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Bagmati River
About Bagmati River

The Bagmati River is a river of Nepal. It flows through the Kathmandu valley and separates Kathmandu from Lalitpur. It is believed to be a holy river by Hindus and Buddhists. A number of Hindu temples are located on its banks.

The importance of Bagmati also lies behind the fact that Hindus are cremated on the banks of this holy river, and Kirants are buried in the hills by its side. According to the Nepalese Hindu tradition, the dead body must be dipped three times into the Bagmati River before burial. The chief mourner (usually the first son) who lights the funeral pyre must take a holy river-water bath immediately after cremation. Many relatives who join the funeral procession also take a bath in the Bagmati River or sprinkle the holy water on their bodies at the end of cremation. The Bagmati River purifies the people spiritually.

There is no effect of flood in most of the areas that it touches, but it has caused extensive sufferings to the people in Teraiand northern districts of Bihar. In 1993, people have seen the most horrible destruction by this river. The main cause of mass destruction are Poor water management, lack of proper weather forecasting and awareness.

The Bagmati River is destination of much untreated sewage in Kathmandu, and large levels of pollution of the river exist due primarily to the region's large population. Many residents in Kathmandu empty personal garbage and waste into the river. In particular the Hanumante khola, Tukucha khola, Bishnumati khola and Dhobi khola are the most polluted. Attempts are being made to monitor the Bagmati River system and restore its cleanliness. These include "pollution loads modification, flow augmentation and placement of barriers at critical locations".The "Friends of the Bagmati" is an organisation set up in November 2000. According to its website, its aim is "to reverse the degradation of the Bagmati river."

Bagmati River Course

The Bagmati river begins where three headwater streams converge at Bāghdwār above the southern edge of the Shivapuri Hills about 15 km northeast of Kathmandu. Here the Bagmati is wide and swift with a high load of suspended solids, giving it a grey appearance. The river flows southwest about 10 km through terraced rice fields in the Kathmandu Valley.

Resistant rock strata interrupt the flow in places, including at Pashupatinath Temple. Beyond the temple, the river flows south until joined by the larger west-flowing Monahara River, then turns west itself. After entering Kathmandu's urban area more tributaries enter: relatively unpolluted Dhobī Kholā and sewage-laden Tukucha Khola.

Then the river bends south and the Vishnumati enters from the right at Teku Dovan. The Vishnumati also rises in the Shivapuri Hills, about six km west of the Bagmati's source. It flows south past Nagarjun Hill and Forest Reserve, Durbar Square and Swayambhu Stupa in Kathmandu. As it passes the center of Kathmandu, this tributary becomes heavily polluted and choked with trash.

Generally Bagmatai river flows south although with many curves, the Bagmatai reaches the edge of the Kathmandu Valley and enters Chobar Gorge near the Dakshinkali temple complex. The gorge cuts through the Mahabharat Range or Lesser Himalaya. The Bagmati also crosses the lower Sivalik Hills before reaching the Terai, then crosses into India at Dheng. Bagmatai river also flows across Bihar districts Sitamarhi,Sheohar and finally Muzaffarpur where the Lakhandei joins above the Bagmati's convergence with the Koshi.

Bagmati River Geography

The Chobar gorge cuts through the Mahabharat Range, also called the Lesser Himalaya. This 2,000 to 3,000 meter range is the southern limit of the "middle hills" across Nepal, a vital cultural boundary between distinctive Nepali and more Indian cultures and languages, as well as a major geological feature.

The basin of the Bagmati River, including the Kathmandu Valley, lies between the much larger Gandaki basin to the West and the Kosi Basin to the east. These adjoining basins extend north of the main Himalayan range and cross it in marvelous gorges, in fact the Arun tributary of the Kosi extends far into Tibet. The smaller Bagmati rises some distance south of the Himalaya. Without glacial sources, its flow is more dependent on rainfall, becoming very low during the hot season (April to early June), then at peak during the monsoon season (mid-June to mid-August). In these respects the Bagmati system look likes the (West) Rapti system which lies between the Gandaki basin and the Karnali basin in the far west of Nepal.

History of Bagmati River

The Bagmati River is considered to be the source of Nepalese civilization and urbanization. The river has been mentioned as Vaggumuda in Vinaya Pitaka and Nandabagga. It has also been mentioned as Bahumati in Battha Suttanta of Majjhima Nikaya. An inscription dated 477 AD describes the river as Bagvati parpradeshe and then in Gopalraj Vanshavali.

Ancient shrines

The Temple of Pashupatinath, dedicated to Shiva, stands on an outcrop above the river to the north of Kathmandu. It is believed to be one of the holy places of Hinduism. Before the Pashupatinath the river flows Gokarneswor Temple at Gokarna which is located at the north of the Kathmandu Valley. This is, too, a holy temple where the people of Kathmandu valley go for worshiping for the everlasting peace of Father viz at "Kushi Aausi".

Public baths have been built supplied by a small hot spring. Nearby are two small structures that over the last many centuries were shrines, first to Buddha and then to Hinduism. There a many sculptures along the walls. One sculpture fragment shows the remnant of a Buddha triptych, a Buddha flanked by two bodhisattvas.



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