Thence the Ganges enters Bengal, and, soon, after Murshidabad, it divides into several branches, on one of which, the Hooghly, stands the great town of Calcutta, eighty miles below which the great river finally falls by many mouths into the Bay of Bengal.
The Ganges, with the Jamuna and its other tributaries, waters all the north of India east of the Punjab, and has probably created the vast plain, called therefore the Gangetic Plain, of which most of North India consists.
The next important river system in India consists of the Indus and its tributaries, which water the Punjab and flow south-west into the Indian Ocean, or Arabian Sea. The Indus rises in the north of Kashmir and flows south and south-west. It forms the natural frontier of India proper, dividing it from Afghanistan and the Border tribes and Baluchistan.
Its tributaries, the Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Sutlej, and Beas, are the five rivers from which the Punjab gets its name; and it is the water of these rivers which the
British engineers have distributed over Punjab by means of a network of canals, which form the most extensive irrigation system in the world. From its source to its mouth the Indus travels about 2,000 miles.
There are no other Indian Rivers anything like so large and important as the Ganges and the Indus in northern India. But a few of the rivers of central and southern India must be mentioned.
Rising in the Vindya Hills and flowing west, there is the Narmada River, which empties itself into the Gulf of Cambay; and south of this is the Tapti, which enters the Gulf of Cambay at Surat.
There are no more rivers of any importance flowing west into the Indian Ocean, because south of Bombay the western Ghats run parallel with the coast, and form a watershed which sends all the rivers of south India eastward into Bay of of Bengal.
The chief of these are the Godaveri and the Krishna, which rise in the Ghats and flow through Hyderabad State, emptying themselves into the Bay of Bengal.
There are, of course, many other rivers in India, but they are comparatively small; though mention must be made of the Brahmaputra, which rises at the extreme east of the Himalayas and flows through Assam and Bengal to join the Ganges near its mouth.