Brahmaputra River System.

Brahmaputra River System.

River Description

  • The river originates from Kanglung Kang Glacier near the Kailash range of Himalayas located in the south western part of the Tibetan plateau near Konggyu Tso Lake.
  • In the place of origination ,the river is called as Tamchok Kambab Kangri .
  • The Brahmaputra River traverses a distance of 2800 km through 3 countries namely china,India and Bangladesh.
  • It joins with Bay of Bengal.
  • It has a catchment area of 580,
  • The catchment area of the river falls in four countries. Although the main river does not flow through the kingdom of Bhutan,96% of Bhutan’s area falls under this basin.
  • Tha maximum east west length area of Brahmaputra river is 1540 km and maximum north south width is 682km.
  • The part of Tibetian plateau falling under the basin has an elevation varying from 3,000m to 5000m and is dotted with numerous glaciers.
  • Its basin in India is shared by Arunachal Pradesh (41.88%), Assam (36.33%), Nagaland (5.57%), Meghalaya (6.10%), Sikkim (3.75%) and West Bengal (6.47%)

fig : Brahmaputra near Guwahati.

The Brahmaputra valley is bounded by

North – Himalayas

East – Patkai Hill Ranges

South – Assam hills

West – Bangladesh Plains.

The southern Assam hills constitutes part of Naga hills ,Milir hills ,North glacier hills ,khasi hills and Garo hills.

In India ,the river basin covers parts of 6 states.

  1. Arunachal Pradesh
  2. Assam
  3. Nagaland
  4. Meghalaya
  5. West Bengal
  6. Sikkim

The culturable area of the basin is 6.2% of the cultivable area of the country.

River Explanation : 

  • The main river channel traverses three different countries: China, India and Bangladesh.
  • Originating from the great glacier mass of Chema-Yung-Dung in the Kailas range of southern Tibet at an elevation of 5,300m above sea level (a.s.l), the Brahmaputra river travels a total distance of 2,880km (1,625km in China, 918km in India and 337km in Bangladesh) before emptying into the Bay of Bengal through a joint channel with the Ganga (Ganges River).
  •  In China, the river is known as the Yarlung Tsangpo and flows east at an average height of 4,000m a.s.l.
  • At its easternmost point, it bends around Mt. Namcha Barwa and forms the Yarlung Tsangpo Canyon, which is considered the deepest in the world.
  • As the river enters Arunachal Pradesh (India), it makes a very rapid descend from its original height in Tibet, and finally appears in the plains, where it is called Dihang.
  • It flows for about 35km and is joined by two other major rivers: Dibang and Lohit .
  • From this confluence, the river becomes very wide and is called Brahmaputra.
  • A few more tributaries join the main course of the river later on namely, BurhiDihing, Dikhou, Dhansiri and Kopili Rivers on the left bank and Subansiri, Kameng, Manas, Sankosh, Dudhkumar/ Raidak, Jaldhaka/Dharla, Teesta, and Atrai Rivers on the right bank.
  • In Assam, the river is sometimes as wide as 10 km or more. Between Dibrugarh, and Lakhimpur districts, the river divides into two channels-the northern Kherkutia channel and the southern Brahmaputra channel.
  • The two channels join again about 100 km downstream, forming the Majuli island.
  • At Guwahati, near the ancient pilgrimage centre of Hajo, the Brahmaputra cuts through the rocks of the Shillong Plateau, and is at its narrowest and is 1km wide.
  • In Bangladesh, the Brahmaputra splits into two branches: the much larger branch continues due south as the Jamuna (Jomuna) and flows into the Lower Ganges, locally called Padma (Pôdda), while the older branch curves southeast as the old Brahmaputra (Bromhoputro) and flows into the Upper Meghna.
  • Both paths eventually reconverge near Chandpur in Bangladesh and fl ow out into the Bay of Bengal. Apart from the old Brahmaputra, the other main distributary (spill channel) is the Dhaleshwari River in Bangladesh.

