Where the Rivers Run Deep
Popularly known as the Land of the Mountain Gods, the Kingdom of Bhutan is located near the East Himalayan Mountains of Central Asia. This heavenly country is spread across an area of 38000 square kilometres and has a very small population of 8 lakh people. Famous for its culture, history, textile and age-old traditions this country has got a peculiar landscape, diverse wildlife and many famous rivers which have become a centre of attraction for many people. Bhutan’s beauty reaches another level because of its rivers and glaciers which adds to the scenic views. Bhutan’s glaciers play a very pivotal role in sourcing the water of various rivers. Bhutan is a home for many endangered species of animals and therefore has very diversified wildlife.
The country has got some of the very important river systems which flow at a very high speed through the Himalayas and are sourced from the glaciers of northern Bhutan.
1) Wang Chhu
Wang Chhu which is also known as the Raidak river is being generated from the Brahmaputra river. This river crosses through three countries of Asia like Bhutan, Bangladesh as well as India and also has a length of 370 kilometres. The Wong Chhu river holds a special significance in Bhutan because it also consists of Tala Hydroelectric Power Station. The main starting point of the Wong Chhu river is the Himalayan glaciers which are located in Tibet. This river also passes through some very famous valleys of Bhutan like Paro, Thimphu and Haa. Wang Chu later merges into the Brahmaputra river. Apart from its geographical representation, this river is a center of attraction for the tourists as various kinds of adventurous activities are performed on it like rafting and kayaking.
2) Torsa Chhu
Torsa Chhu is commonly called Kambu Maqu and Amo Chhu which originates from the Chumbi Valley in Tibet, China. Geographically, the Torsa Chhu is the shortest river system of the country. The Torsa Chhu river stretches up to the length of 358 kilometres, out of which 113 kilometres fall within the boundaries of the country. Torsa river also covers very major parts of Dalsingpara which are famous for its tea garden and the Jaldpara National Park. This river is also famous for its breathtaking scenic views due to which it has become a tourist spot. In India, it flows in the northern part of West Bengal. Apart from that it also flows from Bhutan’s nature reserve i.e. Torsa Strict Nature Reserve. Important cities like Phuentsholing and Cooch Behar are situated on the banks of Bhutan and India. This river holds a very significant name in the geography of the world as it is also adjacent to the most alluring landscapes.
3) Kuri Chhu
Kuri Chhu is one of the most renowned rivers of Bhutan. It is situated at the eastern part of Bhutan and has some of the various high peak hills as well as the mountains. It is also one of the biggest rivers in Bhutan. Kuri Chhu has several branches of streams like Tangkhar Chhu, the Chuneygang Chhu, the Kilung Chhu, the Rong Chhu, the Nye and the Dungkhar Chhu. Apart from all these Kuri Chhu is also one of the main centres for the whitewater and adventurous sports like Kayaking and rafting etc. The river comprises several runs like lower, middle and upper where the lower run can be used for rafting and kayaking while on the other hand the middle and the upper run can only be used for kayaking.
4) Drangme Chhu
Manas river which is also known as the Drangme Chhu is the largest in Bhutan, having a length of 376 kilometres. Drangme Chhu is the Bhutanese name of the Manas River. This river crosses the 272 kilometres long path of Bhutan and it also passes through Assam covering 104 kilometres. Drangme Chhu gets collected into the Brahmaputra river and later into the Bay of Bengal.
The origin point of the Manas river starts from the West Kameng District of Arunachal Pradesh which is situated in India and after that, it enters into Bhutan by passing the path of Trashigang. This river passes through the major valleys of Bhutan like Trongsa valley and Bumthang valley and also covers some districts of Eastern part of the country. Further, it gets divided into three different rivers Mangde Chhu, Bumthang Chhu and Drangme Chhu.
5) Mo Chhu
The origin point of the Mo Chhu river starts from the Gasa Dzongkhag which is located in the northern region of Bhutan. It is popularly known as “Sankosh River” in Assam. When this river further exceeds in its path, it merges with the river Pho Chhu at Punakha Dzong which is positioned at Punakha District. The new river which is derived by the assimilation of these two rivers is known as Paro Tsang Chhu which meanders through Paro Valley.
There is superstition in Bhutan that such a merging point of the river is considered as inauspicious and hence, therefore, three chortens are built close by it in order to cleanse the aura of the surroundings. The river’s surroundings are blessed with some of the breathtaking views of blossoming flowers and wonderful environment.
There are four major rivers in Bhutan which blankets a 10% area of the country. This area generally comprises the Himalayan glaciers. Bhutan is heaven on earth as it is composed of the exotic scenic beauties. If you are deciding on a trip to Bhutan, make sure that you also spend some time by the riverside as it will nurture and rejuvenate your mind, body and soul.