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Rivers Of India

Rivers and

Rivers and Human Civilization
Rivers played a very important role in the development and maintenance of

With the discovery of the usefulness of water in food production, man realized that
hunting and gathering were not the only ways to produce food!

Now with the constant supply of water, man could reliably and in a sustainable
manner grow plants intentionally.

This discovery alleviated the need to search and gather food. Agriculture was hard
work but yielded huge benefits:

Larger food supply led to decreased starvation which further led to increased
settlements, communities and later cities
This led to an increase in the trade and commerce. Rivers served as important
modes of transport and transportation for the same.
As wealth and trade increased huts were replaced by houses, which further shaped
the civilized world.
Indian Rivers
an overview
Indian rivers overview
Bay of
Ancient Indian river
Indus Valley Civilization
The ancient civilizations of the Indian sub-continent
were in and around two might river systems

The Indus Valley Civilization (mature period
26001900 BCE), abbreviated IVC, was an
ancient civilization in the Indian
Subcontinent that flourished around the Indus
River basin. Primarily centered along the
Indus river, the civilization encompassed most
of what is now Pakistan, mainly the provinces
of Sindh, Punjab and Balochistan, as well as
extending into modern day Indian states of
Gujarat, Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan.

Nearby the Saraswati civilization, based on
the now dried-up Saraswati river, a river that
in ancient Indian historic texts is described as
far mightier that the Ganges, and suspected of
drying up due to tectonic shifts in the upper
reaches of the Himalayas.

The sites of the
Mohenjadaro and
Harappan sites along
the Indus River Valley
The Saraswati Civilization
"Pure in her course from the
mountains to the ocean, alone
of streams Saraswati hath

- Rig Veda

The Saraswati river, believed
to be now mostly disappeared
underground, was the locus
of one of the most ancient of
human civilisations

The mother of
Indian rivers-
Ganga is born in the Gangotri glacier at the foothills
of the Himalayas (14000 ft) high up in the Himalaya
Mountains of Uttaranchal. Gaumukh is the giant ice-
cave from where the Ganga originates
The first town she reaches on leaving the mountains is
Rishikesh. At this point she is wider and slower. She
becomes a real river, no more the turbulent stream that
flows through canyons and ravines
Her main flow is through the Gangetic plain: the vast flat
land that stretches from the north to south to the state of
Uttar Pradesh and from its West all the way to the Eastern
state of West Bengal. She is a source of water for
agriculture, passing through famous towns such as
Finally, past Kolkata in the east, the Ganges reaches the
ocean creating one of the world largest river deltas and
home to the beautiful Sundarban forests.
The Brahmaputra
The origin of Brahmaputra River is in southwestern
Tibet as the Yarlung River. The river takes birth at the
Mansarovar of the Himalayas, flows through Tibet,
China, Burma, India and joins with River Ganges in
Called the Tsangpo in Tibet, it flows past the towns of
Xigatse and Tsedang and then climbs north. It curves
around a majestic mountain called the Namche Barwa,
shortly before entering India.
Along the Brahmaputra are a thousand chars or river
islands. Several nomads live on them who wander from
one island to another.
Finally, passing through Bangladesh, it becomes the
Padma river and enters the Bay of Bengal in the
Sundarbans along with the Ganges.
River Kaveri The
Ganga Of South
Kaveri starts as a small spring in Karnataka
Talakaveri, high up in the mountains of the
Brahmagiri mountains of the Western Ghats. At this
spot stands a temple which has a tank filled with the
rivers water.
A little further down the Kaveri forks to form a rocky
island called Srirangapatna; until the end of the 18th
century this was the capital of the Mysore kingdom. It is
believed that Lord Vishnu himself came and resided in
these islands.
At Sivasamudram the Kaveri tumbles down as a rapids
and waterfalls, where the river plunges downward in a
wonderful cascade to a depth of 300-350 ft. She falls with
tremendous force and her waters are used to generate
Kaveri enters the sea in a triangle-shaped delta in Tamil
Nadu. The delta is large and covers 14 lakh hectares of
land. The ancient temple town of Tanjavur stands at the
head of the delta.
The Narmada ,
rivers and the
The Narmada is born in a small tank called Narmada
Kund on the Amarkantak Hill in Eastern Madhya
The Kanha National Park lies close to the Narmada in the
Maikal Plateau. Unusual species of birds and animals are
found here. This is a protected area and was a declared a
Tiger Reserve in 1974.
The Sardar Sarovar project is part of a plan to take
Narmadas waters to states further away where there is
little rainfall and not much water for people and crops.
But the dangers if this plan materializes are many:
Earthquakes and flood caused by this man made structure threaten the area around
it. In response to these concerns, that the Narmada Bachao Andolan movement
grew to try and answer questions like (i)Are big dams more dangerous than useful?
(ii) Are there other ways of collecting water for drinking, irrigation and electricity?
(iii) Will those who lose their homes be given land somewhere else?

The large geographic span of India has a variety of rain-fed and mountain
glacier fed rivers, that have sustained the ancient civilization of India, and
still today continue to provide livelihood and sustenance for the large
population of the nation.

The rivers of India, apart from their utility, are a rich storehouse of natural
beauty, and have a long and ancient history of mythological and historical

The global environmental problems of the 21
century will also have their
impact on the rivers of India. By respecting these treasures of India, both for
their history as well as for the precious natural resource of water, these rivers
will sustain our country for many centuries to come.