Bagmati River

The Bagmati River flows through the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal , separating the important metropolitan cities of Kathmandu and Lalitpur, passing through the Madhesh Province of southern Nepal and joining the Kamala River in the Indian state of Bihar. It is considered sacred by both Hindus and Buddhists. Many Hindu temples are located on its banks.

The importance of Bagmati also lies in the fact that Hindus are cremated on the banks of this holy river. According to Nepali Hindu tradition, before cremation, the body must be immersed in the Bagmati three times, thus ending the cycle of reincarnation . The chief mourner (usually the eldest son) who lights the pyre should bathe with holy river-water immediately after cremation. Many relatives who join the funeral also bathe in the river or sprinkle holy water over their bodies at the end of the cremation. It is believed that Bagmati River purifies people spiritually.


Bagmati river is considered as the source of Nepali civilization and urbanization. In Vinayapitaka and Nandabagga this river is mentioned as "Vaggumuda". It is also referred to as "Bahumati" in the Battha Suttanta of the Majhima Nikaya. In an inscription dated AD 477, this river is described as Vagvati Parpradesh and later in the Gopalraja dynasty also here.


The Bagmati River watershed, including the Kathmandu Valley, lies between the larger Gandaki watershed to the west and the Koshi watershed to the east. These adjacent watersheds extend north of the main Himalayan range and cross it in a vast gorge, in fact, the Arun, a tributary of the Koshi , extends into Tibet . Small Bagmati is at some distance from the mountains. Without a glacial source, its runoff depends more on rainfall, is much lower during the summer season (April to early June), then peaks during the monsoon season (mid-June to mid-August). In this respect, the Bagmati system is similar to the (western) Rapti system in the far west of Nepal between the Gandaki watershed and the Karnali watershed .

The course of the river

Bagmati River Irrigation, Sarlahi, Nepal.
The Bagmati originates from the confluence of three springs at Bagdwar , where water flows from a gargoyle in the shape of a tiger's mouth, located in the Shivpuri Nagarjuna National Park near Sundarijal in Nepal . It is located about 15 kilometers (9 mi) northeast of Kathmandu above the southern edge of the Shivpuri Hills. Here the Bagmati is wide and fast and has a high load of suspended solids, giving it a gray appearance. The river flows about 10 kilometers (6 mi) southwest of the terraced paddy fields of the Kathmandu Valley .

Resisting rocks obstruct the flow at places including the Pashupatinath temple . Beyond the temple, the river flows south and joins the larger Manohara river which flows west and then turns west. After entering the urban area of ​​Kathmandu, several tributaries enter: the relatively unpolluted Dhobi Khola and the sewage-filled Tukucha Khola . [3] The river then turns south and enters the Bishnumati from the right at Teku Dobhan. The Bishnumati river also falls in the Shivpuri hills, about 6 km west of the mouth of the Bagmati. It flows south through Nagarjuna Danda, Swayambhu Mahachaitya and Darbar area of ​​Kathmandu. As it passes through the central part of Kathmandu, this tributary is highly polluted and full of garbage.

Although much curved, the Bagmati, which generally flows southward, reaches the edge of the Kathmandu valley and enters the Chobhar gorge near the Dakshinkali temple complex . The Chobhar River is cut by the Mahabharata mountain range , also known as the Lower Himalayas. It ranges from 2,000 to 3,000 meters (6,600 to 9,800 ft) to the southern limit of the "Middle Hills" across Nepal, an important cultural boundary between distinctive Nepali and more Indian cultures and languages, as well as a major geological feature. yes Bagmati also crosses the lower Shivalik hills before reaching the Terai and enters India through Bairagania. It flows through Darbhanga , Sitamarhi , Shivhar , Muzaffarpur and Khagadia districts of Bihar. It joins the Kamala river at Jagmohara village in Samastipur . However, in the past the course of the river was different and it used to flow directly into the Ganga . In the Swasthani Bratakatha of the Skanda Purana, the current northern tributary of the Bagmati was treated as the main canal called the Sali River, which was a tributary of the Gandaki. 


