Rivers of South India

Rivers of South India

According to the direction of flow of the rivers of south India they can be divided into 2 groups:

One group flowing eastwards and
The other flowing westwards.
East flowing rivers of South India

These rivers are Subarnarekha, Mahanadi, Godavari, Krishna, Kaveri, etc.

Subarnarekha: It rises from the Chotanagpur plateau of Jharkhand and flows through the states of Jharkhand, West Bengal and Orissa for nearly 430 km to drain into the Bay of Bengal near the Balasore coast of Orissa. The Hoodru waterfall in Ranchi is famous and lies across this river.

Mahanadi: It rises from the Sihawa Highlands of Dandakaranya in the Raipur district of Chhattisgarh. It drains through the Chhattisgarh region of Orissa to flow into the Bay of Bengal. It forms quite a large delta near its mouth, after flowing for 842 km. The three most important tributaries of the Mahanadi are Sheonath, Brahmani and Baitarani.

Godavari: This is the most important river of South India and is considered by many as the Ganga of the south stretching for 1465 km. It raises from the Trimbak Highlands of the Western Ghat ranges near Nasik district of Maharashtra. It then flows southward through Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh to drain into the Bay of Bengal. Near its mouth the river has also formed a large delta. The important tributaries of Godavari are Penganga, Wardha, Wainganga, Manjari, Pranhita, Indravati etc. Some of its important distributaries are Gautami, Vashista and Bainateya.

Krishna: It rises near the Mahabaleshwar range of the Western Ghats. It then flows 1400 km through Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh until it flows into the Bay of Bengal to the south east. Krishna has also formed a large delta at its mouth. Some of the important tributaries of Krishna are Koyna, Ghataprabha, Malprabha, Bhima, Tunga, Bhadra, Bedbati etc.

Kaveri: It rises from the Talakaveri on the Brahmagiri range in the Western Ghats of Karnataka and flows for 800 km over the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu to drain into the Bay of Bengal in the southeast. Some important tributaries are Herangi, Hemavati, Bhabani, Amravati etc. The famous Shiva-Samudram Waterfalls lie across this river. A large delta has also been formed near its mouth.

Other east flowing rivers: Some of them are Penneru, Vaigai and Ponnaiyar.

West flowing rivers of South India

The most important west flowing rivers of South India are i) Narmada, ii) Tapi or Tapti and iii) Sabarmati.

Narmada: The 1300 km long Narmada River rises near the Amarkantak peak of Mahakal range in Madhya Pradesh-Chhattisgarh and flows between Vindhyan and Satpura ranges in a narrow rift valley, it meets the Gulf of Khambat near Bharuch (Broach). Near Jabalpur in the Bheraghat Marble rock region Narmada forms a beautiful waterfall, called the Dhuandhar waterfalls. The Narmada River is also known as the Reba River. This river forms no delta.

Tapi: The 724 km Tapi River rises near Multai area in the Mahadev Hills lying in Madhya Pradesh. It flows parallel south of the Satpura range in a narrow valley. It meets the Gulf of Khambat near Surat. A tributary of Tapi is Purna. Tapi also forms no delta.

Sabarmati: It rises from the Aravalli Hills and flows over the semiarid regions of Rajasthan and Gujarat to drain into Gulf of Khambat.

Other west flowing rivers of South India – Many small rivers rise on the western slopes of the Western Ghat and flow for short distances westwards into the Arabian Sea. Some such rivers are Sharavati, Ulhas, Netravati, Shavitri etc.

The highest waterfall in India – Gersoppa falls, has a height of 275 meters. It lies across the Sharavati River. This waterfall has 2 other names – Mahatma Gandhi Waterfall and Jog Falls.

Reasons for no deltas being formed at the mouth of the west flowing rivers:

Most of these rivers are small so less silt is present in their water.
Though Narmada and Tapi are relatively big river, they for no delta because they have high velocity which clears the mouth of the rivers. Thus no favorable conditions are there for the deposit of silt at the mouth of the rivers to form deltas.
These rivers have few tributaries so little silt and sand are deposited or added into the river.
The Arabian Sea is comparatively more violent than the Bay of Bengal and the marine action helps to clear the mouth of these rivers.