Rivers In Uttarakhand | Famous Rivers, Its Importance & Significance

Rivers In Uttarakhand

Rivers In Uttarakhand: Origin & Importance

Rivers In Uttarakhand

Uttarakhand: The Land Of Rivers

Settled in the lap of the Himalayas, Uttarakhand is a land of natural beauty and rich culture. Known as the Devbhoomi ‘Land of the Gods,’ it is home to some of the most sacred temples and shrines in India. However, the state’s biggest attraction is its vast network of rivers that crisscross the region. Uttarakhand’s rivers are not just a source of water but are also a significant tourist attraction, offering a host of adventure activities.

The state of Uttarakhand is blessed with an extensive network of rivers, thanks to its location in the foothills of the Himalayas. The state is home to the most sacred Hindu shrines, including the four dams of Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath, and Badrinath. The holy river Ganges originates from the Gangotri glacier in Uttarakhand, and the state is also home to other major rivers such as Yamuna, Bhagirathi, and Alaknanda. These rivers have religious significance and provide water for agriculture and hydroelectricity.

Adventure Sports 

Due to the vast network of rivers in the region. A large number of tourists visit Uttarakhand for adventure activities and adventure sports.

Water Adventure Sports

White-water rafting is one of the most popular adventure activities in Uttarakhand, with the Ganges and its tributaries being the most popular rafting destinations. The rapids in the region range from Grade I to Grade V, catering to both beginners and experienced rafters. Apart from rafting, other adventure activities include kayaking, canoeing, and river crossing.

Rafting on the Ganges

The Ganges, also known as the Ganga, is the most revered river in India, and rafting on the river is an experience like no other. The river flows through Rishikesh, which is considered the rafting capital of India. The river has rapids ranging from Grade I to Grade V, making it suitable for both beginners and experienced rafters.
You can enjoy and experience the thrilling adventure of rafting from 16 km to 36 km.

Kayaking and Canoeing on the Bhagirathi

The Bhagirathi River is a major tributary of the Ganges and is known for its pristine beauty. Kayaking and canoeing on the Bhagirathi offer a unique experience of exploring the river’s untouched stretches. The river has rapids ranging from Grade II to Grade IV, making it an ideal destination for experienced kayakers and canoeists.
Originating from the Gaumukh is the source stream of the River Ganga that transforms into a turbulent river. the river flows for about 205 kilometers before meeting the Alaknanda River in the town of Devprayag.

River Crossing on the Kali River

The Kali River, which forms the boundary between India and Nepal, is an ideal destination for river crossing. The river has a moderate current, and the crossing can be done using a rope tied between two points on either side of the river. River crossing on the Kali is a thrilling experience and is ideal for adventure enthusiasts.

Rivers In Uttarakhand

Alakananda River

The Alakananda River originates from the Satopanth Glacier, which is located in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. The river is approximately 195 km long and flows through the towns of Joshimath, Chamoli, Rudraprayag, and Devprayag. At Devprayag, the Alakananda River meets the Bhagirathi River to form the Ganges River. The Alakananda River flows through the mountainous terrain of the Garhwal Himalayas and is known for its scenic beauty and wild rapids. The Alakananda River is a tributary of the Ganges River, which is considered to be one of the holiest rivers in India.

History And Mythology Of Alakananda River

The Alakananda River has been mentioned in many ancient Hindu scriptures, including the Rigveda and the Mahabharata. According to Hindu mythology, the river was named after King Alaknanda, who was the son of Raja Shantanu and the father of King Bhishma. It is said that King Alaknanda performed severe penance on the banks of this river to please Lord Vishnu, who then appeared before him and granted him a boon.

Bhagirathi River

The Bhagirathi River is a holy river in India, known for its significance in Hindu mythology. The river originates from the Gangotri glacier in the Himalayas and is one of the major tributaries of the Ganges River. The Bhagirathi River is approximately 205 kilometers long and flows through the Indian states of Uttarakhand and West Bengal. The river joins the Alaknanda River at Devprayag to form the Ganges River, which is the longest river in India and a sacred river for Hindus. The Bhagirathi River is fed by several smaller tributaries, including the Jadh Ganga, Kedar Ganga, and Rishi Ganga.

