West Bengal rivers, lakes, and waterfalls.
The state of West Bengal is a land of rivers. The Ganges along with its tributaries flow through Bengal and irrigates this fertile deltaic region. The state has perennial and non-perennial rivers along with lakes and waterfalls.
The drainage system or river system is the patterns formed by the streams, rivers, and lakes in a particular drainage basin. West Bengal has a wonderful river system as it is well-drained by a number of rivers. Most of the rivers are full to the edge during the peak season. All the rivers of the region flow through India and Bangladesh in their lower reaches and through Nepal and Bhutan in their upper courses.
Rivers of West Bengal
The rivers of West Bengal are divided into four categories on the basis of their source and nature of the flow. These are as follows:
- Rivers of North Bengal
- Ganga and its Tributaries
- Rivers of Western Plateau
- Rivers of South or Sundarbans Bengal
1. Rivers of North Bengal
The rivers that originate in Himalayan mountains and flow through the state in North to South direction are classified as rivers of North Bengal. These rivers are perennial, as they have water throughout the year. They are also called Snowfed rivers as they are formed by the melting of ice.
The important rivers of the Northern part of West Bengal are Mahananda, Teesta, Torsa, Jaldhaka, Kaljani, and Raidak. These are discussed below:
Origin — This river originates from the Mahaldhiram of Ghum range of Darjeeling district. It flows through North Bengal and joins the river Bhagirathi-Hooghly near Malda.
Falling Point — This river falls in the Padma in Bangladesh. It has a total length of 290 km Tributaries Its right bank tributaries are Kalindi, Balasan and Mechi. Its left bank tributaries are Nagar, Tangon, and Punarbhaba.
Origin — This river originates from the Zemu glacier of the Himalayas and makes gorges in its upper course. It is joined by the Lachin river at Tibet, Lochang river at Sikkim, and the Great Rangeet river at Darjeeling then it flows Southwards through Jalpaiguri and Coochbehar.
Falling Point — This river falls in the Jamuna river in Bangladesh. It has a total length of 411 km out of which 122 km is in West Bengal. Floods are very frequent in this river, that is why the barrage project has been implemented by which flood can be controlled.
Tributaries Rangit, Jaldhaka, Kalijhora, Lish, Gish, Chel Nala, and Karola.
Origin — This river originates from the Bidang lake located in Sikkim Himalayas and drains Southwards through the Jalpaiguri district.
Falling Point — This river falls in the Jamuna river in Bangladesh. It has a total length of 236 km. It is one of the major rivers of the Terai-Duar region.
Tributaries Daina, Birukhola, Bindukhola, and Nakshalkhola.
Origin — This river originates from the Chumbi valley in Tibet and flows into Bhutan. It enters India in Coochbehar district of West Bengal. Falling Point Finally, this river falls in the Jamuna river in Bangladesh. It has a total length of 358 km. It has two branches i.e. Chili Torsa and Char Torsa. Tributaries Malengi, Bela, and Sunjai.
Origin — This river originates in Bhutan on the foothills of the Himalayas and flows North to South passing through the district of Alipurduar in West Bengal. Falling Point This river falls in the Brahmaputra river after the confluence Torsa river. Tributaries Gadadhar, Cheko, and Nenai are some of its tributaries.
Origin — This originates from the Akungchu peak of Bhutan. It flows through Bhutan, Jalpaiguri and Coochbehar districts of West Bengal. Falling Point This river falls in the Jamuna river in Bangladesh. Tributary Dipa is the tributary of the Raidak River.
2. Ganga and its Tributaries
The Ganga river originates from Gomukh which is the melting place of Gangotri glacier in the Himalayas of Uttarakhand and travels down the Northern plains. It has a total length of 2510 km, out of which 520 km is in West Bengal. It is the longest river in West Bengal. Near Dhulain in Murshidabad district, the Ganges divides itself into two branches. One of its branches flows into Bangladesh as the Padma. The other branch bends and flows Southwards to merge into the Bay of Bengal. From Murshidabad to Hooghly, it is known as Bhagirathi and from Hooghly to the Bay of Bengal, it is known as Hooghly river.
In West Bengal, the Northern region of the Ganga is known as Barind. The river Ganges flows through West Bengal in Malda, Murshidabad, and Dinajpur districts. A dam has been constructed at Tildanga where its mainstream is channelized to Bhagirathi-Hooghly at Jangipur barrage in West Bengal which is the unit of the Farakka barrage. The barrage diverts 1,100 cubic meters per second of water from the Ganges to the Hooghly river.
