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River Ganges “Pilgrims come suffering from the hunger and heat, but sustained by unwavering faith, in the sacred waters �-- Mark Twain

Nishant Arun 22 February 2016 Year 8A/8B Geography of Rivers


Geography River Research by Nishant Arun



Geography River Research by Nishant Arun

INTRODUCTION The Ganges river flows in Asia. It begins from Himalayas in India. It actually has a few sources.




Kot which


a the

glacier melts and Ganges flows. The Ganges stretches across the northern India. It also runs through



average length is 2,525 km (1568 miles). Ganges is the most sacred river to India. All hindus try to visit Ganges at least once in their life. Ganges flows through the most fertile land in Asia. Over 40 types of crops are grown by farmers in Ganges basin.







Interestingly, river Ganges has two sources, Nanda Devi and Gangotri. Alaknanda stream starts at about 50 km north of the Himalayan peak of Nanda Devi,




stream begins in a subglacial meltwater cave at the base of the Himalayan glacier known Gangotri.




two at

Devprayag from where the flow is called as Ganges River. Both the sources of Ganges are in high mountains and receive snow regularly.


Geography River Research by Nishant Arun

MOUTH OF GANGES RIVER - SUNDARBAN The Ganges empties into the Bay of Bengal. It is a great sea on the eastern side of India. The mouth of





Sunderbans. It is the world’s largest delta. It consists of many chains of islands. Some important ones are are Sonakhali, Pirkhali, Thakuran, and Baghmara. All of these lie in the Sundarbans. The Sundarbans delta is also shared by




another major river in India. They are two different rivers but share the same delta. Many plants and mosses grow here. The most common plant is yellow straw grass.

PORT CITIES There are many port cities on the banks of Ganges. The important ones are listed below. 1. Kolkata 2. Patna 3. Varanasi 4. Allahabad 5. Gazipur 6. Haridwar 7. Kanpur These cities are old cities of India and lives of people from these cities represents the ancient Indian culture.


Geography River Research by Nishant Arun







Supports agriculture

Riverways between major cities

Sumera Hydroelectric Power Plant

Irrigation for Agriculture

River parks on the banks

Domestic water supply to many cities

Transport of tree logs in areas near source

Farakka Dam


Places of worship

Bathing and Washing

Alaknanda Power Project


ABOVE: Transportation on the Ganges River near Kolkata Port

ABOVE: People bath in the Ganges for holy reasons

ABOVE: Alaknanda Power Project

ABOVE: Farming on Ganges Banks


Geography River Research by Nishant Arun

FLOODING ON THE GANGES RIVER The river Ganges goes into floods twice in a year, from April to June due to melting of snow in the Himalayas and from July to September due to heavy rainfall. Lower regions along Ganges such as Bihar and West Bengal are worst affected by the floods. Due to low lying areas , Ganges water floods into town and villages disrupting the lives of people leaving in this region. Ganges flooding in Uttranchal District in Jagadeepkumar on 2 July 2013 killed nearly two thousand people living on the banks. It also brought down the great statue of Lord Shiva that stood 45 feet high. The flood was as high as 43 feet. In order to control the flooding in West Bengal Farakka Dam has been built on Ganges. Construction of dams on the river helps in flood mitigation. During floods, dam hold the water behind walls and restrict the sudden flow in the river bed. Dams are also useful for generation of electricity. However, construction of dam interferes in the human-environmental relation. Due to construction of dam at Farakka, the down the river land in West Bengal has become less fertile leading to migration farmers from this area to the cities for the jobs. ​.

