Chambal River

The Chambal River, called Charmanvati in ancient times, is the largest of the rivers flowing through and Rajasthan State. This is a major tributary of Yamuna which is 960 km long. Located in Central India, the river comprises a significant portion of the Greater Gangetic Drainage System. The Chambal River runs according to a north to northeasterly itinerary through Madhya Pradesh, flowing for a considerable distance through Rajasthan, subsequently creates the border between Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan prior to twisting to the southeast to meet the Yamuna in the state of Uttar Pradesh. The total area drained by the Chambal up to its confluence with the Yamuna is 143,219 sq. km out of which 76,854 sq. km lies in Madhya Pradesh state, 65,264 sq. km in Rajasthan state and 1,101 sq. km in Uttar Pradesh. The Chambal basin lies between the longitudes 7320' E and 7915' E and latitudes 2227' N and 2720' N.

Chambal basin

(Source: accessed on 20.01.2016)


Source, Drainage and Mouth of Chambal River

The length of Chambal River is 960 km. The river has its source near the Singar Chouri crest in the northern sides of the Vindhyan cliffs, 15 km west to southwest of Mhow in Indore District, Madhya Pradesh. The origin of the Chambal River lies at a height of around 843 m. It runs initially according to a northward itinerary in Madhya Pradesh for a distance of around 346 km and subsequently in a typically northeastward course for a span of 225 km across Rajasthan. The river runs for a further 217 km amid Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan and an extra 145 km amid Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. The Chambal River moves into Uttar Pradesh and runs for around 32 km prior to meeting the Yamuna River in Etawah district of Uttar Pradesh at an altitude of 122 m, for creating a portion of the greater Gangetic drainage system.

From the origin till its meeting with the Yamuna, the river has a downslope of around 732 meters. Out of this entire downslope, about 305 meters is in the initial 16 km stretch from its origin. The river plunges an extra 195 meters in the 338 km after that, where the river penetrates the canyon across the Chaurasigarh Fort. In the following 97 km of its flow from the Chaurasigarh Fort to the city of Kota, the riverbed descends by an extra 91 meters. In the remainder of its stretch of 523 km, the Chambal River goes across the plains of the Malwa terrain and subsequently in the Gangetic Basin. The average slope of the river is 0.21 m/km.

The river is a rainfed river and the overall drainage basin till its meeting point with the Yamuna covers an area of 143, 219 km2. The shape of the catchment basin of the river is like a rectangle till the intersection of the Banas and Parvathi Rivers with the Chambal running beside its main axis. The river valley is situated amid latitudes 22 27' North and 27 20' North and longitudes 73 20' East and 79 15' East. To its east, west, and south, the valley is surrounded by the mountain ranges of Vindhya and by the Aravallis to the northwest. Under the meeting point of the Banas and Parvathi, the drainage basin gets thinner and extended. In this span, it is bordered by the Vindhyan mountain range to the south and the Aravalli mountain ranges to the north.

To the northwest, The Vindhyan escarpments edge the left riverbanks of the Chambal, and then, is mostly sapped by it. The river is intensifying within around 6 km of the Narmada River, emerges as an ensuant on the Mesozoic plane, placed on top of the escarpments, and penetrates directly across them, with succeeding tributaries on the pliable sedimentary rocks. The river and its tributaries Parbati and Kali Sindh have generated a triangle-shaped alluvial plateau, around 200270 m over the thin channel of the lower Chambal River in Kota. The Chambal River is a characteristically forward-drainage type river, being quite older than the Ganges and Yamuna River, into which it ultimately pours.

Tributaries of Chambal River

  • Alnia: The Alnia River originates in the north-western slopes of Mukindwara hills, and flows for about 58 km before joining the Chambal near Notana village in Kota District. The catchment area of the Alania River is 792 km2.

  • Kalisindh: It originates in the northern slopes of the Vindhya hills. Flowing in M.P., it enters Rajasthan near Binda village in Jhalawar District. After flowing for about 145 km in Rajasthan, it joins Chambal near Nonera village in Kota District. The catchment area of the Kalisindh River is 7,944 km2 and in Rajasthan State, it extends over parts of Jhalawar and Kota Districts. The Parwan River is an important tributary of Kalisindh River. The Parwan originates in the Malwa Plateau and after flowing for about 186 km in M.P., it enters Rajasthan near Kharibor village in Jhalawar District. It joins Kalisindh near Ramgarh village in Kota District. The catchment area of the Parwan River is 2,892 km2.

