We mostly refer to all rivers in India as ‘nadi’ (“river” in the feminine). There is, however, one that is called a ‘nad’ (“river” in the masculine) – the Brahmaputra. The name means ‘the son of Brahma,’ thereby lending the river its masculine gender. We can cite awe-inspiring trivia about the river, like how it is about 10 km wide in upper Assam and discharges about 700,000 cubic feet of water per second. But mere numbers cannot do justice to the sheer magnificence and might of the Brahmaputra ‘nad.’
You need to see it to believe it. If you’re planning to enjoy the beauty of the Brahmaputra from Guwahati, it is no big deal, as the city is easily accessible by trains and planes. You can also reach Arunachal Pradesh in 28 hours from Kolkata by train. The nearest railway station is Helem.
The River with Many Names
Originating in Angsi Glacier, in Tibet, the river flows through China, India and Bangladesh before emptying itself into the Bay of Bengal. It is called Brohmoputro in Assamese, Brahmaputra in Sanskrit, and the Yarlung Tsangpo in Tibetan. It is also known as Jamuna, Padma and Meghna.
Along the Brahmaputra River
The enormous Brahmaputra streams through Assam where you, as a tourist, can experience an unforgettable river cruise. The itinerary of these cruise packages keeps changing depending on the water flow and the shifting sandbanks. Located right in the middle of the Brahmaputra River, on the Peacock Island, is the Umananda Temple. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and was built in 1694 A.D at the order of King Gadadhar Singha by the Bar Phukan Garhganya Handique.
Head to the beautiful small town of Jonai, located near the banks of Brahmaputra, on the border of Arunachal Pradesh. It is known for its green flora and fauna and stunning scenic beauty. Visit Majuli Island, which is now made into a district in India. This river island of 450 square kilometers is marooned amid the mighty Brahmaputra. With an unparalleled picturesque beauty, Majuli shimmers with water meadows sparkling with hyacinth blossoms and glowing rice fields.
Pick a picnic spot by the Brahmaputra River Side as this place offers beautiful vistas and a cool breeze. Tinmile Ghat also makes for a good picnic spot offering a good view of the Brahmaputra.
Living the Myths of the Brahmaputra
One of the largest free-flowing rivers, the Brahmaputra is believed to be older than the Himalayas according to geologists. Civilizations have evolved through ages, along the banks of this river, to cohabit with its rhythm. Needless to say, there are many legends and myths around this river like the following.
There is a place known as the Parshuram Kund, located in the hills of Arunachal Pradesh’s Lohit district. Mythology has it that Parashuram, the sixth avatar of Lord Vishnu had arrived at this place to get rid of the axe with which he had killed his mother. As he threw the axe, it carved a path through these hills and the river began to flow with red water. Thus the name Lohit, from the word ‘lahu’ meaning blood. Today, ParshuramKund is a small village with a few eateries around. You can stay at the Parshuram Ashram, the only place available, and enjoy the rustic beauty.
Bring Back Some Memories
Look for bamboo items like Jaapi (around cap) if you’re in Assam and do not leave the city without treating yourself to some pickle, Assam silk and obviously, some Assam tea. Handloom products make for awesome souvenirs. As for some memories do last a lifetime, capture each and every moment along the Brahmaputra in your mind and heart.