Top 10 Longest Rivers in India

Rivers are the lifelines of a nation, nurturing the land they flow through and serving as a source of life for its people. India, a land of diverse landscapes, boasts a plethora of rivers that crisscross its territory. In this article, we embark on a journey to explore the top 10 longest rivers in India, each with its unique charm and significance.

Longest Rivers in India

River NameLength (km)Source/OriginStates Flowing ThroughFlows into
The Ganges2,525Gangotri Glacier, UttarakhandUttarakhand, UP, BiharBay of Bengal
The Brahmaputra2,900The Kailash ranges of the Himalayas, TibetTibet, Arunachal, AssamBay of Bengal
The Yamuna1,376Yamunotri Glacier, UttarakhandYamunotri, Delhi, UPGanges
The Godavari1,465Trimbak Plateau, MaharashtraMaharashtra, Telangana, Andhra PradeshBay of Bengal
The Narmada1,312Amarkantak Plateau, MPMP, Gujarat, MaharashtraArabian Sea
The Krishna1,400Mahabaleshwar, MaharashtraMaharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana, APBay of Bengal
The Mahanadi858Sihawa, ChhattisgarhChhattisgarh, OdishaBay of Bengal
The Kaveri800Talakaveri, KarnatakaKarnataka, Tamil NaduBay of Bengal
The Tungabhadra531Western Ghats, KarnatakaKarnataka, APKrishna River
The Indus3,180The Kailash ranges of the Himalayas, TibetTibet, Ladakh, PakistanArabian Sea
Longest Rivers in India

1. The Ganges (Ganga):

The Ganges, India’s holiest river, flows through the northern plains, covering a staggering 2,525 kilometers. It originates from the Gangotri glacier in Uttarakhand, meandering through the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar before finally emptying into the Bay of Bengal. The Ganges holds immense spiritual and cultural significance for Indians, and millions gather along its banks for religious rituals and festivals. It is believed to wash away sins and provide salvation. The Ganges basin is home to diverse wildlife, including the endangered Ganges river dolphin. However, the river faces significant pollution challenges, prompting extensive cleanup efforts like the ‘Namami Gange’ campaign.

2. The Brahmaputra:

The Brahmaputra, often called the “Son of the Himalayas,” is a majestic river originating from Tibet. It traverses through the northeastern states of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam, with a total length of 2,900 kilometers. This river eventually merges with the Ganges in Bangladesh before flowing into the Bay of Bengal. The Brahmaputra’s basin is home to unique wildlife, including the Indian one-horned rhinoceros in Kaziranga National Park. It’s not just a river; it’s a lifeline for the people living in the northeastern region, providing water, transportation, and fertile plains for agriculture. The river’s annual flooding can bring both devastation and renewal to the region.

3. The Yamuna:

The Yamuna, born in the Yamunotri glacier of the Himalayas, flows for 1,376 kilometers through northern India. Passing through states like Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, it joins the Ganges at Allahabad (Prayagraj). Despite being relatively shorter than its counterparts, the Yamuna is revered and plays a crucial role in the cultural and religious life of North India. It is associated with numerous myths and legends. Unfortunately, the Yamuna is one of the most polluted rivers in India, primarily due to industrial and domestic waste discharge.

4. The Godavari:

The Godavari, known as the “Dakshin Ganga” or the Ganges of the South, boasts a length of 1,465 kilometers. Originating in Maharashtra’s Trimbak Plateau, it flows through Telangana and Andhra Pradesh before finally meeting the Bay of Bengal. This river is celebrated for its vital role in supporting agriculture in the region, earning it the title of “Rice Bowl of India.” The Godavari basin is also home to several historical and cultural sites, including the ancient town of Bhadrachalam and the Rajahmundry Bridge, one of the longest road-cum-rail bridges in India.

5. The Narmada:

The Narmada, with its 1,312-kilometer journey, is one of India’s most unique rivers. It flows through the states of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, and Maharashtra. The Narmada has earned the nickname “Life Line of Gujarat” for its critical role in providing water for irrigation, drinking, and industrial use in the region. It’s known for its scenic beauty, especially the marble rocks of Bhedaghat near Jabalpur. The Narmada is also closely associated with the Narmada Bachao Andolan (Save Narmada Movement), a prominent environmental movement advocating for the rights of displaced tribal communities due to dam projects on the river.

6. The Krishna:

The Krishna River, stretching over 1,400 kilometers, flows through Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana, and Andhra Pradesh. Known for its historical significance and the lush plains it nourishes, the Krishna ultimately joins the Bay of Bengal. The river basin is dotted with ancient temples and forts, making it a culturally rich region. Krishna River’s waters are harnessed for agriculture and hydroelectric power generation. It also plays a vital role in the industrial development of the region.

7. The Mahanadi:

The Mahanadi, originating in Chhattisgarh and flowing through Odisha, covers a distance of 858 kilometers before emptying into the Bay of Bengal. This river is vital for irrigation, supporting a significant portion of agricultural activities in the region. The Hirakud Dam on the Mahanadi is one of the longest dams in the world and serves as a major source of water supply and power generation. The Mahanadi delta is also ecologically important, housing diverse flora and fauna, including the endangered Olive Ridley sea turtles that nest on its shores.

8. The Kaveri:

The Kaveri River, spanning 800 kilometers, flows through Karnataka and Tamil Nadu before merging with the Bay of Bengal. Revered in South India for its role in agriculture, it’s often called the “Ganges of the South.” The river is at the heart of the Cauvery Water Dispute, a long-standing issue between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu over the sharing of its waters. The Kaveri delta, known as the “Rice Bowl of Tamil Nadu,” is incredibly fertile and supports extensive paddy cultivation.

9. The Tungabhadra:

The Tungabhadra, a 531-kilometer river, originates in Karnataka and flows through Andhra Pradesh before merging with the Krishna River. It plays a crucial role in irrigation and is known for its scenic beauty. The Tungabhadra Dam, built across the river, is a significant water resource project, providing water for agricultural and industrial purposes in the region. The river’s name is also closely associated with the historical site of Hampi, once the capital of the Vijayanagara Empire.

10. The Indus:

The Indus, one of the longest rivers in the world, begins its journey in Tibet, flows through Ladakh in India, and then into Pakistan, covering a total of 3,180 kilometers. Although it primarily flows through Pakistan, its upper reaches are in India. The Indus ultimately empties into the Arabian Sea. The river’s historical significance is immense, as it was the cradle of the Indus Valley Civilization, one of the world’s oldest urban civilizations. The Indus basin is also crucial for agriculture, and the Indus Water Treaty governs its water-sharing between India and Pakistan.


These top 10 longest rivers in India are not just geographical features; they are an integral part of India’s cultural, social, and economic fabric. From the spiritual significance of the Ganges to the agricultural prowess of the Godavari, each river tells a unique story of India’s rich diversity. As they continue to flow through the country, these rivers remain a testament to the resilience and vitality of India’s natural heritage.

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