Due to differences in the topography, slope and climate there is marked contrast in the Himalayan and the Peninsular Rivers. The Himalayan Rivers rise in high mountains with their sources in glaciers which give them perennial nature maintaining regular supply of water throughout the year.
The sources of the Peninsular Rivers lie in plateaus and low hills which are free from snow and, therefore, most of these rivers are seasonal and become dry during dry season.
The Himalayan Rivers are young and youthful and are still busy in deepening their valleys. These have carved out deep gorges across the Himalayan ranges. The Peninsula has a senile topography where most of the rivers exhibit graded profile and have reached their base level stage flowing through open shallow valleys.
The Himalayan Rivers have long courses flowing through the rugged mountains, level plains and marshy deltaic tracts. Here headword erosion, shifting courses, meandering and river capturing are predominant. The Peninsular Rivers are mostly smaller flowing through the plateau and narrow coastal plains. Their courses are almost fixed with well adjusted valleys.
The Himalayan Rivers are either antecedent, consequent leading to the formation of dendrite pattern in the plains. The Peninsular Rivers are either superimposed, rejuvenated giving birth to radial, trellis or rectangular drainage patterns.
The waters of the Himalayan Rivers are utilised for power generation in hilly areas and for irrigation, drinking water and for inland navigation in the plains. The Peninsular Rivers are although suitable for power generation in their upper reaches but have limited use in irrigation and navigation confined to the deltaic plains.
The Himalayan Rivers pass through alluvial plains which have good aquifers storing huge reservoir of ground water. The rocks of the peninsular region are hard and impermeable where the supply of ground water is limited.
The Himalayan Rivers show steep gradient in their hilly courses forming a number of rapids and waterfalls. Elsewhere in plains the slope is very
gentle. The Peninsular Rivers have great potentials for power generation throughout their courses in the plateau region.
The Himalayan Rivers have formed vast fertile alluvial plains which are useful for agriculture, transport development and industrialisation and urbanization. This is the most densely populated part of the country. In the Peninsular region such favourable conditions are available in the coastal tracts. Elsewhere in the plateau region the population is space.