The Peninsular Rivers: East & West flowing rivers differences

The Peninsular Rivers

  • The main water divide in Peninsular India is formed by the Western Ghats, which runs from north to south close to the western coast.

  • Most of the major rivers of the Peninsula such as the Mahanadi, the Godavari, the Krishna and the Kaveri flow eastwards and drain into the Bay of Bengal.

  • These rivers make deltas at their mouths. There are numerous small streams flowing west of the Western Ghats.

  • The Narmada and the Tapi are the only long rivers, which flow west and make esturies.

  • The drainage basins of the peninsular rivers are comparatively small in size.

Difference between west and east flowing rivers of peninsular india:

West flowing rivers East flowing rivers
  • Flows into arabian sea
  • Do not have extensive network of tributaries
  • Geologically young
  • Less Catchment areas
  • Valley floors are above the sea level
  • Flow fleetly into the sea
  • Flows into bay of bengal
  • Have extensive network of tributaries
  • Geologically old
  • Have large catchment areas
  • Valley floors are at sea level
  • Flow slowly into the sea

Peninsular rivers in India mapThe Narmada Basin

  • The Narmada rises in the Amarkantak hills in Madhya Pradesh.

  • It flows towards the west in a rift valley formed due to faulting.

  • The ‘Marble rocks’, near Jabalpur where the Narmada flows through a deep gorge, and the ‘Dhuadhar falls’ where the river plunges over steep rocks, are some of the notable ones.

  • All the tributaries of the Narmada are very short and most of these join the main stream at right angles.
  • The Narmada basin covers parts of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat.

The Tapi Basin

  • The Tapi rises in the Satpura ranges, in the Betul district of Madhya Pradesh.

  • It also flows in a rift valley parallel to the Narmada but it is much shorter in length.

  • Its basin covers parts of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra.

  • The coastal plains between Western Ghats and the Arabian sea are very narrow.

  • Hence, the coastal rivers are short. The main west flowing rivers are Sabarmati, Mahi, Bharathpuzha and Periyar.

The Godavari Basin
  • The Godavari is the largest Peninsular river. It rises from the slopes of the Western Ghats in the Nasik district of Maharashtra.

  • Its length is about 1500 km. It drains into the Bay of Bengal. Its drainage basin is also the largest among the peninsular rivers.

  • The basin covers parts of Maharashtra (about 50% of the basin area lies in Maharashtra), Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh.

  • The Godavari is joined by a number of tributaries such as the Purna, the Wardha, the Pranhita, the Manjra, the Wainganga and the Penganga.

  • The last three tributaries are very large. Because of its length and the area it covers, it is also known as the ‘Dakshin Ganga’.

The Mahanadi Basin

  • The Mahanadi rises in the highlands of Chhattisgarh.

  • It flows through Odisha to reach the Bay of Bengal.

  • The length of the river is about 860 km.

  • Its drainage basin is shared by Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, and Odisha.

The Krishna Basin
  • Rising from a spring near Mahabaleshwar, the Krishna flows for about 1400 km and reaches the Bay of Bengal.

  • The Tungabhadra, the Koyana, the Ghatprabha, the Musi and the Bhima are some of its tributaries.

  • Its drainage basin is shared by Maharasthra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

The Kaveri Basin
  • The Kaveri rises in the Brahmagri range of the Western Ghats and it reaches the Bay of Bengal in south of Cuddalore, in Tamil Nadu.

  • Total length of the river is about 760 km.

  • Its main tributaries are Amravati, Bhavani, Hemavati and Kabini. Its basin drains parts of Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

  • The river Kaveri makes the second biggest waterfall in India, known as Sivasamudram.

  • The hydroelectric power generated from the falls is supplied to Mysore, Bangalore and the Kolar Gold Field.

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