DAMS/RESERVOIRS ON THE GANGES RIVER Tehri Dam - Constructed in recent year on the Ganges in the Himalayan Mountain Ranges


Geography River Research by Nishant Arun

Farakka Dam - Built on the Ganges in 1975

TRIBUTARIES OF THE GANGES RIVER A tributary is a stream or a small river that flows into a larger river. Tributary does not

flow into the sea or ocean. The place where tributary meets the main river is

called as the confluence. The Ganges has many tributaries flowing into it. Some of these tributaries themselves are big rivers and makes the Ganges the largest river of India. The main tributaries of the Ganges are listed below: 1. Yamuna River 2. Son River 3. Mahanadi 4. Koshi River 5. Mahakali River 6. Ghagra River 7. Alaknanda River 8. Gandak River 9. Mandakini River 10. Gomti River 11. Ramganga 12. Sharayu

CITIES AND SETTLEMENTS ON THE GANGES RIVER From the ancient times, many towns and cities have come up on the banks of the Ganges. The land on the banks of the Ganges is flat and fertile. Farmers prefer to settle along the banks for the agriculture. Apart from farming, the Ganges is useful for transportation and fishing. The Ganges is the major source of water for drinking and domestic use. Such benefits has attracted people to settle along the Ganges 7

Geography River Research by Nishant Arun

rivers. The important cities built along the Ganges are shown below. Among these is Kolkata, Which is a metropolitan city important for trading for lights and crops. It has more than 50 main roads and 180 offices. It is an important city to India. Kolkata has a population of 4 million. Kolkata seems to be the cleanest city on the Ganges. Varanasi has a few roads, but it is not as big as Kolkata, People come here and worship their Gods. They believe if you wish for something, it can come true. Ash of cremated people pollutes the rivers but also makes the soil fertile for crops to grow. Kanpur is a Major City that is just smaller than Kolkata, but its industrial power is very important to India. It has built many desalination plants on the Ganges. It has also built leisure places for people to have fun. Sometimes, its industrial waste pollutes the river. Allahabad is a city that is important for education. From here, the NCERT services are provided (National Council of Educational Research and Training). From here, all schools and colleges across India are provided with Educational books and vital experiences.

Varanasi - A spiritual City on the banks of the Ganges

Kolkata - A metropolitan city on the Ganges


Geography River Research by Nishant Arun

Kanpur- Major industrial hub on the Ganges river

Allahabad - Important center for education


Geography River Research by Nishant Arun

ANIMALS ON THE GANGES RIVER Different types of animals and birds habitat in the basin of the Ganges. Some of the popular wild species found here are shown below. The Ganges river in Sundarbans grows many mosses and kinds of fungi. Some are the white button mushrooms on which the marsh deer feeds. Marsh Deers come in large numbers to escape winter. the marshy and humid waters gives them warmth. Bengal tigers are therefore attracted by the deers. There are several Tigers in the Sundarbans. At the middle of Ganges is still waters until it becomes swift as Yamuna flows in. This is a source of fish for the Kite. There are a lot of ups and downs, so Kites can see the fish. The most popular fish is the White Dolphin. It is mostly found in the more still waters. It mainly feeds on smaller fish that were trapped in the current. Inside the river grows a variety of corals and anemones that help the water to become detoxicated. They also release a lot of oxygen by taking in carbon dioxide left by fish. Some popular corals are the Brain and Staghorn coral. These make the water safe for animals.

