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The Brahmaputra River System

The river Brahmaputra originates in Himalayan Lake Manasarover in Tibet to the outfall in the Bay of Bengal. It flows eastward in Tibet and south, south-west in India and traverses a distance of about 2900 km out of which 1,700km is in Tibet, 900 km is in India and 300 km is in Bangladesh. It is fed by the glaciers and joined by a number of tributaries which originates at different elevation in the hills encircling the catchment forming watershed.
Mar 12, 2018 15:36 IST
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The Brahmaputra River System
The Brahmaputra River System

The Brahmaputra River System (3848 km) is one of the longest rivers of the world. It is known as the Yarlung Tsangpo River in Tibet, the Brahmaputra, Lohit, Siang, and Dihang in India, and the Jamuna in Bangladesh.

River Course of Brahmaputra River System

It originates in Himalayan Lake Manasarover in Tibet to the outfall in the Bay of Bengal. It flows eastward in Tibet and south, south-west in India and traverses a distance of about 2900 km out of which 1,700km is in Tibet, 900 km is in India and 300 km is in Bangladesh. It is fed by the glaciers and joined by a number of tributaries which originates at different elevation in the hills encircling the catchment forming watershed.

It traverses eastward longitudinally for a distance of nearly 1,200 km in a dry and flat region of southern Tibet, where it is known as the Tsangpo, which means ‘the purifier.’ The Rango Tsangpo is the major right bank tributary of this river in Tibet. It emerges as a turbulent and dynamic river after carving out a deep gorge in the Central Himalayas near Namcha Barwa (7,755 m).

The river emerges from the foothills under the name of Siang or Dihang. It enters India west of Sadiya town in Arunachal Pradesh. Flowing southwest, it receives its main left bank tributaries, viz., Dibang or Sikang and Lohit; thereafter, it is known as the Brahmaputra. Among the tributaries Subansiri, Manas, Jiabharali, Pagladiya, Puthimari and Sankosh etc. are snow fed.

Major tributaries of Brahmaputra River System

Tributaries from North bank

Tributaries from South bank

The Jiadhal

The Noa Dehing

The Subansiri

The Buridehing

The Siang

The Debang

The Kameng (Jiabharali in Assam)

The Dikhow

The Dhansiri(North)

The Dhansiri(S)

The Puthimari

The Kopili

The Pagladiya

The Digaru

The Manas

The Dudhnai

The Champamati

The Krishnai

The Saralbhanga


The Aie


The Sankosh


It receives numerous tributaries in its 750 km long journey through the Assam valley. Its major left bank tributaries are the Burhi Dihing, Dhansari (South) and Kalang whereas the important right bank tributaries are the Subansiri, Kameng, Manas and Sankosh. The Subansiri which has its origin in Tibet is an antecedent river.

Lakes in India

The Brahmaputra enters into Bangladesh near Dhubri and flows southward. In Bangladesh, the Tista joins it on its right bank from where the river is known as the Jamuna. It finally merges with the river Padma, which falls in the Bay of Bengal. The Brahmaputra is well-known for floods, channel shifting and bank erosion. This is due to the fact that most of its tributaries are large, and bring large quantity of sediments owing to heavy rainfall in its catchment area.

Dams built on the Brahmaputra Basin

Name

Purpose

River

State

Type

Doyang Hep Dam

Hydroelectric, Drinking / Water Supply

Doyang

Nagaland

Earthen

Karbi Langpi Dam

Hydroelectric

Borpani

Assam

Gravity & Masonry

Khandong Dam

Hydroelectric

Kopili

Meghalaya

Earthen

Kyrdemkulai (Umiam st-III) Dam

Hydroelectric, Irrigation, Drinking / Water Supply

Umtru

Meghalaya

Gravity & Masonry

Nongkhyllem Dam

Hydroelectric

Umtru

Meghalaya

-

Ranganadi Dam

Hydroelectric


Arunachal Pradesh

Gravity & Masonry

Rangit III Dam

Hydroelectric, Drinking / Water Supply

Rangit

Sikkim

Gravity & Masonry

Rangpo Dam

Hydroelectric

Rongpo

Sikkim

-

Rongli Dam

Hydroelectric

Rongli

Sikkim

-

Subansiri Lower HE (Nhpc) Dam

Hydroelectric

Subansiri

Arunachal Pradesh

Gravity & Masonry

Teesta -V (NHPC) Dam

Hydroelectric

Teesta

Sikkim

Gravity & Masonry

Teesta-III Dam


Teesta

Sikkim

Rockfill

Teesta-III Lower Dam

Hydroelectric

Teesta

West Bengal

Gravity & Masonry

Teesta-IV Dam


Teesta

Sikkim

Gravity & Masonry

Teesta-IV Lower Dam

Hydroelectric

Teesta

West Bengal

Gravity & Masonry

Umiam Dam

Hydroelectric

Umiam

Meghalaya

Earthen / Gravity & Masonry

Umrong Dam

Hydroelectric

Umrong

Assam

Earthen

Umtru Dam

Hydroelectric,Irrigation,Drinking / Water Supply

Umtru

Meghalaya

Earthen / Gravity & Masonry

Source: india-wris.nrsc.gov.in

The Brahmaputra River is volume wise largest river of India whereas lengthwise Ganga is the longest river of India. It is one of the longest rivers of the world and with regard to the volume of water it is among the fourth largest rivers of the world. It forms largest number of fresh water riverine islands in the world and among this, Majuli is the largest fresh water riverine island in the world.

Indian Geography: A Complete Study Material