Rivers: Beautiful and life giving


Rivers from times known to the mankind have been the sources of life. Notable examples of civilizations supported by rivers are (1) Egyptian civilization – Nile river, (2) Mesopotamian in the Fertile Crescent on the Tigris/Euphrates rivers, (3) the Ancient Chinese on the Yellow River and (4) Indus Valley Civilization in India. In India the rivers are given the status of a mother and goddess.

A number of cities in the world are based on river banks – for ex. Alexandria and Cairo in Egypt on Nile, Budapest in Hungary on Danube, Prayagraj on the confluence of The Ganges, Yamuna and Sarasvati, Delhi on the Yamuna and Moscow on Moskva, London on the Thames and Paris on the Seine.

When two rivers meet, it seems as if they join their strengths to do more better for the mankind. I had been lucky enough to see many of the rivers and appreciate their energy, constant flow and the ability to support life. Some of the most beautiful rivers that I could see in my life so far.

1. The Narmada

Originates at Amarkantak, in Madhya Pradesh – I have seen it in the place of origin, Jabalpur and Hoshangabad (all in Madhya Pradesh). This river is considered as the lifeline of Madhya Pradesh and Gujrat.

2. The Indus

The Indus, which originates in the Tibetan Plateau, in the vicinity of Lake Mansarovar, is one of the main rivers in the Indian subcontinent. The ancient Indus valley civilization flourished on the banks of this river and the name India is derived from the Indus river. I saw the Indus at Sonamarg in Jammu and Kashmir and then near Leh, in Ladakh.

The Indus near Leh
The Indus at Sonamarg
The Indus at Sonamarg

3. The Shyok (River of death)

The Shyok is a tributary of the Indus and originates at Rimo Glacier. I saw the Shyok on my way to Nubra valley from Pangong Tso. The ride by the side of the Shyok is an amazing experience. The Nubra river which originates in the Siachen Glacier is a tributary of the Shyok.

The Shyok river

4 & 5. The Alaknanda and Mandakini

The Alaknanda is one of the main tributaries and source streams of the Ganges. Badrinath the holy destination is located near the banks of the Alaknanda river. The Alaknanda has a confluence with the Mandakini at Rudraprayag and the Bhagirathi at Devprayag. I have seen the Alaknanda at Badrinath, Rudraprayag and Devprayag.

The Mandakini is a tributary of the Alaknanda river. The holy destination of Kedarnath, dedicated to Lord Shiva is located near the Mandakini river. I have seen the Mandakini at Syalsaur and Rudraprayag.

The Alaknanda and Mandakini

6. The Ganges

A list of rivers is not complete without the mention of the Ganges due to its importance. The Ganges originate at the Gangotri Glacier in the Himalayas, in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. The upper course of the Ganges begins at Devprayag at the confluence of the Bhagirathi and Alaknanda rivers. It is known as the Ganges from hereon. The Ganges then enters the plains at Haridwar. The Ganges is worshiped as Goddess Ganga and is a lifeline to millions of people living along its course. I have seen the Ganges at Devprayag, Rishikesh, Haridwar, Varanasi and Prayagraj (Allahabad).

The Ganges at Devprayag, Rishikesh and Haridwar with Ganga Aarti (prayer)

7. The Beas

This river is named after the Indian sage Veda Vyasa, the author of Indian epic Mahabharata. In history this river marks the easternmost border of Alexander the Great’s conquest in 326 BCE. The Manali town situated on the banks of this river is a very popular destination in India.

8 & 9. The Chandra and Bhaga rivers (Chenab)

The Bhaga river originates from Surya taal lake, which is situated a few kilometers west of the Baralacha La in Himachal Pradesh. The Chandra river originates from glaciers east of the same pass (near Chandra Taal). At Tandi, 8 Km from Keylong, after the confluence of the Chandra and Bhaga rivers, the resulting stream is known as the Chenab river, a major river that flows through India.

10. The Krishna

The Krishna originates at Mahabaleshwar, in Maharashtra at an elevation of about 1300 m and is one of the longest rivers in India. It empties into Bay of Bengal, in Andhra Pradesh on the eastern coast. A major source of irrigation for Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana states.

11. The Thames

The river Thames, is a river flowing through southern England including London.

12. The Siang / Bramhaputra

This one, I am yet to meet. A visit to northeast Indian states of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh will make this happen.

Other rivers

In addition to these I have seen the Godavari, the Yamuna, the Parvati, the Seine, the Sutlej, and the Tapi rivers.

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** Based on my travel experiences before the COVID 19 pandemic