  • Mej: The Mej River originates in Mandalgarh Tehsil in Bhilwara District and joins the Chambal River near Bhaius Khana village in Kota District. The catchment extends over Bhilwara, Bundi, and Tonk Districts, with the total area being 5,860 km2.

  • Chakan: The Chakan River is formed by the confluence of many small rivulets. The river flows in a south-easterly direction and joins the Chambal near Karanpura village in Sawai Madhopur District. The catchment is situated in Sawai Madhopur, Tonk, Bundi and Kota Districts 789k m2 area.

  • Parwati River: The Parwati River originates in the northern slopes of the Vindhyan hills in M.P. where it forms a boundary between MP and Rajasthan for about 18 km, and then enters Rajasthan near Chatarpura village in Baran District. Thereafter, it flows for about 83 km in Rajasthan before again forming the boundary between MP and Rajasthan for a distance of about 58 km up to Pali village in Kota District, where it joins the Chambal. The river catchment in Rajasthan is situated in Kota and Jhalawar Districts. Major tributaries of the Parwati River are Lhasi, Berni, Bethli, Andheri, Retri, Dubraj, Bilas and Kunu.

  • Kunu River: The Kunu River originates north of Guna town in MP. It flows for 48 km in M.P. before entering Rajasthan near Museri village in Baran District. The river re-enters M.P. again and flows for about 24 km. It then again enters Rajasthan near Gordhanpura village in Kota District and joins Chambal River. The catchment in Rajasthan lies in Baran District. The catchment area of the river is 726 km2. The tributaries of the Kunu River are Karal and Rempi.

  • Banas River: The Banas River originates in the Khamnor hills of the Aravali range (about 5 km from Kumbhalgarh) and flows along its entire length through Rajasthan. Banas is a major tributary of the Chambal River, the two rivers meeting near village Rameshwar in Khandar Block in Sawai Madhopur District. The total length of the river is about 512 km and the catchment area is 45,833km2. The main tributaries of the Banas River are Berach and Menali on the right bank, and Kothari, Khari, Dai, Dheel, Sohadara, Morel and Kalisil on the left bank. The Banas River itself has many big tributaries.

    • The Berach River originates in the hills northeast of Udaipur city. It flows northeast for about 157 km in Udaipur, Chittorgarh and Bhilwara Districts before joining Banas near Bigod village in Mandalgarh Tehsil of Bhilwara District. The catchment area of the river is 7,502 km2, which lies between 7325' and 7502' E longitudes and 2429' and 2514' N latitudes. The Berch flows in a hilly region up to Badgaon reservoir and then through plains. This river receives flow from Ayar, Wagli Wagon, Gambhiri and Orai Rivers.

    • The Mashi River, a tributary of the Banas originates near Kishangarh in Ajmer District. The catchment area of the river is 6,335 km2. It flows east and then south for about 96 km in partly hilly and partly plain areas of Ajmer and Tonk Districts before joining Banas River near Tonk.

    • Khari is another tributary of the Banas which originates in the hills near Deogarh in Rajsamand District. Its catchment area is 6,268 km2. It flows northeast for about 192 km through Udaipur, Bhilwara and Ajmer Districts before joining the Banas River near Chosala village in Ajmer District. Another tributary of the Banas River, the Dai River originates in the southeastern slopes of the Aravali range, near Nasirabad Tehsil of Ajmer District. Its catchment area is 3,015 km2. It flows southeast for about 40 km and east for about 56 km in Ajmer District and for a short reach through Tonk District, before joining the the Banas River near Bisalpur village in Tonk District.

    • The Morel River is a tributary of the Banas River which originates in the hills near Dharla and Chainpura villages in Bassi Tehsil of Jaipur District. The catchment area of the river is 5,491 km2, lies between 75 42' and 7656' E longitudes and 2614' and 279' N latitudes. It flows southeast for 29 km, then southwest for 35 km, up to the confluence with the Dhund River, and then southeast for 83 km in Jaipur and Sawai Madhopur Districts, before joining the Banas River near Hadoli village in Karauli Tehsil of Sawai Madhopur District. The Dhund, Kankrauli and Kalisil are the major tributaries of the Morel River.

