Top 10 Important & Longest Rivers in India 2020 ( Length & facts )

The rivers in India contribute to our lives and to the country’s economy is a great manner. There are several rivers in India that bring healthy and freshwater to our cities and towns.

During the coronavirus lockdown, the quality of Ganga river water has drastically improved. It is said that the Ganga water is fit for drinking after decades.

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They bring about a change in the surroundings and give us a calming effect with the cool blue hue. There are extraordinary health benefits of walking barefoot by a river on the sand and leave all your worries behind.

There are several major rivers in India and while some of them are holy rivers others are quite important in designing the country’s geography. In this article, we are going to discuss the longest rivers in India.

 longest rivers in India

Rivers have the ability to nourish the ecosystem of our country and are home to several aquatic animals, like our national aquatic animal- pink river dolphin.

They are quite helpful in the development of the country as the water is used for irrigation and promotes agriculture and plantation.

Here are the Top 10 longest rivers in India that are quite important for India’s development:

1. GANGA (THE GANGES) – 2525 KM

river ganga

The Ganges is one of the longest rivers in India with a length of 2525 km. On the basis of its running course in India, It is the longest river of India.

It is also one of the national symbols of India. Ganga is the national river of India & worshipped as one of the goddesses in Hinduism.

Rising in the Himalayas and emptying into the Bay of Bengal, it drains one-fourth of the territory of India, and its basin supports hundreds of millions of people.

The scared river is also known as Bhagirathi at the source and acquires the name Ganges from Devprayag onwards where it meets the Alaknanda.

Another fact about the Ganges is The Ganges Delta in West Bengal – Sundarban Delta is the largest delta in the world. but sadly, it is known to be one of the most polluted rivers too.

Major Cities: Patliputra, Kashi, Allahabad, Varanasi, Kolkata, Badrinath, Haridwar, Kanpur, Patna, Farrukhabad, Fatehgarh, Kannauj, Chakeri.

Major tributaries of Ganga: Ramganga, Gomti, Ghaghara, Gandak, Koshi, Yamuna, Tamsa, Son, Brahmaputra

Also known as:  Bhagirathi

Origin: Gangotri (Himalaya)

Falls into: Bay of Bengal

Length: 2525 km

Significance: Most sacred river in Hinduism

2. GODAVARI – 1465 KM

godavari river

The River Godavari is the second among the longest rivers in India after the Ganges in India being 1,465 km long. In Southern India, the river is known as ‘Dakshina Ganga’.

 It forms one of the largest river basins of 121,000 sq km in the Indian subcontinent, with only the Ganga and Indus rivers having a larger drainage basin.

The Godavari River rises in northwestern Maharashtra state in the Western Ghats range and then flowing through Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Odisha before emptying into the Bay of Bengal.

The river is sacred to Hindus as it has been revered in Hindu scriptures for many millennia.

Major States Covered: Maharashtra, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Puducherry (Yanam).

Major tributaries of Godavari: Purna, Pranhita, Indravati, Sabari River, Pravara, Manjira, Manair

Also known as: Dakshin Ganga

Origin: Tryambakeshwar, Maharashtra

Falls Into: Bay of Bengal

Length: 1465 km

Significance: Main nesting site of endangered species

3. YAMUNA (JUMNA)- 1376 KM

river yamuna

Yamuna River, also called Jamuna locally, is one of the major & longest rivers of north India. The river runs parallel to the Ganges. It is known to be the second-largest tributary & one of the longest rivers in India after the Ganges.

It traverses the states of Uttarakhand, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh along its course of 1,376 km. It continues to flow till it merges with the Ganges at Sangam in Allahabad (Uttar Pradesh) and its convergence is a holy place to Hindus.

The river, however, has become one of the most polluted in India, because so much of its course is through extremely densely populated areas where vast quantities of sewage have been discharged directly into it.

Major Cities: Etawah (UP), Auraiya (UP), Mathura, New Delhi

Major tributaries of Yamuna: Tons River

Also known as: Jumna

Origin: Yamunotri Glaciers (Himalaya)

Falls into: Ganges River

Length: 1376 km

Significance: Worshipped as Goddess Yamuna in Hinduism

4. NARMADA RIVER – 1312 KM

narmada river

Previously known as Nerbudda, the Narmada River has always been an important route between the Arabian Sea and the Ganges (Ganga) River valley.  The Narmada is fourth among the longest rivers in India.

