Rivers And Drainage System of Bihar

Major Rivers in Bihar (Bihar GK in English)

Bihar has trellis (grid) and dendritic drainage patterns due to its physical topography. The catchment area of these rivers is large. On the basis of rivers and the origin of their drainage patterns, the river system of Bihar is divided into two categories, such as:

1. Rivers originating from Himalayas/North Ganga Plain

2. Rivers originating from Plateau region/South Ganga Plain.

Rivers Originating from Plateau Region/South Ganga Plain

➤ It includes those rivers which originate from Peninsular Plateau and flow towards North direction and finally meet with the Ganga river.

➤ Important Peninsular Plateau rivers are Son, Punpun, Phalgu, Karmanasa, Sakri, Ajay, Chandan and Kiul rivers.

These rivers are discussed below:

Punpun

➤ It originates from Chauraha hill in Palamu district in Jharkhand and meets the Ganga near Fatuha in Patna.

It is the second most important river of South Bihar.

➤ It enters Bihar in Gaya district. Dordha, Butane, Madar and Morhar, Ramrekha, Baraki, Yamuni, Bilro are its tributaries.

➤ It is 200 km long. It is mostly rainfed and seasonal and carries little water in the dry season. However, during rains, the Punpun often causes heavy flood damaging East of Patna city.

Son

➤ It originates from Maikal range of Amarkantak hills in Madhya Pradesh near source region of Narmada. In ancient times, it was also known as ‘Sonbhadra’ and ‘Hiranyawah’.

➤ In last 2500 years, its course has shifted towards West. It is the longest South tributary of Ganga in Bihar.

➤ The Son river with 780 km length is one of the largest rivers of India out of which it flows only 202 km in Bihar.

➤ It enters Bihar in Rohtas district and also flows through Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand states before entering into Bihar.

➤ It flows through Rift valley and forms boundaries of Palamu district of Jharkhand and Rohtas, Aurangabad, Bhojpur and Patna districts of Bihar.

➤ It finally meets with Ganga river near Danapur in Patna.

➤ Son river has a steep gradient with quick run-off and ephemeral regimes.

➤ Its main tributaries are Rihand, North Koel, Gopad and Kanhar.

➤ It divides the Kaimur hills and North Koel river valley which is located in South.

➤ Arrah, Dehri and Sonbhadra are the major cities situated at the bank of Son river.

➤ Son being wide and shallow, leaves disconnected pools of water in the remaining part of the year.

➤ The channel of Son is very wide (about 5 km at Dehri on Sone) but the floodplain is narrow, only 3 to 5 km wide.

➤ Flood due to Son river has been checked with the Anicut at Dehri and Indrapuri Barrage.

Phalgu

➤ It originates from the Northern part of Chota Nagpur plateau in the form of many streams. Its main stream is known as ‘Niranjana’ (Lilajan) which meets with Mohana stream near Bodhgaya and forms Phalgu river.

➤ It is said that at Bodhgaya on the banks of Niranjana river, Gautama Buddha obtained enlightenment.

➤ At the banks of Phalgu river in Gaya, people offer ‘Pind Daan’ for the souls of their ancestors. Thus, Phalgu river is the holy river not only in Bihar but all over the country.

➤ It divides into two streams near Barabar hill (Jehanabad district) and again divides into many streams after some distance (Dhohar, Dhanruji, Khuri, Lokain, and so on).

➤ At the confluence of Lilajan and Mohana rivers, Phalgu becomes a subject of heavy floods during monsoon season while in other seasons it dwindles into different streams and flows through sandy region.

Sakri

➤ It originates from the Hazaribag plateau of North Chota Nagpur.

➤ It enters Bihar near Govindpur in Nawada district. It flows through Gaya, Nawada, Patna and Munger districts and finally meets with Ganga river along with Kiul andMorhar rivers.

➤ A canal has been constructed from Sakri river in Nawada district. Its water is used for irrigation in Gaya and Patna districts.

