Major West Flowing Rivers in India - Narmada River, West Flowing River UPSC Notes

By K Balaji|Updated : October 27th, 2022

West flowing rivers in India are rarer and less than their east-flowing components. Many small streamlets in the Western Ghats stream westwards rapidly and merge in the Arabian Sea. An important fact is that all Peninsular rivers descending onto the Arabian Sea only form estuaries, not deltas. It is because the west flowing rivers in India flow through rigid rocks and cannot carry a good quantity of silt.

The feeders of west flowing rivers in India are very short; therefore, they do not contribute to silt, which is why these rivers cannot form either a delta or an affluent before entering the sea. The major west flowing rivers in India are Tapi and Narmada. In this article, get complete information on the west flowing rivers in India, their tributaries, origin, major dams built over them, and important projects undertaken.

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West Flowing Rivers of Peninsular India

India is a geographical bliss comprising a group of rivers flowing across the nation. Most of the rivers flow in the east and enter the Bay of Bengal, but a few rivers flow opposite in the west direction.

West flowing rivers of peninsular India finally merge and join with the Arabian Sea. Below are the central west flowing rivers in India, their location, significant projects undertook, their tributaries, and important characteristics. UPSC aspirants can also glance at the major Rivers of India, their origin, tributaries, and sample questions that can be asked in the exam.

List of West Flowing Rivers in India

Below are the seven important west flowing river in India, along with their state of origin and total length. Apprehend the major characteristics of every west flowing river in more detail.

West Flowing River of India

Origin (State)

Total length of West flowing river in India

Narmada (Reva River)

Madhya Pradesh

1,310 km

Tapti/Tapi River

Madhya Pradesh

724 km

Mahi River

Madhya Pradesh

583 km

Sabarmati River

Rajasthan

371 km

Luni (Salt River)

Rajasthan

495 km

Tawa River

Madhya Pradesh

117 km

Sharavati River

Karnataka

128 Km

Narmada River (Reva River)

Narmada River is the primary west flowing rivers in India, found in the state of Madhya Pradesh. It is also commonly named as the Rewa River. Narmada River gets formed from the range of Maikala close to Amarkantak.

  • The west flowing river flows through Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Gujarat.
  • Its length is 1,310 km extending to its estuary in the Gulf of Khambhat from its origin in Amarkantak.
  • Right bank tributaries of Narmada River are the Hatni River, Kolar River, Hiran River, Man River, Choral River, Uri, Tendoni River, Barna, and Orsang.
  • Left bank Narmada tributaries – Tawa, Sher River, Burhner River, Chhota Tawa River, Kundi River, Banjar River, Kaveri River, Karjan River, Goi River, Dudhi River, Ganjal River, and Shakkar river.
  • Sardar Sarovar Dam, Maheshwar Dam, and Indira Gandhi Sagar Dam are this river's principal Hydro Power Projects.

Tapti/Tapi River

The second most famous among the west flowing rivers in India is the Tapti/Tapi River, also situated in Madhya Pradesh. It extends in Madhya Pradesh close to the Multai reserve forest at 752 meters.

  • This is one of the west flowing rivers of India that flows through the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Madhya Pradesh, with a length of around 724 km.
  • The major projects on this river are the Ukai Dam, Kakrapar Dam, and Girna Dam.
  • Right Bank: the Suki, the Arunavati, the Gomai, and the Aner.
  • Left Bank: the Amravati, the Girna, the Mona, the Buray, Sipna, the Panjhra, the Purna, the Vaghur, and the Bori.
  • The most valuable enterprises in the bay include paper and newsprint manufacturers at Nepanagar and textile plants in Surat.

Mahi River

Mahi river originates in the Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh and flows through Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Gujarat. Mahi river finally drains into the Gulf of Cambay.

  • The basin extents over a distance of 34,842 square kilometers.
  • Aravalli hills bound it on the northwest, Vindhyas on the south, the east is bordered by Malwa Plateau, and the west is edged by the Gulf of Khambhat.
  • The overall length of the Mahi river is 583 km.
  • Mahi is among the principal west flowing rivers of India between the states.
  • The main Hydro Power plants on this river are Kadana Dam and Mahi Bajaj Sagar dam.
  • The sole urban center in the bay is Vadodara.
  • Left bank tributaries - Panam and Anas.
  • Right bank tributary - Som, Gomti, and Jakham.
  • Some industries are newsprint, pharmaceuticals, paper, cotton textile, and drugs.

Sabarmati River

Sabar and Hathmati streams form the Sabarmati River. Its bay stretches over Gujarat and Rajasthan, enclosing 21,674 square kilometers of area. Sabarmati originates from Tepur in Rajasthan’s Udaipur district.

  • Aravalli ridges border the basin in the northeast and the north, in the west it touches Rann of Kutch, and in the southern region, it gets bound by the Gulf of Khambhat.
  • The river spans a length of 371 km from its origin to its outlet in the Arabian Sea.
  • The primary region of the gulf is covered by agriculture, accounting for 74.68% of the entire region.
  • Left bank Sabarmati tributaries: the Hathmati, the Vatrak, and the Wakal.
  • Right bank tributary: the Sei.
  • The major projects undertaken under one of the west flowing rivers in India are the Meshwo reservoir project, the Hathmati reservoir, and the Sabarmati reservoir.
  • The industrial metropolis found on the Sabarmati bank is Ahmedabad.
  • Crucial industries are newsprint, textiles, drugs, plastic, rubber goods, automobiles, machines, leather goods, paper, pharmaceuticals, etc.

