(Last Updated on : 26/03/2009)
The Padma is a major trans-boundary river between Bangladesh and India. It is the main distributary of the Ganges that originates in the Himalayas. The Padma enters Bangladesh from India near the place called Chapai Nababganj. The river meets the Jamuna near Aricha and retains its name. However, finally meets the Meghna River near Chandpur and takes up the name `Meghna` before emptying into the Bay of Bengal. Rajshahi, a major city in western Bangladesh lies on the north bank of the Padma.
Course of Padma River -
The river originated in the Gangotri Glacier of the Himalaya, the Ganges runs to the Bay of Bengal through India, entering Bangladesh at Shibganj in the district of Chapai Nababganj. Just west of Shibganj, the distributary Bhagirathi emerges and flows southwards from the Hooghly. After the point where the Bhagirathi divides, the Ganges is known as the Padma.
Further downstream in Goalando, 2200 km away from the source, the Padma joins the mighty Jamuna or the Lower Brahmaputra and the resulting combination flows with the name Padma further east, to Chandpur. Here, the widest river in Bangladesh, the Meghna, joins the Padma, continuing as the Meghna almost in a straight line to the south, ending in the Bay of Bengal.
Mythological significance of the river - The Padma is many a time mentioned in Hindu Mythology including the Vedas, the Ramayana, the Puranas and the Mahabharata. In all myths, the river is referred to as a Goddess though the origin differs.
In Valmiki`s Ramayana, Ganga is described as the daughter of Lord Himalaya and Menaka who was taken to the heavens by the deities and started to live in heaven from then, inside Karmandala, a spurt shaped vessel. In Vishnu Purana, Ganga is known to evolve from the toe of Lord Vishnu`s left foot. She flowed across a considerable distance and the pole star caught her in the middle of tumble and kept her on his head round the clock.
Most myths believe on the fact how Ganga came down to earth. By a special favor of Lord Shiva, King Sagara had sixty thousand sons, all of who were burnt into ashes as they disturbed the Mighty Kapila in his meditation. King Sagara, being informed by the heavenly wanderer Narada, sent his grandson Ansuman to Kapila to ask for his mercy. Kapila granted that but only the mighty waters of the Ganga could rescue the souls of the sixty thousand sons of King Sagara. Ansuman`s grandson Bhagiratha approached Ganga and convinced her to come down. To balance such great force of impact of Ganga falling to earth from heavens, Lord Shiva used his disheveled hair.