These rivers are known as the heart and soul of West Bengal. Bhagirathi flows through Murshidabad, Malda, Nadia, while Hooghly flows through the districts of Hooghly, Howrah and 24 Parganas of West Bengal. It flows towards the South and falls into the Bay of Bengal after forming a large delta at its mouth. From an economical and geographical point of view, Hooghly is the most important river in West Bengal. The capital of West Bengal, Kolkata lies on the Eastern bank of the Hooghly river.
Tributaries of Ganga
The tributaries of Ganga are as follows:
Origin — This river originates from the Dumka district of Chotanagpur plateau in Jharkhand and enters in West Bengal near Chittaranjan. Then it flows through Bardhaman.
Falling Point — This river finally falls into the Bhagirathi river at Katwa town in West Bengal. The total length of this river is 288 km out of which 152 km flows in West Bengal. Tributaries Kunur, Hingle, and Tumuni are some of its tributaries.
Origin — This river originates from the Trikuta hill of the Chotanagpur plateau. It enters West Bengal in the Birbhum district.
Falling Point — This river falls in the Bhagirathi river at Kalna town in the Bardhamana district of West Bengal.
Tributaries Its main tributaries are Bakreshwar and Dwarka. Tilpare barrage is built on this river.
Origin — This river originates from the Khamarpath hill of the Chotanagpur plateau in Bihar. After flowing for about 289 km in Bihar, it enters West Bengal. This river is also known as the Sorrow of West Bengal as it used to flood many areas of bra Bardhaman, Hooghly, Howrah, and East and West Midnapore districts. Many of the great floods of the Damodar are recorded in history. With the Damodar Valley Project, the floods have been controlled.
Falling Point — This river falls in the Bhagirathi-Hooghly river at Uluberia town in West Bengal. Its total length is 541 km out of which 313 km is in West Bengal. It is the 2nd longest river of West Bengal. Tributaries Its tributaries are Barakar, Konar, Bokaro, and Ayar.
Origin — This river originates from the foothills in the Chotanagpur plateau. This river is known as the Dwarakeswar river in Bankura.
Falling Point — This river falls in the Hooghly river at Geonkhali town in West Bengal. Tributary Mundeswari is the main tributary of this river.
The Ganges-Brahmaputra delta
The Ganges-Brahmaputra delta (also known as the Sundarban delta or the Bengal delta or the Ganges delta) is situated in Asia where the Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers discharge into the Bay of Bengal. It is the largest delta in the world. It covers a surface area of about 100 sq km. Approximately, a two-third portion of this delta is in Bangladesh and the rest constitutes the state of West Bengal. The Ganges delta is the floodplain of three great rivers-the the Ganges, the Brahmaputra, and the Meghna. Together, these three rivers drain a catchment of about 1.72 million sq km, at the Southern part of Eastern Himalayas. The Ganges delta is among the most fertile regions in the world. Kolkata and Haldia in India and Mongla and Chittagong in Bangladesh are the principal seaports of this delta.
3. Rivers of the Western Plateau
Some important rivers in the Western part of West Bengal are Ajay, Mayurakshi, Damodar, Rupnarayan, Haldi, and Subarnarekha. These rivers rise from the Chotanagpur plateau in the West and flow towards the South-East to join the Bhagirathi-Hooghly river. These rivers are rainfed rivers as they usually have water during the rainy season. The important rivers of the Western Plateau are Haldi and Subarnarekha rivers. These are discussed below:
Origin — This river originates from the joint flow of river Kangsabati and Keleghai. Kangsabati river originates from Chotanagpur plateau and flows through Purulia and East and West Midnapore districts. Keleghai joins the Kangsabati in East and West Midnapore districts, this combined river is called the Haldi river.
Falling Point — This river falls into the Bay of Bengal.
Origin — This river originates from Ranehi district in the Chotanagpur plateau and flows through the Midnapore district of West Bengal and then, it enters Odisha.
Falling Point — This river finally falls into Bay of Bengal. |
Tributaries Kharkai, Sankho, Sapulinala, Rupai and Dulung are some of its tributaries.
4. Rivers of the South or Sundarbans Region
These rivers are fed by the tides. South Bengal is the delta region. Most of the rivers in this region are distributaries of the Hooghly river. Some important rivers of the South are Ichamati, Raimangal, Saptamukhi, Matla, Gosaba, Hariabhanga, Thakuran, etc. The water of these rivers is saline as they are influenced by high tides and low tides. During low tides, they get more or less dry but during high tides, they overflow their banks.
