Drainage System of India
What is the drainage system?
- Drainage refers to the channel of a river system in an area.
- Drainage Basin refers to an area which is drained by one river system, i.e. Main River along with its tributaries.
- Drainage system refers to the group of channels of drainages, i.e. channels of main (original) river and its tributaries.
- The function of time of the geological period determines the characteristics of the drainage pattern.
- The major characteristics of drainage pattern are – topography, slope, amount of water flow, nature and structure of rocks.
- Drainage patterns are formed based on the channel and shape of rivers which forms a part of the drainage basin.
- Based on the formation of river patterns the drainage patterns are classified into two types – Discordant and Concordant Drainage Pattern.
Discordant Drainage Pattern
- In Discordant drainage pattern, the rivers will not change its path according to the change in topography or landform in an area.
- The discordant drainage pattern further divided into two types :
- Antecedent and
- Superimposed drainage pattern
- Example: R. Indus, R. Brahmaputra, etc.,
Concordant Drainage Pattern
- In Concordant drainage pattern, the rivers will change its path in accordance with the slope and topography of a region.
- The concordant drainage patterns are further divided into:
1. Consequent rivers
2. Subsequent rivers
3. Dendritic Drainage pattern
4. Trellis Drainage Pattern
5. Radial Drainage Pattern
6. Centripetal Drainage Pattern
- In consequent rivers, the rivers flow through the general slope of an area. Mostly main (original) rivers have this drainage pattern. Eg: R. Godavari, R. Cauvery, etc.
- In Subsequent rivers, the tributary streams are formed after the formation of the original stream by the vertical and lateral erosion along the slope. Eg: R. Ken, R. Chambal. Etc.
- In Dendritic Drainage pattern, the pattern of flow of the original river and its tributaries looks like branches of a tree. Eg: R. Indus, R. Mahanadi, R. Godavari, etc.,
- In Trellis Drainage Pattern the tributaries (Subsequent rivers) joins the original river at right angles and the tributaries flow parallel to each other.
- In Radial Drainage Pattern the rivers originate from a common area and flow in all direction from the source region. Eg: Amarkantak Plateau
- In Centripetal Drainage Pattern rivers from different directions drains into a common area. Eg: Loktak Lake, Manipur.
Indian Drainage System
- The drainage system of India is mainly classified into:
- Himalayan rivers
- Peninsular rivers
Himalayan River System
- The upliftment of Himalayas in different geological period resulted in the present drainage system of Himalayan rivers.
- The water divide, watershed and the channel of these rivers have changed at different times and the folding leads to the creation of many rivers.
- There are three major river systems in the Himalayas: (i) The Indus System; (ii) The Ganga System; (iii) The Brahmaputra System.
Near Bokhar Chu Glacier, Tibetan Plateau
Arabian Sea (near Karachi, Pakistan)
Left: Jhelum, Chenab, Sutlej, Ravi, Beas, Zanskar
Right: Shyok, Hunza, Gilgit, Kabul, Khurram, Tochi, Gomal, Viboa, Sangar
Known as Singi Khamban (Lion’s Mouth)
In India, it flows only in Jammu & Kashmir state
Verinag, J & K
R. Chenab (in Pakistan)
Right: Neelum, Sind
It passes through Srinagar and Wular Lake
Tandi, Himachal Pradesh (formed by two rivers Chandra and Bhaga)
R. Indus (in Pakistan)
Right: Marusadar river
It is also called as Chandrabhaga
It is the largest tributary of river Indus
Rohtang Pass, Himachal Pradesh
Raksas Tal, near Mansarovar, Tibet
R. Chenab, Pakistan
Right: Spiti, Beas
It is known as Langchen Khambab in its source place.
