(Last Updated on : 20/01/2009)
The Brahmaputra River is one of the largest rivers in the world. The origin of Brahmaputra River is in southwestern Tibet as the Yarlung River. It flows across southern Tibet where it is known as Dihang. Then it breaks through the Himalayas in great gorge, approximately at 31°30´N and 82°0´E. Its basin covers the areas of Tibet, China, India and Bangladesh. It has a long course through the dry and flat region of southern Tibet before it breaks through the Himalayas.
The Brahmaputra is one of the largest rivers of Asia. The total length of the river is about 2900 km. The river takes birth at the Mansarover of the Himalayas, flows through Tibet, China, Burma, India and joins with River Ganges in Bangladesh. In Tibet, this river is known as Yarlung Zangbo River. The Sanskrit name for Brahmaputra is Lauhitya. The word Brahmaputra means son of Brahma and according to the Hindu mythology, it is a holy river. The biggest and the smallest river islands in the world are Majuli and Umandana are formed along this river. The river is navigable for large crafts.
The Brahmaputra enters India in the far eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh after traveling hundreds of miles over Tibet as the Tsangpo from its birthplace near the holy lake of Manasarowar. It is one of the world's largest, on the similar scale with the Indus, Mississippi, and the Nile. The Brahmaputra is also called Tsangpo-Brahmaputra. It is a trans-boundary river.
From its origin in southwestern Tibet as the Yarlung Tsangpo River, it flows across southern Tibet to penetrate through the Himalayas in great gorges and into Arunachal Pradesh where it is known as Dihang. The Brahmaputra River flows southwest through the Assam Valley as Brahmaputra and south through Bangladesh as the Jamuna. There it converges with the Ganga to form a vast delta. About 1,800 mi or 2,900 km long, this river is an essential source for irrigation and transportation. Its upper course was unknown for a long time, and its identity with the Yarlung Tsangpo was only recognized by exploration in 1884-86.
In Bangladesh the river merges with the Ganga and divides into two the Hugli and Padma River. When it merges with the Ganges, it forms the world's largest delta at the Sunderbans. The Sunderbans is best known for Tigers and mangrooves. While most Indian and Bangladeshi rivers have female names, this river has a typical and rare male name, as the term "Brahmaputra" means "son of Brahma" in Sanskrit, putra means "son".
The Brahmaputra is navigable along most of the river length. The lower reaches are sacred to Hindus. The river is prone to catastrophic flooding in spring when the Himalayan snows melt. It is also one of the few rivers in the world that exhibit a tidal influence.