Peninsular Rivers

Sandarbha Desk
Sandarbha Desk
  • 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 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 estuaries.
  • The drainage basins of the peninsular rivers are comparatively small in size than the Himalayan rivers.
  • Two types of peninsular rivers:
  1. West Flowing: Narmada, Tapi
  2. East Flowing: Damodar, Subarnrekha, Mahanadi, Godavari, Krishna, Kaveri                                                  West Flowing Rivers

The Narmada Basin (aka Rewa) Peninsular

  • It rises in the Amarkantak hills in Madhya Pradesh.
  • It flows towards the west in a rift valley formed due to faulting.
  • All its tributaries are very short and most of these join the main stream at right angles.
  • Its basin extends over the states of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra.
  • It is bounded by the Vindhyas on the north, by the Maikala range on the east, by the Satpuras on the south, and by the Arabian Sea on the west
  • The Sardar Sarovar Dam is on the river in the state of Gujarat.
  • It enters Arabian Sea near Bharuch in Gujarat. Aaliya Bet island is situated on its mouth.
  • Dhuandhar falls in Madhya Pradesh

The Tapi Basin Peninsular

  • It rises in the Satpura ranges (Betul plateau) in Madhya Pradesh
  • It also flows in a rift valley parallel to the Narmada but it is much shorter in length.
  • It flows south of the Satpuras.
  • It covers parts of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat.
  • Its mouth is located at Surat, Gujarat.
  • Purna river is its important tributary.


  • It originates in Aravallis, Rajasthan.
  • After reaching Gujarat, it drains into the Arabian Sea.


  • It rises in Madhya Pradesh and after flowing through the Vagad region of Rajasthan, enters Gujarat and flows into the Arabian Sea.

Mandovi (Mhadei) & Zuari river

  • Both originate in Western Ghats.
  • They are important rivers of Goa and merge with the Arabian Sea.

West Flowing rivers of Karnataka

  • Kalinadi
  • Sharavati- Jog Falls (aka Gerosoppa Falls or Jogada Gundi) is located on this river..
  • Netravati

West Flowing rivers of Kerala

  • Periyar- It merges into Vembanad Lake. Source is in Tamil Nadu
  • Pamba/ Pampa- empties into the Vembanad Lake. Originates in Western Ghats.
  • Bharathpuzha

The coastal plains between Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea are very narrow. Hence, the coastal rivers are short.


East Flowing Rivers


  • West bengal + Jharkhand
  • Source: Chota Nagpur Plateau, Jharkhand
  • Barakar is an important tributary which also originates from the Chota Nagpur Plateau.
  • It meets Damodar in West Bengal.
  • The river merges into Sunderbans
  • The region is well known for it Iron & Steel industry.


  • It originates from Ranchi plateau.
  • Flows through Jharkhand, West Bengal, Odisha.
  • It merges with the Bay of Bengal in Odisha.


  • It originates from the Garhjat Hills of Odisha ( on the southern edge of Chota Nagpur Plateau)
  • It flows into the Bay of bengal

Brahmani ( Peninsular )

  • It is a major seasonal river of Odisha.
  • It is formed by the confluence of the Sankh and the South Koel rivers originating from the Chota Nagpur Plateau.


  • It rises in the highlands of Chattisgarh (Dandkaranya).
  • It flows through Odisha to reach the Bay of Bengal.
  • Left Bank Tributaries- Seonath, Mand, Ib, Hasdeo
  • Left Bank Tributaries- Ong, Jonk, Telen
  • The Hirakud Dam is built across the river.
  • It is also known for Talcher Thermal Power Plant


  • Source: Nayagarh Hills (Odisha)
  • Its mouth is a well known hatching site for Olive Ridley Turtles.
  • They live in only warm tropical waters of Pacific, Atlantic and the Indian Ocean.
  • These small turtles are highly endangered.
  • They are known for their unique mass nesting called ” Arribada”. In this process, thousands of females come together on the same beach to lay eggs.
  • Odisha’s Ganjam coast is the largest mass hatching site of Olive Ridley Turtles in the world.


  • It 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.
  • It covers parts of Maharashtra (> 50%), Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh and Telangana
  • It is also known as Dakshin Ganga.
  • Left Bank tributaries- Penganga, Wardha, Wenganga (all three together form Pranhita), Indravati, Banganga, Kadva, Shivana, Purna, Kadam, Taliperu, Sabari
  • Right Bank tributaries- Nasardi, Darna, Pravara, Sindphana, Manjira, Manair, Kinnerasani


  • It rises from a spring near Mahabaleshwar, Maharashtra.
  • Its drainage basin is shared by Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana
  • Left Bank Tributaries: Bhima (chandrabhaga river), Dindi, Peddavagu, Haliya, Musi, Paleru, Munneru
  • Right Bank Tributaries: Venna, Koyna, Panchganga, Dudhaganga, Ghataprabha, Malaprabha, Tungabhadra

Penneru ( Peninsular ) 

  • It rises from the Nandi Hills in Karnataka.
  • It flows through Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh
  • Left Bank Tributaries: Jayamangali, Kunderu, Sagileru
  • Right Bank Tributaries: Chitravati, Papagni, Cheyyeru,


  • It rises in the Brahmagiri range of the Western Ghats and reaches the Bay of Bengal via Tamil Nadu.
  • Its basin drains part of Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
  • Left Bank Tributaries: Hemavati, Shimsha, Arkavathy
  • Right Bank Tributaries: Kabini, Bhavani, Noyyal, Amaravati
  • Sivasamudram waterfall is located on Kaveri

Vaigai River

  • It originates in Varusanadu Hills of Tamil Nadu.
  • Madurai is located on the banks of the river.
  • It empties into the Palk Strait.
  • The Vattaparai Falls are located on this river.

Read More: Indian River System



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