The river originates near Amarkantak in Madhya Pradesh at an elevation of about 3,500 feet.

It is the fifth-longest river in the Indian subcontinent and is also called the Life Line of Madhya Pradesh.

It is one of the largest & longest rivers in India that flows in a rift valley, flowing west between the Satpura and Vindhya ranges.

Hindus believe the Narmada River sprang from the body of the god Shiva, and in sanctity, the Narmada ranks after only the Ganges.

Major cities covered: Amarkantak, Jabalpur, Hoshangabad,  Omkareshwar, Maheshwar, Bharuch.

Major tributaries of Narmada: Sher, the Shakkar, the Dudhi, the Tawa, the Ganjal, the Hiran, the Barna, the Choral, the Karam, the Lohar

Also known as: Nerbudda

Origin: Amarkantak in Madhya Pradesh

Falls Into: Arabian Sea

Length: 1312 km

Significance: One of the seven holy rivers

5. KRISHNA – 1300 KM

krishna river

Also known as Krishnaveni, the Krishna River is the fourth among the longest rivers in India in terms of water inflows and river basin area. It has a total course of about 800 miles (1,290 km).

The river originates in the Western Ghats of Maharashtra at an elevation of about 1337 m running further through Karnataka, Telangana and ultimately emptying into the Bay of Bengal near Koduru in Andhra Pradesh.

The Krishna has a large and highly fertile delta continuous with that of the Godavari River to the northeast thus being a major source of irrigation for Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana, and Andhra Pradesh.

Major towns along the river: Sangali (MH), Konya (MH), Vijaywada (AP)

Major tributaries of Krishana: Bhima, Dindi, Peddavagu, Halia, Musi, Paleru, Munneru, Venna, Koyna, Panchganga, Dudhganga, Ghataprabha, Malaprabha, Tungabhadra.

Also known as: Krishnaveni

Origin: Mahabaleshwar (Maharashtra)

Falls into: Bay of Bengal

Length: 1300 km

Significance: most important peninsular river

6. BRAHMAPUTRA RIVER – 916 KM

BRAHMAPUTRA RIVER

The Brahmaputra River geologically is the youngest among the major rivers in the world yet it is known as a moving ocean. It stands sixth among the longest rivers in India due to its short running course through the plains of India.

The river Brahmaputra travels 2880 km from its origin in the young Himalayan range through Tibet and India. It finally merges with the sea in Bangladesh by opening its streams like the roots of a large Banyan tree.

The river also crosses international boundaries to traverse neighboring countries Bangladesh and China. T

he river enters India from the state of Arunachal Pradesh and then enters the state of Assam and forms Majuli, the biggest river island in the world.

Majorly covered cities: Dibrugarh (Assam), Guwahati

Major tributaries of Brahmaputra: Subansiri, Manas, Jiabharali, Pagladiya, Puthimari, Sankosh

Also known as: Siang

Origin: Angsi Glacier (Tibet)

Falls into: Bay of Bengal

Length: 2900 km ( 916 Km in India)

Significance: The largest river in India

7. MAHANADI – 858 KM

mahanadi river

The word Mahanadi has been derived from Sanskrit where Maha means Great and Nadi means River. It is seventh among the major & longest rivers in India.

Rising in the hills of southeastern Chhattisgarh state, The Mahanadi (“Great River”) follows a total course of 560 miles (900 km) and has an estimated drainage area of 51,000 square miles (132,100 square km).

The world’s largest earthen dam – Hirakund dam has been constructed on Mahanadi River near Sambalpur city in Odisha.

The Mahanadi is an important river in the state of Odisha. This river flows slowly for about 900 kilometers (560 mi) and deposits more silt than any other river in the Indian subcontinent.

