Drainage System of India (Himalayan, INDUS, GANGA, BRAHMAPUTRA, Peninsular) | UPSC Notes

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Important Drainage Patterns of India:

  1. Dendritic : Drainage Pattern resembling branches of tree eg : rivers of N India
  2. Radial : Rivers orig from hill & flow in all directions eg Amarkantak Range
  3. Trellis : When Primary Tribut flow // to each other & Secondary Tributs join them at _|_ angles
  4. Centripetal : Rivers discharge their waters from all directions in a lake / depression
  • River Basin : Catchments area of large Rivers ; Watershed : Catchment of small rivulets & rills ;  Diff : Area ( Watershed < River Basin)
  • Why are River Basins / Watersheds accepted as most apt micro, meso or macro planning regions ?Ans ) River Basins & Watersheds are marked by unity ; what happens in one part directly affects the other part or unit
  • Indian Drainage sytem div on basis of discharge of water : (1) Arabian Sea Drainage ( 77% ) (2) Bay of Bengal Drainage ( 23% )

—> Separated from each other by Delhi Ridge , Aravalis & Sahyadris

  • On Basis of size of watershed 
    • Major River Basins     : > 20,000 sq km of Catchment Area ( 14 ) ( Ganga Brahmaputra Krishna Narmada Tapi Mahi Sabarmati )
    • Medium River Basins : 2,000 – 20,000 sq km of Catchment Area ( 44 ) ( Kalindi, Periyar, Meghna )
    • Minor River Basins     : < 2000 sq km Catchment Are
Important Drainage Patterns of India upsc
Himalayan Drainage System  upsc

Himalayan Drainage System 

  • Rivers are perennial ; fed by melting of snow & precipitation —> form V shaped valleys, deep gorges, rapids & waterfalls 
  • When entering plains Rivers form Depositional Features : flat valleys, ox-bow lakes, flood plains, braided channels & deltas
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In Himalayas : courses of R : tortous ; In plains: display strong meandering tendency & shift courses freq

—> R.Kosi = Sorrow of Bihar, as brings huge amt of sediments from upper reaches ; course gets blocked & conseq R changes course

  • Evolution of Himalayan Drainage system :
    • One mighty river Indo-Brahma traversed entire Longit extent of ∆H & finally discharged in Gulf of Sind 5-24 mil ago Miocene period
    • Reasons for dis-memberment of Indo-Brahma :
      • Pleistocene upheaval in W ∆H, includ uplift of Potwar Plat (Delhi Ridge) : acted as water divide betw Indus & Ganga 
      • Down thrusting of Malda gap betw Rajamahal & Meghalaya Plat during Mid-Pleistocene, diverted G&B towards Bay of B

INDUS Drainage SYSTEM :

  • a.k.a. Sindhu ; Area : 11,65,000 sq km Length : 2,880 km ( In India Area : 321,289 sq km Length : 1,114 km)
  • Orig : Bokhar Chu glacier Tibet, Kailash Range ( 4,164 m )
  • In Tibet a.k.a. ‘Singi Khamban or “Lion’s Mouth”
  • Flowing in NW direction betw Ladakh & Zaskar —> cuts across Ladakh —> forms Gorge near Gilgit, J&K —> enters Pak in Dardistan
  • Emerges out of hills near Attock 
  • Indus receives Panjnad (Name given to the 5 rivers of Punjab : J > C > R > B > S ) above Mithankot 
  • Indus flows in India only through ‘Leh’ district in J&K

Indus : 

Shyok + Gilgit + Zaskar + Hunza + Nubra + Shigar + Gasting + Dras

Khurram + Tochi + Gomal + Viboa + Sagar (all orig in Sulaiman Range)

1) Jhelum :

  • Orig : Verinag, Pir Panjal 
  • flows through Srinagar & Wular lake before entering Pak 

2) Chenab :

  • Larges tribut of Indus 
  • Formed by 2 streams : Chandra + Bhaga ( viz join at Tandi near Keylong, HP )

3) Ravi : 

  • Orig : Rohtang Pass (Kullu Hills, HP)
  • Flows through Chamba Valley of HP + Drains area b/w Pir Panjal & Dhauladhar 

4) Beas : 