White Water Dolphin

Bengal Tiger in Ganges Delta Sunderbans


Geography River Research by Nishant Arun

Indian Kite

Marsh Deer


Geography River Research by Nishant Arun

CONSIDERATIONS ABOUT THE GANGES RIVER Ganges is a long river. It provides water for 40% of India’s population. This is about 500 million. Ganges runs through 11 provinces of India . Ganges is also constantly changing. It not only changes chemically but also physically. Ganges dries at a rate of about 10,000 litres a day. It is gradually drying up in the South of a province called Uttar Pradesh, cropping tributaries such as Chambal and Betwa, where it is mostly rocky desert. Ganges also gets a lot of flood between April to June when the snow at nearby mountains melts. Ganges river will gradually increase its waters towards the north because the Himalayas were formed when India crashed into Asia. These are the tallest mountains of Asia, where it snows so harsh, that billions of gallons of water flows into northern Ganges for 8 months till next winter. These are good changes because people get more water, but also bad, as people can waste the precious resource. Ganges dries up and reforms in a various ways. A few rivers start flowing from an aquifer, an underground water store. A few from an underground spring, and Most of them flow from mountainous sources. A river that flows just about south of Ganges is Yamuna. In fact, Yamuna is a tributary river of Ganges. It is Ganges’ longest tributary. Yamuna was an medieval settlement of the mughals, the Muslim Empire. They used to keep Yamuna clean. You can see Taj Mahal, a famous monument on the banks of Yamuna. Ganges is actually different from Yamuna. Yamuna is clean. Later, at Varanasi it is damaged because of religious offerings and cremation ashes of the Hindus. The only similarity is that Yamuna and Ganges both flow from the similar sources, the Monkey-tail (mussoorie) and Nanda Devi. Yamuna and Ganges are both twin rivers. In the medievals, sailors used to get confused because of their similar shape and size. When they sailed in Yamuna, they thought they Sailed Ganges. They flow parallel to each other, with a distance of only 500 - 509 km, till they suddenly meet at Allahabad. In the upper ridges of Himalaya, the Ganges meets mainly streams and small rivers. All these streams draw water from melting of snow and rainfall. The water levels in these streams are low. Hence, the volume of water in initial portion of Ganges is low. However, due to a steep fall in the ground height, the speed of water is very high. There are many waterfalls in this portion of the Ganges. At Haridwar, the Ganges, enters the plains and the bed of river enlarges. The speed of flow of water is reduced substantially. After entering into plains until it reaches delta, it is joined by many large rivers resulting in large volume of water.


Geography River Research by Nishant Arun

The town and city municipalities allowed the industries to discharge the effluent produced by them into the Ganges water. Till 1980, when number of industries in the Ganges basin were very few, the pollution was not a big issue as the percentage of polluting effluents drained were merely fraction of percentage of volume of water flowing through the Ganges. But, since last three decades, the industrialisation has grown many fold in the Ganges basin. The industries are consuming large amount of clean water for many processes and are discharging huge amount polluting effluents in the river bed. The discharges from industry into river are the major constituents of the Ganges Pollution. The recent study has shown that the industrial pollution contributes 20% of the total pollution of the Ganges river. The uncontrolled use of clean water and polluting discharges by the growing industries have led to a major health and hygiene problems of the people leaving on the banks of the Ganges. However, overall Ganges river is not polluted and unclean. At source and in the initial mountainous region of the Ganges flow is very clean. People use the water from the river for domestic use without any treatment and still do not have health issues. It is only, in the plains of provinces of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal the Ganges water gets unclean due to discharge of industry effluents and sewage discharges. It is necessary for the people leaving on the banks on the Ganges to ensure that the no effluents and sewage is discharged into the Ganges untreated. The strict laws and regulations needs to be stipulated by the government to discourage the pollution of the Ganges water. Exemplary punishments should be awarded to the violators of these laws to ensure the cleanliness of the Ganges in the future. The Indian Federal Government has initiated many constructive project to reduce the Ganges pollution. After leaving India, the Ganges river flows through Bangladesh before meeting the Bay of Bengal. This has led to a major issue of sharing of water with the another country. This issue has remained a subject of conflict between these two countries for many years. Several bilateral agreements and rounds of talks have failed to reach amicable solution. In 1972, governments of India and Bangladesh signed the wide-ranging ​“Indo-Bangladesh Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Peace”. According to the treaty, the two nations established a Joint River Commission to work

for the common interests and sharing of water resources, irrigation, floods and cyclones control.


