List of rivers of Madhya Pradesh

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Madhya Pradesh, a state in north-central India, is subtropical with substantial (1,400 mm (55.1 in)) monsoon rains that feed a large number of streams and rivers. The largest of these by volume is the Narmada, followed by the Tapti. Madhya Pradesh falls in five major river basins. The northern part of the state falls within the Ganges Basin where the Betwa, Chambal and Son flow. South of the Ganges Basin is the Narmada Basin, the second largest by surface area. The other three basins cover small portions of Madhya Pradesh, namely the Mahi Basin to the west,[1] the Tapi Basin[2] and the Godavari Basin to the south.[3][4]

Ganges Basin: Betwa[edit]

The Betwa drains off of the Deccan plateau. Originating in the Kumra village in Raisen district of Madhya Pradesh, the Betwa flows for 590km (232km in MP and 358km in UP). After meandering through Madhya Pradesh, it enters the neighbouring state, Uttar Pradesh, and joins the river Yamuna (Jamna) in Hamirpur. The Betwa takes along with it the waters of the eastern Malwa plateau. The tributaries of the Betwa include the Bina, Yamini, Dhasan and Ken.[5] In ancient times, the Betwa was known as Vetrawati.

Ganges Basin: Chambal[edit]

The 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.


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 the Shipra are the Khan and the Gambhir.

Ganges Basin: Sone[edit]

The Sone, also called the Maikalsut because its source is in the Maikal Hills, originates in Anuppur District in the Amarkantak highlands of the Maikal Range.[6] Its chief tributaries are the Rihand[7] and the North Koel.[8] and also include the Kewai, Tipan, Kunak, Murna, Johilla, Mahanadi, and the Rer.[9]


The Kewai arises in the Maikal Hills and flows in Shahdol District and Anuppur District and then into the Son River.[10]


The Tipan River merges into the Son at the town of Anuppur.[11] It is subject to illegal gravel mining.[12]


The Johilla (Juhila) arises on the high trappean (basalt) plateau of the Mandla District, in the Maikal Hills and is a tributary of the Son.[13]


The Mahanadi tributary of the Son is distinct from the Mahanadi which originates in Chhattisgarh state and flows east.

Narmada Basin: Narmada[edit]

The Narmada originates in Amarkantak, the highest peak of the Vindhya Range, it flows westward through Madhya Pradesh including hoshangabad and Gujarat before finally ending its journey in the Gulf of Khambat. Its tributaries include the Banjar, the Tawa, the Machna, the Shakkar, the Karam, the Choral, the Barna, the Hiran, the Denwa and the Sonbhadra rivers. Its length is 1312 kilometers, out of which 1077 km in M.P.

The 1300km long Narmada is the fifth longest river in India, and the oldest. Kalidasa, the 4th century poet, writes about the Narmada in his love poem, Meghdoota, which is about a yaksha (tree spirit) who was banished to Madhya Pradesh. The yaksha sent messages to his beloved in the Himalayas through the clouds.

Mahi Basin[edit]

In Madhya Pradesh the Mahi Basin consists of the headwaters of the Mahi in Dhar and Jhabua districts; and the headwaters of the Anas River and Panam River in Jhabua District.[1]

Tapi Basin: Tapti[edit]

The Narmada, the Mahi and the Tapti River (Tapi) all flow westward into the Gulf of Khambat, of the Arabian Sea. The 724km long Tapti 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 Tapti journeys almost parallel to the Narmada, though it is much shorter in length than the Narmada and has a smaller catchment area.

Godavari Basin[edit]

In Madhya Pradesh the Godavari Basin consists of the headwaters of the Kanhan, including the Pench, and the headwaters of the Wainganga River.[3]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Mahi Basin". India-WRIS. Archived from the original on 17 January 2017. 
  2. ^ "Tapi Basin". India-WRIS. Archived from the original on 17 January 2017. 
  3. ^ a b "Godavari Basin". India-WRIS. Archived from the original on 17 January 2017. 
  4. ^ Amarasinghe, Upali; et al. (2005). Spatial variation in water supply and demand across river basins of India. Colombo, Sri Lanka: International Water Management Institute. p. 3. ISBN 978-92-9090-572-1. 
  5. ^ Sutcliffe, J. V.; Agrawal, R. P. and Tucker, J. M. (1981). "The water balance of the Betwa basin, India". Hydrological Sciences Bulletin. 26 (2): 149–158. doi:10.1080/02626668109490872. 
  6. ^ Hunter, William Wilson. Imperial Gazetteer of India, Volume 23. Oxford, England: Clarendon Press. pp. 76–78. Retrieved 2014-06-06. 
  7. ^ "Surguja: Historical Background: The Rihand". Surguja district administration. Retrieved 17 January 2017. 
  8. ^ Gazetteer of Palamu District. Retrieved 17 January 2017. 
  9. ^ Hughes, Theodore W. H. (1885). "Southern Coal-Fields of Kewah Gondwana Basin". Memoirs of the Geological Survey of India, Volume 21. p. 7 (143). 
  10. ^ Hughes, Theodore W. H. (1885). "Southern Coal-Fields of Kewah Gondwana Basin". Memoirs of the Geological Survey of India, Volume 21. p. 57 (193). 
  11. ^ "Existing Land Use Plan" (PDF). Anuppur City Development Plan. City Managers' Association, Madhya Pradesh. Archived (PDF) from the original on 17 January 2017. 
  12. ^ "अवैध उत्खनन करते दो ट्रैक्टर पकड़ाये" [Illegal excavators with Two Tractors Charged] (in Hindi). Pal-Pal India (पल-पल इंडिया). 19 September 2014. 
  13. ^ Hughes, Theodore W. H. (1885). "Southern Coal-Fields of Kewah Gondwana Basin". Memoirs of the Geological Survey of India, Volume 21. p. 34 (170).