  • Orig : Rohtang Pass
  • Flows through Kullu Valley, forms gorges at Kati & Largi in Dhauladhar ranges 
  • Enters Punjab plains where meets Satluj near Harike

5) Sutlej : 

  • Orig : Rakas Lake, Mansarovar in Tibet known as Langchen Khambab
  • Flows // to Indus (400 km ) —> enters India through Shipki La (HP) & enters Punjab plains 
  • Antecedent river ; feeds Bhakra Nanagal Project

GANGA Drainage SYSTEM :

  • Rises in Gangotri near Gaumukh (3900 m) in Uttarkashi, UK . Here known as Bhagirathi 
  • Devprayag : Bhagirathi meets Alaknanda ; Henceforth known as Ganga
  • Alaknanda ( + DhauliGanga , viz meet at Vishnu Prayag ) , has source in Badrinath
  • Other Tributs of Alaknanda : Pindar joins at Karna Prayag ; Mandakini joins at Rudra Prayag
  • Ganga enters plains at Haridwar ; Splits much later into 2 distribut : Bhagirathi + Hugli
  • Length 2,525 km (UK , UP , Bihar, WB)
  • Major Right Bank Tribut : Son
  • Imp Left Bank Tribut :
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Ramganga, Gomati, Ghaghara, Gandak, Kosi, Mahananda

GANGA Drainage SYSTEM upsc
GANGA Drainage SYSTEM route upsc

1) Ramganga : 

  • Orig : Garhwal Hills, UK
  • enters plains of UP near Najibabad, joins Ganga near Kannauj

2) Ghaghara : 

  • Orig : glaciers of Mapchachungo,
  • Tributs : Tila, Seti, Beri
  • comes out of Mtn cutting deep gorge at Shishapani 
  • R. Sarda :
    • Orig : Milam glaciers ,
    • Along Nepal ^H called Goriganga ; Along Indo-Nepal border called Kali / KaliGanga where it joins Ghaghara

3) Gandak : 

  • Orig : Nepal ∆H betw Dhaulagiri & Mt Everest & drains central part of Nepal
  • Comprises 2 streams namely ( Kaligandak + Trishulganga )
  • enters Ganga plains in Champaran ; joins Ganga at Sonpur near Patna

4) Kosi : 

  • Orig : N of Mt Everest in Tibet where mainstream Arun rises 
  • Antecedent river 
  • Forms Sapt Kosi after uniting with river Arun

5) Mahananda :

  • Orig : Darjeeling Hills
  • Joins Ganga as last left bank tribut in WB

1) Yamuna :

  • Yamuna : Yamunotri glacier of Banderpunch range ; joins Ganga at Prayag (Allahabad)
  • Right bank Tri : Chambal, Sind, Betwa & Ken ( orig in Penin Plat )

Left Bank tribut : Hindan, Rind , Sengar, Varuna

  • Chambal : 
    • Orig : near Mhow in Malwa Plat of MP
    • Flows N through Gorge upwards of Kota, where Ghandhisagar dam constructed 
    • From Kota traverses down to Bundi, Sawai Madhopur & Dholpur —> finally joins Yamuna
    • Chambal famous for Badland Topo called Chambal ravines
    • Banas : arises in Aravalli ; only tribut of Chambal 

2) Son :

  • Orig : Amarkantak Plat 
  • Largest south Bank tribut of Ganga , joins Ganga in Arrah, W of Patna 

3) Damodar :

  • Orig : E margins of Chotanagpur Plat where flows through rift valley & finally joins Hugli
  • Main triibut : Barakar 
  • Damodar once named as “Sorrow of Bengal” ; now tamed by Damodar Valley Corporation
BRAHMAPUTRA  Drainage SYSTEM upsc

BRAHMAPUTRA  Drainage SYSTEM :

  • Orig : Chemayungdung glaciers of Kailash range near Mansarovar 
  • Travels E (1,200 km) in dry flat S Tibet , a.k.a. Tsangpo (the purifier) (Rango Tsang-po is major R Bank Tribut )
  • Comes out of deep gorge in C∆H near Namcha Barwa —> enters foothills as Dihang —> enters India W of Sadiya town in AP—> Flowing SW receives main L Bank tributs Dibang & Lohit —> thereafter known as Brahmaputra
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Brahmaputra :

