Doabs of India

Doab is a term used in South Asia for the “tongue,” or tract of land lying between two converging, or confluent, rivers. It is similar to an interfluve. In the Oxford Hindi-English Dictionary, R. S. Mc Gregor defines it as “(Persian do-āb: a region lying between and reaching to the confluence of two rivers (esp. that between the Ganges and Yamuna).”

The Doab

The Doab, United Provinces, 1908 map

The Doab designates the flat alluvial tract between the Ganges and Yamuna rivers extending from the Sivalik Hills to the two rivers’ confluence at Allahabad. The region has an area of about 23,360 square miles (60,500 square km); it is approximately 500 miles (805 km) in length and 60 miles (97 km) in width.

The British raj divided the Doab into three administrative districts, viz., Upper Doab (Meerut), Middle Doab (Agra) and Lower Doab (Allahabad).

Currently the following states and districts form part of the Ganga Doab:

Upper Doab

  • Uttarakhand:

Dehradun and Haridwar

  • Uttar Pradesh:

Saharanpur, Shamli, Muzaffarnagar, Baghpat, Meerut, Ghaziabad, Hapur, Gautam Buddh Nagar and Bulandshahr

  • Delhi

Central or Middle Doab

Etah, Kasganj, Aligarh, Agra, Hathras, Firozabad, Farrukhabad, Kannauj, Mainpuri, Etawah, Auraiya and Mathura. Mathura is in the trans-Yamuna region of Braj.

Lower Doab

Kanpur, Fatehpur, Kaushambi and Allahabad.

The Punjab Doabs

A map of the Punjab region ca. 1947 showing the different doabs.


Each of the tracts of land lying between the confluent rivers of the Punjab region of Pakistan and India has a distinct name, said to have been coined by Raja Todar Mal, a minister of the Mughal emperor Akbar. The names (except for ‘Sindh Sagar’) are a combination of the first letters, in the Persian alphabet, of the names of the rivers that bound the Doab. For example, Jech = ‘Je'(Jhelum) + ‘Ch'(Chenab). The names are (from west to east):

Sindh Sagar Doab

The Sindh Sagar Doab lies between the Indus and Jhelum rivers.

Jech Doabs

The Jech Doab (also Chaj Doab) (small portion of the Jech Doab is Majha lies between the Jhelum and the Chenab rivers.

Rechna Doab

The Rechna Doab (considerable portion of the Rechna Doab is Majha lies between the Chenab and the Ravi rivers.

Bari Doabs

The Bari Doab (considerable portion of the Bari Doab is Majha lies between the Ravi and the Beas rivers.

Bist Doab

The Bist Doab (or Doaba) – between the Beas and the Sutlej rivers.

Other Doabs

Malwa Doab

The rivers flowing through the Malwa region, covering current states of Madhya Pradesh and parts of north-eastern Rajasthan, also has doab region such as Upper Malwa doab and Lower Malwa doab.

Raichur Doab

The Raichur Doab is the triangular region of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka states which lies between the Krishna River and its tributary the Tungabhadra River, named for the town of Raichur.

Khadir, bangar, barani, nali and bagar

In any doabkhadir land (green) lies next to a river, while bangar land (olive) has greater elevation and lies further from the river

Since North India and Pakistan are coursed by a multiplicity of Himalayan rivers that divide the plains into doabs (i.e. regions between two rivers), the Indo-Gangetic plains consist of alternating regions of river, khadir and bangar. The regions of the doabs near the rivers consist of low-lying, floodplains, but usually very fertile khadir and the higher-lying land away from the rivers consist of bangar, less prone to flooding but also less fertile on average.

Khadir is also called Nali or Naili, specially in northern Haryana the fertile prairie tract between the Ghaggar river and the southern limits of the Saraswati channel depression in that gets flooded during the rains.

Within bangar area, the Barani is any low rain area where the rain-fed dry farming is practiced, which nowadays are dependent on the tubewells for irrigation.Bagar tract, an example of barani land, is the dry sandy tract of land on the border of Rajasthan state adjoining the states of Haryana and Punjab. Nahri is any canal-irrigated land,for example, the Rangoi tract which is an area irrigated by the Rangoi channel/canal made for the purpose of carrying flood waters of Ghagghar river to dry areas.

Historically, villages in the doabs have been officially classified as khadirkhadir-bangar (i.e. mixed) or bangar for many centuries and different agricultural tax rates applied based on a tiered land-productivity scale.

A Video About Drainage System of India






About Rashid Faridi

I am Rashid Aziz Faridi ,Writer, Teacher and a Voracious Reader.
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