Ganges River

Route Map of River Ganga

Route Map of River Ganga
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*Route map of river Ganges along with its tributaries. Disclaimer
The Ganga Rivers comprise important tributaries of the Ganga or Ganges, which include the Yamuna, Chambal, Kosi, and Damodar Rivers. These rivers are famous all over India for different reasons.


The Ganges (also known as Ganga or Gonga), is the biggest river in the Indian subcontinent in terms of water flow. The length of the Ganga is 2,510 km or 1,560 miles. The river has its origin in the Western Himalayan Ranges in the state of Uttarakhand. The followers of the Hindu religion regard the Ganges to be the most sacred of all the rivers in India. The river is revered as the deity Ganga in the Hindu religion. The river also has significant historical values - a number of colonial or royal capitals like Kannauj, Patliputra (modern-day Patna), Allahabad, Kara, Baharampur, Murshidabad, and Kolkata are situated on the riverbanks of the Ganges.

The Ganges River Catchment Basin covers an area of 390,000 sq miles (1,000,000 sq km) and supplies one of the largest populated areas in the world. The average depth of the Ganges River is 16 m or 52 feet and the highest depth is 30 m or 100 feet. The river has been proclaimed the National River of India. The first Prime Minister of India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, cited a number of emblematic interpretations regarding the Ganges on the Indian subcontinent in his famous book, the Discovery of India (published in 1946).

The Ganges passes through the states of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, and West Bengal.

Tributaries of the Ganga

The major tributaries of the Ganga are as follows:

Left tributaries - Karnali, Mahakhali, Gandaki, Koshi (Kosi), Ghaghra, Gomti and Damodar

Right tributaries - Yamuna, Son, Punpun, Mahananda, Chambal

Economy of the Ganges

The Ganges drainage area with its productive land is helpful for the agrarian economies of Bangladesh and India. The Ganga and its tributaries function as a perpetual source of water supply to a huge agricultural region in India. Major crops grown in the region include sugarcane, rice, oilseeds, lentils, wheat, and potatoes. Beside the riverbanks, the existence of water bodies and marshlands offer a fertile cultivation region for harvests like chillies, legumes, sesame, mustard, jute, and sugarcane. In addition, there are various fishing areas by the side of the river, however they stay quite contaminated.

Tourism is a money making activity on this river. Three sacred places to Hindus -Allahabad, Haridwar, and Varanasi draw countless devotees to its waters. They come to visit these three towns to bathe in the holy Ganga, which is assumed to wash oneself of wrongdoings and help achieve deliverance. The torrents of the Ganges are famous for adventure sports activities like river rafting, drawing many adventure sports fans in the summer season.

Run-of-the-River Projects on the Ganges

There are some run-of-the-river hydroelectric power projects under construction on the Ganges tributaries. Two are being constructed by the Uttarakhand Jal Vidyut Nigam Ltd. (UJVNL) and three by NTPC (National Thermal Power Corporation).

  • Loharinag Pala Hydro Power Project (NTPC): This is a hydroelectric power project with a peak capacity of 600 MW (150 MW x 4 Units) in Loharinag Pala. The major program has been granted permission. The number of supervisors working is more than 100. The project is situated on the Bhagirathi tributary in Uttarkashi district in Uttarakhand. This venture is the first of its kind downstream from Gangotri, the source of the Ganges.
  • Tapovan Vishnugad Hydroelectric Power Project (NTPC): In Joshimath city.
  • Lata Tapovan Hydroelectric Power Project (NTPC): Also in Joshimath.
  • Maneri Bhali Hydro Power Project (UJVNL)
  • Maneri Tiloth Hydro Power Project (UJVNL): In Uttarkashi from 1984 (of 90 MW).

The Ganga Rivers: An Overview


The Yamuna is the largest tributary of the River Ganges in North India. The river originates from the Yamunotri Glacier on the southwestern sides of the Banderpooch crests of the Lower Himalayan Mountain Range. During its itinerary, the river passes through states like Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Haryana. The famous river meets the Ganges at Triveni Sangam in Allahabad, a popular pilgrimage spot for the Hindus. The biggest and longest tributary of the Yamuna is the Tons River. Other tributaries of the Yamuna include the Betwa, Chambal, Sindh, Ken, Sarda, Hindon, Giri, Kunta, Hanuman Ganga, Rishiganga, and Kunta Rivers. The catchment area of Yamuna comprises most of the Ganges Basin. The river traverses cities like Mathura, Delhi, Agra, Etawah, and Kalpi.

A large number of people in India are dependent on the waters of the Yamuna River.
The river flows for a distance of 1,376 km (855 mi). The Yamuna River has significant historical and religious values. The catchment areas of the river include basins in Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Rajasthan, Delhi, and Madhya Pradesh.

Mythological importance of the Yamuna

The deity of the Yamuna River is also named Yami. Yami is the daughter of the Sun God (Surya) and his wife Saranyu and the sister of the god of death (Yama). The river Yamuna is also associated with the religious feelings around Krishna and other tales linked to Him are included in Hindu myths, particularly the Puranas, such as that of Kaliya Daman, which tells us about the conquering of Kaliya, a venomous Naga snake, which had lived in the river and frightened the inhabitants of Braja.


The Chambal River is one of the most important tributaries of the Ganges. It is also a tributary of the Yamuna River in Central India. The Chambal River forms a significant portion of the Greater Gangetic drainage arrangement. The river runs through the states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh. Major tributaries of the Chambal River include Mej, Banas, Kali Sindh, Parbati, and Shipra. It is a perennial river, which originates from a place near Manspura in Janapao Hills in Indore, Madhya Pradesh, India. The length of the river is 960 km or 596 miles.