    • The Kothari River, another tributary of Banas, originates in the eastern slopes of the Aravali range near Horera village in Bhilwara District. The catchment area of the river is 2,341 km2, lying between 7347' 30" and 753'30" East longitudes and 7347'30" and 753'30" North latitudes. The river flows through Rajsamand and Bhilwara Districts for about 51 km in a hilly region, and 100 km through plains, before joining the Banas near Nandrai village in Bhilwara District.

River Basin
The Chambal is the most significant river of the Malwa flat terrain. The river basin is a portion of the ditches, floodplain, and gorges. In Rajasthan, the Hadauti terrain emerges in the upper drainage basin of the Chambal River to the southeast of the Mewar valley. The river basin emerges in the Malwa terrain to the east. Geographically, it can be categorized into the Deccan Lava (Malwa) terrain and Vindhyan escarpment area. As stated by Heron in 1953, the pediplain in the east, emerging amid the Vindhyan terrain and the Aravalli mountain range, holds a narrow thin layer of quaternary deposits, altered top soil and river canal materials. In any case, two worn down layers can be identified in the pedi plain region from the Tertiary period. The Vindhyan plateau, the neighboring Chambal basin, and the Indo-Gangetic alluvial territory (older alluvium) are of Pleistocene to Sub-recent period. Badland landscape is a typical attribute of the Chambal basin, on the other hand, kankar has comprehensively built up in the older alluvial deposit.


The mean annual rainfall over the Chambal Basin was computed as 797 mm, of which about 93% falls during the four Monsoon months (June-September).

Existing Surface Water Projects
There are 7 Major (Gandhi Sagar, Rana Pratap Sagar, Jawahar Sagar, Kota Barrage, Parwati Pick-up Weir, Harish Chander Sagar and Gudha Dam), 12 Medium and 134 Minor irrigation projects in Chambal River Basin, as well as some small irrigation systems (covering less than 20 ha) constructed and operated by Panchayat Samities (PS). The river waters are used for hydroelectric power creation. agar Dam, and the Rana Pratap Sagar dam.

The Gandhi Sagar Dam
This is the oldest of the four dams constructed on the Chambal River. The Gandhi Sagar Dam is situated on the boundary of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. The dam is a 64 meter tall stonework gravity dam, with a existing storage facility of 6,920 Mm and a drainage basin area of 22,584 km, of which merely 1,537 km is situated in Rajasthan. Construction of the dam was finished in 1960. The hydroelectric power facility consists of five power generating divisions of 23 MW capacity each. The water discharged following electricity generation is used for supplying to agricultural lands via Kota Barrage.

The Rana Pratap Sagar Dam
This dam is situated 52 km downstream of Gandhi Sagar Dam over the Chambal River close to Rawatbhata in the district of Chittorgarh, Rajasthan. Construction of the dam was finished in 1970. The dam is the second in the sequence of Chambal Valley Projects. The dam is 54 meters tall. The source of power is situated on the left corner of the channel for water overflow and is made up of 4 divisions of 43 MW each, with steady power creation of 90 MW at 60% load element. The overall drainage basin of this dam is 24,864 km, of which just 956 km is located in Rajasthan. The live storage capacity of the dam is 1,566 Mm3. The open drainage basin beneath the Gandhi Sagar Dam covers an area of 2,280 km.


The Jawahar Sagar Dam
This dam is the third dam in the succession of Chambal Valley Projects, situated 26 km downstream of Rana Pratap Sagar Dam and 29 km upstream of Kota city. It is a stonework gravity dam, which is 45 meter tall with a length of 393 m, producing 60 MW of hydroelectric power with an installed capacity of 3 divisions of 33 MW. The construction of the dam was finished in 1972. The overalll drainage basin of the Jawahar Sagar Dam is 27,195 km, of this just 1,496 km is in Rajasthan. The open drainage basin beneath the Rana Pratap Sagar Dam covers an area of 2,331 km.

