Brahmaputra and Tributaries

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Brahmaputra and Tributaries

The Brahmaputra River, termed a moving ocean, is an antecedent snow fed river which flows across the rising young Himalayan Range. Geologically, the Brahmaputra is the youngest of the major rivers of the world and unique in many respects. It happens to be a major river for three countries, viz., China, India and Bangladesh.


The total length of the river is 2,880 km, out of which 1,625 km fall in China (Tibet),918 km in India (Arunachal Pradesh and Assam) and the rest 337 km in Bangladesh.


The average discharge of the river is about 19,800 m3/s (700,000 cu ft/s) and floods can reach over 100,000 m3/s (3,500,000 cu ft/s). It is a classic example of a braided river and is highly susceptible to channel migration and avulsion


The Dihang, winding out of the mountains, turns toward the southeast and descends into a low-lying basin as it enters northeastern Assam state. Just west of the town of Sadiya, the river again turns to the southwest and is joined by two mountain streams, the Lohit and the Dibang. Below that confluence, about 1,450 km (900 miles) from the Bay of Bengal, the river becomes known conventionally as the Brahmaputra ("Son of Brahma"). In Assam, the river is mighty, even in the dry season, and during the rains, its banks are more than 8 km (5.0 miles) apart. As the river follows its braided 700 m (2,300 ft) course through the valley, it receives several rapidly rushing Himalayan streams, including the Subansiri, Kameng, Bhareli, Dhansiri, Manas, Champamati, Saralbhanga, and Sankosh Rivers. The main tributaries from the hills and from the plateau to the south are the BurhiDihing, the Disang, the Dikhu, and the Kopili.


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 (62 miles) downstream, forming the Majuli island, which is the largest river island in the world. At Guwahati, near the ancient pilgrimage centre of Hajo, the Brahmaputra cuts through the rocks of the Shillong Plateau, and is at its narrowest at 1 km (1,100 yd) bank-to-bank. Because of the river's narrow width, the Battle of Saraighat was fought here in March 1671. The first combined rail/road bridge across the Brahmaputra was opened to traffic in April 1962 at Saraighat.


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 (62 miles) downstream, forming the Majuli island, which is the largest river island in the world. At Guwahati, near the ancient pilgrimage centre of Hajo, the Brahmaputra cuts through the rocks of the Shillong Plateau, and is at its narrowest at 1 km (1,100 yd) bank-to-bank. Because of the river's narrow width, the Battle of Saraighat was fought here in March 1671. The first combined rail/road bridge across the Brahmaputra was opened to traffic in April 1962 at Saraighat.

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