Which is the longest river of India – Ganges or Brahmaputra?

Longest River of India

The Ganges is the longest river in India if we consider the total distance covered by a river within India. Two major rivers of the Indian subcontinent – Brahmaputra and Indus – are longer than the Ganges in total length. But the distances these two rivers cover within India are much shorter than that of the Ganges.

India is a land of rivers. Rivers are generally treated as mothers and almost every major river of India has a legend regarding its origin. There is a debate as to which is the longest river in India.

In this regard, The Ganges is the most sacred river to the Hindus. It originates from the Gangotri Glacier (Uttarakhand). The mainstream of this river begins at the confluence of Bhagirathi and Alaknanda rivers at Devprayag (Uttarakhand). The river flows through the states of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and then enters Bangladesh. Major cities located at the banks of the Ganges are – Rishikesh, Haridwar, Kanpur, Allahabad, Varanasi, Patna, Bhagalpur, Farakka Barrage (Malda). The total length that the Ganges covers during its journey is 2,525 kilometres (1569 miles) before it discharges in the Bay of Bengal. Major tributaries of the Ganges are – Yamuna, Son, Gomti, Ghaghara, Gandak and Koshi.

Unlike other rivers of India, the Brahmaputra (Son of Brahma) is perhaps the only river in India which has a male name. The river originates from Angsi Glacier near Mansarovar Lake located in Tibet, China, as Yarlung Tsangpo River and enters India through Arunachal Pradesh. It flows southwest through Assam valley as the Brahmaputra before entering into Bangladesh. Major Indian cities located on the banks of Brahmaputra are – Dibrugarh and Guwahati. The total length of Brahmaputra is 3,848 kilometres as per new findings (earlier length was estimated at 2,900 kilometres).

However, Brahmaputra flows only 916 kilometres within India.

The word “India” is derived from Indus (India is a Greek/Latin term for the country of river Indus). Indus river originates near Lake Mansarovar and runs through areas of Ladakh, Gilgit, and Baltistan before entering into Pakistan. One of the earliest urban civilizations – Indus Valley Civilization flourished beside the Indus River. Major tributaries of river Indus are – Jansker, Soan, Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Sutlej and Beas. Major Cities located on the banks of Indus are – Leh, and Skardu. The total length of the Indus River is 3,610 kilometres. However, Indus flows only 1,114 kilometres within India.

Also known as ‘Dakshin Ganga’ – the South Ganges, the Godavari is the second-longest river of India. It originates from Triambakeshwar, Nasik (Maharashtra), and travels through Chhattisgarh, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, before discharging into the Bay of Bengal. It covers a total area of 1,465 kilometres during the journey. Major tributaries of river Godavari are – Banganga, Indravati, Purna, Pravara etc. Major cities located at the banks of river Godavari are – Nashik, Nanded, and Rajahmundry.

Krishna – the third largest river of India – originates near Mahabaleshwar (Maharashtra) and flows through Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, before discharging into the Bay of Bengal. It covers approximately 1,400 kilometres during its journey. Major tributaries are – Bhima, Panchganga, Dudhaganga, Ghataprabha, Tungabhadra etc. Sangli and Vijayawada are the major cities located at the banks of this river.

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