Important Cities Along The Rivers
- Ajay ———————————- Asansol, Kenduli
- Bhagirathi ———————— Murshidabad, Nabadwip, Katwa, Santipur
- Damodar ————————– Durgapur, Raniganj
- Dwarka —————————- Tarapith
- Hooghly ———–Kolkata, Howrah, Barrackpore,Chandannagar,Tribeni
- Haldi ——————————- Haldia
- Ichamati ————————- Bangaon,Taki
- Jalangi —————————- Krishnanagar
- Kaljani —————————- Alipurduar
- Kansabati ———————– Midnapore,Purulia
- Mahananda ——————– Siliguri,English Bazar, Malda,Islampur
- Mayurakshi ——————– Siuri,Saithiya
- Rupnarayan ——————– Kolaghat,Tamluk
- Torsa —————————— Cooch Behar
- Teesta —————————- Jalpaiguri
Lakes of West Bengal
Lakes of West Bengal are synonymous with the splashing splendor of nature. These are located in various corners of the state of West Bengal and make a beautiful tourist display. The famous lakes of West Bengal are discussed below:
Bhangzang Salamander Lake — It is located at a distance of 14 km from the Kurseong sub-division in Darjeeling district. It is a beautiful green-tinged lake that shelters the rarest and most endangered species of salamanders, a species under threat of extinction.
Talberia Lake — This lake is situated on the outskirts of Jhili Mili in West Bengal. It is situated about 85 km from Bankura district of West Bengal. The lake is created by rainwater pouring into a glade (an open space in a forest). It is a famous picnic spot also.
Sagardighi Lake — It is situated in the heart of Murshidabad. It is surrounded by the age-old royal heritage buildings on four sides of the rectangular lake. Sagardighi is also famous for a large number of migratory birds that assemble in the lake each year.
Senchal Lake — This lake is located 10 km to the South-East of Darjeeling at a mot altitude of 8,160 feet above the sea level. This lake serves as the water reservoir for the supply of water to Darjeeling. It is especially appreciated for its scenic splendor and very popular among the tourists.
Rabindra Sarovar Lake — Lake It is a man-made lake in South Kolkata. Earlier, it was known as Dhakuria Lake. This lake was created by excavation in a swampy area and was named in May 1958, after the noted Bengali writer and Nobel Laureate, Rabindranath Tagore. It is surrounded by a 50-hectare area that has been developed by the Kolkata Improvement Trust with parks, gardens, and extensive tree plantation and is used for intensive sport, recreational and cultural activities.
Mirik Lake — It is located in the Kurseong sub-division of Darjeeling district. It was created in 1979 by damming the stream which feeds river Mechi. The lake is spread over an area of 110 hectares and has a maximum depth of 8 m. Roads bound the lake on all sides. A dense coniferous forest lies on the South-West of the lake whereas the hills on the Northern side experience extensive erosion.
Waterfalls in West Bengal
Waterfalls of West Bengal are located in the Northern part due to the presence of high mountains. The waterfalls of West Bengal attracts a large number of tourists round the year from all corners of India and abroad. The famous waterfalls of West Bengal are as follows:
- Changey Waterfall— This waterfall is situated 34 km from Kalimpong in the North of West Bengal and very close to the border of Sikkim. It is located in Lava, Darjeeling, and makes a good picnic spot in the natural wilderness of this place.
- Whistle Khola Waterfall — It is located in Kurseong, Darjeeling. This waterfall is the most famous site among tourists who visit it mostly as a picnic spot. The waterfall was named ‘Whistle Khola’ because the Toy Train passes through the front of this waterfall while blowing a loud whistle at that spot.
Major Wetlands in West Bengal
- Wetlands — are areas of marshy land such as mangroves, lakes, floodplains, marshes, flooded forests that contain both aquatic and terrestrial life. Wetlands are recognized by the National Wetland Conservation Programme. An international organization ‘Ramsar’ also identifies the wetlands which are of international importance.
In West Bengal, there are six wetlands that are identified by the National Wetland Conservation Programme and one Ramsar site. They are as follows:
- Ahiran Jhil Wetland — It is located in the Murshidabad district. Surplus water from Bhagirathi water gets deposited in this area to create a marshy wetland. It was identified as a wetland in 2004.
- East Kolkata Wetland — It is located in Kolkata and spread over an area of 125 sq km. It is a wetland site of international importance and included as a Ramsar site in 2002.
- Rasikbeel Wetland — It is situated in Cooch Behar district near the town of Tufanganj. It was identified as a wetland in 2004. It is home to many types of birds.
- Satragachi Wetland — It is situated in Howrah as a wetland in 2005. Surplus water from Hooghly river created the lake which is now a famous place for migratory birds in winters.
- Sundarbans Wetland — It is located in South 24 Parganas and recognized as a wetland in 2003. Low land bank of Malta river and large scale silt deposition has resulted in this wetland. It contains a mixture of both salty and freshwater.
- Patlakhawa Rasomati Wetland — It is located in Cooch Behar district and identified as a wetland site in 2008. This wetland is along the Torsa River.
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