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Title: Bhagirathi  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Ganges, Sunderlal Bahuguna, Anushakti Nagar, Gangotri, Garhwal division, Bhagirathi River, Alaknanda River, Devprayag, Gangotri National Park, Cossimbazar
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


This article is about the tributary of the Ganges. For the distributary in West Bengal, see Bhāgirathi-Hooghly.
Bhāgīrathī River
ghats on Bhagirathi River at Gangotri
Name origin: "Bhagirathi" (Sanskrit, literally, "caused by Bhagiratha")
Country  India
State Uttarakhand
Region Garhwal division
District Uttar Kashi District, Tehri District
Source Gaumukh (gou, cow + mukh, face), about 18 km (11.2 mi) from the town of Gangotri
 - elevation 3,892 m (12,769 ft)
Source confluence Alaknanda River
Mouth Ganges
 - location Devprayag, Uttarakhand, India
 - elevation 475 m (1,558 ft)
Length 205 km (127 mi)
Basin 6,921 km2 (2,672 sq mi)
 - average 257.78 m3/s (9,103 cu ft/s)
 - max 3,800 m3/s (134,196 cu ft/s)
Map showing the Himalayan headwaters of the Bhagirathi river. The numbers in parentheses refer to the altitude in meters.

The Bhāgīrathī (Pron:/ˌbʌgɪˈɹɑːθɪ/) is a turbulent Himalayan river in the state of Uttarakhand, India, and one of the two headstreams of the Ganges, the major river of Northern India and the holy river of Hinduism. In Hindu mythology and culture, the Bhagirathi is considered the source stream of the Ganges. However, in hydrology, the other headstream, Alaknanda, is considered the source stream on account of its great length and discharge.


The word "Bhagirathi" (Sanskrit, literally, "caused by Bhagiratha") refers to a mythological Sagar Dynasty prince who, to gain the release his 80,000 great-uncles from the curse of saint Kapila, brought the goddess Ganga in the form of the river Ganges, from the heavens to the earth.[2]


The headwaters of the Bhagirathi are formed at Gaumukh (elevation 3,892 metres (12,769 ft)), at the foot of the Gangotri glacier and Khatling glaciers in the Garhwal Himalaya. It is then joined by its tributaries; these are, in order from the source:

  • Kedar Ganga at Gangotri (elevation 3,049 m (10,003 ft)),
  • Jadh Ganga at Bhaironghati (elevation 2,650 m (8,690 ft)),
  • Kakora Gad and Jalandhari Gad near Harsil (elevation 2,745 m (9,006 ft)),
  • Siyan Gad near Jhala (elevation 2,575 m (8,448 ft)),
  • Asi Ganganear Uttarkashi (elevation 1,158 m (3,799 ft)),
  • Bhilangna River near Old Tehri (elevation 755 m (2,477 ft)).

The Bhilangna itself rises at the foot of the Khatling Glacier (elevation 3,717 m (12,195 ft)) approximately 50 km (31 mi) south of Gaumukh.

The river flows from its source for 205 km (127 mi) before meeting the Alaknanda River at an elevation of 475 m (1,558 ft) in the town of Devprayag. Downstream of this confluence, considered holy by Hindus, the river is known as the Ganga Ji, or Ganges River by westerners. The controversial Tehri dam lies at the confluence of the Bhāgirathi and the Bhilangna, at 30°22′32″N 78°28′48″E / 30.37556°N 78.48000°E / 30.37556; 78.48000, near Tehri. Chaukhamba I is the highest point of the Bhagirathi basin.


There are 18 dams along the Bhāgirathi River, either in operation, under construction or planned. These are, in order from the source:

Hydroelectric Dams on the Bhāgirathi River[3]
Abbreviations: MW: electrical output capacity(Megawatts), Ht: dam height(M) FRL: full reservoir level (MSL), MWL:maximum water level(MSL), HRT: head race tunnel length(KM), TRT: tail race tunnel length(KM), TWL: tail water level(MSL), RBL: river bed level at dam site(MSL)
# Name Ht MW Status FRL MWL HRT TRT TWL RBL Coordinates
1 Karmoli Dam 140 planned 8.6
2 Gangotri Dam 55 planned 5.2
3 Jadhganga Dam 50 planned 1.1
4 Bhaironghati I Dam 380 planned
5 Bhaironghati II Dam 65 planned
6 Harsil Dam 210 planned 5.06
7 Loharinag Pala Dam 600 construction 2,147 1,667 13.85 .51 1.665 58|6|N|78|41|56|E| name=


8 Pala Maneri I Dam 78 480 construction 1,665 1,667 12.563 1.378
9 Maneri Dam 38 90 operation 8.631
10 Joshiyara (Bhali) Dam 304 operation 16.0
11 Bhilangana II Dam 11 planned
12 Bhilangana I Dam 22.5 planned 2.0
13 Tehri Dam 260.5 2,400 operation 830 835 1.634 .8625 22|40|N|78|28|50|E| name=


14 Koteshwar Dam 97.5 400 operation 612.50 615
15 Kotli Bel 1A Dam 82.5 195 construction
16 Kotli Bel 1B Dam 90 320 construction
17 Kotli Bel II Dam 82 530 construction
Bhāgirathi River in Murshidabad



  • available on microfilm

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