Rivers originating from Himalayas

Sep 9, 2017   //   by admin   //   Knowledge Base  //  No Comments

With around 15,000 glaciers storing up to 12000km3 water and combined drainage basin covering 18 countries providing shelter to almost 3billion people, it wouldn’t be any wrong to call Himalayas “The Roof of the World”. The Himalayan Rivers rise in high mountains with their sources in glaciers which give them perennial nature maintaining regu­lar supply of water throughout the year. It is utilised for generating electricity, irrigation, drinking water and for inland navigation in the plains. It has long courses flowing through the mountains, plains and deltaic regions.

Instead of its immediacy to tropical region Himalayas they are sources of some major perennial rivers including the two largest river basins: Indus Basin and Ganga- Brahmaputra Basin.

The Indus basin begins in Tibet and flows through south-west of India, fed by all western rivers including Indus, Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas and Sutlej.

While the other important rivers like Ganges, Brahmaputra, Yamuna and tributaries feds Ganga- Brahmaputra Basin. The Brahmaputra originating in Tibet & Ganges originating from Gangotri glacier forms the largest delta in the world known as Sundarbans before draining into Bay of Bengal.

River systems in India:-

  • Indus river system: –

It originates near the Mansarovar lake in Tibet. Only 20% of water carried by Indus is available to India as per the Treaty in 1960. It has various tributaries on its way : the Zaskar, the Shyok, the Huzana the Satluj, the Beas, the Ravi, the Chenab and the Jhelum. After flowing through Punjab these tributaries join Indus River in Mithankot, Pakistan from where it flows southwards and ultimately meets the Arabian Sea. With 29000 km of length it is one of the longest rivers in the world.

Some of the main tributaries in India: –

1) Sutlej River: The Sutlej river originates from Rakas Lake near the souces of Indus river in Tibet. It flows through Pakistan and is joined by Chenab later on. It has a total length of 1500 km. It is a main source of water for irrigation in Punjab and Haryana and provides water to Bhakra- Nangal dam.

2) Beas River: The Beas originates in Bias Kund,near Rohatang. Then It runs from Manali and Kullu. After meeting few other tributaries it joins Sutlej in Harika. The total length of Beas is estimated to be 615km .

3) Chenab river: It originates with two rivers Chandra and Bhaga near Bara-Lacha Pass and is also called Chandrabhaga in Himachal Pradesh. It flows through western India in Punjab and is later joined by Ravi and Sutlej in Pakistan.

4) Ravi: It originates in Rohtang, India and flows through north-eastern India. It then flows south –west near Dalhousie and after flowing by Punjab joins Chenab before entering the border of Pakistan.

  • Ganges river system: –

The Bhagirathi river which considered as the main source of Ganges River originates from Gangotori Glacier near Gomukh. After flowing 250kms of its course Ganges appears from the mountains in the Rishikesh and emerges into Gangetic plan in Haridwar. It the most sacred river of hindus and is worshipped as Goddess Ganga. It is a source of lifeline to millions of peoples in its course in India.

In north is joined by various tributaries like the Yamuna, Gomti, the Ghaghara, the Gandak and the Kosi. The Yamuna river rises from Yamuntori Glacier and meets Ganges in Allahabad. While Ghaghara, Gandak & Kosi rise in Nepal. In its course they form the biggest cultivable land in north India.

After flowing through North India it is joined by various tributaries from peninsular India like Chambal, Betwa and Son. These rivers have shorter courses and do not carry much water.

It then flows through east towards West Bengal and enters Bangladesh.In Bangladesh it is joined by Jamuna River which is the largets tributary of the river Brahmaputra. And then forms lagest delta in the world with Brahmaputra known as “Sundarbans”.


  • Brahmaputra river system:

Brahmaputra rises in Tibet, east of Mansarowar Lake it is known by the name, Tsang Po in Tibet. Most of its course lies in Tibet and with 2800km of length is the longer then the river Indus. It flows 35kms and is joined by various tributaries Dibang, Lohit and Kenula in Assam. Between Dibrugarh and Lakhimpur districts the river divides into two channels—the northern Kherkutia channel and the southern Brahmaputra channel. The two channels join again about 100 kilometres (62 mi) downstream forming the Majuli island.

After flowing through Assam The Brahmaputra enters Bangladesh and is joined by the river Teesta. It is then divided into two distributory branches. The eastern branch joins Meghna River near Dhaka and the western branch merges with Ganges as Jamuna into river Padma. And hence forms a delta of 59,570 square kilometres.

The Padma and meghna merge near Chandrapur and then is drained in to the Bay of Bengal.


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