Dibang + Lohit + Burhi + Dihing + Dhansari 

Subansiri + Kameng + Manas + Sankosh

  • In Bangladesh, Tista joins it on its R Bank —> henceforth known as Jamuna —> Finally merges with Ganga —> Hence called Padma
  • Brahmaputra well known for floods, channel shifting & erosion : most tributs bring large sediments owing to heavy RF in catchment area

Peninsular Drainage System 

  • Older than ∆H drainage system : evident from broad, largely graded shallow valleys & maturity of rivers 
  • W Ghats acts as water divide betw 2 oceans 
  • Penin R char by fixed course, absence of meanders & non-perennial flow of water ; Exception : Narmada & Tapi flow through Rift valley
  • 3 MAJOR Geological events of Past viz shaped Penin Drainage systems :
    • Subsidence of W flank of Penin —> submergence below sea (Tertiary Period ) —> disturbing symmetrical plan of river on either side of original Watershed
    • Subsidence & conseq Trough Faulting of N flank of Penin —> Narmada & Tapi flow in trough faults & fill orig cracks with deritus materials . Hence lack of Alluvial & deltaic deposits in N & T
    • Slight tilting of Penin from NW to SE dir gave orientation of entire drainage sys towards Bay of B
EAST : Peninsular Drainage System 

EAST : Peninsular Drainage System 

1) Subarnarekha : 

Bengal-Odisha

2) Baitarni + Brahmini :

(Odisha)

3) Mahanadi :

Orig : Raipur, Chattisgarh & runs through Odisha

4) Vamsadhara : 

AP

5) Godavari : 

  • Orig :  Nasik, Maharashtra ; Largest Penin river ; Dakshin Ganga 
  • Maj Tributs : Penganga, Indravati, Pranhita  +  Manjra (RB)
  • Godavari subj to heavy flood in lower reaches of Polavaram ( picturesque gorge ) 

6) Krishna : 

  • Orig : Mahabaleshwar in Sahyadri ; 2nd Largest E flowing Penin R
  • Maj Tributs : Koyna, Bhima Tungabhadra

7) Penner : 

AP

8) Palar : 

TN

9) Kaveri :

  • Orig : Brahmagiri Hills, Kogadu district Karnataka
  • Kaveri carries water th.o. year ( Upper CA during SW Monsoon & Lower CA during NE Monsoon )
  • Tributaries : Kabini + Bhavani + Amravati

10) Vaigai

TN

WEST : Peninsular Drainage System 

0) Luni : 

  • Largest river system of Rajasthan, west of Aravali ; Ephemeral nature
  • Orig : Pushkar in 2 branches : Saraswati & Sabarmati ; join at Govindgarh 

1) Sabarmati & Mahi :

Gujarat

2) Dhadhar :

Gujarat

3) Narmada :

  • Orig : Amarkantak plat 
  • flows in Rift valley betw Satpura in S & Vindhyan in N
  • Dhuandar waterfall in Jabalpur + Sardar Saarovar Proj

4) Tapi : 

Orig : Multai in Betul District of MP

5) Mandovi + Juari 

Goa

6) Kalinadi 

    Sharavasti 

Karnataka

7) Bharathpuza

    Periyar

    Pamba

Kerala

Himalayan River Vs Peninsular River

ASPECT

HIMALAYAN Rivers

PENIN Rivers

Place of Origin

∆H covered with Glaciers

Penin Plat & C. Highlands

Nature of flow

Perennial ( receive from Glacier & RF )

Seasonal ( Dep on Monsoon RF )

Type of Drainage

Antecedent —> dendritic pattern in plains

Super imposed —>Trellis, Radial & Rect

Nature of River 

Long course flowing through rugged mtns 

—> Headward erosion & River capturing

In Plains, meandering & shifting of course

Meandering is a mature/old age phenomenon 

Smaller, fixed course with well adjusted Valleys

Ox bow lakes (Old Stage)

Catchment Area

V. Large Basins

Relatively smaller Basin

Age of River

Young, youthful, active & deepening in Valleys

Old Rivers with graded profile, have almost reached their base levels