The Himalayan Drainage

  • A large natural watercourse flowing in a channel to the sea, a lake, or another river is called a river. The entire area where river and its tributaries flow is known as the drainage basin. Drainage is the natural or artificial removal of excess surface and sub-surface water from an area. The drainage basin is the area of land drained by a single river and its tributaries.
  • A drainage system is the pattern formed by the streams, rivers and lakes in a particular drainage basin. It is governed by the topography and the gradient of land.
  • All drainage systems are made of an interconnected network of rivers and streams, which form drainage patterns.
  • Some of the major drainage patterns are dendritic, rectangular, radial and trellis patterns.
  • On the basis of origin, nature and characteristics, rivers of India are classified as:
    1. The Himalayan Rivers, and
    2. The Peninsular Rivers
  • Himalayan rivers are perennial, as these carry water throughout the year. These rivers receive water from the molten snow and rainfall. These rivers form large basins. Himalayan rivers follow a long course from the source to the sea.
  • The major Himalayan Rivers are the Indus, the Ganga and the Brahmaputra.
  • River Indus has its origin in Tibet near Mansarovar Lake. Flowing westwards from its origin, it enters India from the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The Indus drainage system comprises of the Indus and its five main tributaries, which are Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas and Satluj.
  • Two streams Bhagirathi and Alaknanda merge at Devaprayag in Uttarakhand to form the river Ganga. Ganga river basin covers the states of Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and West Bengal. The catchment basin of Ganga covers about a fourth of India’s total surface. Yamuna, Ghaghara, Gandak and Kosi are the major tributaries of the Ganga.
  • River Brahmaputra originates, in Tibet east of Mansarovar Lake, from Chemayungdung glacier. From its origin to its end it is recognised under different names, such as Tsang Po (in Tibet), Dihang (in Arunachal Pradesh), Brahmaputra (in Assam), Jamuna (on entering Bangladesh), and Meghna (before it merges into the Bay of Bengal). The drainage system of Brahmaputra and its tributaries is formed in Tibet, India and Bangladesh.

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  • Q1

    From which glacier does the Brahmaputra river originate?


    Brahmaputra river has originated from the Chemayungdung glacier, located about 100 km south-east of the Mansarowar lake.

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  • Q2

    Name five main tributaries of the Indus drainage system.


    The main tributaries of the Indus river system are as follows:

    a) Jhelum

    b) Chenab

    c) Ravi

    d) Beas

    e) Satluj

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  • Q3

    From where does the major Himalayan rivers originate?


    The major Himalayan rivers have originated from the southern slope of the Tibetan highlands.

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  • Q4

    Name three major rivers of Himalayas.


    The three major rivers of Himalayas are as follows:

    a) The Indus

    b) The Ganga

    c) The Brahmaputra

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  • Q5

    Classify the Indian drainage system on the basis of their evolution.


    On the basis of evolution, Indian drainage system can be divided into Himalayan rivers and Peninsular rivers.

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