South Indian Rivers and Its Tributaries

In this article let’s have a look on south Indian rivers and its tributaries.

Rivers play crucial role in the development of the country. Water source from rivers is basic natural resource which is essential for human day to day activities. A river is natural waterway of fresh water which flows into an ocean, or sea.

Indian river system is classified into two parts – Himalayan rivers and the peninsular rivers.

The major Himalayan rivers are the Indus, the Ganga, the Yamuna and the Brahmaputra. Since we are talking about south Indian rivers let’s see about peninsular rivers.

The peninsular rivers drains either into Bay of Bengal (Eastern side) or in the Arabian Sea (Western Side). South Indian rivers are those rivers that are flowing in the peninsular India.

Rivers of south India

The main peninsular systems include the Narmada, Tapti, Godavari (south India longest river/biggest river in south India), Mahanadi, Krishna, Kaveri and their tributaries.

Let’s see some information of these South Indian rivers and its tributaries.


  • The Narmada or Nerbudda, also called the Reva is a river in central India. It is located in Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat of India.
  • This river is also known as ‘Life line of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat’, for its huge contribution to both the states in many ways.
  • This river forms the traditional boundary between North India and South India. If we look at the length, it is a total of 1312 km long.
  • The Narmada rive originates near Amarkantak in Madhya Pradesh. It runs through Madhya Pradesh86%, Gujarat 14% and Maharashtra 2%.
  • It is only one of three major rivers in south India that run from east to west.
  • It is the longest west flowing river of peni.
  • Narmada is older river then Ganges.
  • In history Chalukya dynasy ruler Pulakeshin II defeated Harshavardhana of Kannauj n the bank of river Narmada


Left Tributaries:

Burhner River, Banjar River, Sher River, Shakkar River, Dudhi River, Tawa River (Largest Tributary of India), Ganjal River, Chhota Tawa River, Kaveri River, Kundi River, Goi River, Karjan River.

Right Tributaries:

Hiran River, Tendoni River, Choral River, Kolar River, Man River, Uri River, Hatni River, Orsang River.


  • River Tapti (or Tapi), It is also known as “The Handmaid” or “The Twin” of Narmada river.
  • The Tapti River is in central India between the Godavari and Narmada rivers, which flows westwards before draining into the Arabian Sea.
  • Flowing westwards through Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat over a length of 724km.
  • This river originates from Gawilgarh hills in Satpura range of central Deccan plateau.
  • It drains into Arabian Sea through Gulf of Khambhat.


The three major tributaries of Tapti river are the Purna, Girna and Panjhra flow from the south in Maharashtra state.


  • Godavari River is the second longest river of India after the Ganga River with the length of about 1,465 km long.
  • This river originates in Trimbakeshwar near Nashik.
  • It flows through the state of Andhra Pradesh, divide as two rivers before getting into Bay of Bengal by making one of the larger river deltas in India.
  • It is also called by the other names such as Vridh Ganga or Dakshin Ganga of India or Ganga of South India.
  • Godavari river water is brownish.
  • Its source in Trimbakeshwar, Maharashtra.
  • It flows through several states of India including Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Odisha before emptying into the Bay of Bengal.
  • South India longest/ biggest river in south India.


Some of its major left bank tributaries are Indravati, Purna, Pranhita and Sabari river. If we look at the right bank tributaries, that include Pravara, Manjira and Manair river.


  • Mahanadi River originates in Sihawa Range in Raipur district of Chhattisgarh. It drains into Bay of Bengal near False Point in Odisha.
  • It has a length of about 860 km in length.
  • This river flows through Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra.
  • Most importantly this river was also known as ‘The Ruin of Odisha.
  • (Famous as devastating flood over the years later which was resolved after the construction of Hirakud dam.

Tributaries of Mahanadi(A south Indian River)

The principal tributaries of the river are Sheonath, Jonk, Hasdeo, Mand, Ib, Ong and Tel.

Krishna– A south Indian River along with its tributaries

  • Krishna river originates from Mahabaleshwar in the Western Ghats of Maharashtra. This river flows into the Bay of Bengal in Andhra Pradesh.
  • This river flows through the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
  • It is the fourth biggest river in terms of water inflows and river basin area, after the Ganga, Godavari and Brahmaputra.
  • Krishna river joins Bay of Bengal at Hamsaladeevi in Andhra Pradesh.
  • It has a length of about 1300 km.
  • In other words this river is also called as Krishnaveni.


LEFT- Bhima, Dindi, Peddavagu, Musi, Paleru, Munneru.

RIGHT- Kudali (Niranjna) Venna, Koyna, Panchganga, Dudhaganga, Ghataprabha, Malaprabha, Tungabhadra

Kaveri– A south Indian River along with its tributaries

  • The Kaveri river (or Cauvery River) is one of the great rivers of India and is considered as sacred by the Hindus.
  • It is also called as Dakshin Ganga.
  • Talacauvery( or Talakaveri) located about 5000 ft above sea level is considered the source of the Cauvery river.
  • Talacauvery is located in Coorg district of Karnataka
  • This river covers a distance of about 765 km and flows through the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.


The important tributaries joining the Cauvery are Harangi, the Hemavati, the Shimsha and the Arkavati whereas the Lakshmantirtha, the Kabbani, the Suvarnavati, the Bhavani, the Noyil and the Amaravati joins from right. The river drains into the Bay of Bengal

To know more about states of India check out STATES OF INDEPENDENT INDIA

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