Karmanasa

➤ It originates near Sarodag on the Northern face of the Kaimur range of hills and meets river Ganga near Chausa (Buxar district) forming Uttar Pradesh-Bihar border for a long distance. It is a tributary of the Ganges.

➤ Its tributaries are the Durgavati, the Chandraprabha, the Karunuti, the Nadi and the Khajuri.

➤ It is considered a cursed and unholy river. Its catchment area is found in the Kaimur hill region and plain areas of Buxar district.

Chandan

➤ It is formed by five streams thus, also known as ‘Panchanan’. These streams flow as a big stream near Giriak in Nalanda district due to the barrier of Rajgir hill.

Ajay

➤ It originates from Batpad place of Jamui district. It flows in the East and South direction and enters Jharkhand then West Bengal and finally meets the Ganga river.

➤ Its length in Bihar is 202 km. This river is also known as ‘Ajyabati’ or ‘Ajmati’.

Kiul

➤ It originates from Hazaribag plateau and enters Bihar in Jamui district through a narrow gorge near the Satpahari hill. Its total length in Bihar is 111 km.

➤ Its important tributaries are Harohar, Anjan, Barnar and Ulan. It meets the Ganges in Surajgarha village in Lakhisarai.

Rivers Originating from Himalayas/North Ganga Plain

These rivers originate from the Himalayas which is located in the North of the state. These rivers flow through the Northern plain regions which are formed by the Ganges and its tributaries, and finally drains in the Bay of Bengal which is located in the South-East direction. These Himalayan rivers are Ganga,Ghaghara (Saryu), Gandak, Burhi Gandak, Kosi, Kamla Balan, Bagmati and Mahananda rivers.

The major rivers which flow through the level plains of Bihar are tributaries of Ganga river.Ghaghara,Gandak, and Karmanasa rivers forms boundary between Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. These rivers have water throughout the year as they get water from the glaciers of Himalayas, thus these rivers are known as perennial rivers. In their flood plains, these rivers deposit fertile alluvium form meanders and frequently change their courses.

The major rivers originating from Himalayas are given below:

Ghaghara/Saryu

➤ It originates from Mapchachungo glacier in Tibetan Plateau near lake Mansarovar in Nepal. It is also known as ‘Sharda river’.

➤ The total length of this river is 1080 km out of which it flows for only 83 km in Bihar.

➤ It is the second largest tributary of Ganga after the Yamuna river.

➤ It enters into Bihar state near Guthani of Siwan district and joins the river Ganga at Revelganj, Saran district. It joins river Ganga from North-West direction in Chhapra.

➤ It is highly sacred for Hindus and Buddhists.

➤ Due to its fast flow, it is known as Ghaghara or Ghaghar.

➤ This river is also known as Karnali in mountainous region.

➤ Important tributaries of Ghaghara river are Choti Gandak, Khauna, Jharhi, Daha, Tel and Sondi rivers.

Ganga

➤ It originates from Gaumukh glacier which is located near the Gangotri Glacier (5,611 m), North of Kedarnath peak in Uttarakhand.

➤ This is the main river of Bihar which enters into the state near Chausa in Buxar and forms boundary between Bhojpur and Saran districts.

➤ Ganga river divides Bihar into two parts and enters into West Bengal.

➤ The total length of Ganga river is 2500 km. Out of this, it flows only 445 km in Bihar. It has 15,165 sq km drainage area in the state.

➤ This river is navigable all over the state, thus it provides a good source for trade and transport.

➤ Ganga has many tributaries. The rivers which join it from South are Karmanasa, Son, Punpun, Harohar, Kiul, Phalgu and Chandan rivers. The rivers which join it from North are Ghaghara, Gandak, Bagmati, Kamala Balan, Burhi Gandak, Kosi and Mahananda rivers.

➤ This river has the largest catchment area in Bihar.

➤ Mahatma Gandhi setu is a bridge constructed over this river connecting Patna in the South to Hajipur in the North.