History And Mythology Of Bhagirathi River 

According to Hindu mythology, the river is named after King Bhagirath, who brought the river Ganges down from the heavens to purify the souls of his ancestors. It is believed that bathing in the waters of the Bhagirathi River can wash away one’s sins and grant moksha, or liberation from the cycle of birth and death.

The river is also a popular pilgrimage site for Hindus, who visit the Gangotri temple located on the banks of the river. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Ganga, and the river is considered to be a manifestation of the goddess herself. The river is also the site of the Kumbh Mela, a Hindu festival held every twelve years, which attracts millions of devotees from all over India.

Yamuna River

The Yamuna River is the second-largest tributary of the Ganges River and flows through the northern Indian states of Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi, and Uttar Pradesh before merging with the Ganges at Allahabad. The river originates from the Yamunotri Glacier in the lower Himalayas, at an elevation of over 6,300 meters. The total length of the river is approximately 1,370 kilometers, and its drainage basin covers an area of 366,223 square kilometers.

History And Mythology Of Yamuna River

The Yamuna River is considered sacred by Hindus and is one of the seven holy rivers in India. The river is believed to be the daughter of the sun god and the sister of the god of death, Yama. The river is also associated with the Hindu goddess Yamuna, who is worshipped by devotees for her healing powers. The river is a site of several important Hindu festivals, including the Yamuna Chhath and the Kartik Purnima. Devotees flock to the river to offer prayers, take a dip in its holy waters, and perform rituals for their ancestors.

Ganges River

The Ganges River, also known as the Ganga, is one of the most sacred rivers in India. It flows for more than 2,500 km from the Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal, passing through several states of India. The Ganges River has an important place in Indian culture and tradition.

History And Mythology Of Gange River

The Ganges River has significant historical and cultural importance in India. it is believed that by taking a dip in the Ganges River can purify their sins. The river is also associated with several Hindu gods and goddesses, such as Lord Shiva, it is believed that lord shiva have opened a channel for the river to flow from heaven to earth. The Ganges River is also associated with the Kumbh Mela festival, which is held every twelve years and is the largest religious gathering in the world. Millions of people from all over the country come to the banks of the Ganges River to take a dip in the river and seek blessings.

Tons River

The Tons River is known for its stunning natural beauty, which includes lush forests, waterfalls, and snow-capped mountains. Visitors can also enjoy a wide range of outdoor activities, including trekking, camping, and white water rafting. The Tons River originates from the Himalayas and flows through the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand, providing visitors with stunning views of the surrounding mountain ranges and forests. It is the largest tributary of the Yamuna river.

 History And Mythology Of Tons River

Tons river is mentioned in ancient texts such as the Mahabharata and the Puranas and is believed to have been the site of many battles and religious ceremonies. The river is also home to several important religious sites, including the Yamunotri Temple.

The Tons once ran an independent course parallel to the Yamuna, running southwest into Haryana where the Yamuna merged with it. It is mentioned as the Saraswati river in the Vedic texts

Mandakini River

The Mandakini River, also known as Kali Ganga, is a divine river that flows through the northern state of Uttarakhand. The river originates from the Chorabari Glacier, situated at an altitude of 3,900 meters in the Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary, and runs for approximately 71 kilometers. The river merges with the river Songanga at Sonprayag. It passes through Kedarnath and madhyamaheshwar temples.

The river holds immense religious significance for Hindus, as it is believed to be the path to salvation. The Mandakini River also holds immense ecological significance, as it is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna.

Pindar River

The Pindar River is one of the lesser-known rivers in the Himalayas but is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful. It originates from the Pindari Glacier, situated at an altitude of 3,820 meters in the Bageshwar district of Uttarakhand, India. It flows more than 105 km through the districts of Bageshwar, Almora, and Pithoragarh in Uttarakhand, India, and merged with the Alaknanda River at Karnaprayag.

Bhilangna River

The Bhilangna River originates from the Khatling Glacier. The river flows through the Tehri Garhwal district of Uttarakhand, before finally merging with the Bhagirathi River at the village of Bhilangna. The length of the river is 80 km.