Geography River Research by Nishant Arun

MY CREATIVE WRITING - STORY FROM ENGLISH CLASS There was once a river that flowed through many of the cities of India. The river itself was located at the northern part of India. It was called the holy Ganges. It flowed from all the way from the Glacier at Kedarnath to the Bay of Bengal. It was in the pre-medieval times. It was in about BC 200 when history was the future. Ganges flowed a mighty from Kedarnath, Rishikesh, Shimla, Delhi, Kanpur, Allahabad, Magadha, and Varanasi. It flowed through many other small towns. There was once a rainy day on Ganges. There were three Magical fish living in it. Their names were Brahmaputra, Yamuna and Krishna. They could turn themselves to birds to flee away whenever there were floods or in search of food. Krishna was a very quick fish. He was alert and tensed because there was no seaweed or food left in the river. Everyone was starving. So to bring something to eat he turned himself into a bird and flew away to the Thar forest. It was about 600 km away. Till then, the two fish were busy funnily fighting over each other and looking in the mirror to see who was more beautiful. They asked the question to a turtle. He said that you both are nice, but he was the best! They both were indeed beautiful. Yamuna was a lazy but skilful fish. Brahmaputra was totally lazy. They both had beautiful strips of Yellow-green and orange-white. Ganges has a lot of Clownfish in it despite of its weather conditions. Krishna came back, he could not find anything so he and the two fish went to the north. The river started to get quite deeper and deeper. The deepest Ganges depth is 55 m. (181 ft.) The average depth of the Ganges was 34 m (108 ft.) The middle part of Ganges had the most swiftly flowing waters. The minimum depth of the river is 17 m. Ganges river basin drains 1,000,000 sq. km in width. The three fish started to swim toward the Himalayan ranges, where lush green seaweed and many shrimp grew. They finally reached there and wasted no time and began to munch away everything they could. Then they saw all the fish of the river running around in panic. They realised that three boats were fishing out every fish. Krishna fled to the further north. Yamuna and Brahmaputra were trapped in a fishing net. Yamuna tore and chewed away the nets and escaped. All the fish trapped in the net escaped except Brahmaputra. He was taken away in a fish tank. Yamuna met Krishna and told him what had happened and both went in search of the three boats. Then, suddenly, two shiny glass nets trapped them both. They met Brahmaputra in the same fish tank. 14

Geography River Research by Nishant Arun

The whole fish tank was taken by the fishermen and bought at a Prince’s feet. The Prince commanded his assistants to

put the fish in the furnace. The fish were

shocked. The Prince was talking to his soldiers about attacking Magadha. He was planning a war because he was once arrested by the Magadha King. The fish heard all this. While the assistants picked up the tank, Yamuna sprang up and bit one of the assistants. The tank fell down with a crack and all the fish hopped back to Ganges. The warm waters made them feel safe. But just then the iron furnace fell down into the river and the water began to get boiling hot.Then all fish escaped to Kedarnath, where it was chilling cold and half the river was frozen. Kedarnath Ganges has 30,000 litres of frozen water on it. However, Ganges evaporates about 29,000 ltr of water daily and snows at the Kedarnath. Krishna had an Idea. He planned to tell the Lord Ganges about the war treaty of Prince Asoka. Kedarnath was a place where the Ganges began and also where Lord Ganges lived. They saw him coming down the stairs from his castle. All of them went forward and requested him to protect the city of Magadha from Asoka’s war attack. Then Lord Ganges began to get angry on Asoka. “At last, my revenge is complete!” he shouted. The ice began to melt and flowed into the river. A huge storm approached. Ganges said that the three fish weren’t safe in the three forms. Then, a beam of red light appeared from his heart and turned the three fish into one, beautiful, clever fish. As Ganges began to be angry, water flowed hastily. Then Ganges teleported himself and that fish to the place. Both of them soared the high skies till they reached Varanasi. They saw the Prince’s castle and his camp. He began to get down and turned himself into a beautiful princess. Till then the Prince was getting his army ready for attack. He set up all of his weapons. The swords of his soldiers looked like shiny mirrors. Then, Ganges as a princess got into the Prince’s camp and pretended to ask his way to the Nandakot Glacier. The Prince immediately fell in love with him. Then, Lord Ganges told the fish to warn the King of Magadha about the attack. Then Asoka told him to come with him to the Glacier. Ganges acted to get pleased. When they both reached there, Lord Ganges thanked him. Asoka did not knew he was lord Ganges. Just when he took the princess’s hand, He turned to lord Ganges. He was dressed in a black robe. His face was not visible. In fact, no one had ever seen his real face. Asoka was taken aback. He literally jumped out of his skin. He shouted, “You doomed me! My army... My war..!” You Lord Ganges! Then he took out his sword to stab him just then he was stopped by Ganges powers. He could see acid rain clouds raining upon Varanasi. A Lightning flashed and he could hear the screams of his soldiers. Just then The Magadha army 15

Geography River Research by Nishant Arun

launched their attack. Asoka lost and the battle was won. The whole Magadhan army cheered from far away. They were cheering for lord Ganges. Asoka would have just gone deaf hearing those cheering. He could not believe he had made such a big mistake. Then, Lord Ganges took out his sword. With one swift strike he cut off Ahsoka's head. Then Lord Ganges went back to The Kedarnath Mountain. The fish trailed behind him. Then, Lord smiled and then, a green beam appeared and turned the fish into their three forms again. They were very happy on getting their bodies back. They thanked Ganges. Then, Magadhan army cheered. Lord Ganges blessed them with flowers.


