Brahmaputra

(‘son of Brahmā’)

The Brahmaputra is one of the major rivers of India.

There are two mythological accounts about its origin: Amoghā, the wife of the sage Śāntanu conceived by the grace of Brahmā the creator and gave birth to a son. He was named as ‘Brahmaputra’. He was placed in the midst of four mountains by his father. He then assumed the form of a large mass of water where gods and heavenly maidens started taking bath. It came to be known as ‘Brahmakuṇḍa’. It then started flowing as a river.

When Paraśurāma was ordered by his father Jamadagni to kill his own mother, he executed it with his axe. Since it was a heinous act, the axe got stuck in his hand. To get it out, he started on a pilgrimage. When he came to the small lake, now known as Paraśurāmakuṇḍa (25 kms. [15 miles] to the north of Teza in the Lomita district of Arunachal Pradesh), he broke one of the hills surrounding it to release the water for the benefit of mankind. This became the river Brahmaputra and the axe came out there by indicating that he was absolved of the sin.

Brahmaputra originates in south-western Tibet, and is called Yarlung or Tsangpo. After flowing for 1300 kms. (800 miles) it bends to the south and enters India. For some distance it is called the Siang river. It falls to the plains at Pasighat in Arunachal Pradesh. It is interesting to note that it changes colour here, every half an hour. As the river Dibang and Lohit join it, it acquires the name Brahmaputra and enters Assam. Passing through the towns of Dibrugarh, Nehamati, Tezim and Guwahati, it finally joins the Padmā river, the easternmost branch of the Gaṅgā. This combined stream flows into Bangladesh where it joins the river Meghanā. It then empties into the Bay of Bengal. The total length of the river is 2,850 kms. (1800 miles). The average depth of the river is 38 meters (124 ft.), the maximum being 120 metres (380 ft.).

Brahmaputra

The Brahmaputra valley is associated with lores from the Mahābhārata as also with Śaivite traditions.

The famous Kāmākhya temple is situated on its bank, about 2 kms. away, near Guwahati. The banks of this river are dotted with dense forests and tribal settlements.

During monsoon, floods are very common.

The river is mainly used for transpor- tation and navigation.