Rivers in Madhya Pradesh

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Author:Laxman Burdak, IFS (Retd.)

Map of Yamuna River & its tributaries
Rivers in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh

There are ten major rivers originating from Madhya Pradesh and ten river basins in Madhya Pradesh State. As Madhya Pradesh is located in the center of India, most of the rivers are interstate rivers.

Flow of Rivers

Annual run off from these rivers within the state is estimated 81719 hm, out of which about 49743 hm can be harnessed for irrigation purpose. The State can be divided onto six major river basins, the details of which are as follows. :

River basins in Madhya Pradesh

Ganges basin

River Ganges originates from the hills of Himalayas at Gangotri and meets Bay of Bengal. The basin extends into 11 states viz. Uttranchal, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal.

In Madhya Pradesh, the basin extends up to the districts of Mandsaur, Ujjain, Shajapur, Rajgarh, Neemuch, Vidisha, Guna, Shivpuri, Datia, Gwalior, Morena, Sheopur, Bhind, Tikamgarh, Chhattarpur, Panna, Satna, Rewa, Ashoknagar, Shahdol, Sidhi, and Partly in the district of Annuppur, Umaria, Katni, Jabalpur.Mandla, Dindori, Dhar, Ratlam, Indore, Dewas, Sehore, Raisen, Sagar, Bhopal, and Damoh.

The Ganges basin can be further sub-divided into three sub-basins viz. Yamuna, Tons and Sone, details of which are discussed below.

Yamuna sub basin

Total geographical area of Yamuna sub basin in Madhya Pradesh is 1,42,250 km², out of which the area available for agriculture is estimated as 90,105 km² and water availability at 75% dependability is 27627 hm Total water available for use of the State after deducting for interstate agreements is 23642 hm only. The major rivers of this sub-basin in Madhya Pradesh are Chambal, Ken, Dhasan, Betwa, Kunwari, Sindh, Paisuni and Jamni details of which are as under:

Chambal sub-sub basin

Chambal River originates from Indore District and meets river Yamuna near Bhind. Total catchments area of Chambal in Madhya Pradesh is 59940 km². Total length of the river 938 km, out of which initial length of 320 km lies in Madhya Pradesh, 226 km in Rajasthan, 216 km makes the boundary between Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, 112 km makes the boundary between Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh and 64 km in Uttar Pradesh before confluence with Yamuna river.

Kali Sindh, Parvati, Kuno and Sip are the main tributaries of the river Chambal.

Kunwari Sindh sub-sub basin

Sindh River originates in Vidisha District. Total catchments area of the river in Madhya Pradesh is 26699 km² and total length is 470 km. A length of 461 km of the river falls in Madhya Pradesh and 9 km in Uttar Pradesh.

Major tributaries of Sindh are Mahuar, Parbati, Pahuj, and Kunwari.

Jamni sub-sub basin

Jamni River originates in Sagar District. Total catchment area in Madhya Pradesh is 1235 km² and total length is 201 km. In Madhya Pradesh the river flows for 29 km, for 85 km river makes boundary between Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh and last 87 km flows in Uttar Pradesh.

Betwa sub-sub basin

Betwa River originates near Bhopal and meets Yamuna near Hamirpur. Total basin area in Madhya Pradesh is 19365 km². Total length of river is 575 km, out of which 216 km lies in Madhya Pradesh, 98 km common boundary between the two states and 261 km in Uttar Pradesh.

The major tributaries are Kaliasote, Halali, Bah, Sagar, Budhna, Jamni, and Bina.

Dhasan sub-sub basin

This Dhasan River originates in Raisen District of Madhya Pradesh. Total basin area in Madhya Pradesh is 8291 km². Total length of the river is 365 km, out of which 240 km lies in Madhya Pradesh, 54 km common boundary between Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh and 71 km in Uttar Pradesh.

Ken sub-sub basin

Ken River originates in Jabalpur District. Total basin area in Madhya Pradesh is 24785 km². Total length of river is 427 km, out of which 292 in Madhya Pradesh, 84 km in Uttar Pradesh and 51 km makes the common Boundary between the two states.

Paisuni and Baidhan sub sub basin

Total basin area of river Paisuni in Madhya Pradesh is 416 km² and of Baidhan river is 1504 km² in Madhya Pradesh. These two rivers originate in Satna District and Panna District and meet river Yamuna below Banda District.

Tons sub basin

Tons River originates in Satna District. Total basin area in Madhya Pradesh is 11974 km². The river meets Ganges after flowing 246 km in Madhya Pradesh, 7 km making boundary between Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh and finally 67 km in Uttar Pradesh. Total land put to use for agriculture purpose in Tons basin is 8460 km² in the State for which 2244 hm of water is available for its use against total available water at 75% dependability is 2244 hm.

Sone sub basin

Total basin area of this river Sone in Madhya Pradesh is 28880 km². Total length of river is 784 km. In Madhya Pradesh, the river flows for 470 km. The river meets Ganges in Bihar state near Patna.

The major tributaries of river Sone are Johilla, Mahanadi, Gopad, Rehar, Kanhar, and Banas.

Narmada basin

Narmada River

Narmada River originates from Amarkantak and flows from east to west and joins Arabian Sea. Total drainage area of the river is 98796 km², out of which 85149 km² lies in Madhya Pradesh after formation of Chhattisgarh, which has 710 km². Total length or river is 1312 km and in Madhya Pradesh the river flows for a length of 1077 km.

Major tributaries of the river Narmada are Banjar, Heran, Kolar, Sukta, Tawa, Tendoni, Beda, Sher, Shakkar, Mān, Jobat and Goi, rivers.

Godavari basin

In Madhya Pradesh, only the river Wainganga, Wardha and Pench originate in Seoni District and Chhindwara District respectively. Total drainage area of these rivers on Madhya Pradesh is 23388 km².

Tapti basin

River Tapti originates from Multai in Betul District. This river also flows form east to west. Total basin area of Tapi is 65145 km². Out of which Madhya Pradesh has 9800 km². Total length of the river is 724 km. In Madhya Pradesh the length of river is 332 km. Total agriculture land available in the state is 6330 km². Water available at 75% dependability in the state is 2401 hm.

Mahi basin

Mahi River originates in Dhar District and joins Gulf of Khambat. Total drainage area of this basin is 34842 km² out of which only 6700 km² lies in Madhya Pradesh. Total length of the river is 583 km of which 158 km traverses in Madhya Pradesh. Anas is the major tributary of Mahi in the State. Total agriculture land available in the basin in the state is 3450 km², total water availability at 75% dependability is 1952 hm.

Mahanadi basin

After the formation of Chhattisgarh State, the major portion of Mahanadi basin now lies in Chhattisgarh. Presently, only 154 km² basin area of Hasdeo River in Anuppur District lies in Madhya Pradesh.

List of rivers of Madhya Pradesh

  • Baidhan - Total basin area of Baidhan river is 1504 km² in Madhya Pradesh. The river originates in Panna District and meet river Yamuna below Banda District.
  • Banjar - Tributary of Narmada River.
  • Beda - Tributary of Narmada River.
  • Betwa : Originating in the Kumra village in Raisen district of Madhya Pradesh, the river Betwa flows for 380km. After meandering through Madhya Pradesh, it enters the neighbouring state, Uttar Pradesh, and joins the river Yamuna in Hamirpur. The Betwa takes along with it the water of the eastern Malwa plateau. The tributaries of Betwa are Bina, Yamini, Dhasan and Ken. In ancient times, the Betwa was known as Vetrawati.
  • Chambal - The river Chambal originates from the Janapav Near Mhow Mountain in the Vindhya Range, and flows northeast through Ujjain, Ratlam and Mandsaur, before entering Rajasthan. It reenters Madhya Pradesh after meandering through parts of Rajasthan and touches Morena and Bhind. Here are the infamous Chambal Ravines that have been and still are the safest refuge for dacoits.
  • Dhasan - The Dhasan River is a right bank tributary of the Betwa River. The river originates in Begumganj tehsil of Raisen district in Madhya Pradesh state in central India. The river forms the southeastern boundary of the Lalitpur District of Uttar Pradesh state. Total length of the river is 365 km, out of which 240 km lies in Madhya Pradesh, 54 km common boundary between Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh and 71 km in Uttar Pradesh. The river was known as the Dasharna in ancient period. Lehchura Dam is built on this river at 2 km from Harpalpur railway station. This rivers is also treated as a holy river by villagers of its nearest villages.
  • Gopad - River is one of the major tributaries of river Sone.
  • Halali - Halali River is a tributary of the Betwa River. It was formerly known as Thal River. In the 18th century, Dost Mohammad Khan's forces killed a rival Rajput force near Jagdishpur (later renamed to Islamnagar) on the bank of the river. The river was renamed to "Halali river" (the river of slaughter), because it appeared red with the blood of the victims. Another name for the river is Banganga. The Halali reservoir was commissioned in 1973.
  • Jobat - Tributary of Narmada River.
  • Johilla - River is one of the major tributaries of river Sone.
  • Heran - Tributary of Narmada River.
  • Kolar - Tributary of Narmada River.
  • Kunwari River - Kwari River (also spelled as Kuwari or Kunwari River) flows through Morena and Bhind districts of Madhya Pradesh in central India. The start or origin place of the river is located at Devpura village. Kwari is a tributary of Chambal River and joins it in Etawah District. Chambal River joins Yamuna River further down the stream. The river flow is not fast. Towns like Sheopur of Bijeypur district and Morena of Kailaras district are located along its bank.
  • Ken - The Ken River is one of the major rivers of the Bundelkhand region of central India, and flows through two states, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. It is a tributary of the Yamuna. The Ken River originates near village Ahirgawan on the north-west slopes of Kaimur Range in Jabalpur district and travels a distance of 427 km, before merging with the Yamuna at Chilla village, near Fatehpur in Uttar Pradesh. Banda city is located on banks of river Ken.
  • Mahanadi - Like many other seasonal Indian rivers, the Mahanadi too is a combination of many mountain streams and thus its precise source is impossible to pinpoint. However its farthest headwaters lie 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) from Pharsiya village 442 metres (1,450 ft) above sea level south of Nagri town in Dhamtari district of Chhattisgarh. The hills here are an extension of the Eastern Ghats and are a source of many other streams which then go on to join the Mahanadi. For the first 80 kilometres (50 mi) of its course, the Mahanadi flows in a northerly direction and drains the Raipur district and touches eastern portions of Raipur city. It is a rather narrow river at this stage and the total width of its valley does not exceed 500–600 metres. Mahanadi also passes through the states like Madhya Pradesh, Chhatisgarh, and Odisha.
  • Mān - Tributary of Narmada River.
  • Paisuni - Total basin area of river Paisuni in Madhya Pradesh is 416 km² The river originates in Satna District and meet river Yamuna below Banda District.
  • Pench - Pench River is an Indian tributary of the Banganga River. It originates in the Chhindwara district of Madhya Pradesh and flows across Pench National Park, which is a reserve for the Tiger Project of India.

  • Rehar - River is one of the major tributaries of river Sone.
  • Shakkar - Tributary of Narmada River.
  • Sher - Tributary of Narmada River.
  • Shipra - The Shipra starts her journey in the Vindhya Range from a hill called Kokri Tekdi situated at a distance of 11km from Ujjain. This river is 195km long, out of which 93km flow through Ujjain. It then touches Ratlam and Mandsaur, before joining the river Chambal. The main tributaries of Shipra are Khan and Gambhir.
  • Sone - Son River (सोन नदी) of central India is the largest of the Ganges' southern tributaries. The Son originates near Amarkantak in Madhya Pradesh, just east of the headwater of the Narmada River, and flows north-northwest through Madhya Pradesh state before turning sharply eastward where it encounters the southwest-northeast-running Kaimur Range. The Son parallels the Kaimur hills, flowing east-northeast through Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Bihar states to join the Ganges just above Patna. Geologically, the lower valley of the Son is an extension of the Narmada Valley, and the Kaimur Range an extension of the Vindhya Range. Dehri on sone is the major town situated on Son River. The Son river at 784 kilometres long, is one of the largest rivers of India. Its chief tributaries are the Rihand and the North Koel.
  • Sukta - Tributary of Narmada River.
  • Tawa - Tributary of Narmada River. The Tawa is the Narmada's longest tributary, at 172 km. It rises in the Satpura Range of Betul and flowing north and west, joins the Narmada at the village of Bandra Bhan in Hoshangabad District. In 1958, construction began on Tawa Dam, which was completed in 1978 to create Tawa Reservoir in southern Hoshangabad District. Forty-four villages were submerged by the reservoir
  • Tapti River or Tapi - Sanskrit तपती. The Tapi River originates in the Betul district from a place called Multai , in Madhya Pradesh state. The Sanskrit name of Multai is Mulatapi, meaning origin of Tāpī Mātā or the Tapti River. Tāptī is the daughter of Surya, the Sun God and his wife, Chhaya. Tapti is also known as sister of Lord Shani.Apart from the Narmada, the Tapi is the only river that flows westward and falls into the Arabian Sea, in the Gulf of Khambat, to be precise 724km long. Tapi is agriculturally very important as it drains an area of over 65,145sq km spread over Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat. This river originates at a height of 762m in Betul district of Madhya Pradesh (to the south of the Satpura Range). The Tapi journeys almost parallel to the Narmada, though it is much shorter in length than the Narmada and has a smaller catchment area. Tapti River ancient original name Tapati River is a river in central India. It is one of the major rivers of peninsular India with a length of around 724 kilometres (450 mi). It is one of only three rivers in peninsular India that run from east to west - the others being the Narmada River and the Mahi River. The river rises in the eastern Satpura Range of southern Madhya Pradesh state, and flows westward, draining Madhya Pradesh's Nimar region, Maharashtra's Kandesh and east Vidarbha regions in the northwest corner of the Deccan Plateau and south Gujarat, before emptying into the Gulf of Cambay of the Arabian Sea, in the Surat District of Gujarat. The river, along with the northern parallel Narmada River, form the boundaries between North and South India. The Western Ghats or Sahyadri range starts south of the Tapti River near the border of Gujarat and Maharashtra. The Tapti (Tapi) River empties into the Gulf of Khambhat near the city of Surat in Gujarat. It is identified with Payoshni of Mahabharata.

