The following are the characteristics of the Himalayan Rivers:
1. Catchment Area.
The drainage basin of the Himalayan Rivers covers an area of millions of square km. The Sindh River covers a drainage area of about 1, 17,844 sq km in India.
Those of the Sutlej, the Beas, the Ravi and the Chenab and the Jhelum have the drainage areas of 25.9, 5.9, 26.7 and 28.5 thousand sq km respectively.
The Ganga catchment area covers 951 thousand sq. km. The drainage basin of the Yamuna, the Ramganga, the Ghaghra, the Gandak and the Kosi are 359, 32.8, 127, 9.5, 21.5 thousand sq km respectively.
The Brahmaputra covers an area of 340 thousand sq km. It joins the Ganges in Bangladesh.
2. Deep Gorges.
These rivers flow in very deep gorges. It speaks of the intense erosion. Both the sides of these gorges stand almost vertical. The gorge of the Brahmaputra is thousands of metres deep.
In fact this river existed before the origin of the Himalayas and it maintained its route by cutting deep down. Hence Brahmaputra is an antecedent river. The deepest gorge is that of the Sindh where it crosses the Himalayas near Nanga Parbat and the gorge is 5,180 m deep.
3. Pattern of Flow of Water.
These rivers continue to flow all the year round. They get water from the rainfall and the melted water from the Himalayan snow and glaciers.
However, the water discharge is not the same all the year round. It changes according to the season.
4. The Nature of Mountainous Courses.
The mountain courses of the rivers are serpentine and formation of rapids and waterfalls are common.
5. Intense Erosion.
The slope of the rivers is steep because the rivers are young. They do tremendous erosion and, therefore, carry large amount of sediment.
This has resulted in the formation of plain areas. The Ganga, for example, deposits about one million tonnes of sediment every day.
6. River Courses in the Plains.
These rivers create meanders in the plains and thereby change their courses.
The peninsular rivers do not have their sources, which are snow bound. They flow over hard plateau surface.