Brahmaputra is a major river in Asia; a River that cuts across 3 countries, namely India, China, and Bangladesh.
A might River with many names
The river has its origin at Manasarovar in Tibet, near Mount Kailash, where it has name Tsangpo. In Arunachal Pradesh, where it enters India, it is called Yarlang. It is only in Assam, it gets the name Brahmaputra, where it is almost 11 kms wide. Its main distributary is known as Jamuna in Bangladesh, where it joins the Ganga Delta with Padma, one of the main distributaries of River Ganga.
One mighty river with many names!
The river travels a total of 2900 km from its origin in the Himalayas to its mergence in Bay of Bengal. The Himalayan silt that comes from the flood gives the soil its fertility year after year.
The tributaries of Brahmaputra River are major rivers of North East India by themselves. Lohit River, Dhanisiri River, Bibang River are its chief left tributaries while Raidak River, Kameng River, Jaldhaka River, Teesta River are its chief right tributaries.
Uniqueness of Brahmaputra
Only India river with a masculine name
One fact that distinguishes this river is its masculine reference. All rivers in India have a feminine name, barring Brahmaputra. This is on account of its mighty nature, which is more masculine. Brahmaputra means “Son of Brahma”.
Brahmaputra flows at an average height of 400 metres for about 13000 kms, in the Himalayan region, making it the highest among main rivers in this world.
Strongest among rivers
Based on its flow rate Brahmaputra is also the fifth strongest river in the world. One of the reasons accounting for this great strength of Brahmaputra is its tidal bore, i.e incoming tides from waves travel against the river current. In common parlance, this is known as tidal wave.
One of the widest rivers
Brahmaputra is also one of the widest river in the world, with the average width of 10 kms in plain areas.
Least polluted Indian river
Brahmaputra is today the least polluted among major rivers in India.
Forms the largest Delta
The Brahmaputra river, along with Ganga, forms the largest Delta in the world, known as Sundarbans in Bangladesh.
River with a moving island
Majuli is a large moving island on the River Brahmaputra about 200 kilometers from Guwahati and accessible by boats.
The boatman in this part of the river, in Assam are known as Majhi.
The Majhi did not just ply their boats but were people who share the culture of the inhabitants on both banks of the river, their songs, the Majhi songs bringing out these facets.
Bhupen Hazarika, a son of Assam, was one of those who brought to the rest of India, the lilting melody of Majhi and Assam.
Link with Ancient India
The region around Brahmaputra, especially in Assam is linked to ancient Indian history.
One of the Shakti Peetha, the Kamakhya Shakti Peetha is located along Brahmaputra, in the state of Assam.
Kamakhya Shakti Peetha Temple
The literary records on the Brahmaputra region are available from the times of Mahabharata, i.e. from 3000 BCE. This region was then called Pragjyothisha. The king of those times was Bhagadatta, who fought in the Kurukshetra war under the Kaurava and was defeated by Arjuna.
Dimasa is one of the oldest tribes in Assam tribe. Dimasa means “Children of the Big River”, the big river being the Brahmaputra, around which the Dimasas had established their kingdom, Dimpur. The name Dimpur is derived from the words, Dim, meaning water and Pur meaning city.
Antiquity of the tribe
The antiquity of Dimasas go back to 5000 years, when the Mahabharata happened. Bhima married Hidimbi, the sister of Hidimba who was the chieftain of the Dimasa tribe.
Ghotokacha, the son of Bhima and Hidimbi played a major role in the Mahabharata War on the side of Pandavas.
Ghotokacha Kurukshetra Battle
The people of this region were also known as Kirata which is recorded in Greek records of 100 CE, the “Periplus of the Erythraean Sea” and “Ptolemy’s Geographia” refer to it as Kirrhadia.
Periplus of the Erythraean Sea – Book
Later this region came to be called Kamarupa, from 350 CE to 1140 CE, of which the most noted king was Bhaskaravarman, in whose reign Hiuen Tzang, the famed Chinese traveller visited his court.
The Kamarupa Kingdom
What remains of Kamarupa today are distant memories, inscriptions and a district by that name – Kamrup.
The Ahom dynasty ruled this region from 1228 CE to 1826 CE. Infact, the present name of the state, Assam comes from the word “Ahom”.
Ahom Dynasty Insignia
Namami Brahmaputra, India’s largest river festival is being held from 31st March to 4th April. The festival will be celebrated in 21 districts of Assam and the festival will be held on the banks of the river Brahmaputra.
The five day festival will include cultural programs, traditional sports, Brahmaputra Aarti, exhibition, film shows, seminars and competitions.