➤ There are seven bridges on Ganga river in Bihar, which connects North Bihar to South Bihar. These are:

1. Mahatma Gandhi Setu (Road only)

2. Rajendra Setu (Road and Rail)

3. Jayprakash Setu (Road and Rail)

4. Vikramshila Setu (Road)

5. Sri Krishna Setu (Road and Rail)

6. Bakhtiyarpur-Tajpur Bridge (Road)

7. Aguani Ghat Bridge (Road)

Gandak

➤ It is the important river of North-Western Bihar. The river originates from Mustang glacier of Annapurna mountain (Nepal) which is located near Manangmot and Kutang.

➤ It is known as Kali in Nepal. It flows into different streams in Nepal. Then, the river enters the Indian Territory near Triveni town in Nepal.

➤ Thereafter, the river flows in a Southerly direction and forms boundary between Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and enters into Bihar from Valmikinagar near Someshwar range.

➤ The total length of Gandak is 425 km out of which it flows for only 260 km in Bihar.

➤ Important tributaries of Gandak are Rohua, Manaur, Bhabsa, Gangri or Gogri, Mahi, Dabra and Avsa rivers.

➤ It flows in the South-East direction over the North Ganga plains.

➤ Hajipur is located on the banks of this river. Valmikinagar Barrage is situated on Gandak river.

➤ It is also known as Triveni, Narayani, Kali Gandak. Triveni canal gets water from Gandak river.

➤ The river Gandak is also noted for changing course and creating flood havoc during rainy season. This river has also given rise to chaurs, marshy lands and lakes.

Kosi

➤ It originates from Mount Gosainthan which is located to the North-East of Kathmandu, capital of Nepal.

➤ The total length of this river is 730 km. Out of this, it flows for only 260 km in Bihar.

➤ It brings heavy silt and sediments with it after emerging from Himalayas and deposits this heavy load on its mouth, due to which it changes its course frequently. This river has very peculiar nature of shifting its course. Because of this nature of Kosi, the plain region of Northern Bihar is mostly affected by frequent floods. Thus, it is known as ‘Sorrow of Bihar’.

➤ It is known as Saptakoshi in Nepal for its seven upper tributaries. Its important tributaries are Sun Kosi, Arun Kosi, Bagmati, Kamla Balan, Tamur Kosi, Fariani Dhar, Dhemana Dhar, Bhuthi Balan, etc.

Burhi Gandak

➤ It originates from Someshwar hills and flows parallel to river Gandak. It forms meanders in its course. It is known as Sikrahana in its upper reaches.

➤ The Burhi Gandak flows at the old course of the Gandak river, which was once shifted Westward from its present course, thus, it is known by this name.

➤ It has the same course as the Gandak river, from North West to South-East.

➤ It meets the Ganga near Khagaria. It is the fast flowing river of Bihar. The total length of this river in Bihar is 320 km.

➤ Its important tributaries are Harha, Kapan, Mason, Banaganga, Pandai, Maniyari, Karha, Kohaura, Urai, Telabe, Prasad and Tiur.

➤ It is important to note that this river system has a continuous chain of old and abandoned Channels, viz, Chatnaha, Kachnanala, Hardyanala, Balnanala, etc.

➤ In the areas covered by this river, there are several chaurs, marshy lands and water bodies.

Bagmati

➤ It originates from the Mahabharat range of Nepal Himalayas and enters into Bihar plains from Rasulpur village of Sitamarhi district.

➤ It is the holiest river of Nepal. Kathmanda and Pashupati temples are located on the banks of this river.

➤ Its total length is 394 km. It is the second longest river in Bihar state.

➤ Lalbakia, Lakhendei, Chankhala, Jamune, Sipri Dhar, Choti Bagmati, Kola, Bhurengi and Adhwara are its important tributaries.

➤ It is a dangerous river due to its changing course and it badly affects districts through which it passes.

Mahananda

➤ It originates from Mahaldiran hill in Darjeeling district of West Bengal. It is famous for changing its course.

