“Sir, could you please tell me the name of the longest river in India?”, asked Sanjay today in my class. Answer to the this question is fairly easy. The simple fact is that the Ganges or Ganga is the longest river in India. But sometimes people get confused and they offer Brahmaputra or Indus (Sindhu) as answer. Why such a confusion? Well, it’s because how you define Indian River.
From its origin in Gangotri glacier to Bay of Bengal, the total length of Ganges is 2,525 kilometers. The whole length of Ganges flows within the boundary of India. Both Brahmaputra and Indus are longer than Ganges but they are transboundary rivers — meaning they flow through more than one country. Total length of Brahmaputra is 2,900 kilometers and it flows through China, India and Bangladesh. The portion of Brahmaputra that flows through India is only 916 kilometers. Indus river is even longer than Brahmaputra. Indus flows for 3,180 kilometers and passes through China, India and Pakistan. However, the length of Indus is India is only 1,114 kilometers.
Therefore, the Ganges is the longest Indian river. Let’s take a look at other rivers that come after Ganges!
Longest Rivers in India
|#||River Name||Length in India (km)||Total Length (km)|
Longest Indian River No. 1: Ganges (Length 2,525 km)
Ganges, also known as Ganga, is a major river in India. It rises from Gangotri glacier in Uttarakhand, India and flows in West to East direction. During its total course of 2,525 km, Ganges river passes through the states of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal.
Civilizations have always settled on the banks of rivers. Ganges also passes through many major cities and districts including, Rishikesh, Haridwar, Farrukhabad, Kannauj, Bithoor, Kanpur, Jajmau, Prayagraj, Varanasi, Patna, Bhagalpur, Murshidabad, Plassey, Nabadwip, Kolkata, Baranagar, Rajshahi, Dhaka, Chandpur and Chittagong.
Longest Indian River No. 2: Godavari (Length 1,465 km)
Godavari rises from Brahmagiri Mountain in Tryambakeshwar, Nashik, Maharashtra, India and flows in West to East direction. During its total course of 1,465 km, Godavari river passes through the states of Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha.
Godavari is the longest river in the Southern India. It is also known as Dakshin Ganga.
Longest Indian River No. 3: Krishna (Length 1,300 km)
Krishna is also known as Krishnaveni. It rises from Near Mahabaleshwar, Jor village in Satara district, Maharashtra and flows in West to East direction. During its total course of 1400 km, Krishna river passes through the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
Longest Indian River No. 4: Yamuna (Length 1,376 km)
Yamuna is also known as Jumna and Jamna. It rises from Yamunotri in Banderpooch peaks, Uttarkashi, Uttarakhand, India and flows in West to East direction. During its total course of 1,376 km, Yamuna river passes through the states of Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Delhi. It is the longest tributary of Ganges river. Yamuna is also the longest tributary in India.
Yamuna also passes through many major cities and districts including, Yamuna Nagar, Delhi, Faridabad, Mathura, Agra, Etawah and Prayagraj (Allahabad).
Longest Indian River No. 5: Narmada (Length 1,312 km)
Narmada is also known as Rewa. It rises from Narmada Kund in Amarkantak, Anuppur, Madhya Pradesh and flows in East to West direction. During its total course of 1,312 km, Narmada river passes through the states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat. Narmada is also known as Life Line of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. It is one of the few Indian rivers that flow from east to west. Dams built on Narmada include Sardar Sarovar Dam, Bargi Dam, Indirasagar and Omkareshwar Dam.
Longest Indian River No. 6: Indus (Length in India 1,114 km)
Indus is also known as Sindhu. It is a transboundary river. It rises from S ngg Zangbo in Tibetan Plateau and flows in East to West direction. During its total course of 3180 km, Indus river passes through the Tibet, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh, Gilgit-Baltistan.
Indus Civilization, one of the oldest human civilizations, settled on the banks of this river. Its main tributaries include Zanskar, Suru, Soan, Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas, Sutlej, Panjnad, Ghaggar-Hakra, Luni, Shyok, Hunza, Gilgit, Swat, Kunar, Kabul, Kurram, Gomal and Zhob. Total length of the Indus River is 3,180 kilometers, but in India it flows only for 1,114 kilometers.
Longest Indian River No. 7: Brahmaputra (Length in India 916 km)
Brahmaputra is also known as Yarlung Tsangpo (in China) and Siang. It rises from Bhagirath Glacier, Manasarovar in the Himalayas and flows in West to East direction. During its total course of 2,900 kilometers, Brahmaputra river passes through China, India and Bangladesh. It empties in Ganges river in the Ganges Delta.
While most rivers on the Indian subcontinent have female names, this river has a rare male name. It is the ninth largest river in the world by discharge, and the 15th longest river in the world. In India, it flows for 916 km. Before entering Assam, this river is called Yarlung Tsangpo. In Bangladesh, it is called Jamuna.
The Majuli or Majoli is a river island in the Brahmaputra in Assam. In 2016 it became the first island to be made a district in India. In 2014, its area was measured to be 352 square kilometers. Majuli is the world’s largest river island.
Longest Indian River No. 8: Mahanadi (Length 850 km)
Mahanadi rises from Sihawa, Dhamtari in Dandakaranya, Chhattisgarh and flows in West to East direction. During its total course of 850 kilometers, Mahanadi river passes through the states of Chhattisgarh and Odisha.
Mahanadi used to be known as the distress of Odisha because it caused a lot of floods in the state. The situation has been brought under control by building Hirakud Dam on Mahanadi. Major tributaries of Mahanadi are Seonath, Mand, Ib, Hasdeo, Ong, parry river, Jonk, Telen.
Longest Indian River No. 9: Kaveri (Length 805 km)
Kaveri is also known as Cauvery. It rises from Talakaveri in Kodagu, Western Ghats, Karnataka and flows in West to East direction. During its total course of 805 kilometer, Kaveri river passes through the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
Longest Indian River No. 10: Tapti (Length 724 km)
Tapti, also known as Tapi, rises from Multai in Betul, Madhya Pradesh and flows in East to West direction. During its total course of 724 kilometers, Tapti river passes through the states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat. Major left-bank tributaries of Kaveri include Harangi, Hemavati, Shimsha and Arkavathy. On the right-bank Kaveri recieves tributaries named Lakshmana Tirtha, Kabini, Bhavani, Noyyal, Amaravati and Moyar. Indian government has built dams and water reservoirs on Kaveri and its tributaries. These dams/reservoirs include Krishna Raja Sagara Dam, Nallathangal Dam and Mettur Dam.