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Bhagirathi River

Updated: 2017-08-01T01:26Z
Bhāgīrathī River (भागीरथी)
Bhagirathi River at Gangotri.JPG
Sacred bathing ghats on Bhagirathi River at Gangotri
Name origin: "Bhagirathi" (Sanskrit, literally, "caused by Bhagiratha")
Country India
RegionGarhwal division
DistrictUttar Kashi District, Tehri District
SourceGaumukh (gou, cow + mukh, face), about 18 km (11.2 mi) from the town of Gangotri
 - elevation3,892 m (12,769 ft)
Source confluenceAlaknanda River
 - locationDevprayag, Uttarakhand, India
 - elevation475 m (1,558 ft)
Length205 km (127 mi)
Basin6,921 km2 (2,672 sq mi)
 - average257.78 m3/s (9,103 cu ft/s)
 - max3,800 m3/s (134,196 cu ft/s)
Bhagirathi river map.JPG
Map showing the Himalayan headwaters of the Bhagirathi river. The numbers in parentheses refer to the altitude in meters.

The Bhāgīrathī (Pron:/ˌbʌgɪˈɹɑːθɪ/) is a turbulent Himalayan river in the Indian states of Uttarakhand, and one of the two headstreams of the Ganges, the major river of Northern India and the holy river of Hinduism. In Hindu mythology 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.


The word "Bhagirathi" (Sanskrit, literally, "caused by Bhagiratha") refers to a mythological Sagar Dynasty prince who, to gain the release of his 60,000 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. Hence, Ganges considered as daughter of Bhagiratha and Ganges also called as Baghirathi. [2] Bhagiratha was the king of Kosala, 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.The story of Bhagiratha explained in Balakhanda of Ramayana.Shiva brought Ganga river to Bindu Sarovar on request of Bhagiratha.[3]


The headwaters of the Bhagirathi are formed at Gaumukh (elevation 3,892 metres (12,769 ft)), 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:

The Bhilangna itself rises at the foot of the Khatling Glacier (elevation 3,717 m (12,195 ft)) approximately 50 km (31 mi) south of Gaumukh.

The river flows from its source for 205 km (127 mi) before meeting the Alaknanda River at an elevation 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 dam lies at the confluence of the Bhāgirathi and the Bhilangna, at 30°22′32″N 78°28′48″E / 30.37556°N 78.48000°E / 30.37556; 78.48000, near Tehri. Chaukhamba I is the highest point of the Bhagirathi basin.


There are 18 dams along the Bhāgirathi River, either in operation, under construction or planned. These are, in order from the source:

Hydroelectric Dams on the Bhāgirathi River[4]
Abbreviations: MW: electrical output capacity(Megawatts), Ht: dam height(M) FRL: full reservoir level (MSL), MWL:maximum water level(MSL), HRT: head race tunnel length(KM), TRT: tail race tunnel length(KM), TWL: tail water level(MSL), RBL: river bed level at dam site(MSL)
1Karmoli Dam140planned8.6
2Gangotri Dam55planned5.2
3Jadhganga Dam50planned1.1
4Bhaironghati I Dam380planned
5Bhaironghati II Dam65planned
6Harsil Dam210planned5.06
7Loharinag Pala Dam600cancelled2,1471,66713.85.511.66530°58′6″N 78°41′56″E / 30.96833°N 78.69889°E / 30.96833; 78.69889
8Pala Maneri I Dam78480cancelled1,6651,66712.5631.378
9Maneri Dam3890operation8.631
10Joshiyara (Bhali) Dam304operation16.0
11Bhilangana II Dam11planned
12Bhilangana I Dam22.5planned2.0
13Tehri Dam260.52,400operation8308351.634.862530°22′40″N 78°28′50″E / 30.37778°N 78.48056°E / 30.37778; 78.48056
14Koteshwar Dam97.5400operation612.50615
15Kotli Bel 1A Dam82.5195construction
16Kotli Bel 1B Dam90320cancelled
17Kotli Bel II Dam82530cancelled


  1. ^ Catchment Area Treatment:, Bhagirathi River Valley Development Authority, Uttaranchal
  2. ^ Mankodi, Kirit (1973) "Gaṅgā Tripathagā"Artibus Asiae 35(1/2): pp. 139-144, p. 140
  3. ^ Gopal, Madan (1990). K.S. Gautam, ed. India through the ages. Publication Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. p. 76. 
  4. ^ "Map of the Bhagirathi River showing dams" (PDF). Dams, Rivers & People. South Asian Network on Dams Rivers & People( August 2008. Retrieved 7 March 2010. 


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