India is blessed with one of the most beautiful natural waterways in the world. The truth is, it is the river that sustains the landmass of the country. Although we have polluted some of the rivers profusely, thankfully some of these waterways have still retained their natural beauty. Here are some clicks that show some of India’s most beautiful rivers.
Just as beautiful is the name Meghalaya, the abode of the clouds, so is the land. Between the Khasi and Jaintia hills in Meghalaya flows the Umngot River. You might have already seen pictures of this dazzling river. Crystal clear water in a light shade of green, this river looks dreamy. The water is so unbelievably clear that you can see the bottom of it. It is a magical experience to see the fishes of the river so clearly giving the feel of a real life aquarium.
Tourists take a boat ride in Umngot River. It lasts for about one and a half hour. The local boatman will take you on a leisurely cruise along the river. The sun will amplify the beauty of this river showing you how the bottom of a river looks like at twenty feet deep.
In the shallower parts of the river, tourists love to take a dip and swim with the fishes. It becomes an unforgettable experience to swim in one of the most beautiful rivers in the world.
To enjoy Umngot River you have to reach the town of Dawki. You can stay at Shillong and go to Dawki and Umngot River for a day trip. Quite near to Dawki are two very famous tourist spots, one being Mawlynnong which is called the cleanest village of Asia. The other place that is not to be missed are the famous root bridges of Meghalaya.
Umngot River shows how beautiful a river looks when it is left to its natural beauty. This is definitely one of the most beautiful rivers you will ever see.
Chambal River is one of the most ‘pollution free’ rivers in India. In other words, Chambal River can be seen in its pristine natural state. Due to its pure form, it is a place rich with wildlife. It is one of the fewest places in the world where you can see both the gharial and the mugger crocodile thriving together. It is home to the Gangetic river dolphin as well as numerous species of turtles and birds. In fact it is so rich with wildlife, a National Sanctuary has been created along its course.
Chambal River is about 600 miles long. It takes its birth in Singar Chouri peak of the Vindhyachal Mountains. It flows across Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, giving life to the flora, fauna and man. This gorgeous river then makes its way towards the Jamuna and merges with it.
Although it is one of the most beautiful rivers yet the Chambal River has a gross historical background in the epic Mahabharata. This river was originally called the Charmanyavati, which unpleasantly means the river of skins. It is said that there was a king called Rantideva, who was having a religious ceremony. He sacrificed quite a lot of animals, supposedly there were thousands of these. Cows, buffaloes and other animals were killed, and their secretions and bodily fluids flowing out is said to have created this river. Later this area came under the rule of Shakuni, one of the villains of Mahabharata. It was at this spot that the game of dice was played by the Pandavas and Kauravas, due to which Draupadi went through a lot of abuse. Later, she also cursed the river and anybody who drinks from it.
Draupadi’s curse turned out to be a blessing in disguise for the Chambal River and its ecosystem. Man has stayed away from it because of the fear of curse, which is why it still remains unpolluted and in its natural state.
The Teesta River is one of the most beautiful rivers originating from the Himalayas. The most amazing aspect of this river is its colour like no other. It has a beautiful shade of green akin to a lighter hue of jade.
The river is born from the Teesta Kangse glacier situated 7,068 metres high up in the Himalayan range. It flows through Sikkim and reaches West Bengal meandering through the hills. The river dances through the hills creating beautiful gorges. Its ravines are full of life.
When you travel towards Kalimpong from the comparatively plainer lands of New Jalpaiguri, the road finds its way along with the Teesta River. They both travel together, sometimes move far to come closer again. Do remember to stop and take a snap at the Coronation bridge that sits across the Teesta.
Teesta is the jewel that adorns the hilly areas of northern Bengal. Tourists also enjoy white water rafting in the higher parts of this river.
The Brahmaputra River is truly one of the most beautiful rivers in India as well as on planet earth. While most rivers in India have a feminine name it has a masculine one – the son of Brahma, the Creator.
The Brahmaputra River creates life as it travels across the subcontinent. About 3,848 km long, it is a lifeline for the land and the people. It is also one of the biggest rivers in the world.
The waterway emerges from the Bhagirath Glacier in the Himalayas and ends by joining the Ganga and merging into the Bay of Bengal. While meeting the sea it creates the world’s largest delta and mangrove forest, the Sundarbans.
Brahmaputra has a different beauty at different parts its journey. Somewhere it gushes forward with white waters whereas in other places it flows deep and silent. It is not possible to see the Brahmaputra River in all its forms. It takes all forms that a river can, displaying water in its myriad beauty.
Narmada is the lifeline of two states – Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. It is one of the cleanest, longest and one of the most beautiful rivers of India.
The way we have polluted Ganga, it seems unimaginable to speculate her truly natural form. Narmada is the closest to Ganga as per mythology and perhaps here is a chance to experience the grandeur of the great river in its pristine form.