Land Cover : 

  • The Brahmaputra basin, as a whole, has a forest cover of about 14.5%, grasslands occupy about 44%, agricultural lands about 14%, cropland/natural vegetation mosaic 12.8%, barren/sparsely vegetated land 2.5%, water bodies 1.8%, snow and ice 11%, urban land 0.02% and permanent wetlands 0.05%.
  • The total forest cover of the Brahmaputra basin in India is 1,14,894 km2 , i.e. 54% of the total area.
  • The distribution of forest cover in the different Indian states within the Brahmaputra basin is as follows: Arunachal Pradesh (82.8%), Nagaland (68.9%), Meghalaya (63.5%), Sikkim (38.1%), West Bengal (21.4 %) and Assam (20.6 %).

Drainage Area

Arunachal Pradesh – 81000 square km

Assam –

West Bengal –

Meghalaya – 11800

Nagaland –

Sikkim – 7300


Fig : Brahmaputra River and Its Tributaries.

Left Tributaries

  1. Dibang River
  2. Lohit River
  3. Dhansiri River
  4. Kolong River

Right Tributaries

  1. Kameng River
  2. Manas River
  3. Beki River
  4. Raidek River
  5. Jaldhaka River
  6. Teesta River
  7. Subansiri River.


Fig : Brahmaputra River Outline

Tributaries Explanation

1.Dibang River

  • It is also known as Talo.
  • It originates near kiya pass on the indo china border in the Dibang valley district of Arunachal Pradesh.
  • The Mishmi hills lies in the upper course of the river.
  • Dibang multi purpose project is on the river Dibang.

Figure : Dibang Multi Purpose project

  1. Lohit River
  • It is also known as Zayu River.
  • The river originates in Tibet region ,in the Kangri Garpo range .
  • In the place of origination ,it is known as Zayu and when it enters Assam ,it is called as Lohit .
  • Parshuram Kund , a Hindu pilgrimage is situated on the lower reaches of lohit River.
  • The Dhola- Sadiya Bridge or Bhupen Hazarika Bridge which connects Assam and Arunachal Pradesh is located on the lohit River..

Fig : Dhola- Sadiya Bridge

  1. Dhansiri River
  • This river flows through Nagaland and Assam .
  • It originates from Laisang peak of Nagalant State.
  • Intaki National park is located on the banks of this river.
  1. Kolong River.

This river flows through the state Assam.

  1. Kameng River .
  • It originates in Tawang District from the glacial lake below snow capped Gori Chen Mountain .
  • It flows through the states of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam.
  • It becomes Braided river in its lower reaches.
  1. Manas River .
  • It flows through India and Bhutan.
  • It is the largest river system of Bhutan.
  • This river joins Brahmaputra at Jogighopa ..
  • The river valley has two reserve forest namely  Royal Manas National Park and manas Wild life sanctuary.

fig : One Horned Rhino in Manas national park

  1. Beki River .
  • It flows through Bhutan and India.
  • In India it flows through state of Assam.
  1. Raidak River
  • It flows through Bhutan ,India and Bangladesh.
  • It originates in the upper reaches of Himalayas.
  • Tala Hydro power project is located on this river.


  1. Jaldhaka River.
  • It also flows through Bhutan ,India and Bangladesh..
  • It originates from Bitang Lake in Sikkim.
  • This river in India forms almost a agriculture zone in different states.

10 .Teesta River.

  • It flows through Sikkim and West Bengal.
  • It joins Jamuna River at Fulchchari in Bangladesh.
  • It originates from Panhunri glacier.
  • This river is called as life line river of Sikkim
  1. Subansiri River.
  • It flows through Assam And Arunachal Pradesh .
  • It joins Brahmaputra in Assam.

Soil in Brahmaputra River :

  • The alluvial soils are extensively distributed over the Brahmaputra and Barak plain.
  • These soils are very fertile as they formed from the alluvium deposits, deposited by the rivers Brahmaputra, Barak and their tributaries.

Dams and Projects in Brahmaputra River :

1.Doyang Dam in Nagaland State

2. Karbi Langpi dam  on Borpani river in assam

3.Khandong Dam on Kopili river in Meghalaya.

4. Kyrdemkuli Dam on Umtru river in Meghalaya

5. Nongkhyllem Dam in Meghalaya

6.Ranganadi Dam in Arunachal

7. Rangit Dam in Sikkim

8. Rangpo Dam in sikkim

9.Subansiri Lower dam in arunachal

10.Umiam Dam on Umiam river in Meghalaya

11.Umrong Dam in Assam










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