Describe the major characteristics of the rivers of Peninsular India. (CSE 2003)
Numerous rivers traversing the Indian Peninsula are older than the Himalayan Rivers and embody the following major characteristics:
· The sources of the Peninsular Rivers lie in the plateaus and low hills devoid of snow; therefore, most of the rivers are seasonal.
· Most of these rivers can be said to have reached a mature state of development, presenting a senile topography.
· These rivers flow through open and graded shallow valleys with low gradients and little erosion.
· The Peninsular Rivers are either superimposed or at places rejuvenated (represented by small waterfalls), giving birth to radial, trellis or rectangular drainage patterns.
· These rivers mostly have smaller courses and small basins.
· These are devoid of meanders because of hard rock and non-alluvial character of the plateau.
· The impermeable hard rock limits the groundwater recharge in the aquifers of peninsular rivers.
· These rivers are although suitable for power generation in their upper reaches but have limited use in irrigation and navigation.
Why have the rivers of the peninsular India well-defined rigid channels in sharp contrast to the Himalayan Rivers? (CSE 1995)
Ø Indian rivers can be categorized into two broad categories i.e. Himalayan and Peninsular Rivers.
Ø Himalayan rivers have their origin in high Himalayan mountain and gradually coming down on plains and debouching themselves into Bay of Bengal.
Ø This is not the case with the Peninsular Rivers. These rivers have their origin in Western Ghats which about 2000 metres above sea level thus not too high vis-à-vis to their Himalayan counterpart. Secondly the Peninsular Plateau over which peninsular rivers flows are hard, rigid and not sandy, alluvial in nature as in the North India. Thus, here two features do not give too much scope, to change their river course. Surface in this region are made of the rocks like Gneiss, metamorphic features. Thus, the Peninsular rivers like Godavari River, Krishna, Vaigai etc. have their well defined rigid channels in sharp contrast to Himalayan Rivers.
Ø Peninsular Rivers flowing through Western Ghats, does not find enough scope to carry enough alluvial soil or sediments to let it spread over at the surface of the Plateau. This factor also reduces the chances of non-well defined rigid channels.