The Kota Barrage
This barrage is the fourth in the sequence of Chambal Valley Projects, situated around 0.8 km upstream of Kota City in Rajasthan. Water discharged following electricity generation at Rana Pratap Sagar dam, Gandhi Sagar dam, and Jawahar Sagar Dams, is rerouteed by Kota Barrage for irrigation in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan and through inland waterways on the left and the right sides of the river. Construction of this dam was finished in 1960. The overall drainage basin of Kota Barrage is 27,332 km, of which the open drainage basin beneath the Jawahar Sagar Dam is only 137 km. The live storage capacity of the dam is 99 Mm. The dam is an earthfill dam with a channel for water overflow made of concrete. The right and left major channels have a headworks discharge capacity of 188 m/sec and 42 m/sec respectively. The overall span of the key channels, distribution system, and divisions is around 2,342 km, supplying a region of 2,290 km of CCA. The dam runs 18 gates to regulate surge of inundation and channel water downstream, and functions as a bridge amid areas of Kota city on the left and right sides of the river.


Ongoing Surface Water Projects
52 irrigation projects, including 7 Medium projects with a total live storage capacity of 271 Mm3, are under construction in Chambal River Basin. An additional area of 502 kha will be irrigated on completion of these projects, expected between 1997 and 2015.

Proposed Surface Water Projects
376 irrigation projects, including 10 Major (Manohar Thana, Parwan Dhanwas, Kalisindh, Gugar Lift, Soni, Dholpur Lift, Indira Lift, Pipalda Lift and Chambal Lift), with a total live storage capacity of 1743 Mm3, have been proposed in Chambal Basin. An additional area of 630 kha will be irrigated on completion of these projects.



The Chambal River is regarded pollution free, and is home to a remarkable variety of riverine fauna, which includes 2 types of crocodiles the gharial and mugger, smooth-coated otters, 8 varieties of freshwater turtles, skimmers, gangetic river dolphins, sarus cranes, black-bellied terns, and black-necked storks, along with others.

The region is situated within the partly-barren area of northwest India at the boundary of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh. The flora comprises narrow valley, thorn jungle, a subcategory of the Northern Tropical Forests (Sub-set 6B/C2 of the amended taxonomy of Champion & Seth, 1968). This sub-category usually grows in less barren regions with 600700 mm precipitation. A few instances of Saline/Alkaline Babul Savannah (5E/8b), a category of Northern Tropical Arid broad-leafed forest also grows in this area. Evergreen riverbank plants are totally missing, with only spare groundcover beside the rigorously weather-beaten riverbanks and adjoining valley terrains.


The partly barren territory in Madhya Pradesh is characterized by Chambal drainage basin, stretching up to Betla and Narmada Rivers. More than 1,000 blossoming plants have been found which include Pendula, Anogeissus latifoia, Lannea coromandelica, Tectona grandis, Sterculia urens, Diospyros melanoxylon, Butea monosperma, Mitragyna parviflora, Boswellia serrata, Emblica officinalls, Hardwickia binata and Bridelia squamosa.


Class composition at ground level and bushes is analogous to that of semi-parched areas of Gujarat. Some trailing plants of this region include Atylosia, Rhynchosia, Cissampelos, Cocculus, Pergularia daemia, Ipomoea, Tinospora cordifolia and Pueraria tuberosa


Small trees and thorny bushes usually seen in this area include Balanites aegyptiaca, Capparis sepiaria, A. nilotica, Acacia Senegal, Prosopis juliflora, Leucophloea, Maytenus emarginata, Butea monosperma, Salvadora persica, Tamarix sp, Crotalaria medicaginea, S. oleoides, C. burhia, Calotropis procera, Clerodendrum phlomidis, Leptadenia pyrotechnica and Xanthium indicum


In addition, there are trailing plants or vines coupled with these plants like Pergularia daemia, Maerua oblongifolia, Ceropegia bulbosa, and herbaceous plants, for instance Farsetia hamiltonii, Argemone mexicana, Cleome viscosa, Tephrosia purpurea, Glinus lotoides, Tribulus terrestris, Rivea sp., Sericostoma pauciflorum, Pedalium murex, Ipomoea sp., Lepidagathis sp, Sesamum mulayanum, Chrozophora sp., Boerhavia diffusa, and pastures such as Fimbristylis sp., Cyprus sp., Cenchrus sp., Brachiaria sp., Dichanthium sp. etc.

(Source: and accessed on 09.06.2016)