Envis Centre, Ministry of Environment & Forest, Govt. of India

Printed Date: Saturday, June 3, 2023

River Brahmaputra





Place of Origin

Jima Yangzong Glacier in Tibet (It is referred to locally as Yarlung Tsangpo


2,900 km


Bay of Bengal (in Bangladesh)


Religious significance





The lower reaches of the Brahmaputra are sacred to the Hindus. Brahmaputra means ‘son of Brahma’ in Sanskrit. There are many legends that support this myth. A tenth-century text called Kalika Purana tells the story of the birth of Brahmaputra. In ancient times, there lived a sage named Shantanu and his wife Amogha. Impressed by their piety, Lord Brahma felt Amogha was the right person to bring forth his own son whom he wanted to create for the benefit of humanity.




Therefore, Amogha bore Brahma's son. Shantanu then placed him in the midst of four mountains. The Kailash, Gandhamadana, Jarudhi, and Sambaka. The son assumed the form of a large mass of water where the Gods and heavenly maidens would have their bath. Deriving from this myth, the Brahmaputra is considered a male river even today. He is the most important among the seven male rivers in the country. 




(Source: http://www.india.mapsofindia.com/culture/indian-rivers/


Ecological significance 





The Brahmaputra is one of the world’s largest rivers with a drainage basin of 580,000 sq.km. The basin provides a unique habitat for exquisite variety of flora and fauna, including many endangered species. Among these are the one-horned rhinoceros, pygmy hog, hispid hare, Asiatic elephant, clouded leopard, marble cat, golden cat, binturong, hoolock gibbon and the Wood Duck.




The flood plains of the Brahmaputra are dotted with a large number of wetlands or beels, which provide unique habitats for a variety of flora and fauna. The beels also function as floodwater retention systems.


(Source: Goswami, D.C., and Das, P.J., ‘The Brahmaputra River, India’, www.kalpavriksh.org)