Ganga, Yamuna termed ‘living persons’

In a first in the country, the Uttarakhand High Court declared that the rivers Ganga and Yamuna were “living persons.”

On March 15, New Zealand river Whanganui became the first in the world to be granted a legal human status.


  • To protect the recognition and the faith of society, rivers Ganga and Yamuna are required to be declared as legal persons [or] living persons.
  • “The Ganga and [the] Yamuna, all their tributaries, streams… are declared as juristic [or] legal persons [or] living entities having the status of a legal person with all corresponding rights, duties and liabilities of a living person in order to preserve and conserve river Ganga and Yamuna,” .
  • The two rivers, which are sacred for the Hindus, sustain millions of people in the country.

Tributaries of the Ganga

The major tributaries of the Ganga are as follows:

  • Left tributaries – Karnali, Mahakhali, Gandak, Koshi (Kosi), Ghaghra, and Damodar
  • Right tributaries – Yamuna, Son, Mahananda, Chambal

Run-of-the-River Projects on the Ganges

There are some run-of-the-river hydroelectric power projects under construction on the Ganges tributaries. Two are being constructed by the Uttarakhand Jal Vidyut Nigam Ltd. (UJVNL) and three by NTPC (National Thermal Power Corporation).

  • Loharinag Pala Hydro Power Project (NTPC): This is a hydroelectric power project with a peak capacity of 600 MW (150 MW x 4 Units) in Loharinag Pala. The major program has been granted permission. The number of supervisors working is more than 100. The project is situated on the Bhagirathi tributary in Uttarkashi district in Uttarakhand. This venture is the first of its kind in downstream from Gangotri, the source of the Ganges.
  • Tapovan Vishnugad Hydroelectric Power Project (NTPC): In Joshimath city.
  • Lata Tapovan Hydroelectric Power Project (NTPC): Also in Joshimath.
  • Maneri Bhali Hydro Power Project (UJVNL)
  • Maneri Tiloth Hydro Power Project (UJVNL): In Uttarkashi from 1984 (of 90 MW).

Tributaries of River Yamuna

  • The tributaries of Yamuna account for 70.9% of the catchment area; the balance of 29.1% area directly drains into the Yamuna River or is occupied by smaller streams.
  • Further, the catchment area of Yamuna amount to 40.2% of the area of Ganga Basin and 10.7% of the land area of India.
  • The important tributaries of the Yamuna River are Tons, Chambal, Hindon, Betwa and Ken. Other small tributaries of the Yamuna River include the Giri, Sind, Uttangan, Sengar and the Rind. The main Yamuna and Tons are fed by glaciers, viz., the Bandar Punch Glacier and its branches and originates from the Great Himalayan range.

Tons River

  • The Tons is the longest tributary of the Yamuna River and its flows through Garhwal , the western part of the Himalayan state of Uttaranchal.
  • The river originates at an elevation of 3900 m and join the Yamuna below Kalsi near Dehradun, Uttarakhand.
  • It is one of the most major perennial Indian Himalayan rivers. It is the biggest tributaries of the Yamuna.

Giri River:

  • The river Giri is an important tributary of the Yamuna River. It is the main source of water in the South-Eastern Himachal Pradesh.
  • The Giri is famous in the Jubbal, Rohru hills that rises from Kupar peak just above Jubbal town after flowing across the heart of Shimla hills and then flows down in the southeastern direction dividing the Sirmaur district into equal parts that are known as Cis-Giri and Trans-Giri region and joins Yamuna upstream of Paonta below Mokkampur.

Hindon River

  • Hindon River is an important tributary of Yamuna River. In fact, this river is sand-witch between two major rivers: Ganga on the left and Yamuna on the right.
  • Hindon originates from upper Shiwalik (Lower Himalayas).
  • It lies between the latitude 28004’ to 35005’ N and longitudes 77008’ to 77004’E.
  • It is a purely rain fed river with catchment area of about 7,083 sq. km.
  • This river has a total run of about 400 km.
  • The width of Hindon River ranges from 20 m to 160 m.

