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Peninsular Rivers in India (Narmada, Godavari, Krishna, Kaveri etc)

N.K. Chauhan in Geography of India
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Aug 09, 2020 , Updated: Jun 08, 2022 · 5 min read

Peninsula rivers are much older than the Himalayan rivers, they are non-perennial rivers with a maximum discharge in the rainy season.

The rivers are characterized by broad and shallow valleys.

Most of the major rivers of the peninsula flow eastwards and drain into the Bay of Bengal, these rivers make deltas at their mouths.

But the west flowing rivers as those originating from the Western Ghats and falling in the Arabian Sea form estuaries in place of deltas.

1) The Narmada River

Narmada River (Rewa River) rises from Maikala range, Amarkantak Plateau, Shahdol near Anuppur district Madhya Pradesh.

It forms the traditional boundary between North India and South India and flows westwards before draining through the Gulf of Khambhat (Gujarat) into the Arabian Sea.

It is the largest west flowing river and drains a large area in Madhya Pradesh besides some areas in the states of Maharashtra and Gujarat.

It flows in a rift valley between the Satpura in the south and the Vindhyan range in the north.

It forms a picturesque gorge in marble rocks and Dhuandhar (धुआंधार) waterfall near Jabalpur, MP.

The Sardar Sarovar Project (Gujarat) has been constructed on this river.

Left - Burhner River, Banjar River, Sher River, Shakkar River, Dudhi River, Tawa River, Kaveri River etc
Right - Hiran River, Kolar River, Man River, Uri River, Orsang River etc

2) The Tapi River

The Tapti River originates from Mahadeo hills, Satpura range, Betul district of Madhya Pradesh and flows westwards before draining into the Arabian Sea.

From Madhya Pradesh it enters Maharashtra and flows through western part of Vidarbha and Khandesh.

From Maharashtra it flows into Gujarat, where its mouth is near Surat.

Apart from the Narmada river, Tapi is the only west flowing river that flows through a rift valley.

When compared to the Narmada river, the Tapi river is much shorter in length.

3) The Luni River

The Luni River originates as Sagarmati in the Pushkar valley of the Aravalli Range, near Ajmer, passes through the southeastern portion of the Thar Desert (Rajasthan), and ends in the marshy lands of Rann of Kutch in Gujarat - Its a land bounded river.

It originates in two branches, the Saraswati and the Sabarmati, which join with each other at Govindgarh.

In spite of the high salinity, it is a major river in the region and serves as a primary source of irrigation.

The Luni is not saline until it reaches Balotra, where high salt content in the soil impacts the river.

The two main rivers forming inland drainage systems in India are the Ghaggar (घग्गर) system and the Luni River.

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4) The Sabarmati River

The Sabarmati river is a west-flowing river that originates from Dhebar lake in the Aravalli Range of the Udaipur District of Rajasthan and meets the Gulf of Khambhat of Arabian Sea after travelling across Rajasthan and Gujarat.

5) The Mahi River

The Mahi river rises from Vindhya range in Madhya Pradesh and, after flowing through the Vagad region of Rajasthan, enters Gujarat and drains in Gulf of Khambhat to Arabian Sea.

Banswara Dam & Kadana dam are located on Mahi River.

6) The Mahanadi River

The Mahanadi river originates from Dandakaranya Hills, Raipur district of Chhattisgarh, it covers parts of Maharashtra, Chhatisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Odisha to discharge its water into the Bay of Bengal (Odisha).

Left - Seonath, Mand, Ib, Hasdeo
Light - Ong, parry, Jonk, Telen (Tel)

7) The Godavari River

The Godavari river originates from Triambakeshwar Plateau, Nashik, Western Ghats, Maharashtra.

It is India's second longest river after the Ganga and longest river of the Peninsular India.

It drains the states of Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Odisha and ultimately empties into the Bay of Bengal.

In terms of length, catchment area and discharge, the Godavari is the largest in peninsular India, and had been dubbed as the Vridha Ganga or Dakshina Ganga.

Kaveri River is also known as the Ganges of South India.

Left - Banganga, Kadva, Shivana, Purna, Kadam, Pranahita, Indravati, Taliperu, Sabari
Right - Nasardi, Darna, Pravara, Sindphana, Manjira, Manair, Kinnerasani

8) The Krishna River

The Krishna river originates in the Western Ghats near Mahabaleshwar, in the state of Maharashtra and empties into the Bay of Bengal at Hamasaladeevi (near Koduru) in Andhra Pradesh.

It is one of the major sources of irrigation for Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

The delta of this river is one of the most fertile regions in India

Left - Bhima, Dindi, Peddavagu, Musi, Paleru, Munneru
Right - Kudali (Niranjna) Venna, Koyna, Panchganga, Dudhaganga, Ghataprabha, Malaprabha, Tungabhadra

9) The Pennar River

The Pennar River rises in the Nandi Hills in Chikkaballapur District of Karnataka state, and runs through the states of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh to empty into the Bay of Bengal in Andhra Pradesh.

Left - Jayamangali, Kunderu, Sagileru
Right - Chitravati, Papagni, Cheyyeru

10) The Cauvery River

The Cauvery(Kaveri) river rises at Talakaveri on the Brahmagiri range (Karnataka) in the Western Ghats, flows through the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu before its outfall into the Bay of Bengal.

The river basin covers three states and a Union Territory as follows: Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.

Since the upper catchment area receives rainfall during the southwest monsoon season (summer) and the lower part during the northeast monsoon season (winter), the river carries water throughout the year with comparatively less fluctuation than the other Peninsular Rivers.

Left - Harangi, Hemavati, Shimsha, Arkavathy
Right - Lakshmana, Kabini, Bhavani, Noyyal, Amaravati, Moyar

· · ·

Longest River in India (Length in India): Ganges (2,525 km), Godavari (1,465 km), Krishna (1,400 km), Yamuna (1,376 km), Narmada River (1,312 km).

Longest River in India (Overall Length): Indus (3,180 km), Brahmaputra (2,948 km), Ganges (2,510 km), Godavari (1,465 km), Krishna (1,400 km).

North to South: Subarnarekha, Mahanadi, Godavari, Krishna, Pennar, Cauvery, and Vagai.

The Subarnarekha River (स्वर्णरेखा) originates from Chota Nagpur Plateau (Jharkhand), flows through Jharkhand, West Bengal & Odisha and joins the Bay of Bengal near Talsari (Odisha).

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