Ganga is the longest river in India and it originates from the Gangotri glacier. India is a land of many rivers and they play an integral role in Indian society. The rivers of India keep the country fertile, industrially developed, and agriculturally suitable. Its 10 longest rivers are worshipped as goddesses by the Indian people and unite different regions of the country.
Rivers in India can be divided into Himalayan rivers and peninsular rivers. About 90% of India's rivers flow into the eastern part of India, towards the Bay of Bengal. The remaining 10% of the rivers flow into the western part of India, towards the Arabian Sea. Read more to get complete information about the longest river in India.
Top 10 Longest Rivers in India
Below is the list of the top 10 longest rivers in India in terms of total length and contribution.
List of Longest Rivers in India - 2023
Name of Longest Rivers in India
Length in India (km)
Total Length (km)
Some Facts about the Largest River in India
- Former Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh designated the Ganga river as India's national river in 2008.
- The longest river in India, the river Ganga, is a trans-boundary river, meaning it flows between Bangladesh and India.
- When the river Ganga reaches Bangladesh, it changes its name to Padma River.
- The Ganga action plan was started in 1985 to improve the quality of one of the most polluted rivers in the world.
- There are many holy locations along the bank of the longest river in India (Ganga), such as Haridwar, Gangotri, Varanasi, and Kali Ghat.
Summary of the Largest River in India
Known in India as the Ganga, the Ganges is the most sacred river in Hindu belief and the longest river surrounded by the Indian subcontinent. It is the longest river in India.
- It flows through a distance of 2525 km.
- The river is home to many faunas, including 140 fish species, 90 land and water proficient species, the gharial, and the Ganges waterway dolphin, some of which are included in the IUCN's endangered list.
- Primary tributaries are the Gomti, Ghaghara, Yamuna, Son, Gandak, and Koshi.
- Origin: Gangotri
- Adjoining states: Uttarakhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal
- Discharges in: Bay of Bengal.
Godavari River [Second Longest River in India]
The Godavari, also called the Dakshinganga or South Ganges, is India's second longest river in length. The river is sacred to Hindus, and its banks have several places that have been travel destinations for many years.
- Its total distance is 1464 km.
- The principal left bank tributaries include the Pranhita, Indravati, Purna, and Sabari Rivers.
- Origin: Near Nashik, Maharashtra
- Adjoining cities: Nasik, Nandedo, Rajahmundry
- Discharges in: Bay of Bengal
Krishna River [3rd Longest River in India]
Krishna is the third-longest river in India in terms of length and the fourth-longest river in India in water inflow and river basin area. The total length of the Krishna river is 1400 km.
- It is a recognized irrigation source for Telangana, Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh.
- The river's principal tributaries are Dudhaganga, Bhima, Panchganga, Ghataprabha, and Tungabhadra.
- Origin: the Western Ghats at an altitude of about 64 km from the Arabian Sea and about 1337 m north of Mahabaleshwar.
- Adjoining states: Maharashtra, Telangana, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh.
Yamuna River [4th Longest River in India]
The 4th biggest river in India is the Yamuna, also known as Jamuna, which has religious significance and flows over a distance of 1376 km.
- The river, also called Jamuna, originated from the Yamunotri glacier at the Banderpoonch peak in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand.
- Tributaries of Yamuna are Hanuman Ganga, Sasur, Hindon, Sharda, Giri, Rishiganga, Chambal, Betwa, Ken, Sindh and Tons.
- Origin: Yamunotri Glacier in the Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand.
- Adjoining states: Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh.
The Narmada River, also known as Rewa and Nerbudda, is considered one of the most sacred waters. The Narmada River is one of India's seven heavenly waterways for Hindus.
- The river is also called the "Life Line of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat", having a total length of 1312 km, contributing primarily to both states.
- Narmada is the largest river in India, occupying the fifth position.
- Origin: Near Amarkantak, Madhya Pradesh.
- Discharges in the Arabian Sea.
The history of the name of India is related to Indus, also known as the home of the Indus Valley civilization. The river enters Pakistan, and its total length is 3180 kilometres. The total distance of the Indus River is 3180 kilometres.
- However, the distance covered within India is only 1,114 kilometres, which makes it the sixth India biggest river.
- Indus' main tributaries are Jansker, Soan, Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Sutlej and Beas.
- Origin: Towers on the northern slopes of Mount Kangrinboqe in Tibet near Lake Manasarover.
- Adjoining cities: Leh and Skardu
- Discharges in: the Arabian Sea.
