Rivers of Bundelkhand
Bundelkhand's northern boundary is defined by the Yamuna; the
western boundary is defined by the Sind; in the south, the Narmada flows a few
kilometres from the boundaries of Sagar district. But none of these rivers play
a direct, large role in Bundelkhand's economy.
From an economic point of view, Bundelkhand's main rivers are
the south-to-north flowing Ken, the Betwa and their various tributaries, along
with several other streams, of which the most important is the Baghain.
The Betwa contributes around 50% of the water available in
Bundelkhand Upland and Bundelkhand Plain sub-regions; the Ken contributes around
25%. Both the rivers are inter-state rivers, originating in MP, and flowing
through UP, to join the Yamuna.
Except for the Yamuna, which flows from north-west to
south-east, and some streams in Panna and Chhatarpur districts, all the rivers
flowing through Bundelkhand are useful for irrigation.
However, most rivers are dry or almost dry in summer. At
Hamirpur, average rainy season discharge of the Betwa is 700,000 million cusecs
(1 cusec is approximately 28 litres of water flowing per second), but in summer
it is almost nil.
In the southern upland, the rivers mostly flow through
straight courses but in the lowland, the rivers go through several tortuous
loops and bends. In the upland, the gradient of the rivers is steep and the
water course is narrow and deep; the rivers pass through deep valleys with
gorges and waterfalls.
In the lowland, the rate of flow of water is slower and the
rivers are broad. The lower courses of the rivers, towards the Yamuna, are in
fertile alluvial plains, where the rivers cause much erosion and create ravines.
Almost all the dams and reservoirs in Bundelkhand are built
at the points where the upland meets the lowland; at these points, the rivers
are narrow and the strata is hard. Quartz reefs in the courses of some rivers
have led to formation of natural lakes, and offer good sites for construction of
dams. This feature has been especially exploited in Lalitpur district, which has
the highest number of dams across Bundelkhand.
The Betwa, known as Vetravati in ancient times, rises from
the Vindhyan ranges in Bhopal district at an elevation of around 1300 feet above
sea level and meets the Yamuna in Hamirpur district. The total length of the
river is around 590 km, of which 232 km is in MP.
The Betwa basin includes several districts: Sagar, Tikamgarh,
Lalitpur, Jalaun and Hamirpur. The catchment area of the basin is around 44,000
sq km, of which around 30,000 sq km are in MP, while the rest of the area is in
UP. The river largely flows through rocky terrain with steep gradients; many
sites are suitable for hydel power stations.
An important tributary of the Betwa is the Dhasan, known as
Darsana is earlier times, which also rises in Bhopal district. It then flows
through Sagar district and forms the southern boundary of Lalitpur district. It
joins the Betwa in Jhansi district.
The Ken, known in ancient times as Karnavati, rives from the
Vindhyan hills in Damoh district of MP and enters UP briefly in Banda district,
then turns towards Chhatarpur district of MP, and comes back to Banda district
in Banda tehsil. It then flows in a north-east direction and finally turns east
to meet the Yamuna at a place called Chilla Ghat.
The total length of the river is 427 km, out of which 292 km
lies in MP, 84 km in UP and 51 km forms a boundary between the two states. The
Ken basin covers the area of Jabalpur, Sagar, Damoh, Panna, Satna, Chhatarpur
and Raisen districts of MP and Hamirpur and Banda districts of UP. Most of the
catchment area of around 28,000 sq km lies in MP.
The river flows through deep channels and has many falls. Its
right bank is generally high and steep, and land along this bank is scarred with
ravines. The left bank slopes more gently. As it reaches the Yamuna, the Ken is
blocked by the larger river, resulting in submergence of even high-level land.
The Baghain is said to have its source in a hill in Panna
district. It then enters UP, in Banda district and flows in a north-east
direction, separating the district from Chitrakoot district, before it meets the
Yamuna. The Baghain brings with it little alluvial soil but it often deposits a
large amount of sand near its junction with the Yamuna. The river has six
tributaries including the Ranj and Barua.
The Yamuna is the longest river of Bundelkhand, forming its
northern boundary. It causes much destruction along its high southern bank,
swallowing much land as it flows ahead. No irrigation scheme is possible towards
The Sind forms Bundelkhand's western boundary for some
distance. It rises in Vidisha district of MP and flows through Datia district.
The Sind basin is in the Bundelkhand Upland and its catchment area is almost
entirely in MP, covering around 27,700 sq km.
Among other rivers of Bundelkhand are:
the Paisuni, which rises in Satna district, MP and enters
UP in Banda district, flows through Chitrakoot district, where it is known
as Mandakini, running almost parallel to the Baghein for some distance,
before it turns and joins the Yamuna.
the Garara, which flows through the central portion of
Banda district and meets the Yamuna.
the Pahuj, a small but deep river which rises in Gwalior
district, flows through Jhansi district, forming its boundary with Datia
district and meets the Sind. The Pahuj has been dammed near Jhansi town and
the reservoir meets its drinking water requirements.
the Sonar and its tributaries which flow through Sagar
and Damoh districts and join the Ken
the Bina which forms the boundary between Sagar and
Vidisha districts and meets the Betwa near Bina town in Sagar district
the Jamni, which rises in Sagar district, flows through
Lalitpur district and meets the Betwa in Tikamgarh district
Courtesy : bundelkhandinfo.org