Down to the River We Belong - Holy Rivers Apart from Ganges That Have Much More to Offer

Photo of Down to the River We Belong - Holy Rivers Apart from Ganges That Have Much More to Offer by Shalbha Sarda

The history of a nation begins with its geography. In a country such as India, the rivers not only shape the geography but carry age-old tales with it–be it the origin, course, or its banks–every place has some religious and mythological legends associated with it.

Out of the numerous holy rivers, a few flow through the landscapes that exhibit the beauty and majesty of nature, leaving you in awe and at peace at once. Being the holiest river, most people know about the importance and the activities carried on the bank of river Ganga. Apart from Ganga, the rivers that one should visit at least once are.

This is a perennial glacial fed river of Northeast. It emerges in the Himalayas and merges with the Teesta River at Triveni. This point of confluence is one of the prominent and revered places to visit in Sikkim near Darjeeling. Every year end the natives celebrate a festival here, recalling the ancient lore of Teesta and Rangit as legendary lovers. Enveloped by mountains on all sides it serves as a popular picnic spot. The multidimensional river rapids give an opportunity to experiment with rafting skills through the gorges, forests, and villages, making this a memorable experience.

Beas originates from the lap of the Himalayas at Beas Kund and meanders through the states Himachal Pradesh and Punjab. Hermits and yogis have gravitated to these banks for the tranquil environs since antiquities, but now adventure enthusiasts are drawn here being a trekking destination offering a wide range of activities like rafting, canoeing, and hiking. The river is most accessible enroute Manali, where it flows parallel to the road itself, rising from tributaries and falling in cascades. Sitting along the riverside, absorbing the sound of the gurgling water is a refreshing respite from the tiring mountain journey.

The Kalpong river originates from the Saddle Peak in the northern Andaman. Many adventurists drift to the Saddle Peak National Park where after hiking a winding trail, in the midst of the forests they emerge to a beautiful panoramic view of the archipelago and its surroundings. The river further traverses from here to the east near the remote town of Diglipur.

This town is 300 km away from Port Blair and serves as a perfect romantic couple destination to escape the typical tourist trail. The river and its banks here are flourishing with biodiversity which can be experienced through a boat that wanders through mangrove-fringed creeks.

The third longest river in India rises from the Amarkantak Plateau and flows through the country’s heartlands with many legends and anecdotes associated with it. In the state of Madhya Pradesh, close to Jabalpur, after forming the Dhunadhara falls, it flows in the oldest hardwood forests, national parks, and wildlife sanctuaries.

Some of the noteworthy reserves are Kanha National Park and Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve. The river is also a backdrop to some of the holiest temples and ashrams. The recent addition of a tent city on its banks is a must-stay and the Statue Of Unity monument facing the Narmada dam is a must see.

Kaveri is a holy river of southern India and fondly called "The Ganges of the South" flowing through the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. It originates from the Western Ghats and is the lifeline of ancient southern kingdoms since ages. The entire river course is considered holy with folklores sung for its glory. The Shivasamudram Falls near Ranakpur is the second largest waterfall in India. The center of the falls can be reached on a fun tokri ride. The town of Bheemeshwari is also worth visiting. Towns on Kaveri banks host activities such as fishing, angling, trekking, and rafting.

This river rises near the Tibet border and the origin itself is considered holy in Hinduism. The river flows through the state of Uttarakhand in the region of Chamoli and Tehri and then eventually merges with the Ganges at Devprayag. There are many temple towns on its banks including Badrinath and Joshimath. The turbulent river is famous for white water rafting and can be combined with camping at eco-lodges. The camping package includes activities like trekking, kayaking, canoeing, and fishing.

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