The Bagmati River contains large amounts of untreated sewage, and high levels of river pollution exist due to the region's large population. Many residents of Kathmandu throw their personal waste into the river. Especially Hanumante Khola , Dhobi Khola , Tukucha Khola and Bishnumati are the most polluted. Efforts are being made to restore the cleanliness of the Bagmati river system by monitoring it. This includes "pollution load modification, flow augmentation and placement of weirs at critical locations".

On the initiative of the then Chief Secretary Leelamani Paudyal, the Bagmati clean-up campaign was started on 15th June 2072. Every Saturday, the general public along with Nepali Army and Nepal Police personnel gather to clean the garbage and sewage from the river. The Friends of the Bagmati is an organization established on 20 November. According to its website, its aim is to "reverse the erosion of the Bagmati River. In 2014, the Bagmati River was claimed to be 'almost pure' after 14 years of efforts.


Most of the affected areas are unaffected by the flood, but it has caused widespread suffering to the people of the Terai and northern districts of Bihar. The river caused the worst damage in 1993. Poor water management, proper weather forecasting and lack of awareness were the main reasons for the mass destruction.

Place of pilgrimage

Gokarneshwar – Gokarneshwar Mahadev Temple is located on the banks of Bagmati River, which was built in 1582 AD. In late August or early September, people visit this temple to bathe and make offerings in honor of their fathers, living or dead, called Gokarna Aunsi also known as " Kushe Aunsi " (worship for eternal peace of father).

Guhyeshwari Temple – The temple of Goddess Guhyeshwariis located on the banks of the Bagmati River, about 1 km east of the Pashupatinath Temple . The name of the temple is derived from the Sanskrit words Guhya (Mystery) and Ishwari (Goddess). In the Lalita Sahasranama, the 707th name of the Goddess is mentioned as Guhyarupini (the form of the Goddess is beyond human perception and is hidden). It is believed that parts of Sati Devi's body fell in various places when Lord Shiva traveled around the world in sorrow.

Pashupatinath Temple – Dedicated to Lord Shiva , Pashupatinath Temple is located on the banks of the river north of Kathmandu. It is considered a holy place in Hinduism.

Koteshwar Mahadev – Koteshwar Mahadev Temple is also a major sacred site located on the banks of the Bagmati. According to a legend, the Shiva Linga here is believed to be one of the 64 sacred Shiva Linga

Shankhamool – Near Koteshwar Mahadev Temple is a place known as Shankhamool. Shankhamul is one of the 12 "most sacred" sangams of the Kathmandu Valley as defined in various histories documenting the history and legends of the Kathmandu Valley. All the rivers including the Bagmati river flowing south from the Pashupati temple complex and the Manohara river flowing from the eastern side of the valley meet at Shankhamul.

Kalmochan Temple – Dedicated to the Hindu deity Lord Vishnu, the Kalmochan Temple was a part of the Thapathali Palace complex on the banks of the Bagmati River. It was built in the early 18th century. Built by Jung Bahadur Rana in Mughal Kathmandu-Gothic architectural style, this temple has Mughal art and Nepali art. Also known as Jang Hiranya Hemnarayan Temple, this temple is located at Kalmochan Ghat in Thapathali.

Tripureshwar Temple – The temple of Tripureshwar Mahadev near Kalmochan Ghat is the largest temple in Kathmandu Valley, which was built by Lalit Tripura Sundari Devi in ​​the nineteenth century (around 1875 AD). [6] It has three roofs—the top two are made of metal, and the bottom is of baked terracotta and sits on a raised platform. The temple was built in memory of her husband Raja Ran Bahadur Shah for eternal peace and harmony of the nation. It was probably the last major temple in the tiered style.

Pachali Bhairava – Founded by the Licchavi king Gunakamadeva , the deity is largely associated with the founding of Kathmandu, as it was King Gunakamadeva who is traditionally believed to have founded both the city and the temple of Bhairava, located on the banks of the Bagmati River.

Teku Dobhan – One of the 12 holy shrines in Kathmandu Valley, the Ghats adjacent to Jnantirtha at the confluence of Bagmati and Bishnumati are places for bathing and cremation on the banks of the river.

Jalvinayak Temple – Jalvinayak Templeis a temple of Ganesha located in Chobhar . The Jalvinayak Temple is one of the most important Ganesha temples in the Kathmandu region, and one of the four Vinayaka temples in the Kathmandu Valley.
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