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Alaknanda River
About Alaknanda River

The Alaknanda is a Himalayan river in the state of Uttarakhand, India, it is one of the two headstreams of the Ganges, the major river of Northern India and the holy river of Hinduism. In hydrology, the Alaknanda is considered the source stream of the Ganges on account of its greater length and discharge; however, in Hindu mythology and culture, the other headstream, the Bhagirathi, is considered the source stream.

 
Overview

The Alaknanda is considered to rise at the convergence and foot of the Satopanth and Bhagirath Kharak glaciers in Uttarakhand, though the Saraswati River tributary flowing from Mana Pass is longer; the two meet at Mana, India which is about 21 kms from Tibet. Three km below Mana the Alaknanda flows past the Hindu pilgrimage centre of Badrinath. It meets the Bhagirathi River at Devprayag after flowing for about 190 km through the Alaknanda valley. Its main tributaries are the Nandakini,Mandakini, and Pindar rivers. The Alaknanda system drains parts of Chamoli, Tehri, and Pauri districts.

Following the merging at Devprayag, the river is known as the Ganges. The Alaknanda contributes considerably a larger portion to the flow of the Ganges than the Bhagirathi. The Alaknanda is also known for adventure sports such as rafting.

In mythology, the Goddess Ganga descended to earth at Gangotri, the original source of the Bhagirathi before the Gangotri Glacier receded to its current location at Gomukh. The Alaknanda is considered to have split off from the celestial Ganges when it descended from heaven.

The origin of Alaknanda River is of special interest to the tourists who visit the important pilgrimages in Uttarakhand. The Ganges rises in the southern Himalayas on the Indian side of the Tibet border. The five headstreams of the Ganges including the Bhagirathi, Mandakini, Alaknanda, Dhauliganga and Pindar, all rising in the northern mountainous regions of Uttarakhand.

On the Satopanth Glacier six km up from Alaknanda's origin at its snout, the triangular Lake Satopanth is found at a height of 4350 m. It and the glacier are named after the Hindu trinity Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva. Nanda Devi is the highest point in the Alaknanda basin.

 
Attractions near Alakanda River

Badrinath
Badrinath is one of the holy destinations for Hindus in India. It is located near to the bank of the Alaknanda River. This place is enclosed by two mountain ranges of Nar and Narayan and Neelkanth peak is located at the back side.

Panch Prayag
Several rivers in the Garhwal region merge with the Alaknanda at Panch Prayag or 'holy confluence of rivers'. These are:
1. Vishnuprayag, where the Alaknanda is met by the Dhauliganga River
2. Nandaprayag, where it is met by the Nandakini River
3. Karnaprayag, where it is met by the Pindar River
4. Rudraprayag, where it is met by the Mandakini River
5. Devprayag, where it meets the Bhagirathi River and officially becomes the Ganges.

Dams
There are 37 hydroelectric dams in operation, under construction or planned to harness the energy of the Alaknanda river and its tributaries and generate electricity.

Recreation
Rafting
Alaknanda River origin is of great interest for the tourists who visit the pilgrimages in Uttarakhand. Rise of the Ganges in India is from the southern part of the Indian Himalaya, near the Tibet border. This river is best for river rafting in the world due to its high rafting grade.

Towns along Alaknanda River

As the river flows, the towns along its banks are Joshimath, Devprayag,Badrinath, Nandaprayag, Vishnuprayag, Chamoli, Karnaprayag,Rudraprayag and Srinagar. At each town with suffix prayag, Alaknanda meets another river.

 

 


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