Yamuna River, Origin, Catchment Area, Tributaries, Pollution

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The Yamuna River originates from the Yamunotri Glacier. Explore comprehensive information about the Yamuna River, including details about its tributaries, origin, catchment area, and the concerning issue of toxic foam observed in the Delhi region.

Indian River System

With its varied landscapes, India is interlaced with a vast network of rivers. These rivers, both big and small, come together to form the complicated Indian River System.

Among these, seven major rivers stand out, each contributing significantly to the country’s geography and deeply intertwined with its culture. They are like the lead actors in the grand play of India’s hydrological structure.

The Seven Principal Rivers

The backbone of the Indian River System is formed by the Ganga River System, Indus River System, Brahmaputra River System, and four other vital contributors – Godavari, Krishna, Narmada, Tapi, and Mahanadi.

This amazing group of rivers is made even more interesting by many smaller tributaries that each have their own unique story in the intricate web of waterways across India.

Yamuna River: A Pivotal Tributary

Among these watercourses, the Yamuna River emerges as a key tributary of the Ganga River, exerting significant influence on the overall dynamics of the northern region of India.

About Yamuna River 

In Hinduism, the Yamuna is revered as the goddess Yamuna, akin to the Ganges. She is also called Yami, the sister of Yama, the god of death, and the daughter of Surya, the solar god.

According to Hindu mythology, taking a dip in the sacred waters of the Yamuna is believed to free a person from the burdens of death.

Explore the table below for fundamental insights into the Yamuna River:

About Yamuna River
Flow in StatesUttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi
Major Cities on its Bank Haryana: Yamuna Nagar

Delhi: New Delhi

Uttar Pradesh: Agra, Pryagraj, Auraiya , Noida, Etawah, Mathura and Firozabad
Originates fromYamunotri, Banderpooch Peaks, Uttarkashi district, Uttarakhand, India
Total Length1,376 km (855 mi)
Basin size366,223 km2 (141,399 sq mi)
Discharge in Ganga at
Triveni Sangam, Pryagraj, Uttar Pradesh
Tributaries Left Bank: Tons, Hindon, Hanuman Ganga, Sasur Khaderi
Right Bank: Ken, Betwa, Chambal, Giri, Sindh, Baghain and Sabi

Source of Yamuna River

The Yamuna River, an important contributor to the Ganges, begins its journey from the Yamunotri Glacier, located close to the Banderpoonch peaks in the Lower Himalayas’ Mussourie range.

Its birthplace lies at an elevation of approximately 6,387 meters above mean sea level in Uttarkashi district, Uttarakhand.

From this pristine origin, the Yamuna flows swiftly through the Himalayan foothills, exiting Uttarakhand and entering the Indo-Gangetic Plain.

As it courses southward, it forms the boundary between Uttar Pradesh and Haryana states. Eventually, it merges with the Ganges at Triveni Sangam in Prayagraj, a site where the Kumbh Mela, a significant Hindu festival, takes place every 12 years.

Yamuna River Origin and Features

The Yamuna River originates north of Haridwar in Uttarkashi district, Uttarakhand.

The source is the Yamunotri Glacier at an elevation of 6,387 meters (20,955 feet).

Nestled on the southwest slopes of the Banderpooch peaks in the Lower Himalayas.

The source is vital to the sacred Chota Char Dham Yatra route.

It houses the revered Yamunotri Temple dedicated to the goddess Yamuna.

The temple is near Markendeya Tirtha, where sage Markandeya composed the Markandeya Purana.

The Yamuna flows through states including Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, and Delhi.

Tributaries encountered on its journey include Tons, Chambal, Sindh, Betwa, and Ken.

Entering Himachal Pradesh from Uttarakhand, passing Paonta Sahib, running along the Haryana-Uttar Pradesh border.

It continues to flow until converging with the Ganges at Sangam or Prayag in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh.

In the Indo-Gangetic plain, it enriches the fertile Ganges-Yamuna Doab region with its alluvial soil.

Tributaries of Yamuna River
Tributaries of Yamuna River (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

Yamuna River ending point

Confluence at Triveni Sangam

Encompassing a vast drainage area of 366,223 km2, contributing 40.2% to the Ganges Basin, the Yamuna River makes its way to the confluence point with the Ganges at Triveni Sangam in Allahabad.