Mythological importance of the Chambal River

Long ago, Chambal was named the Charmanvati, signifying the river on whose banks drying of leather is done. In the primeval ages, extensive Yagyas (customs of sacrifice, carried out to appease the deities) were arranged on the riverbanks of the Chambal River, where animals were sacrificed and presented. As mentioned in the Mahabharata, the water of the river would become red with the blood of the slaughtered creatures. Subsequently, the skins of these creatures were dried out on the riverbanks. Eventually, this river got known as the river of 'chamda' (skin), and later on, the name of the river was changed to Charmanvati.

National Chambal Gharial Sanctuary

On December 27, 2010, Jairam Ramesh, the Minister for Environment and Forests of the Government of India, declared during a trip to the Madras Crocodile Bank, the creation of a National Tri-State Chambal Sanctuary Management and Coordination Committee for the objective of gharial preservation. An area of 1,600 sq km of the National Chambal Gharial Sanctuary has been assigned for an all-inclusive Rs.40 crore 5-year program to save the genus from extermination. This scheme has constantly been supported by Rom Whitaker, a famous animal scientist.

The gharial sanctuary was listed in the official records with the intention of assisting the reinstatement to "environmental wellbeing" of an important river system in North India and offering total safety to the imperiled Gharial or Gavialis gangeticus.

Dams on the Chambal River

Given below are the names of the important dams on the Chambal River:

  • Rana Pratap Sagar Dam (Rajasthan)
  • Gandhi Sagar Dam (Madhya Pradesh)
  • Jawahar Sagar Dam (Kota City)
  • Kota Barrage (Rajasthan)


The Kosi River is another major tributary of the Ganges. The river is a transboundary river, which runs through both India and Nepal. The river is famous for its seven tributaries in the Himalayan Mountain ranges. A number of rivers of the Kosi River System like the Arun, the Bhote Kosi and the Sun Kosi have their sources in the autonomous region of Tibet in China. The Kosi River is one of the biggest tributaries of the Ganga. The river traverses important cities like Purnia, Biratnagar, Katihar in Bihar, and Nepal. The length of the Kosi River is 729 km or 453 miles. River rafting and sport fishing are popular adventure sports activities that take place on the waters of this river.

Bagmati (Kareh), Kamala, and Budhi Gandak are important tributaries of Kosi in India. In addition, the river has small tributaries like Bhutahi Balan. The Kosi River is also called the Sorrow of Bihar because of the high frequency of floods generated by the river.

Fable of the Kosi River

Earlier, the river was named as "Kausiki". The name was derived from the name of Viswamitra, the sage who is noted to have achieved the position of a "Rishi" or Vedic on the riverbanks. Viswamitra was the heir of sage Kusika and was named Kausika in Rigveda. The Kosi is an important tributary of the "Ganga" in Bihar and Nepal in North India. An important tributary of the Kosi River is the Arun, a significant portion of whose itinerary is located in Tibet. This river is cited as Kausiki in the classic "Mahabharata".

Seven Koshis merge to create the "Sapt Koshi or Saptakoshi River", which is commonly known as the Koshi.

In addition, the Kosi River is the lifeline of the "Mithila" province, at present extended over 50% of the land area of Bihar in India, and portions of neighboring Nepal. The river is the theme of fables and myths of the area; the fable of Mithila spreads over a number of centuries. The word Mithila is also the name of a pattern of "Hindu artistry" produced in the region.

Accessibility to the Kosi River Basin

You can visit the Kosi River from Kathmandu. There is a path from the capital of Nepal for a certain length. After that road, there are trekking tracks to Mount Everest, which go past four important tributaries of the Kosi River. The most important tourist spot in the hilly region of the Koshi stretch is Namche Bazar in the vicinity of the boundary of Tibet and Nepal (close to the southern Mount Everest base camp). Katihar and Purnia in Bihar, India and Biratnagar in Nepal are important cities on the Koshi river basin. In India, Baghmati (Kareh), Kamla, and Budhi Gandak are the important tributaries of Kosi other than small tributaries such as the Bhutahi Balan.

National parks on the banks of the Kosi River

The riverbanks of the Kosi River are home to the following national parks and wildlife reserves:

  • The Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve
  • The Sagarmatha National Park


The Damodar River is a key tributary of the Ganges River. The river has its source in the vicinity of Chandwa Village in Palamau Disrtict in Jharkhand. The river flows through the states of Jharkhand and West Bengal. The source of the Damodar River is based in the Chota Nagpur Plateau in Jharkhand, India. The length of the river is 592 km or 368 miles. Previously, the river was named as the River of Sorrows since it inundated a number of regions in the Hooghly, Bardhaman, Medinipur, and Howrah districts of West Bengal. The river is famous for the DVC (Damodar Valley Corporation).

Even at the present time, the inundations distress the lower Damodar basin on certain occasions, but the disaster it caused previously is currently a thing of the past.

Important tributaries and sub tributaries of the Damodar River include Konar, Barakar, Haharo, Bokaro, Ghari, Jamunia, Khadia, Guaia, and Bhera. The most significant tributary of the river is the Barakar. Important landmarks located on the Damodar River are the Panchet Dam, Tenughat Dam, Randiha Anicut, and Durgapur Barrage. Major cities located on the riverbanks of Damodar include Asansol, Bokaro, and Durgapur. The Damodar Valley is an extremely modernized industrial area.

Last Updated on : April 26, 2022