Betwa River

  • The Betwa River is a tributary of Yamuna River. Its basin extends from longitude 770 to 810 and latitude 2308’ to 2600’N. The Betwa river originates at an elevation of 470 m in the Bhopal District in Madhya Pradesh.
  • After traversing a distance of 590 km, the river joins the Yamuna River near Hamirpur at an elevation of 106,68 m.
  • The total catchment area of the Betwa River is 46,580 sq km of which 31,971 sq km (68.64%) lies in M.P. and 14,609 sq km (31.36%) lies in U.P.
  • The basin is saucer shaped with sandstone hills around the perimeter.
  • The river has 14 principle tributaries out of which 11 are completely in Madhya Pradesh and 3 lies partly in Madhya Pradesh and partly in Uttar Pradesh.
  • The Halali and Dhasan River are the important tributaries of the Betwa River.

Dhasan River

  • 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.
  • There is a water quality station at Garrloi on River Dhasan.

Ken River

  • Ken is an inter-state river, flowing through the state of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. Its basin lies between north latitudes 23020’ and 25020’ and east longitude of 78030’ and 80032’.
  • The river originates near the village Ahirgawab in Jabalpur District of Madhya Pradesh at an altitude of 550 m above near sea level and joins the Yamuna River, near Chilla village of U.P. at an elevation of about 95 m.
  • It forms the common boundary between Panna and Chattarpur district of M.P. and Banda district (U.P.).
  • The river has a total length of 427 km, out of which 292 km lies in M.P., 84 km in U.P. and 51 km forms the common boundary.
  • The total catchment area of the Ken river basin is 28,058 sq km, out of which 24,472 sq km lies in M.P. and the balance 3,386 sq km in Uttar Pradesh.
  • The important tributaries of the Ken River are Sonar, Bearma, Kopra, Bewas, Urmil, Mirhasan, Kutni, Kali, Gurne, Patan, Siameri, Chandrawal, Banne, etc, among others.
  • The longest tributary is Sonar which is 227 km in length and lies wholly in M.P. The catchment area of the Sonar river is 12,620 sq km.

Sind River

  • River Sind is one of the second largest right bank tributaries of Yamuna. It rises at a height of 543 m above sea level in Vidisha District of Madhya Pradesh.
  • It flows generally in north- east direction for a distance of 415 km before joining Yamuna 20 km upstream of Auraiya.
  • Important tributaries of Sind are Parwati and Kunwari on its left bank and Pahuj on the right bank.
  • It is probably river Sindhu mentioned in epic Vishnu Purana.

River Chambal

  • The Chambal River, called Charmanvati in ancient times, is the largest of the rivers flowing through Rajasthan state.
  • This tributary of Yamuna is 960km long.
  • The total area drained by the Chambal up to its confluence with the Yamuna is 143,219 sq km out of which 76,854 sq km lies in M.P. state, 65,264 sq km in Rajasthan state and 1,101 sq km in Uttar Pradesh.
  • River Chambal, the biggest tributary of Yamuna rises in Vindhyan range near Mhow in Indore District of Madhya Pradesh at an elevation of 354 m at north latitude 22° 28′ and east longitude 75° 40′.
  • Chambal basin is bound on north by the ridge separating it from Luni and Yamuna basins, on the south by Vindhyan range and on the west by Aravali range, on east lies the ridge separating it from Kunwari and Sind rivers of Yamuna basin Chambal basin lies between north latitudes 22° 27′ and 27° 20′ and east longitudes 73° 20′ and 79° 15′. Its total catchment area is 1,39,468
  • It flows initially in north direction for a length of 320 km upto Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan Border. In this reach Chamla, Siwan and Ratlam rivers join river Chambal from the left and Sipra and Chhoti Kalisindh from the right.
  • The river then enters Rajasthan and after flowing for a distance of 38 km turns clockwise and takes a north easterly course. At 428 km from its origin, it receives its major tributary Kalisindh from the right near the village Laban and further 22 km below another tributary Mej from the left.
  • The river continues to flow in north easterly direction for a further distance of 40 km when it is joined by another major right bank tributary Parwati near village Pali.
  • Thus, the river flows in Madhya Pradesh for a length of 320 km. River Chambal then forms a common boundary between Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan for a length of 251 km River Banas, a major left bank tributary joins Chambal in this reach near village Rameshwar. Thus, the river flows in Rajasthan for a length of 226 km The river then forms common boundary between Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh for 117 km and continues in northeasterly direction upto village Pinhat.
  • It then gradually turns right and flows in south –easterly direction to enter in Uttar Pradesh, north west of village Chakar Nagar. After flowing for 46 km in Uttar Pradesh, the river outfalls into Yamuna southeast of village Sehon in Etawah District of Uttar Pradesh. Topographically, out of total area of 1,39,468 sq km of the basin, about 3083 sq km around the origin of the river can be classified as hilly and rest as plains.
  • Three major dams and one barrage have been constructed on this river forming a series of hydraulic structures known as Chambal Project. Gundhi Sagar is the first dam located on the boundary of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan . Rana Pratap Sagar is second dam located in Rawat Bhata (Rajasthan) 48 km downstream of Gandhi Sagar Dam. Jawahar Sagar Dam is third, 22 km downstream of Rana Pratap Sagar Dam.
  • Last one in the series is Kota Barrage near Kota city which is 48 km downstream of Rana Pratap Sagar Dam.