This juncture holds immense cultural and spiritual significance, serving as the sacred site for the Kumbh Mela, a Hindu festival celebrated every 12 years.

The convergence of these mighty rivers symbolizes the unity and diversity ingrained in India’s rich cultural tapestry.

Catchment Area of Yamuna River

The Yamuna River holds the distinction of being the second-largest tributary river of the Ganges by discharge.

It also claims the title of the longest tributary within India.

The extensive catchment area of the Yamuna spans 366,223 square kilometers.

This catchment area represents a substantial 40.2% of the entire Ganges Basin.

The Yamuna River is a natural boundary, marking the state borders between Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

These rivers run almost parallel, defining an area of 69,000 square kilometers, which makes up one-third of the alluvial plain.

The Ganges-Yamuna Doab region is renowned for its agricultural productivity.

Basmati rice cultivation thrives in this fertile land, contributing significantly to agricultural output.

The fertile soil supports robust agricultural practices, making it a vital contributor to the region’s agricultural prosperity.

Catchment Area of Yamuna River
Extent of Yamuna River Catchment AreaCatchment Area (km2)Catchment area in Percentage
Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand74,20821.5
Himachal Pradesh5,7991.6
Madhya Pradesh140,23040.6

Continuing its course, the Yamuna River flows through Delhi, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh states.

It eventually merges with the Ganges at the revered Triveni Sangam in Allahabad, a sacred location that draws pilgrims.

This site witnesses large congregations, particularly during the Kumbh Mela, a grand celebration held every 12 years.

The riverbanks of the Yamuna host several cities, including Allahabad, Baghpat, Delhi, Noida, Mathura, Agra, Firozabad, Etawah, Kalpi, and Hamirpur.

At Etawah, the Yamuna connects with another significant tributary, Chambal.

Further downstream, it encounters additional tributaries such as Sindh, Betwa, and Ken.

Tributaries of Yamuna River

Along its journey, the Yamuna meets several tributaries, including the Tons, Chambal (its longest tributary with its extensive basin), Sindh, Betwa, and Ken.

It also forms the incredibly fertile Ganges-Yamuna Doab region, positioned between itself and the Ganges in the Indo-Gangetic plain.

Remarkably, nearly 57 million people rely on the Yamuna’s waters, and it accounts for over 70% of Delhi’s water supply.

The Yamuna River, stretching 1,376 km long with a catchment area of 69,000 sq km, is closely connected to its tributaries.

Below are discussions about some of its significant tributaries:

Tons River

The Tons River is a significant tributary of the Yamuna River, originating from the Bandarpunch mountain in Uttarakhand. Here are some key details about it:

Source of the river

The river originates from the Ruinsara snout, located below the Dhum Dhar Kandi ridge which leads to Kalanag and Bandarpoonch.


The river flows through the Garhwal region in Uttarakhand, touching Himachal Pradesh, and joins the Yamuna River below Kalsi near Dehradun.


The river spans approximately 175 km.


The Pabbar River, connecting from the west, is a tributary of the Tons River.


It joins near Dehradun, Uttarakhand, where it merges with the Yamuna, below Kalsi.

Hindon River

Source of the river

The Hindon River holds importance as a noteworthy tributary of the Yamuna River, starting its journey from the Shakumbhari Devi range in the Upper Sivaliks, situated in the Saharanpur district of Uttar Pradesh.


The river flows between the Ganga River on the left and the Yamuna River on the right, through districts such as Muzaffarnagar, Meerut, Baghpat, Ghaziabad, and Gautam Buddh Nagar before joining the Yamuna River at Sector-150, Noida.

Length and Catchment Area

The river spans approximately 400 km.

The Hindon River is entirely rain-fed, with an approximate catchment area of 7,083 square kilometers (2,735 square miles).

Major Tributary

The Kali River, originating in the Rajaji Range of Sivalik Hills, is a tributary of the Hindon River.

Sabi River / Sahibi River

The Sahibi River, also known as the Sabi River, is an ephemeral, rain-fed river flowing through India’s Rajasthan, Haryana, and Delhi states. Here are some key details about it:


The Sahibi River originates from the eastern slopes of the Saiwar Protected Forest (PF) hills in Sikar District, Rajasthan.


After gathering volume from about a hundred tributaries, the river forms a broad stream around Alwar and Kotputli.

