The seven main rivers systems of India are the Indus, Narmada, Brahmaputra, Tapi, Krishna, Godavari and Mahanadi rivers. These rivers and their numerous tributaries play an important role in the economic, agricultural and religious aspects of the live of Indians, explains the Indian National Institute of Hydrology.
Almost all the major cities in India are located along rivers. This is because the rivers provide potable water, irrigation, electricity and cheap transportation to those living along their banks. For these and other reasons, the rivers contribute to the livelihood of many of the country's residents. In addition to this economic importance, Hindus around the country consider them holy because of the role the rivers play in their religion's mythology.
The Himalayan river systems include the Ganga, the Brahmaputra and the Indus river systems. Most of the rivers in these systems flow through the Himalayan Mountains and form large basins. These rivers are perennial because they get their water from the melting ice and rainfall in the mountains. The upstream catchments of these rivers are used to create electricity and most are navigable over long distances.
Peninsular rivers are another type of Indian river. They flow through shallow valleys, and many are seasonal due to their dependence on rainfall. Erosion in these rivers is less than those of Himalayan rivers because their slope is more genital.