The Peninsular Rivers originate in the Western Ghats. They have a large seasonal fluctuation in volume as they are solely fed from rainfall. These rivers flow in valleys with steep gradients. Major rivers of the Peninsula such as Mahanadi, Godavari, Krishna, Cauvery flow eastwards on the plateau and drain into Bay of Bengal.
The Narmada and Tapti flow eastwards. Narmada rises in Amarkantak plateau and enters Gulf of Cambay. The Tapti rises in Betul district of Madhya Pradesh and reaches the Arabian Sea, west of Surat. The Damodar flows to north of Ranchi plateau, the Mahanadi originates on northern edge of Dandakaranya and flowing east reaches Bay of Bengal. The Godavari rises near Trim Bank in Nasik district and drains into Bay of Bengal.
The Cauvery rises in Brahmagiri range on Western Ghats and finally joins the sea at Devakottai. The Sharavati flows into the Arabian Sea. Dams are built across these rivers and water stored in reservoirs is used for irrigation and generation of electricity.
The river systems produce four drainage patterns:
1. Dendritic Pattern:
It is the pattern of insequent stream and is tree like. (dendron in Greek means tree). The main river is the trunk and the tributary streams join it like branches of tree at small angle.
2. Parallel Pattern:
It develops on steep slopes with master stream and its tributaries are almost parallel to each other for a considerable distance before meeting.
3. Trellis Pattern:
It develops on folded structure consisting of anticlinal ridges separated by synclinal valleys. They are long straight river valleys with tributaries joining at right angle to give a rectangular pattern look.
4. Radial pattern:
It consists of drainage lines radiating from a central part in all directions as on a dome.