It enters India through Shipki La pass
Bhakra Nangal Project is constructed across this river
Beas Kund, near Rohtang pass, Himachal Pradesh
Confluence of R. Bhagirathi and R. Alaknanda at DevPrayag
Sagar Island, Bay of Bengal (Bangladesh)
Left: Ramganga, Gomati, Gandak, Kosi, Ghaghara, Mahananda
Right: Yamuna, Son, Chambal, Betwa
Ganga is India’s largest river system
R. Ganga, Allahabad (UP)
Right: Chambal, Betwa, Ken, Sind
It is the longest tributary of Ganga river
Mhow, Malwa plateau
R. Yamuna, Madhya Pradesh
Right: Parbati, Shipra
Badland topography is an important feature of the Chambal river system
R. Ganga, Sonpur, Bihar
Right: Kali Gandak
R. Ganga, Bihar
Right: Sarda, Budhi Ganga
R. Ganga, Bihar
It is an antecedent trans-boundary river
Pauri Garhwal, Uttarakhand
R. Ganga, Uttar Pradesh
R. Ganga, Bihar (near Patna)
It flows northwards to reach Ganga and its largest south bank tributary
R. Ganga, West Bengal
Last left bank tributary of Ganga
Chemayungdung Glacier, Kailash Range, Tibet
Bay of Bengal
Left: Burhi Dihing, Dhansri, Lohit
Right: Subansri, Manas, Kameng, Sankosh
It enters India in the state of Arunachal Pradesh (near Sadiya town)
In Tibet, it is called as Tsangpo
Takes U-turn and enters India near Namcha Barwa peak
Frequent Shifting of the channel is one of its main characteristics
Peninsular River System
- The course and channel of Peninsular rivers are evolved by passing through various geological events like subsidence, Upheaval of Himalayas, the tilt of Peninsular India
- The Western Ghats acts as a water divide between thus most of the peninsular rivers flow towards the east and few flowing through the west reaching the Arabian Sea with few exemptions which flow northwards.
- The characteristics of river channels of these rivers like the fixed course, absence of meanders, etc., indicates that these rivers are older than Himalayan rivers.
Bay of Bengal (False Point, Odisha)
Left: Seonath, Mand, Ib
Right: Ong, Jonk, Telen
Maharashtra, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha are its basin states
Brahmagiri Hills, Nasik, Maharashtra
Bay of Bengal, Andhra Pradesh (East Godavari district)
Left: Prahnita, Indravati
Right: Manjira, Pravara, Manair
It is called as Dakshin Ganga as this river is the largest Peninsular River
Krishna district, Andhra Pradesh, Bay of Bengal
Left: Bhima, Musi, Munneru
Right: Tungabhadra, Koyna, Dudhganga, Ghataprabha
Brahmagiri Hills, Karnataka
Poompuhar, Tamil Nadu, Bay of Bengal
Left: Hemavathi, Arkavathy
Right: Kabini, Bhavani, Noyyal, Amaravati
This river receives rainfall from both south-west and north-east monsoon
Amarkantak Hills, Madhya Pradesh
Gulf of Khambat, Arabian Sea
Left: Tawa, Shakkar
Right: Hiran, Kolar, Dindori
Known for Marble Rocks (Jabalpur, MP) and falls
West flowing river and flows through a rift valley
Betul District, Madhya Pradesh
Gulf of Khambat, Surat, Arabian Sea
West flowing river
Comparison between Himalayan and the Peninsular Rivers of India
Place of origin
Himalayan mountain covered with
Peninsular plateau and central highland
Nature of flow
Perennial; receive water from the glacier
Seasonal; dependent on monsoon
Type of drainage
Antecedent and consequent leading to
the dendritic pattern in plains
Superimposed, rejuvenated resulting
in trellis, radial and rectangular
Nature of river
Long course, flowing through the
rugged mountains experiencing
headward erosion and river capturing;
In plains meandering and shifting of
Smaller, the fixed course with well-adjusted
Very large basins
Relatively smaller basin
Age of the river
Young and youthful, active and
deepening in the valleys
Old rivers with the graded profile, and have
almost reached their base levels
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