India is known as the land of rivers as there are numerous rivers flowing across the country. Indian rivers are divided into two categories namely Himalayan Rivers and Peninsular Rivers. Himalayan Rivers are perennial while Peninsular Rivers are rain-fed. Around 90% of rivers in India flow towards the eastern part of India and drain into the Bay of Bengal. The Remaining 10% of rivers flow towards the western part of India and drain into the Arabian Sea.
Indian rivers are integral to one another. They comprise the lifeline of the country as because of them the land remains fertile and suitable for agriculture. The top ten longest rivers are often worshipped as goddesses by the people of India.
The Top Ten Longest Rivers of India according to their length
|River||Length in India (km)||Total Length (km)|
Top 10 Longest Rivers in India in detail:
1. Ganga River
- Length (Km): 2525
- Origin (Source): Gangotri
River Ganga with a length of 2525 km is the longest river of India as it flows entirely through the mainland. It originates from the Gangotri Glacier. The left bank tributaries of River Ganga are Ramganga, Garra, Gomti, Gharghara, Gandak, Burhi Gandak, Koshi, and Mahananda and the right bank tributaries are Yamuna, Tamsa, Son, Punpun, Kiul, Karmanasa and Chandan. The river discharges its water into the Bay of Bengal. The states that are covered by this waterbody are Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and West Bengal.
2. Godavari River
- Length (Km): 1464
- Origin (Source): Originates near Nasik in Maharashtra
Godavari River with a length of 1464 km is the longest river in peninsular India. It originates from Nashik in Maharashtra. It begins from Triambakeshwar, Nasik in Maharashtra and traverses via Chhattisgarh, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, after which it finally meets with the Bay of Bengal. The left bank tributaries of the Godavari are Banganga, Kadva, Shivana, and Purna and the right bank tributaries are Nasardi, Darna, and Pravara. The river discharges itself into the Bay of Bengal.
- Length (Km): 1400
- Origin (Source): Originates in the Western Ghats at an elevation of about 1337 m. just north of Mahabaleswar, about 64 km from the Arabian Sea.
River Krishna with a length of 1400 km originates from the Western Ghats at an elevation of about 1337 metres from the sea level about 64 km from the Arabian Sea. The left bank tributaries of the river are Bhima, Dindi Musi, Paleru, and Munneru and the right bank tributaries are Vienna, Koyna, and Panchganga. Krishna discharges its water into the Bay of Bengal. It serves as one of the prominent sources of irrigation for the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana, and Andhra Pradesh.
4. Yamuna River
- Length (Km): 1376
- Origin (Source): Originates from the Yamunotri glacier at the Banderpoonch peak in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand
River Yamuna with a length of 1376 km originates from the Yamunotri glacier at the Banderpoonch peak in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand. It is the main tributary of the River Ganga. The left bank tributaries of Yamuna are Hindon, Sharda and the right bank tributaries are Chambal, Betwa and Ken. The major states through which the river flows are Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.
5. Narmada River
- Length (Km): 1312
- Origin (Source): Originates near Amarkantak in Madhya Pradesh
The source of the 1312 km-long River Narmada is the Amarkantak Peak in Madhya Pradesh. Left bank tributaries of Narmada are Burhner, Banjar, Sher and Karjan. The right bank tributaries are Hiran, Tendoni, and Choral. It discharges its water into the Arabian Sea. It is also known as the “Life Line of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat” for its huge contribution to the state of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat.
6. Indus River
- Length (Km): 1114
- Origin (Source): Originates in the northern slopes of the Kailash range in Tibet near Lake Manasarovar.
Indus is the longest river in terms of the distance it covers i.e. 3180 km. However, its distance covered within India is only 1,114 kilometres. But a major portion of the river flows through present-day Pakistan. The source of the river is the Northern slopes of the Kailash range in Tibet near Manasarovar. Major Cities located on the banks of Indus are: Leh, and Skardu. The left bank tributaries of Indus are Zanskar, Suru, Soan, Jhelum, Chenab and Luni. The right bank tributaries are Shyok, Hunza, Gilgit, Gomal and Zhob. Indus drains its water into the Arabian Sea.
7. Brahmaputra River
- Length (Km): 2900
- Origin (Source): Originates from Kailash ranges of Himalaya
Brahmaputra River with a length of 2900 km originates from the Kailash Ranges of the Himalayas in Tibet. Its total length within India is only 916 kilometres. It enters India through Arunachal Pradesh. The left bank tributaries of the river are Dibang, Lohit, Dhansiri and the right bank tributaries are Kameng, Manas, Jaldhaka, Teesta and Subansiri. The Brahmaputra enters Bangladesh as Jamuna and then joins Padma (the Ganges in India) before emptying itself into the Bay of Bengal. The Majuli or Majoli is a river island in the Brahmaputra River, Assam and in 2016 it became the first island to be made a district in India. It had an area of 880 square kilometres at the beginning of the 20th century.
8. Mahanadi River
- Length (Km): 890
- Origin (Source): Originates from Raipur district of Chhattisgarh
The 890 km-long Mahanadi River originates in the Raipur district of Chhattisgarh. Its left bank tributaries are Mand, Ib, and Hasdeo and right bank tributaries are Ong and Parry. The Mahanadi discharges its water into the Bay of Bengal. Hence it was called ‘the distress of Odisha’. Anyway, the development of the Hirakud Dam has enormously modified the circumstance.
9. Cauvery River
- Length (Km): 800
- Origin (Source): Originates at Talakaveri in Coorg District of Karnataka in Brahmagiri Range of hills in the Western ghats
The 800 km-long Cauvery River originates from the Brahmagiri Range of the Western Ghats in Coorg District of Karnataka. There is Harangi Reservoir on its left bank. The main right bank tributary is Lakshmana Tirtha. Cauvery discharges its water into the Grand Anicut (South). Before emptying into the Bay of Bengal, Tamil Nadu, the river breaks into a large number of distributaries forming a wide delta called the “garden of southern India.”
10. Tapi River
- Length (Km): 724
- Origin (Source): Satpura Range
The 724 km-long Tapi River originates from the Satpura Range. Its tributaries are Purna and Girna. It discharges its water into the Gulf of Khambhat (Arabian Sea). It runs through Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat and has six tributaries.