  • Tendoni - Tributary of Narmada River.
  • Tons - Tons River originates in Satna District. The Tons River (also known as the Tamsa River) is a tributary of the Ganges flowing through the Indian states of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. The Tamsa rises in a tank at Tamakund in the Kaimur Range at an elevation of 610 metres. It flows through the fertile districts of Satna and Rewa. At the edge of the Purwa plateau, the Tamsa and its tributaries form a number of waterfalls. The river receives the Belan in UP and joins the Ganges at Sirsa, about 311 kilometres downstream of the confluence of the Ganges and Yamuna. The total length of the river is 264 kilometres. It has a total drainage area of 16,860 square kilometres (6,510 sq mi). The Tamsa River while descending through the Rewa Plateau and draining northwards makes a vertical falls of 70m known as Purwa Falls. Some of the more notable waterfalls on the tributaries of the Tamsa river, as they come down from the Rewa Plateau, are: Chachai Falls (127m) on the Bihad River, a tributary of the Tamsa, the Keoti Falls (98m) on the Mahana River, a tributary of the Tamsa, and Odda Falls (145m) on the Odda River, a tributary of the Belah River, which is itself a tributary of the Tamsa.
The Ashrama of sage Valmiki was situated at the bank’s of Tamasa river. When Sita was exiled by Rama, she left Ayodhya and came to the banks of Tamasa river some 15 km away from the city, where she met Valmiki. He requested Sita to live in his ashrama situated at the bank of the Tamasa river. Here Sita spent all her remaining life, and here her twin sons Lava and Kusha received education and trained in military skills under the tutelage of Valmiki. Also on the banks of river Tamsa was the ashram of Bharadwaj, mentioned in the Valmiki Ramayana; it is here that on seeing the plight a bird couple, Valmiki created his first verse, shloka.
Course of Vaisali River near Gohad in Bhind District
  • Vaisali River: It flows in Bhind District and Gwalior districts. It originates in Gwalior district near Behat. The site of Gohad Fort was selected strategically on the Vaisali River where it takes a circular turn. The Gohad fort is in circular shape. It is protected by the rampart constructed around the fort in a length of 5 km. The river was dug and flow of river was extended up to the fort to take a semi circular shape. Other important town on its course is Khitoli in Bhind. It meets Sindh River.
  • Wainganga - Wainganga (वैनगंगा नदी) river originates about 12 km from Mundara village of Seoni district in the southern slopes of the Satpura Range of Madhya Pradesh, and flows south through Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra in a very winding course of approximatedly 579 km. After joining the Wardha, the united stream, known as the Pranahita, ultimately falls into the Godavari river at Kaleshwaram, Telangana. Cities On The River Bank are - Balaghat, Bhandara, Pauni and Desaiganj are the Main Cities situated on the bank of this River.

See also

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