Major cities on the river: Cuttak, Sambalpur

Major tributaries of Mahanadi: Seonath, Jonk, Hasdo, Mand, Ib, Ong, Tel, Seonath River

Also known for: Hirakund Dam

Origin: Chattisgarh

Falls Into: Bay of Bengal

Length: 858 km

Significance: Hirakud, the largest earthen dam is built on this river

8. KAVERI RIVER – 805 KM

Kaveri river

Kaveri River, also spelled as Cauvery, is a sacred river of southern India. It is the third-largest river – after Godavari and Krishna. It rises on Brahmagiri Hill of the Western Ghats in southwestern Karnataka state

Kaveri flows in a southeasterly direction for 475 miles (765 km) through the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and descends the Eastern Ghats in a series of great falls.

Doddabetta is the highest point of the Kaveri basin and the scenic Shivanasamudra Falls created by river Kaveri.

Kaveri stands at the eighth position among the longest rivers in India.

Major Towns along the river: Kushalnagar, Mysuru northern suburbs, Srirangapatna, Karur, Tiruchirapalli (TN), Kumbakonam, Mayiladuthurai, Poompuhar.

Major tributaries of Kaveri: the Shimshal, the Hemavati, the Arkavati, Honnuhole, Lakshmana Tirtha, Kabini, Bhavani River, the Lokapavani, the Noyyal, the Amaravati River

Also known as: Ponni, Cauvery

Origin: Talakaveri (Western Ghats, Karnataka)

Falls in: Bay of Bengal

Length: 805 km

Significance: worshipped by Hindus

9. TAPTI – 724 KM

tapti river

The river rises in Gawilgarh Hills of the central Deccan plateau in south-central Madhya Pradesh state. It has a total length of about 435 miles (700 km) and drains an area of 25,200 square miles (65,300 square km).

It roughly runs parallel to river Narmada, one of the longest rivers in India, in the north. It gets separated at the Satpura range.

The Tapti River is one of the major rivers of peninsular India and one of only three rivers runs from east to west. It flows through Surat and is crossed by the Magdalla, ONGC Bridge.

According to Hindu mythology, the river was named after the Goddess Tapati. She was daughter of Surya, the sun. It is believed that she had four siblings Shani, Yamuna, Yama & Bhadra.

It is ninth among the list of the longest rivers in India. & considered important for the geography of peninsular India.

Major towns: Bhusawal in Maharashtra, Surat in Gujarat, Betul, Multai, and Burhanpur in Madhya Pradesh.

Major tributaries of Tapti: Girna River, Purna River, Panzara River, Bori River, Waghur River, Aner River

Also known as: Tapi

Origin: Satpura Range

Falls into: Arabian Sea

Length: 724km

Significance: worshipped as daughter of Surya

10. INDUS RIVER – 710 KM

Indus River

The Indus River holds great historical significance as our country got its name from it. It is one of the longest rivers in the world, with a length of some 2,000 miles (3,200 km). But it runs only 710 KM in the Indian territory.

Although it is one of the largest rivers in the World yet comes at the tenth position among the longest rivers in India due to its short running course.

It originated in the Tibetan Plateau in the vicinity of Lake Manasarovar, the river runs a course through Ladakh towards the Gilgit-Baltistan region Hindukush ranges.

It further flows in a southerly direction along the entire length of Pakistan to merge into the Arabian Sea near the port city of Karachi in Sindh.

Pakistan has 93 percent, India has five percent, and China has a two percent share of this river. Some of the major tributaries of the Indus River include Kabul (river), Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas and Sutlej River.

Major Cities: Leh, Sukur, Hyderabad (Pakistan)

Major tributaries of Indus river: The ChenabJhelum, the Ravi, the Beas, the Sutlej

Also known as: Sindhu

Origin: Tibetan Plateau

Falls Into: Arabian Sea

Length: 3200 km

Significance: it gave birth to Indus Valley civilization

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longest rivers in india

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Final Words

These 10 longest rivers in India along with their tributaries that make the lifeline of India as they provide electricity and water to the major states of the country and even they hold cultural importance too.

However, the water pollution stays the same in India and no action takes place then the water in India won’t remain potable for long.

Due to the Corona Pandemic, the river water quality has drastically changed. It is clearer & safer to use. We all must pledge to keep the pollution under check.

Make sure to visit these amazing rivers during your next vacation.

Garima Nag
A compulsive traveler, voracious reader & habitual fashionista. Love to explore, live & laugh. Read More

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