The Bhilangna River is home to several indigenous communities, including the Bhilangna and Jaunsari tribes. These tribes have their own unique culture, traditions, and beliefs, which are closely tied to the natural environment of the region. The Bhilangna River is also home to several temples and shrines

Gori Ganga

The Gori Ganga River originates from the Milam Glacier in the Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand. It is approximately 72 km long, and its source lies at an altitude of around 5000 meters. It is a glacier-fed river and is also formed by several smaller streams along its course. The river flows in a southwesterly direction and meets the Kali River near Jauljibi in the district of Pithoragarh.

It was an important trade route between India and Tibet, and traders used it to transport goods through the river. The river also holds religious significance as it is believed to be the home of Lord Shiva, one of the Hindu deities.

Dhauliganga River

The Dhauliganga River originates from Vasundhara Tal, one of the largest glacial lakes in Uttarakhand, and flows through the Dhauli Ganga Valley. It is approximately 82 km long. The river then merges with the Alaknanda River at Vishnuprayag, to form the mighty Ganges. The Dhauliganga River is known for its unique characteristics, including its turbulent rapids, steep gorges, and serene landscapes. The sound of raging waters can be heard from miles away.

Gaula River

The Gaula River is a tributary of the Ganges, and it originates from the Sattal lakes in the Nainital district of Uttarakhand. The river flows through the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand, and then through the districts of Rampur and Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh, it emerges with the Ramgange river and becomes a tributary of Gange.

The Gaula River is approximately 500 km long, and its catchment area covers around 17,000 square km. The river passes through several important towns and cities, including Haldwani, Kichha, and Bareilly.

Sarayu River

The Sarayu river originates from the Himalayas and flows through the states of Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh. The total length of the river is 350 Km. The river flows through several important cities, including Ayodhya, Sultanpur, and Ballia.

According to the Ramayana, an ancient Hindu epic, Lord Rama and his three brothers crossed the Sarayu River on their way to exile. The river is believed to be named after the sage Sarayu, who is said to have meditated on the banks of the river. The Sarayu River is also considered sacred by Hindus, and many people visit its banks to perform religious rituals.

Ramganga River

The Ramganga River originates from the Doodhatoli ranges in Uttarakhand and flows for around 100 km through the state. The river is known for its diverse wildlife, including tigers, elephants, and deer. The Ramganga River is also a popular destination for fishing, and it is home to many species of fish, including mahseer.

Nandakini River

The Nandakini River originates from the Nanda Devi Peak in Uttarakhand, India. It is a part of the Ganges basin and flows through the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve, which is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna. The river flows for approximately 70 km before merging with the Alaknanda River at the confluence in Nandprayag.

The Nandakini River holds immense historical significance. The river is mentioned in ancient Hindu scriptures, including the Skanda Purana, which describes the river as sacred and holy. The river was also a significant trade route during the medieval period, connecting the towns of Badrinath and Kedarnath. During the British colonial period, the river was used for timber transportation and was a major source of livelihood for the locals.

Nayar River

The river has two main branches, i.e. Eastern Nayar, and the Western Nayar River. It originates from the Dudhatoli ranges of Garhwal in the Pauri district of Uttarakhand. The total length of both rivers is approximately 200 km. It is one of the largest non-glacial perennial rivers in the state.

According to history and ancient textbooks, the river was called Narada Ganga. The present name of the river “Nair” is probably derived from its ancient name “Narad Ganga”.

Saraswati River

Saraswati River is a tributary of the Alaknanda River flowing in Uttarakhand State, India. It merged with the Alaknanda River at Keshav Prayag, near Mana village, Badrinath. Beyond the confluence point of the Alaknanda and Bhagirathi rivers at Devprayag in the state of Uttarakhand, it forms and flows as the Ganga or Ganges River.

The Saraswati River is considered one of the seven holy rivers in Hinduism, and it is often referred to as the river of knowledge and wisdom. According to Hindu mythology, the river was named after the goddess Saraswati, the Hindu deity of knowledge, music, and art. The river is believed to symbolize the flow of knowledge and creativity, and it is worshipped by many Hindus as a source of inspiration and enlightenment.

According to some experts, the river dried up around 2000 BCE due to climate change and tectonic movements in the region. However, other experts argue that the river may have changed its course and merged with the Yamuna and Ganges rivers.

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