Narmada is weaved with tales. Starting from her source at Narmada Kund it flows more than thirteen hundred kilometers. It flows through gorgeous marble rocks, creates waterfalls and ends in the Arabian Sea.
The river also gives name of the Narmada Valley which was home to many dinosaurs in the past. It is believed that it had its own unique dinosaurs like the Titanosaurus indicus and the Rajasaurus.
The Narmada River is also famous for a special kind of shivlinga called the Banalinga. At the bottom of the river hundreds of stones are found that have the special shape of a shivlinga. This is a unique type of cryptocrystalline quartz that is highly sought after for its sacredness.
People consider Narmada as a living being. She is a daughter, she fell in love with another river, the Sonbhadra. She is treated with respect and adoration.
The Narmada River can be enjoyed as a tourist or as a pilgrim. Tourism is available in various locations across the two states for both. If you are religious, you can also go for a Naramada Parikrama which is considered very holy. For the more adventurous, go for a boat ride or trek around the many trails that the Narmada creates along its journey.
River tourism in India
Since India has some of the most beautiful rivers in the world, it also means a great way to experience nature. Not only are the rivers make a cool destination in itself but the surrounding jungles and views create a stunning panorama for the traveller. It becomes a different kind of travel experience.
River tourism or also called as Water Tourism, is catching up in India. River tourism has a lot to offer – one can take pleasure in barrages, dams, forests, ghats, deltas, beaches along the way.
Here are some river cruises every traveller must take to enjoy these most beautiful rivers:
Dibru – Saikhowa River Cruise
One of the best ways to enjoy the lush natural beauty and evergreen forests of Assam is to take a river cruise. Sailing on the waters of the Brahmaputra, it will take you through the Dibru Saikhowa National Park. While this swamp and floodplain may not be easy to reach and experience in a safari, it becomes accessible by the cruise.
The place is teeming with wildlife and natural beauty. This is one of the best ways to enjoy the ecology created by the river.
One of the rarest things you might spot on this cruise are wild horses. It sounds unbelievable to see a wild horse in Assam, the truth is that after the end of the World Wars there was no great need for so many horses.
The Europeans left the country and left the horses in the wild. These horses did not face wild predators as such in their region resulting in a thriving population. How amazing it is to see these animals truly wild and free!
Sunderbans River Cruise
The land of the Royal Bengal Tiger, the salt water crocodiles and the reticulated pythons – welcome to world’s largest delta and mangrove forest. Imagine wading through the hundreds of waterways surrounded by thick mangroves and you never know when you might spot the ace predators of this region.
India’s greatest and most beautiful rivers respectively – the Ganga and the Brahmaputra join to form the land of the Sundari trees, the Sunderbans.
Sunderabans river cruises are many to choose from. You can choose according to your budget and duration. Some of the river cruises also offer a day to camp in the midst of the dense jungle and if you dare to, go for it.
Mandovi River Cruise
Mandovi offers one hour, short duration cruises as well as longer ones.
If you want to chill and have the sun and fun, go for the Mandovi River Cruise in Goa. The ride on the Mandovi River will take you to the Zuari Bay where parties and barbecues await you.
Enjoy the colourful fishing boats and the gorgeous sunset as you enjoy the cruise of the Mandovi River. You can simply get the evening cruise for this unique experience which lasts for an hour. Or you may want to see the beauty of a sunrise, so take the early morning cruise. There is also a special cruise for the romantic that happens only on full moon nights.
There is another cruise on Mandovi that will take you to Aldona and the water spring. You can also go for the dolphin and the crocodile cruise where you get the chance to see these wonderful creatures closely in their home.
If you want to enjoy the backwater and the spice plantations, go for the Mandovi Backwater Thrills Cruise. You can spend six and a half hours exploring the Mandovi river and its beautiful islands.
Ganges Heritage Cruise
Explore India in a different light in this special cruise. The six day long cruise will take you along the Ganga River across its length and breadth. See her journey through her eyes. Experience one of a kind cruise as you also witness how she breathes life into cities and forests. Enjoy her rich wildlife and spot the peppy Gangetic dolphins. On the way explore ghats, forts, magnificent sarees and myriad life on the great Ganga.
How many rivers are in India?
It is truly difficult to count the innumerable rivers in flowing through this vast land called India and the Indian subcontinent.
Ganga, Brahmaputra, Narmada, Krishna , Kaveri, Indus and Godavari are considered the most important river of India. Each of these forms its own river basin giving birth to its own ecosystem. Millions of lives depend on each river for its water and crops.
While Brahmaputra is one of the most beautiful rivers, it is also the longest one to flow in India and through the Indian subcontinent.
In India mostly all the rivers emerge from three regions – The Himalayan mountain, the plateaus of Central India and the Western Ghats. Starting quite high above the sea level, almost all drain into the Bay of Bengal or the Arabian Sea. Just a few of the rivers drain inland and finish their course.
Image credit: Wikipedia, India Guru