Geography River Research by Nishant Arun

LIVING NEAR THE GANGES RIVER I would really cherish my living on the banks of upper Ganges. I swim in the Ganges river at the foothills of the Himalayas, where the Ganges leaves the mountains before spilling out onto the great plains of India. It is a greatest spiritual experiences of my life. I felt rejuvenated every time I took deep in the Ganges river. Simply, I cannot describe my experience in words. I relish the food prepared from the locally produced grains. The recipes of this region are amazing. The food quality, in terms of deliciousness, is consistent, from big five star hotels, to eating a curry dish with your fingers on the shores of the Ganges. At the start of my stay along the Ganges, I was of course a little paranoid that we would get sick from the food, but after few days, we lost the fear and just enjoyed the local cuisine. During my stay along the Ganges, I experienced the humanity at each step. Once, while travelling in a local transport, I forgot my handbag containing the DSLR camera. I realised about the loss late in the day. It was practically impossible to look for that public transport vehicle. When I returned home, I found two young boys, who were on the same transport, waiting for me. They had found my bag and my address in the bag. They had come to return my belongings.The people here are kind. In a routine life, while leaving on the Ganges, I saw many riverside cremations that took place on the steps of ancient ghats and sandy beaches. The dead bodies are swallowed by the fire in the pyre of wood. At first, seeing a cremation on the riverside was a shock, but after a while, it becomes yet another sign of the river's symbolism of life and death. In last few decades, the Ganges has become unclean. I ensured that I do not pollute the river by my action. I took part in the activities that were conducted for cleaning up the Ganges river. I think that I should pursue the government to clean up the Ganges river. In India, as a part project ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’, government has started the project ‘Clean Ganges’. Mr Narendra Modi, the prime minister, has promised to appoint his men and other cleaning machines. I would feel like building a desalination plant and run a water industry. I think I should stop holy people from bathing and offering flowerings in the water. Finally, I wish to build a house near clean Ganges and everyday see the sunrise over it through the window so I can work peacefully for the whole day. 17

Geography River Research by Nishant Arun

CONCLUSION The Ganges river is the largest river in India. It originates in Himalayas and traverses across the northern part of the country. The Ganges basin is very heavily populated river basin in the world.. It’s a very sacred river and forms a lifeline to millions of Indians who live along its course and depend on it for their daily needs. The Ganges river passes through several cities and towns on its way downstream. These cities’ culture is closely tied into the river as it is the most sacred river in Hinduism. Many Hindus visit the Ganges river in Varanasi as that city is considered the holiest of cities. I learnt many details about Ganges river. I learnt about many Institutions, such as Ganga Aadhaar, that are situated on the banks of the Ganges. I learnt about many animals that live in or near Ganges. In Art classes, I learnt about different animals living in and out of the river by drawing them, and tracing them. In English subject, I told some facts in my story about the river. As a history lesson, I learnt what were the true mythologies of the Ganges. In geography, I learnt what type of river Ganges was. I also learnt about the landforms around Ganges. I also learnt human-environment interaction that takes place along the Ganges river. I learnt about effect of enormous uncontrolled civilisation on the river. The dangers of river pollution, flooding, or hurricanes or cloudbursts are well understood. I also learnt about what type of houses should be built around the Ganges. Finally, I learnt that the Ganges river is an asset to my country. However, it is being abused by some people by polluting it in different ways. The Government of India has initiated many projects to curb the pollution and to ensure the cleanliness of the Ganges. I am sure that these effort will succeed and the Ganges will reclaim the glory of past years.


Geography River Research by Nishant Arun

REFERENCES 1. 2. pal/ 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. ge-519338607 8. long-indias-g_b_4468503.html 9. 10. 11. 12.


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