Bhagirathi River

The Bhāgīrathī (Pron: /ˌbʌgɪˈɹɑːθɪ/) is a turbulent Himalayan river in the Indian state of Uttarakhand, and one of the two headstreams of the Ganges, the major river of Northern India and the holy river of Hinduism. In the Hindu faith, 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 Bhagirathi and Alaknanda join at Devprayag in Garhwal and are thereafter known as the Ganges.

The word "Bhagirathi" (Sanskrit, literally, "caused by Bhagiratha") refers to a mythological Sagar Dynasty prince who, to gain the release of his 10,000 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. Hence, Ganges is considered as the daughter of Bhagiratha and Ganges is also called Baghirathi.[2] Bhagiratha was the king of Kosala, a kingdom in ancient India. He was a descendant of the great King Sagara of the Suryavanshi, or Surya Dynasty. He was one of the forefathers of Lord Rama, of the Ramayana, the epic in which Bhagiratha's tale is primarily recounted. The story of Bhagiratha explained in Balakhanda of Ramayana. Lord Shiva brought Ganga river to Bindu Sarovar on request of Bhagiratha.[3][4][5]

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:

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, or Ganges River by westerners. The controversial Tehri dam lies at the confluence of the Bhāgirathi and the Bhilangna, at , 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: