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Bhagirathi River
About Bhagirathi River

The Bhāgīrathī is a turbulent Himalayan river in the state of Uttarakhand, India, and is one of the two headstreams of the Ganges, the major river of Northern India and the holy river of Hinduism. In Hindu tradition and culture, the Bhagirathi is considered the source stream of the Ganges. However, in hydrology, the other headstream, Alaknanda, is considered the source stream on account of its great length and discharge.

 
Course

The headwaters of the Bhagirathi are formed at Gaumukh at an elevation of 3,892 metres at the foot of the Gangotri glacier and Khatling glaciers in the Garhwal Himalaya. It is then joined by its tributaries; these are, in order from the source:
Kedar Ganga at Gangotri (elevation 3,049 m (10,003 ft)),
Jadh Ganga at Bhaironghati (elevation 2,650 m (8,690 ft)),
Kakora Gad and Jalandhari Gad near Harsil (elevation 2,745 m (9,006 ft)),
Siyan Gad near Jhala (elevation 2,575 m (8,448 ft)),
Asi Ganganear Uttarkashi (elevation 1,158 m (3,799 ft)),
Bhilangna River near Old Tehri (elevation 755 m (2,477 ft)).

The Bhilangna itself rises at the foot of the Khatling Glacier ( at an elevation of 3,717 m (12,195 ft)) about 50 km south of Gaumukh.

The river flows from its source for 205 km before meeting the Alaknanda River at an altitude of 475 m (1,558 ft) in the town of Devprayag. Downstream of this confluence, considered holy by Hindus, the river is known as the Ganga Ji, or Ganges River by westerners. The controversial Tehri damlies at the convergence of the Bhāgirathi and the Bhilangna, at 3022′32″N 7828′48″E, near Tehri. Chaukhamba I is the highest point of the Bhagirathi basin.

 
Etymology

The word "Bhagirathi" (Sanskrit, literally, "caused by Bhagiratha") refers to a mythological Sagar Dynasty prince who, to gain the release of his 80,000 great-uncles from the curse of saint Kapila, brought the goddess Ganga in the form of the river Ganges, from the heavens to the earth. Bhagiratha was the king of Kosala which is a kingdom in ancient India. He was a descendent of the great King Sagara of the Suryavanshi, or Surya Dynasty. He was one of the forefathers of Lord Rama, of the Ramayana, the epic in which Bhagiratha's tale is primarily recounted.

 

 


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