The Brahmaputra River System

Brahmaputra river system is one of the largest rivers in the world. In the Tibet region, it is known by the name of Yarlung Tsangpo. It enters by the names of Siang and Dihang in India. And after it is joined by its two main tributaries, the Dibang and the Lohit, it is known by the name of Brahmaputra. It flows in Bangladesh by the name of Jumna. Finally, it merges with the Ganga river.

Brahmaputra River System

The world's largest riverine island, Majuli Island is on the Brahmaputra river in the state of Assam. Important cities along Brahmaputra are Dibrugarh, Pasighat, Neamati, Tezpur and Guwahati.

Source of origin: The Brahmaputra river rises from Chemayundung glacier of the Kailash range near the Mansarovar Lake to the north of the Himalayas in the southwest Tibet region.

Confluence of Mouth: The Brahmaputra drains into the Bay of Bengal before forming a huge delta along with the Ganga.

Course of the Brahmaputra river

In Tibet, it runs parallel to the Himalayas for about 1,200 km. It turns into the south and creates a deep gorge through the Himalayas near Namcha Barwa and enters India under the name of the Dihang. Near Sadia, it receives the Dibang coming from the north and the Lohit coming from the east and enters the Assam valley where it is called the Brahmaputra. It flows in the west direction up to Dhubri and further below, it runs to the south and enters Bangladesh.

The Brahmaputra receives numerous tributaries in the Assam valley. The number of streams joining the Brahmaputra on its right-bank is greater than that of those joining it on the left-bank. Most of the tributaries are large streams and they pour great quantities of water in the Brahmaputra. During the rainy season, it is 8 km broad, slow-moving and heavily laden with silt. Its channel is braided. It is notorious for floods and erosion of its banks. Recurrent floods not only hampers the navigation through the river but also the establishment of large towns on its banks.

Figure showing the Brahmaputra River Basin

Primary Tributaries of the Brahmaputra River

The Dhansiri River

It is the left-bank tributary of the Brahmaputra river.It rises from Liasang peak of Nagaland. It is the main river of the Golaghat district of Assam and the Dimapur district of Nagaland.

The Lohit River

It is an important left-bank tributary of the Brahmaputra river. It rises in the eastern Tibet region. The Lohit river flows through the Mishmi Hills. It joins the left-bank of the Brahmaputra at Sadia town in the state of Arunachal Pradesh. The main human habitations along the river are the cities of Lohit and Brahmakund. The catchment area of the Lohit river is covered extensively by thick forests. The newly constructed massive Dhola-Sadia bridge or the Bhupen Hazarika bridge spans the Lohit river.

The Dibang River

It is the left-bank tributary of the Brahmaputra river. It is one of the principal tributaries of the Brahmaputra river. It flows through the states of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam. It enters the plain area in Lower Dibang Valley district of Arunachal Pradesh. It enters Assam plains near Roing.

The Subansiri River

It is the right-bank tributary of the Brahmaputra river. It rises in the Tibet region in the Himalayas. It flows east and southeast through the Lower Subansiri district in Arunachal Pradesh, and then south to the Assam valley, where it joins the right-bank of the Brahmaputra river in the Lakhimpur district of Assam. The Subansiri River is known as the Gold River by the locals. This river is famous all over the world for its gold dust.

The Kameng River

It is the right-bank tributary of the Brahmaputra river. It rises in the Tawang district in the eastern Himalayas. It forms the border between the East Kameng district and the West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh. In Assam, it flows through the Sonitpur district before joining the Brahmaputra at Tezpur. The Kameng River consists of two sections- the west consisting of the Akka hills and resided by the Akka tribes and the east consisting of the Dafla hills resided by the Daphla tribe. The Kaziranga National Park and the Pakkhui Wildlife Sanctuary are located near the Kameng river.

The Manas River

It is the right-bank tributary of the Brahmaputra river. It is a trans-boundary river in the Himalayan foothills between southern Bhutan and India. It is named after Manasa, the serpent god in the Hindu mythology. Royal Manas National Park of Bhutan and the Manas Wildlife Sanctuary are located in the Manas River valley. The Manas river flows through Bhutan and Assam in India before it joins the right-bank of the Brahmaputra river.

The Sankosh River

It is the right-bank tributary of the Brahmaputra river. It is a trans0boundary river and it flows through Bhutan, India, and Bangladesh. It rises in the northern Bhutan region. It then flows through the region bordering the West Bengal district of Jalpaiguri and the districts of Dhubri and Kokrajhar in Assam. It then crosses over to Bangladesh where it is known by the name of Dudhkumar River. The river finally joins the right-bank of the Brahmaputra river near the Indo-Bangladesh border.

The Teesta River

It is the right-bank tributary of the Brahmaputra river. The Teesta rises from Zemu glacier in Kanchenjunga massif in Sikkim. The Teesta river drains the entire state of Sikkim and a part of Darjeeling Hills. It is known as the lifeline of Sikkim. The Teesta flows along a very deep gorge which divides north Bengal or the hills of Darjeeling into two parts-Tiger Hill range in the west and the Kalimpong Hill range in the east. It joins the Brahmaputra on its right-bank in Bangladesh.

 

Major River Valley Projects/Dams/Barrages associated with the Brahmaputra river system-

In the state of Arunachal Pradesh-

  • Tawang Hydel Power Project
  • Subansiri Lower Hydel Power Project
  • Ranganadi Hydel Power Project
  • Paki Hydel Power Project
  • Papumpap Hydel Power Project
  • Dhinkrong Hydel Power Project
  • Upper Lohit Hydel Power Project
  • Damway Hydel Power Project
  • Kameng Hydel Power Project

In the state of Sikkim-

  • Rangit Hydel Power Project
  • Teesta Hydel Power Project

In the state of Assam-

  • Kopli Hydel Power Project

In the state of Meghalaya-

  • New Umtru Hydel Power Project

In the state of Nagaland-

  • Doyang Hydel Power Project

In the state of Manipur-

  • Loktak Hydel Power Project
  • Tipaimukh Hydel Power Project

In the state of Mizoram-

  • Tuibai Hydel Power Project
  • Tuirial Hydel Power Project
  • Dhaleshwari Hydel Power Project

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