence of the Betwa and the Yamuna river is in the Hamirpur town in Uttar Pradesh.

Origin Vindhya Range
Length 590 Km
Depth N.A.
Major Cities & States Vidisha, Sanchi, Orchha, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh
Major Tributaries Sindhu, Bina, Dhasaan
Merges into Rajghat Dam

19. Son River in India


One of the longest Indian rivers, the Son river rises near the Amarkantak in Madhya Pradesh. The chief tributaries of this river are the Rihand and the North Koel. Kabra Khurd, an aesthetic picnic spot, is situated on the bank of this river.

Origin Amarkantak
Length 784 Km
Major Cities & States Sidhi, Dehri, Patna, Daudnagar, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar
Major Tributaries Ghaghar river, Johilla River, Gopad River, Rihand River, Kanhar River, North Koel River
Merges into Ganges River

20. Gomti River in India


Fondly known as the daughter of the Hindu sage Vashist, the Gomti river is one of the tributaries of the river Ganga. It originates from Gomat Taal and is home to the popular Gomti Chakra.

Origin Gomat Taal
Length 900 Km
 Major Cities Lucknow
Major Tributaries Sukheta, Choha, Andhra Choha
Merges into Saidpur, Uttar Pradesh


Archita Minocha

Archita Minocha

Striking a perfect balance between work and fun, Archita is a voracious soul, always on a lookout for new opportunities. She couples her innate creativity with coherence to unfurl magic through her words. Adhering to her pursuit of happiness, she believes in living life on her own terms.

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