Luni River (Salt River)

Luni is a drainage basin that typically contains water and allows no flow to other external bodies of water, hence called an endorheic river. It is known as the salt river due to its brackish water below Balotra. It is one of the west flowing rivers in India.

  • Another popular name for Luni is Sagarmati.
  • It derives from the Western gradients of the Aravalli ranges around Ajmer.
  • The area of the Luni river is 37,363 square kilometers, and it flows to a distance of 495 km.
  • The strange thing about this river is that it expands its breadth because the banks contain soils that are easily erodible, whereas beds are composed of sand.
  • The Luni River is the only largest river in the Thar desert in the northwest region of India.
  • The main tributaries of the Luni river are Bandi, Jawai, Sukri, Guhiya, and Jojari rivers.
  • The dams of the Luni river are the Sipu dam, Dantiwada dam, Jaswant Sagar Dam, Jawai dam, and Sardar Samand dam.

Tawa River

Tawa river rises from the Satpura Range of Betul in MP. This river is the longest tributary of River Narmada, having a total length of 117 Km.

  • The river originates in the Mahadeo hills of the Chindwara district and joins Narmada in Hoshangabad.
  • Tawa dam is formed on this river. It comes under the list of west flowing rivers in India with Bori Reserve Forest, India's oldest forest preserve, founded in 1865 along the Tawa river.

Sharavati River

One of the most integral river in Karnataka, that flows towards the west is the Sharavati river. It arises from the Shimoga district of Karnataka. Sharavati River is popular in the country as it creates the most famous Jog Falls with a height of 253 meters.

  • The overall distance through which the Sharavati river flows is 128 Km.
  • The area of the Sharavathi river is 2,985 sq. km.
  • Haridravathi, Mavinahole, Nandihole, Hilkunji, Yennehole, Hurlihole, and Nagodihole are the major tributaries of the Sharavathi river.
  • The Sharavathi river has two dams: the Gerusoppa dam and the Linganamakki dam.

West Flowing Peninsular Rivers of the Sahyadris (Western Ghats)

The west flowing peninsular rivers in India inclines of the Western Ghats experience heavy rain from the southwest monsoons and feed enormous streams (approximately 600) that flow westwards to enter the Arabian Sea. Out of these, only 3% of the areal capacity flows swiftly downwards the vertical slope, and few of them create waterfalls.

Ghaggar River

The Ghaggar is the most vital river of inland drainage as it cannot reach the sea. It is a seasonal river that rises on the lower Himalayas slopes and creates the boundary between Punjab and Haryana.

  • After traveling a distance of 465 km, it gets vanished near Hanumangarh in the arid sands of Rajasthan.
  • Its main tributaries are Tangri, Chaitanya, Saraswati, and the Markanda.
  • Large parts of the Rajasthan desert and Aksai Chin in Ladakh regions have inland drainage.

Mhadei river

Mahadayi or Mhadei, forms in the Western Ghats (Bhimgad Wildlife Sanctuary) in the Belagavi area of Karnataka. It is a rain-fed, west flowing river, named Mandovi in Goa. The river traverses 82 km in Goa and 35 km in Karnataka before meeting the Arabian Sea.

  • Several streams join to create the River Mandovi, one of two prominent rivers (the second one is the Zuari river) that streams through Goa.
  • The Karnataka Government launched the Kalasa-Banduri Nala project to enhance the drinking water supply to the Communities of Gadag, Dharwad, and Belagavi.

West Flowing Rivers in India UPSC

Candidates must know the complete information about west flowing rivers in India UPSC, which comes under the Geography section for UPSC IAS Prelims and Mains Examination.

West Flowing Rivers in India UPSC PDF

The subject is miscellaneous, and west flowing Peninsular Indian rivers is one topic that needs to be well-versed while preparing for the examination. Aspirants can regularly download the Geography Notes for Indian, World, and Physical Geography to revise the conceptual topics.

Important Notes for UPSC
Right to EducationMultipurpose River Valley Projects in India
Right to Freedom of ReligionSanthal Rebellion
Appointment and Removal of Judges of Supreme CourtSupreme Court of India

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FAQs on Major West Flowing Rivers in India

  • India is a geographical paradise comprising a group of rivers. Most rivers flow in the east and enter the Bay of Bengal, while the west flowing rivers of peninsular India join with the Arabian Sea. An example of the biggest west flowing rivers in India is Narmada River.

  • Narmada and Tapi rivers are the two rivers on the peninsula that flow through the Rift Valley. Both are main rivers flowing in the west and originate in Madhya Pradesh, India.

  • As of 2022, Indus is the longest River in India, flowing over three thousand kilometers. It originates in Tibet from Lake Mansarovar and finally joins the Arabian Sea at Pakistan's Karachi port before sailing through the areas of Punjab and Ladakh.

  • The Narmada river flows through the linear rift valley caused due to the turmoil of the Himalayas, between the Vindhyan range in the north and the Satpura in the south. The Narmada begins on the western border of the Amarkantak plateau at about 1,057 m in height. The Narmada river is one of the biggest west flowing rivers in India.

  • The Indus river is a west flowing river in India descending from the Sahyadris. Other western flowing rivers in India are the Narmada river, Tapi, Sabarmati, Mahi, Ghagghar, Luni, Saravati, Pumba, Periyar, and Bharatpuja.

  • Narmada River gets formed from the Maikala range near Amarkantak. Tapti river originates near the Multai reserve forest found in Madhya Pradesh at 752 meters. Both rivers are discovered primarily in the state of Madhya Pradesh.

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