Difference Between Himalayan and Peninsular Rivers

Main Difference – Himalayan vs Peninsular Rivers

Himalayan and peninsular rivers are two types of rivers that flow through India. These two classifications are based on the origins of the rivers; Himalayan rivers originate from the Himalayan ranges whereas peninsular rivers start from the peninsular. The main difference between Himalayan and Peninsular Rivers is their size; Himalayan rivers are larger and longer and carry a greater volume than peninsular rivers.

This article explores,

1. What are Himalayan Rivers?
     – Origins, Geographical Features, and Examples

2. What are Peninsular Rivers?
     – Origins, Geographical Features, and Examples

3. What is the difference between Himalayan and Peninsular Rivers?Difference Between Himalayan and Peninsular Rivers - Comparison Summary

What are Himalayan Rivers

Himalayan rivers are the rivers that originate from the Himalaya mountain ranges. Indus, Ganga, and Brahmaputra are Himalayan Rivers. All these rivers originate from the Himalayas and flow towards the west. These rivers have many special characteristics compared to other river types in India.

Himalayan rivers have long valley lengths and larger channels. They also have larger basins and catchment areas. For example, the basin area of Indus river is 165 million km² whereas Godavari, the largest peninsular river, has a basin area of 312,812 km². Himalayan rivers are perennial (continuous water flow throughout the year) in nature and are fed by both rain and ice. Thus, they are very useful for irrigation. Himalayan rivers are considered to be antecedent streams, which maintain their original course although the underlying rock topology changes. They are also believed to be in their early maturity stage based on their volume, velocity, and other features. Himalayan rivers also form meanders and change their course, unlike peninsular rivers. The mouth of these rivers form large deltas; Ganga-Brahmaputra delta is the biggest delta in the world.

Difference Between Himalayan and Peninsular Rivers

What are Peninsular Rivers

Peninsular rivers are the rivers that originate from the peninsular plateau of India. Kaveri, Narmada, Tapi, Krishna, Godaveri, and Mahanadi are some examples of peninsular rivers. Peninsular rivers are comparatively shorter and smaller than Himalayan Rivers. They also have smaller basins and catchment areas.

Peninsular rivers are consequent rivers, i.e., they follow the direction of the slope of the land. They are also seasonal or non-perennial in nature since they only receive water from the rain, resulting in a non-continuous water flow. These rivers flow through shallow valleys compared to Himalayan Rivers, and these areas are not easily erodible.  The flood plains of peninsular rivers are narrow.

Peninsular rivers are also believed to be older than Himalayan Rivers since they are in their maturity. The alluvial nature and the hard rock surface of the plateau don’t allow the formation of meanders. Some of these rivers such as Mahanadi, Godavari, and Krishna form small deltas whereas others like Narmada and Tapi form estuaries.

Main Difference - Himalayan vs Peninsular Rivers

Peninsular rivers in South India

Difference Between Himalayan and Peninsular Rivers

Origins

Himalayan Rivers: Himalayan rivers originate from the Himalayan ranges.

Peninsular Rivers: Peninsular rivers originate from the peninsular plateaus.

Size

Himalayan Rivers: Himalayan rivers are larger and longer than peninsular rivers.

Peninsular Rivers: Peninsular rivers are comparatively smaller and shorter.

Basin and Catchment Area

Himalayan Rivers: Himalayan rivers have large basins and catchment areas.

Peninsular Rivers: Peninsular rivers have smaller basins and catchment areas.

Nature

Himalayan Rivers: Himalayan rivers are perennial in nature since they are fed from both rain and ice.

Peninsular Rivers: Peninsular rivers are seasonal since they are only fed from rain.

Age

Himalayan Rivers: Himalayan rivers are considered to be in the early maturity stage.

Peninsular Rivers: Peninsular rivers are considered to be older than Himalayan rivers.

Mouth

Himalayan Rivers: Mouth of the rivers form big deltas.

Peninsular Rivers: Some peninsular rivers form small rivers whereas some others form estuaries.

Course

Himalayan Rivers: Himalayan rivers are antecedent rivers.

Peninsular Rivers: Peninsular rivers are consequent rivers.

Flood Plains

Himalayan rivers: Himalayan rivers have larger floodplains.

Peninsular rivers: Peninsular rivers have smaller floodplains.

Meanders

Himalayan rivers: Himalayan rivers form meanders.

Peninsular rivers: Peninsular rivers do not often form meanders.

Shape of Valley

Himalayan rivers: Himalayan rivers form V-shaped valleys.

Peninsular rivers: Peninsular rivers form wide U-shaped valleys.

Image Courtesy:

“Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna basins” By Pfly – Own work (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia

“Godavari River” By Ninane – Own work after 1 (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia

About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.

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