The Chambal River is one of the major tributaries of the Yamuna River. Located in Central India, the river comprises a significant portion of the Greater Gangetic Drainage System. The Chambal River runs according to a north to northeasterly itinerary through Madhya Pradesh, flowing for a considerable distance through Rajasthan, subsequently creates the border between Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan prior to twisting to the southeast to meet the Yamuna in the state of Uttar Pradesh.

About the Chambal River

The Chambal River is a famous river and it has been cited in various prehistoric scriptures. It is a perennial river and has its source in Manpura, located to the south of Mhow Town close to Indore on the southern sides of the Vindhya Mountain Range lying in Madhya Pradesh.

The Chambal and its tributaries sap the Malwa area of northwestern Madhya Pradesh, and at the same time its tributary, the Banas, which originates in the Aravalli Range, saps the southeast part of Rajasthan. The river finishes at a meeting point of five rivers, which include the Kwari, Chambal, Sind, Yamuna, and Pahuj at Pachnada close to Bhareh in Uttar Pradesh state, at the boundary of Etawah and Bhind districts.

The Chambal River is regarded pollution free, and is home to a remarkable variety of riverine fauna, which includes 2 types of crocodiles – the gharial and mugger, smooth-coated otters, 8 varieties of freshwater turtles, skimmers, gangetic river dolphins, sarus cranes, black-bellied terns, and black-necked storks, along with others.


The region is situated within the partly-barren area of northwest India at the boundary of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh. The flora comprises narrow valley, thorn jungle, a subcategory of the Northern Tropical Forests (Sub-set 6B/C2 of the amended taxonomy of Champion & Seth, 1968). This sub-category usually grows in less barren regions with 600–700 mm precipitation. A few instances of Saline/Alkaline Babul Savannah (5E/8b), a category of Northern Tropical Arid broad-leafed forest also grows in this area. Evergreen riverbank plants are totally missing, with only spare groundcover beside the rigorously weather-beaten riverbanks and adjoining valley terrains.

The partly barren territory in Madhya Pradesh is characterized by Chambal drainage basin, stretching up to Betla and Narmada Rivers. More than 1,000 blossoming plants have been found which include the following:

  • Pendula
  • Anogeissus latifoia
  • Lannea coromandelica
  • Tectona grandis
  • Sterculia urens
  • Diospyros melanoxylon
  • Butea monosperma
  • Mitragyna parviflora
  • Boswellia serrata
  • Emblica officinalls
  • Hardwickia binata
  • Bridelia squamosa
Class composition at ground level and bushes is analogous to that of semi-parched areas of Gujarat. Some trailing plants of this region include categories of the following:

  • Atylosia
  • Rhynchosia
  • Cissampelos
  • Cocculus
  • Pergularia daemia
  • Ipomoea
  • Tinospora cordifolia
  • Pueraria tuberosa
Small trees and thorny bushes usually seen in this area include the following:

  • Balanites aegyptiaca
  • Capparis sepiaria
  • A. nilotica
  • Acacia Senegal
  • Prosopis juliflora
  • Leucophloea
  • Maytenus emarginata
  • Butea monosperma
  • Salvadora persica
  • Tamarix sp
  • Crotalaria medicaginea
  • S. oleoides
  • C. burhia
  • Calotropis procera
  • Clerodendrum phlomidis
  • Leptadenia pyrotechnica
  • Xanthium indicum
In addition, there are trailing plants or vines coupled with these plants like Pergularia daemia, Maerua oblongifolia, Ceropegia bulbosa, and herbaceous plants, for instance Farsetia hamiltonii, Argemone mexicana, Cleome viscosa, Tephrosia purpurea, Glinus lotoides, Tribulus terrestris, Rivea sp., Sericostoma pauciflorum, Pedalium murex, Ipomoea sp., Lepidagathis sp, Sesamum mulayanum, Chrozophora sp., Boerhavia diffusa, and pastures such as Fimbristylis sp., Cyprus sp., Cenchrus sp., Brachiaria sp., and Dichanthium sp. etc.

Source, Drainage, and Mouth of Chambal River

The length of Chambal River is 960 km. The river has its source near the Singar Chouri crest in the northern sides of the Vindhyan cliffs, 15 km west to southwest of Mhow in Indore District, Madhya Pradesh. The origin of the Chambal River lies at a height of around 843 m. It runs initially according to a northward itinerary in Madhya Pradesh for a distance of around 346 km and subsequently in a typically northeastward course for a span of 225 km across Rajasthan. The river runs for a further 217 km amid Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan and an extra 145 km amid Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. The Chambal River moves into Uttar Pradesh and runs for around 32 km prior to meeting the Yamuna River in Etawah district of Uttar Pradesh at an altitude of 122 m, for creating a portion of the greater Gangetic drainage system.

From the origin till its meeting with the Yamuna, the river has a downslope of around 732 meters. Out of this entire downslope, about 305 meters is in the initial 16 km stretch from its origin. The river plunges an extra 195 meters in the 338 km after that, where the river penetrates the canyon across the Chaurasigarh Fort. In the following 97 km of its flow from the Chaurasigarh Fort to the city of Kota, the riverbed descends by an extra 91 meters. In the remainder of its stretch of 523 km, the Chambal River goes across the plains of the Malwa terrain and subsequently in the Gangetic Basin. The average slope of the river is 0.21 m/km.