It then enters the Rewari district in Haryana near the city of Rewari. After that, it re-enters Rajasthan and then re-enters Haryana near the village of Jaithal.

It further drains into the Yamuna in Delhi, where its channeled course is called the Najafgarh drain.

The Sabi River enters Delhi just before the Signature Bridge and flows through the city until it reaches the Wazirabad Barrage.


The river flows for approximately 300 km, of which 157 km is in Rajasthan, 100 km is in Haryana, and 40 km is in Delhi.


Along its journey, it passes through various wetlands, such as Chuchakwas Wetland, Bhindrawas Wetland, Masani Barrage, Bucahra Dam, and Babariya Dam, providing crucial support to diverse wildlife.

Notably, it is the only significant Aravali river that flows northwards and eventually joins a Himalayan river, the Yamuna.

Sindh River

The Sindh River is a significant river in Central India, flowing through the states of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. Here are some key details about it:


The Sindh River originates on the Malwa Plateau in the Vidisha district of Madhya Pradesh.


The river meanders in a north-northeast direction, traversing through the districts of Guna, Ashoknagar, Shivpuri, Datia, Gwalior, and Bhind in Madhya Pradesh. It joins the Yamuna River in the Jalaun district of Uttar Pradesh.


The total length of the river is 470 kilometers (290 mi), out of which 461 kilometers (286 mi) are in Madhya Pradesh and 9 kilometers (5.6 mi) are in Uttar Pradesh.


Its tributaries include the Parbati, Pahuj, Kwari (Kunwari), and Mahuar.


The Manikheda Dam has been constructed across the Sindh River in the Shivpuri district.


Its journey concludes as it joins the Yamuna River in the Jalaun district of Uttar Pradesh, nearby downstream from the confluence of the Chambal River.

Ken River

The Ken River is a major river in the Bundelkhand region of Central India, flowing through the states of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. Here are some key details about it:


The Ken River originates near the village Ahirgawan on the northwest slopes of the Kaimur Range in the Katni district of Madhya Pradesh.


The river flows northeast for a 427 km distance before merging with the Yamuna at Chilla village, Banda district in Uttar Pradesh.


The total length of the river is 427 kilometers (265 mi).


Its major tributaries include the Bawas, Dewar, Kaith, and Baink on the left bank, and Kopra and Bearma on the right.

Tourist Attractions

Tourist attractions include the Raneh Falls on the Ken River and the Ken Ghariyal Sanctuary. The river also passes through Panna National Park.

Betwa River


The Betwa River originates from the Vindhya Range just north of Hoshangabad in Madhya Pradesh.


The river flows northeast through Madhya Pradesh and Orchha to Uttar Pradesh. Approximately half of its route, which is impassable by watercraft, extends across the Malwa Plateau.


The river’s total length from its origin to its confluence with the Yamuna is 590 kilometers (370 mi).


Its major tributaries include the Bina, Dhasaan, and Jamni.

Historical Significance

The river was known as the Vetravati in ancient times. It is mentioned in the epic Mahabharata along with the Charmanwati River.


The merging point of the Yamuna and Betwa takes place in the Hamirpur district of Uttar Pradesh.

The river Betwa is honored by lending its name to one of the Indian Navy’s frigates, INS BETWA.

Chambal River

The Chambal is a significant river in northern and central India. It is the longest tributary of the Yamuna River. Here are some key details about it:


The Chambal River originates from the Bhadakla Falls in Janapav Hills on the northern slopes of the Vindhyan escarpment near Mandav, in the Indore District, Madhya Pradesh.


The river flows north-northeast through Madhya Pradesh, running for a time through Rajasthan, then forming the boundary between Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh before turning southeast to join the Yamuna in Uttar Pradesh.


The total length of the river is 1,024 km (636 mi).


Its major tributaries include the Banas, Kali Sindh, Sipra, Parbati, and Shipra.

Historical Significance

The river was known as the Charmanvati in ancient times, meaning the river on whose banks the leather is dried.

Dhasan River

The Dhasan River is significant in central India. Here are some key details about it:


The Dhasan River originates in Begumganj tehsil, located in the Raisen district of Madhya Pradesh.


It is a right-bank tributary of the Betwa River and forms the southeastern boundary of the Lalitpur District of Uttar Pradesh.


