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Top Ten Eastern flowing Rivers in India You Must Know About

The Abounding Indian Rivers 

The landscape of India is plentiful in rivers, which have a massive impact on the lives of ordinary Indians. Rivers are a source of water, hydro-electricity, transportation and a source of income for an innumerable number of Indians. Most major cities of India located by the banks of rivers and many disputes within India occur over the sharing of waters of these rivers.

East-flowing Indian rivers presented here flow to the eastern coast of India, through the eastern ghats and merge into the Bay of Bengal. The Ganga-Brahmaputra basin has not been included in this analysis as it flows through a subsidence trough located at the head of the Bay of Bengal ocean. This conjoined basin and its tributaries is treated in a separate article.

The top ten east-flowing Indian rivers, or rivers flowing in an eastwardly direction has been classified on the basis of their descending order of length.

Fig 1: The rivers included in the list are outlined in red
Source: Base map used – mapsofindia.com, 2014

Fig 2: The Godavari River
Source: flickr

  1. The Godavari: 1,465 km
    The Godavari is the second-longest river in India after the Holy Ganges. The river has been dubbed as the Dakshina Ganga, or the southern Ganges river. The river starts from the Brahmagiri Mountain in Tryambakeshwar, Nashik in Maharashtra, and flows 1,465 km before joining the Bay of Bengal. It forms its catchment over the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Puducherry, Telangana, and Andhra Pradesh. The Godavari Maha Pushkaram, or Great Worship of the Godavari River, is a Hindu festival that venerates the Godavari river and takes place once every 144 years. The festival last took place in 2015.

Fig 3: The Catchment for Godavari River
Source: Central Ground Water Board

5 Western Flowing Rivers In India You Must Know About

Fig 4: The Krishna River
Source: flickr

  1. The Krishna: 1,290 km

The Krishna river is India’s fourth-biggest river in terms of water inflows. The river starts from the Western Ghats near Mahabaleswar in Maharashtra, near the Arabian Sea coast, and flows 1,290 km before immersing into the Bay of Bengal. It forms a catchment over the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana, and Andhra Pradesh, and is a major source of irrigation for these states. The Krishna Pushkaralu is a religious festival over the river Krishna celebrated in the states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, and occurs once every 12 years. The Krishna Pushkaralu was last celebrated in 2016.

Fig 5: The Catchment for Krishna River
Source: Central Ground Water Board

Fig 6: The Mahanadi River
Source: flickr

How logical is interlinking of rivers?

  1. The Mahanadi: 900 km

Among the most active silt-depositing rivers in India, the Mahanadi starts in the hills in Dandakaranya, Chhattisgarh and flows about 900 km before joining the Bay of Bengal. The river Mahanadi forms a catchment in the Indian states of Chhattisgarh and Odisha.

Fig 7: The Catchment for Mahanadi River
Source: Central Water Commission

Fig 8: The Cauvery River
Source: flickr

  1. The Cauvery: 765 km

Recently the subject of a bitter water dispute between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, the Cauvery river starts from the Brahmagiri Hills of the Western Ghats in Karnataka, and flows 765 km before joining the Bay of Bengal. The river forms a catchment over the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

Fig 9: The Catchment for Cauvery River
Source: Central Ground Water Board

Fig 10: The Damodar River
Source: flickr

  1. The Damodar: 592 km

The Damodar river originates out of many tributaries, most notably the Konar and the Bokaro, in the Chota Nagpur region of Jharkhand, and flows 592 km before joining with the Hoogly river in West Bengal very close to the coastal areas with the Bay of Bengal. It forms its catchment along the areas of Jharkhand and West Bengal and was earlier known as the Sorrow of Bengal due to the floods caused by it in the state of West Bengal.

The Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) emerged in 1948 as a government initiative for a multipurpose river valley project including the participation of the Central, Jharkhand (then Bihar) and West Bengal Governments. This was the first multipurpose river valley project of independent India. Today the DVC is engaged in flood control, water supply, irrigation, power generation, and soil conservation in the areas under its directives (DVC, 2017).

Damodar has the (ADD DVC info)

Fig 11: The Catchment for Damodar River
Source: South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People

Fig 12: The Penner River
Source: flickr

  1. The Penner: 560 km

The Penner river or the Pennar originates in the Nandi Hills in Karnataka and travels 560 km before immersing into the Bay of Bengal. Its catchment areas include the states of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

Fig 13: The Pennar basin includes the catchment for Pennar, Palar and Ponnaiyar River Basins
Source: Central Ground Water Board

Fig 14: The Brahmani River
Source: Ministry of Environment & Forests, GoI

  1. The Brahmani: 480 km

The Brahmani river occurs due to a confluence of the South Koel and Sankh rivers and travels 480 km to join the Bay of Bengal. Its catchment areas include the states of Jharkhand and Odisha.

Fig 15: The Catchment for Brahmani River
Source: Central Ground Water BoardFig 16: The Subarnarekha River
Source: flickr

  1. The Subarnarekha: 470 km

The Subarnarekha river originates in the Chota Nagpur Plateau in Jharkhand and travels 470 km before immersing into the Bay of Bengal. Its catchment areas include the states of Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal. The river passes through a copper-rich mining area and leaves the Chota Nagpur Plateau with the Hundrugbagh waterfall.

Fig 17: The Catchment for Subarnarekha River
Source: Water Resources Information System of India

Fig 18: The Palar River
Source: flickr

  1. The Palar: 295 km

The Palar river originates near the Ponnaiyar river in the Nandi Hills in Karnataka and flows 295 km before immersing into the Bay of Bengal. Its catchment areas include the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

Fig 19: The Catchment for Palar River
Source: Water Resources Department, Government of Tamil NaduFig 20: The Ponnaiyar River
Source: Maurya Rohit, flickr

  1. The Ponnaiyar: 80 km

The Ponnaiyar river originates in the eastern slope of the Nandidrug Mountain in the Chennakaseva Hills in Karnataka, and travels 80 km to immerse into the Bay of Bengal in Cuddalore in Tamil Nadu. Its catchment areas include the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The Ponnaiyar is worshipped a s sacred by Hindus, and festivals are held in January and February annually in the Tamil month of Tai around the river.

Fig 21: The Catchment for Ponnaiyar River
Source: Annamalai University

The Science Behind the Tamil Nadu Floods

The Chennai 2015 Floods

Special Mention: The Adyar

Fig 22: The Adyar River in Chennai
Source: Toni Santagada

The Adyar river originates near Manimangalam village in Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu and runs through Chennai in its 42 km journey into the Bay of Bengal. Its catchment area in the state of Fig 23: The Catchment of Adyar River
Source: Institute for Water Studies, Chennai

The river Adyar that flows through Chennai has a lot of history attached to it, with its close links to the Theosophical Society, Kalakshetra and Santhome that are situated on its banks. However, in 2015 heavy rains that led to flooding in Chennai was partly blamed on the poor management of the Adyar river.

With unplanned slum settlements on its banks, storm water that drains into the Adyar river was blocked. People living in settlements near the Adyar river would need to be rehabilitated in order to rejuvenate this and several other Indian rivers. Adyar remains a constant flashpoint in Chennai each time the rains arrive.

Top Ten River Basins of India

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