The Brahmaputra also called Tsangpo-Brahmaputra, is a trans-boundary river and one of the major rivers of Asia.
From its origin in southwestern Tibet as the Yarlung Tsangpo River, it flows across southern Tibet to break through the Himalayas in great gorges and intoArunachal Pradesh (India) where it is known as Dihang. It flows southwest through the Assam Valley as Brahmaputra and south through Bangladesh as the Jamuna (not to be mistaken with Yamuna of India).
In the vast Ganges Deltait merges with the Padma River, the main distributary of the Ganges River, then the Meghna River, before emptying into the Bay of Bengal.
About 1,800 miles (2,900 km) long, the Brahmaputra is an important river forirrigation and transportation. The average depth of the river is 124 feet (38 m) and maximum depth is 380 feet (120 m).
The river is prone to catastrophic flooding in spring when the Himalayan snows melt. The average discharge of the river is about 19,300 cubic metres per second (680,000 cu ft/s), and floods can reach over 100,000 cubic metres per second (3,500,000 cu ft/s).
It is a classic example of a braided river and is highly susceptible to channel migration andavulsion. It is also one of the few rivers in the world that exhibit a tidal bore. It is navigable for most of its length.
The Brahmaputra’s upper course was long unknown, and its identity with the Yarlung Tsangpo was only established by exploration in 1884-86. This river is often called Tsangpo-Brahmaputra river.
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The lower reaches are sacred to Hindus. While most rivers on the Indian subcontinent have female names, this river has a rare male name, as it means “son of Brahma” in Sanskrit (putra means “son”).
The Yarlung Tsangpo River, source of the Brahmaputra, originates in the Jima Yangzong glacier near Mount Kailash in the northern Himalayas. It then flows east for about 1,700 kilometres (1,100 mi), at an average height of 4,000 metres (13,000 ft), and is thus the highest of the major rivers in the world. In Tibet, the Tsangpo follows the suture line between the Eurasian Plate and the Indian Plate. At its easternmost point, it bends around Mount Namcha Barwa and forms the Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon, which is regarded by some as the deepest in the world.
Assam and adjoining region
The Brahmaputra enters India in the state of Arunachal Pradesh, where it is called Siang. It makes a very rapid descent from its original height in Tibet, and finally appears in the plains, where it is called Dihang. It flows for about 35 kilometres (22 mi) and is joined by the Dibang River and the Lohit River at the head of the Assam Valley. Below the Lohit the river is calledBrahmaputra, enters the state of Assam and becomes very wide—as wide as 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) in parts of Assam. It is joined in Sonitpur by the Kameng River (or Jia Bhoreli).
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 kilometres (62 mi) downstream forming the Majuliisland, the largest river island in India. At Guwahati, near the ancient pilgrimage center of Hajo, the Brahmaputra cuts through the rocks of the Shillong Plateau, and is at its narrowest at 1 kilometre (1,100 yd) bank-to-bank. Due to the river’s narrow width, the Battle of Saraighat was fought here. The first rail-cum-road bridge[clarification needed] across the Brahmaputra was opened to traffic in April 1962 at Saraighat.
The environment of the Brahmaputra floodplains in Assam have been described as the Brahmaputra Valley semi-evergreen forestsecoregion.
In Bangladesh, the Brahmaputra is joined by the Teesta River (or Tista), one of its largest tributaries. Below the Teesta, the Brahmaputra splits into two distributarybranches. The western branch, which contains the majority of the river’s flow, continues due south as the Jamuna (Jomuna) to merge with the lower Ganges, called the Padma River (Pôdda).
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The eastern branch, formerly the larger but now much smaller, is called the lower or old Brahmaputra (Bromhoputro).
It curves southeast to join the Meghna River nearDhaka. The Padma and Meghna converge near Chandpur and flow out into the Bay of Bengal. This final part of the river is calledMeghna.
In the past the course of the lower Brahmaputra was different and passed through theJamalpur and Mymensingh districts. About 250 years ago a major earthquake led to its present flow. The Ganges Delta, fed by the waters of numerous rivers, including the Ganges and Brahmaputra, is 59,570 square kilometres (23,000 sq mi) large, one of the largest river deltas in the world. The Brahmaputra, which is regarded to be the life line and revered as a holy river by most of the people of the State, will get itself degraded to the state of the Ganga, in matters of pollution, during the next 20 to 25 years time, if the river and its tributaries are allowed to be used as the dumping channels for the municipal wastes any more, warned scientists here. Meanwhile, the biological, or the bacteriological contamination of the Brahmaputra has reached a most unsatisfactory proportion and the people using the water of the river are facing serious threats to their health, warned the scientists.