River Ganga is the most important river in India. The Ganges has been revered from the earliest times and today are regarded as the holiest of rivers by Hindus. Places of Hindu pilgrimage, called tirthas, that are situated on the Ganges have particular significance. Hindus cast the ashes of their dead into the river, believing that this gives the deceased direct passage to heaven, and cremation temples have been built in many places on the banks of the Ganges.
The Ganga river rises in the southern Great Himalayas and it has five headstreams -the Bhagirathi, the Alaknanda, the Mandakini, the Dhauliganga, and the Pindar. They all rise in the mountainous region of northern Uttarakhand state.
The two main headstreams of river Ganga are the Alaknanda and the Bhagirathi. It cuts through the Central and the Lesser Himalayas in narrow gorges. At Devprayag, the Bhagirathi meets the Alaknanda; then, it is known as the Ganga. The Alaknanda has its source in the Satopanth glacier above Badrinath. The Alaknanda consists of the Dhauli and the Vishnu Ganga which meet at Joshimath or Vishnu Prayag.
It covers states of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar, West Bengal, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh and Union Territory of Delhi.
The Five Prayags of River Ganga :
1. The place of confluence of Mandakini river and Alaknanda river - Rudraprayag
2. The place of confluence of Pindar river and Alaknanda river - Karnaprayag
3. The place of confluence of Nandakini river and Alaknanda river - Nandaprayag
4. The place of confluence of Bhagirathi river and Alaknanda river - Devaprayag
5. The place of confluence of Dhauliganga river and Alaknanda river - Vishnuprayag
Main Headstreams of river Ganga
It is one of the main headstreams of river Ganga, it generally rises at the confluence and feet of the Satopanth and Bhagirath glaciers in Uttarkhand.
Later on, it meets River Bhagirathi at Devprayag after that it is called the Ganga. The Alaknanda system drains parts of the following districts - Chamoli, Tehri, and Pauri. its main tributaries are the river Mandakini, Nandakini, and Pindar. Lake Satopanth is a triangular lake located at its origin at a height of 4402 meters, it was named after the Hindu trinity Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu, and Lord Shiva.
Bhagirathi is one of the second most important headstreams of the river Ganga, it meets the Alaknanda at Devprayag to form the river Ganga. It rises at the foot of Gangotri Glacier( Gaumukh), at an elevation of 3892 meters at the base of Chaukhamba peak in the Uttarkashi district (Uttarakhand). It cuts spectacular gorges in its middle course where it has cut through granites and crystalline rocks of the central Himalayan axis. Gangotri, Uttarkashi, and Tehri were the important settlements along the river.
Main Tributaries of river GangaThe important tributaries of river Ganga are the Ramganga, the Gomati, the Ghaghara, the Gandak, the Kosi and the Mahananda. The river finally discharges itself into the Bay of Bengal near Sagar Island.
1. the Yamuna
1. It is the westernmost and the longest tributary of river Ganga.
2. It has sources in the Yamunotri glacier on the western slopes of the Banderpunch range (6,316 km).
3. It joins the Ganga at Prayagraj (Allahabad) and then joined by the Chambal, the Sind, the Betwa, and the Ken on its right bank which originates from the Peninsular plateau while the Hindan, the Rind, the Sengar, the Varuna, etc. join it on its left bank.
1. It rises near Mhow in the Malwa plateau of Madhya Pradesh.
2. From there it flows northwards through a gorge upwards of Kotain Rajasthan, where the Gandhisagar dam has been constructed. From Kota, it traverses down to Bundi, Sawai Madhopur, and Dholpur, and finally joins the Yamuna.
3. The Chambal is famous for its badlands topography called the Chambal ravines.
1. The Gandak comprises two streams- Kaligandak and Trishulganga.
2. It rises in the Nepal Himalayas between the Dhaulagiri and Mount Everest and drains the central part of Nepal.
3. It enters the Ganga plain in the Champaran district of Bihar and joins the Ganga at Sonpur near Patna.
1. The Ghaghara originates in the glaciers of Mapchachungo.
2. After collecting the waters of its tributaries – Tila, Seti, and Beri, it comes out of the mountain, cutting a deep gorge at Shishapani.
3. The river Sarda (Kali or Kali Ganga) joins it in the plain before it finally meets the Ganga at Chhapra.
1. The Kosi is an antecedent river with its source to the north of Mount Everest in Tibet, where its mainstream Arun rises.
2. After crossing the Central Himalayas in Nepal, it is joined by the Son Kosi from the West and the Tamur Kosi from the east
3. It forms Sapt Kosi after uniting with the River Arun.
1. The Ramganga is comparatively a small river rising in the Garhwal hills.
2 . It changes its course to the southwest direction after crossing the Shiwalik and enters into the plains of Uttar Pradesh near Najibabad.
3. Later on, it joins the Ganga near Kannauj.
The Damodar occupies the eastern margins of the Chotanagpur Plateau where it flows through a rift valley and finally joins the Hugli.
The Barakar is the main tributary of ganga. Once known as the ‘sorrow of Bengal’, the Damodar has been now tamed by the Damodar Valley Corporation, a multipurpose project.
The Mahananda is another important tributary of the Ganga rising in the Darjeeling hills. It joins the Ganga as its last left bank tributary in West Bengal.
1. The Sarda or Saryu River rises in the Milan glacier in the Nepal Himalayas.
2. It is known as the Goriganga.
3. Along the Indo-Nepal border, it is called Kali or Chauk, where it joins the Ghaghara.
1. The Son is a major right-bank tributary of the Ganga River.
2. It is a large south bank tributary of the Ganga which is originated at the Amarkantak plateau.
3. After forming a series of waterfalls at the edge of the plateau, it reaches Arrah, west of Patna, to join the Ganga.