Tributaries of Chambal River:

Kali Sindh:

  • It’s originated in the northern slopes of Vindhya Hills. Flowing in the M.P., it enters in the Rajasthan near Bindha village in Jhalwara District. After flowing 145 km in Rajasthan its joins Chambal River near Nonera village of Kota District. The catchment area of the Kalisindh River is 7944 sq km.

Parwan River:

  • The Parwan River is the important tributaries of Kalisindh River. The Parwan originate in the Malwa Plateau and after flowing for about 186 km in M.P., its enter in Rajasthan near Kharibor village in Jhalwara District. Its join Kali Sindh near Ramgarh village in Kota district. The catchment area of the Parwan River is 2892 sq km.

Parwati River:

  • The Parwati river originates in the northern slopes of the Vindhyan hills in M.P. where it forms a boundary between MP and Rajasthan for about 18 km, and then enters Rajasthan near Chatarpura village in Baran District. Therefore, it flows for about 83km in Rajasthan before again forming the boundary between MP and Rajasthan for a distance of about 58 km up to Pali village in Kota District, where it joins the Chambal. The river catchment in Rajasthan is situated in Kota and Jhalawar District. Major tributaries of the Parwati River are Lhasi, Berni, Bethli, Andheri, Retri, Dubraj, Bilas and Kunu.

Banas River

  • The Banas River originates in the Khamnor hills of the Aravali range (about 5km from Kumbhalgarh) and flows along its entire length through Rajasthan.Banas is a major tributary of the Chambal River, the two rivers meeting near village Rameshwar in Khandar Block in Sawai Madhopur District. The total length of the river about 512 km and the catchment area is 45,833 sqkm. The main tributaries of the Banas River are Berach and Menali on the right bank and Kothari, Khari, Dai, Dheel, Sohadara, Morel and Kalisil on the left bank.
  • The Banas River itself has many big tributaries. The Berach river originates in the hills northeast of Udaipur city. It flows northeast for about 157 km in Udaipur, Chittorgarh and Bhilwara district before joining Banas near Bigod village in Mandalgarh Tehsil of Bhilwara District. The catchment area of the river is 7502 sq km, which lies between 70025’ and 75002’ east longitudes and 24029’ and 25014’ north latitudes. The Berch flow in a hilly region up to Badgaon reservoir and then through plains. This river receives flow from Ayar, Wagli Wagon, Gambhiri and Orai Rivers.

Sipra River

  • The Sipra River is also call Ksipra (Markandeya). It flows in the state of Madhya Pradesh. The river is famous for the sanctity associated with it. According to the legend, the river has originated from the blood of Lord Vishnu. In the time of Mughal King Akbar, it was believed that the river used to flow with milk. Probably this means that the region where it flowed was very prosperous.

Source: The Hindu & Maps of India

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