Brief Note on the different Classifications of the Rivers in India


The rivers in India are classified as:

(i) Himalayan rivers;

(ii) Peninsular rivers;


(iii) Coastal rivers;

(iv) Rivers of the inland drainage basin.

The Himalayan rivers are snow fed and have reasonable flow throughout the year. The Ganges system, the Brahmaputra system and the Indus system are the three major systems of Himalayan river which include about 23 principal rivrs like Jamuna, Manas, Sutlej etc.

The Peninsular rivers are generally rain-fed and therefore fluctuate in volume. They are more or less completely graded. The western ghats is the main watershed in the Peninsula.


Major rivers like Mahanadi, Godavari, Krishna, Kaveri etc. flows eastwards and drain in to the Bay of Bengal. Narmada and Tapti are the important west flowing rivers which drain into the Arabian Sea.

The coastal streams, specially of the West coast are short in length and have limited catchment areas. Most of them are flashy and non-perennial.

The streams of the inland drainage basin of western Rajasthan are few and far between. Most of them are of an ephemeral character. They drain towards the individual basins or salt lakes like the Sambhar or are lost in the sands, having no outlet to the sea. The Luni is the only river of this category that drains into the Rann of Cutch.

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