The total length of the river is 365 km, with 240 km in Madhya Pradesh, 54 km forming the boundary between Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, and 71 km in Uttar Pradesh.


Its major tributaries include Bela, Kathan, Mangrar, Bachneri, and Rohni.


Two dams have been built on the Dhasan River, one at Pahari and another at Lahchura. A three-branched irrigation canal was opened in 1910, diverting some of the river’s flow and providing water for the Bundelkhand region.

Giri River

The Giri River, also known as Giri Ganga, is an important tributary of the Yamuna River. Here are some key details about it:


The Giri River originates from the hills of Kotkhai.


It drains parts of Himachal Pradesh in the southeastern areas and flows through the district of Sirmaur. It splits the Sirmaur district into two equal parts: the Cis-Giri and Trans-Giri regions. It then merges with the Yamuna River.

Joins into

As it continues its course, Eventually, the Giri River joins the Yamuna upstream of Paonta, below Mokkampur.


The major tributaries of the Giri River are Ashani, which meets Giri close to Chail, and Jalal, which joins it at Dadhau. The Palar and Nait streams meet the river on its left bank.

Economic Aspect

The water of the Giri River is channeled through the Nahan ridge to the Girinagar powerhouse and is released with streaming force into the river of Bata.

The diversion project along the river accommodates 30 MW twin units, providing power to the districts. Additionally, the Renukaji Dam Multi-Purpose Project serves as a storage project on the Giri River.

Pollution of Yamuna River information

Once revered as a sacred and life-giving waterway, the Yamuna River now grapples with a threatening pollution crisis. Let us delve into the somber reality of the Yamuna’s plight:

Causes of pollution in Yamuna River

The Yamuna faces contamination from various sources:

  • Domestic Sewage: Urban centers discharge untreated sewage directly into the river along its course.
  • Industrial Effluents: Factories and industries release harmful chemicals and heavy metals into their waters.
  • Agricultural Runoff: Pesticides, fertilizers, and sediment from agricultural lands contribute to pollution.
  • Religious Practices: Rituals involving the immersion of idols, flowers, and other materials add to the river’s burden.

Delhi Yamuna River Visible Signs of Pollution

  • Foamy Scum: Toxic foam blankets the Yamuna’s surface, a grim reminder of its deteriorating health. This foam results from a combination of phosphate pollution, organic matter, and other contaminants.
  • Floating Debris: Plastic bags, bottles, and other waste floats on its once-pristine waters.

Effects of Pollution in Yamuna River

Impact on Ecosystem and Health

The Yamuna’s aquatic ecosystem suffers:

  • Loss of Biodiversity: Fish, turtles, and other aquatic species struggle to survive.
  • Altered Water Quality: Oxygen levels drop, affecting aquatic life.

Human Health Risks

  • Waterborne Diseases: Contaminated water poses health hazards to millions who depend on it.
  • Heavy Metals: Elevated levels of iron, lead, and other metals harm human health.

✅ Key Facts About Yamuna River

✔️ The largest tributary of the Yamuna is the Tons River.

✔️ The Sone River is the largest southern tributary of the Ganges after the Yamuna.

✔️ Second-largest tributary river of the Ganges by discharge

✔️ Yamuna is the longest tributary river in India.

✔️ Chambal is the longest tributary of the Yamuna River.

✔️ The largest city on the banks of the Yamuna is Delhi.

✔️ The largest dam on the Yamuna is the Lakhwar-Vyasi project.

✔️ It merges with the Ganges at Triveni Sangam, Prayagraj, a site of the Kumbh Mela, a Hindu festival held every 12 years.

Yamuna River FAQs

Q1. Where does the Yamuna River flow? 

The Yamuna River flows through several states in India, including Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan.

Q2. What is the length of the Yamuna River? 

The Yamuna River is approximately 1,376 kilometers (855 miles) long.

Q3. Where does the Yamuna River originate and end?

 The Yamuna River originates from the Yamunotri Glacier in the Himalayas and ends by merging with the Ganges River at Triveni Sangam in Prayagraj (Allahabad).

Q4. What is the origin of the Yamuna River? 

The Yamuna River originates from the Yamunotri Glacier in the Himalayas.

Q5. Why is the Yamuna River black? 

The black color of the Yamuna River is often attributed to factors like industrial effluent, sewage discharge, and algal blooms.


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