(Last Updated on : 18/11/2010)
India is basically identified and acknowledged as the land of rivers, with water surface accounting for more land area. From every corner of the country, rivers can be witnessed meandering its ways through all odds and ends and draining themselves into the oceans and seas. Leaving aside the southern and western sections to some extent, rivers in India are mostly drained from the forever snowy Himalayan mountains. Himalayan ranges serve as a perfect instance of amalgamation of legends, geography, topography and climatic conditions for rivers to originate and in the midst of mountains and flow in a pre-destined course. Himalayan rivers hold special significance in India, owing to their gallons of capacity to irrigate parch lands all the year round and facilitate vegetation and consequently, the population.
Gurgling along rough terrain and bounteous meadows, the umpteen rivers that saturate Indian mainland are cardinal to Indian ancient history as well as Indian mythology. The principal rivers of the Himalayan group comprise the Indus, the legendary Ganga and the Brahmaputra. These rivers are both naturally snow-fed and rain-fed and hence perennially flow throughout the year. Himalayan rivers discharge approximately 70 percent of their inflow into the sea. This however includes approximately 5 percent from central Indian rivers. In the final course these rivers unite with the Ganga and drain into the Bay of Bengal. The secondary set of rivers that chalk out its origin and course in the Himalayan ranges include: Sutlej River, Chenab River or River Chandra Bhaga, Beas River, Ravi River, Jhelum River, Yamuna River and Spiti River.
The Himalayan rivers take the shape of enormous basins during the time of their inflow. The cavernous valleys with precipitous rock sides were forged by the down-cutting of the river during the period of the Himalayan uplift. Forceful erosional activity is one factor that is formed up the streams, making the rivers carry huge payload of sand and silt. Reaching the plains, they take shape of extreme winds, including a variety of depositional features like flood plains, river cliffs and levees. Nearly all of the rivers from Himalayas produce enormous plains and are navigable over long distances of their path. The rivers are also harnessed in their upstream catchment area to yield hydroelectricity.
Another noteworthy feature of these Himalayan rivers is that, all of these water bodies originate in the unknown and uncharted territories amidst snow and mist and eventually restrict themselves within the northern, north-eastern and eastern regions of the country. In between their courses, course changes and winding tracks, the rivers from Himalayas are separated and further sub-divided into tributaries and distributaries. For instance, Yamuna River serves as the largest tributary of Ganga River. With such overflowing and perpetual data, scientists and geographers in India are striving hard to make these rivers useful and utilised in the adjacent states and surroundings for years to arrive in future.