The Brahmaputra is the second river that springs from the Mansarovar Mountains. It comes from the Ansi Glacier near Lake Mansarovar in Tibet, China. The river's total distance is 2900 km.
- But, its total length in India is only 916 kilometres.
- The Brahmaputra is referred to as the Yarlung Tsangpo River in China and joins India via Arunachal Pradesh.
- Kaziranga National Park is established on the edge of a river.
- The first island to be constructed in India's district in 2016 - The Majuli or Majoli, is a river island found on the Brahmaputra River, Assam.
- Origin: Kangrinboqe region of the Himalayas
- Discharges in: Bay of Bengal
The Mahanadi River has historically been famous for its breathtaking floods. Therefore, it was called the 'distress of Odisha'. In any case, the development of Hirakud Dam has changed the situation significantly.
- Today, streams are well managed by waterways and dam systems.
- The overall length of the river is 890 km.
- Mahanadi tributaries are Hasdeo, Ong, Seonath, Mand, Ib, Parry river, Jonk, and Telen.
- Origin: Raipur, Chhattisgarh
- Discharges in: Bay of Bengal.
The Kaveri River, also called Cauvery, is a holy river in South India that is also significant for its irrigation canal project. It is the ninth largest river in India, stretching over 800 km.
- The river splits into many distributaries forming a vast delta called the "Garden of Southern India." before meeting the Bay of Bengal.
- Kaveri is a holy river in Tamil literature for its sight and purity.
- Origin: Tarakaveli, Kodagu district, Karnataka, in the Bramagiri hills of the Western Ghats.
The Tapi River is one of three rivers that originates from the Indian Peninsula and flows from east to west. The overall distance through which the river flows is 724 km, making it the largest river in India.
- Origin: Satpura Range
- Tributaries: Purna, Gomai, Gilna, Pedi, Panzara, Bray, Anurati, Arna, Vagur, Suki, Sipna
- Discharges into: Gulf of Khambhat (Arabian Sea)
- Adjoining states: Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Gujarat.
FAQs on the Longest River In India
Q.1. Which is the longest river in India in 2023?
Ganga is the longest river in India, with a total length of 2525 km. The river is home to many aquatic creatures, including fish species, water species, the gharial, and the waterway dolphin. Besides being the longest river in India, it is also considered the most sacred river in the country.
Q.2. Which river is the longest tributary of the Ganges?
The Yamuna River is the longest tributary of the Ganges and does not flow directly into the sea. Its tributaries are Hanuman Ganga, Sasur, Hindon, Sharda, Giri, Rishiganga, Chambal, Betwa, Ken, Sindh and Tons. Yamuna is also one of the longest rivers and the fourth-biggest rivers in the country.
Q.3. What is the significance of the Narmada River in India?
The Narmada river is among the longest rivers in India. It is known as the 'Lifeline of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat' due to its significant contributions to these states. It flows westwards, unlike the other rivers in our country. The total length of the Narmada river is 1312 km.
Q.4. Which is the Second longest river in India?
The second largest river in India is "The Godavari", having a total distance of 1464 km. The Godavari is also called the Dakshinganga or South Ganges. The Godavari river is considered sacred to the Hindus, and the river banks have several places that have been popular travel destinations for many years.
Q 5. Which is India's largest river in South India?
The longest river in South India in 2023 is the Godavari river. The Godavari river covers a total distance of 1,465 km and is the largest river in India in terms of length, catchment area and discharge. It originates near Nashik in Maharashtra and discharges in the Bay of Bengal.
Q 6. Which is the longest river in India by length?
The longest river in India by length is the river Ganges, or Ganga, which covers a total distance of 2525 km. This is also the national river of India since 2008. It originates from the Gangotri glacier in Uttarakhand as the Bhagirathi. Ganga is a transboundary river, meaning it flows between Bangladesh and India.
Q 7. Which is the longest river in India by volume?
The Brahmaputra is the longest river in India by volume, whereas lengthwise, Ganga is the longest in India. The Brahmaputra originates from the Mansarovar mountains, coming from the Ansi Glacier near Lake Mansarovar in Tibet, China. The total distance that the Brahmaputra river covers is 2900 km.
Q 8. Which is the longest river, Indus or Ganga?
The Ganges is the largest river in India in terms of the total distance covered by the river within the country. Additionally, two other rivers of the Indian subcontinent – the Indus and Brahmaputra – are longer than the Ganges in full length. These two rivers are transboundary rivers, travelling between India and one more country.