The river is a rainfed river and the overall drainage basin till its meeting point with the Yamuna covers an area of 143, 219 km2. The shape of the catchment basin of the river is like a rectangle till the intersection of the Banas and Parvathi Rivers with the Chambal running beside its main axis. The river valley is situated amid latitudes 22° 27' North and 27° 20' North and longitudes 73° 20' East and 79° 15' East. To its east, west, and south, the valley is surrounded by the mountain ranges of Vindhya and by the Aravallis to the northwest. Under the meeting point of the Banas and Parvathi, the drainage basin gets thinner and extended. In this span, it is bordered by the Vindhyan mountain range to the south and the Aravalli mountain ranges to the north.

To the northwest, The Vindhyan escarpments edge the left riverbanks of the Chambal, and then, is mostly sapped by it. The river is intensifying within around 6 km of the Narmada River, emerges as an ensuant on the Mesozoic plane, placed on top of the escarpments, and penetrates directly across them, with succeeding tributaries on the pliable sedimentary rocks. The river and its tributaries Parbati and Kali Sindh have generated a triangle-shaped alluvial plateau, around 200–270 m over the thin channel of the lower Chambal River in Kota. The Chambal River is a characteristically forward-drainage type river, being quite older than the Ganges and Yamuna River, into which it ultimately pours.

Tributaries of Chambal River

Major tributaries of the Chambal river include the following:

  • Choti Kalisindh
  • Shipra
  • Retam
  • Sivanna
  • Kalisindh
  • Ansar
  • Parbati
  • Banas
  • Kuwari
  • Seep
  • Alnia
  • Kuno
  • Chakan
  • Mej
  • Chamla
  • Parwati
  • Lakhunder
  • Gambhir
  • Bangeri
  • Khan
  • Teelar
  • Kedel

The Chambal is the most signiificant river of the Malwa flat terrain. The river basin is a portion of the ditches, floodplain, and gorges. In Rajasthan, the Hadauti terrain emerges in the upper drainage basin of the Chambal River to the southeast of the Mewar valley. The river basin emerges in the Malwa terrain to the east. Geographically, it can be categorized into the Deccan Lava (Malwa) terrain and Vindhyan escarpment area. As stated by Heron in 1953, the pediplain in the east, emerging amid the Vindhyan terrain and the Aravalli mountain range, holds a narrow thin layer of quaternary deposits, altered top soil and river canal materials. In any case, two worn down layers can be identified in the pedi plain region from the Tertiary period. The Vindhyan plateau, the neighboring Chambal basin, and the Indo-Gangetic alluvial territory (older alluvium) are of Pleistocene to Sub-recent period. Badland landscape is a typical attribute of the Chambal basin, on the other hand, kankar has comprehensively built up in the older alluvial deposit.

Dams on Chambal River

There are a number of dams on the Chambal River. The river waters are used for hydroelectric power creation. These dams are the Gandhi Sagar Dam, Jawahar Sagar Dam, and the Rana Pratap Sagar dam.

The Gandhi Sagar Dam

This is the oldest of the four dams constructed on the Chambal River. The Gandhi Sagar Dam is situated on the boundary of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. The dam is a 64 meter tall stonework gravity dam, with a existing storage facility of 6,920 Mm³ and a drainage basin area of 22,584 km², of which merely 1,537 km² is situated in Rajasthan. Construction of the dam was finished in 1960. The hydroelectric power facility consists of five power generating divisions of 23 MW capacity each. The water discharged following electricity generation is used for supplying to agricultural lands via Kota Barrage.

The Rana Pratap Sagar Dam

This dam is situated 52 km downstream of Gandhi Sagar Dam over the Chambal River close to Rawatbhata in the district of Chittorgarh, Rajasthan. Construction of the dam was finished in 1970. The dam is the second in the sequence of Chambal Valley Projects. The dam is 54 meters tall. The source of power is situated on the left corner of the channel for water overflow and is made up of 4 divisions of 43 MW each, with steady power creation of 90 MW at 60% load element. The overall drainage basin of this dam is 24,864 km², of which just 956 km² is located in Rajasthan. The live storage capacity of the dam is 1,566 Mm3. The open drainage basin beneath the Gandhi Sagar Dam covers an area of 2,280 km².

The Jawahar Sagar Dam

This dam is the third dam in the succession of Chambal Valley Projects, situated 26 km downstream of Rana Pratap Sagar Dam and 29 km upstream of Kota city. It is a stonework gravity dam, which is 45 meter tall with a length of 393 m, producing 60 MW of hydroelectric power with an installed capacity of 3 divisions of 33 MW. The construction of the dam was finished in 1972. The overalll drainage basin of the Jawahar Sagar Dam is 27,195 km², of this just 1,496 km² is in Rajasthan. The open drainage basin beneath the Rana Pratap Sagar Dam covers an area of 2,331 km².

The Kota Barrage

This barrage is the fourth in the sequence of Chambal Valley Projects, situated around 0.8 km upstream of Kota City in Rajasthan. Water discharged following electricity generation at Rana Pratap Sagar dam, Gandhi Sagar dam, and Jawahar Sagar Dams, is rerouteed by Kota Barrage for irrigation in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan and through inland waterways on the left and the right sides of the river. Construction of this dam was finished in 1960. The overall drainage basin of Kota Barrage is 27,332 km², of which the open drainage basin beneath the Jawahar Sagar Dam is only 137 km². The live storage capacity of the dam is 99 Mm³. The dam is an earthfill dam with a channel for water overflow made of concrete. The right and left major channels have a headworks discharge capacity of 188 m³/sec and 42 m³/sec respectively. The overall span of the key channels, distribution system, and divisions is around 2,342 km, supplying a region of 2,290 km² of CCA. The dam runs 18 gates to regulate surge of inundation and channel water downstream, and functions as a bridge amid areas of Kota city on the left and right sides of the river.

Last Updated on March 13, 2020