➤ It is the Easternmost river of North Bihar plains, which flows in the South-West direction after emerging from Himalayas and forms the boundary between India (West Bengal) and Bangladesh.

➤ The total length of Mahananda river is 376 km.

➤ It enters Bihar in Kishanganj district. It meets the Ganga river near Manihari (Katihar district) and enters into Bangladesh.

➤ Its important tributaries are Mechi, Balason, Ratwa, Kanakai, Nagar, Dank, Pitanu, Changa, Burhi gangi, etc.

Kamla Balan

➤ It originates fromMahabharat range of hills in Nepal near Sindhuliagarhi. ‘Jiwachh Kamla’ was the old name of this river. It is the famous river and the second holiest river, after Ganga, in Mithila. In Mithila, it is also known as ‘Kamla Mayi’.

➤ It enters Indian Territory in the district of Madhubani in Bihar near Jainagar town.

➤ The total length of the river Kamala is 328 km of which 208 km is in Nepal and the remaining 120 km is in Bihar.

➤ A barrage known as Kamla barrage has been constructed by the State Government near Jainagar.

➤ Its main tributaries are, Dhauri, Soni, Balan and Trisula.

➤ One stream joins Bagmati river at Badlaghat in Khagaria district while another stream joins the Kosi river at the boundary of Saharsa and Darbhanga districts.

➤ It is known for furious flood in the rainy season.

Rivers of Bihar and their Place of Origin

Rivers

Total Length

Length in Bihar

Origin Place

Place of Confluence / Month of River

Ajay

288

202

Batpad (in Jamui district 5 km from Chakai)

In Ganga river in West Bengal

Bagmati

597

394

Mahabharata range of Himalayas (Nepal)

In Kosi river (Badlaghat)

Burhi Gandak

320

320

Someshwar hills

In Ganga river North of Munger

Gandak

630

260

Annapurna, Managmot and Kutang (Nepal, Tibet, Middle Himalayas)

In Ganga river in Hajipur at Sonepur

Ganga

2510

445

Gangotri (Uttarakhand)

In Bay of Bengal

Kamala

328

120

Mahabharata range of Himalayas (Nepal)

In Kosi near Badlaghat (Khagaria)

Karmanasa

192

376

Kaimur range

In Ganga river North of Chausa

Kosi

730

260

Mount Gosainthan

In Ganga river near Kursela in Katihar district

Mahananda

360

307

Mahabharata range of Himalayas (Nepal)

In Ganga river near Katihar.

Phalgu

235

232

Northern part of Chota Nagpur Plateau

In Ganga river near Surajgarha village

Punpun

200

182

Chauraha hill (Palamu district)

In Ganga near Fatuha in Patna

Saryu (Ghaghara)

1080

83

Mapchachungo glacier near Taklakot

In Ganga near Chhapra

Son

780

202

Maikal range in Amarkantak hills (Madhya Pradesh).

In Ganga near Patna

Major Cities situated on the bank of Rivers in Bihar

Rivers

Cities

Burhi Gandak

Samastipur, Muzaffarpur

Gandak

Hajipur, Sonpur

Ganga

Bhagalpur, Patna, Barauni, Dighwara

Phalgu

Gaya

Saryu (Ghaghara)

Chhapra

Waterfalls in Bihar (Bihar GK in English)

The state of Bihar is gifted with some of the most beautiful natural spots.The beauty of the state, the varied waterfalls in Bihar, contributes to the perfect setting of the state.

Waterfalls are formed where water falls from a great height due to steep slope in the course of a river.Waterfalls are formed in the regions which have alternate layers of soft as well as hard rocks.

Important waterfalls of Bihar are given below:

KarkatWaterfall The Kaimur hills in Kaimur district are famous for the Karkat waterfall. It is a picturesque spot and an enchanting one. Visitors are drawn to the location where the water gushes down from a ravine. Karkat waterfall has facilities for boating, swimming and fishing. The KaimurWildlife Sanctuary is situated near this waterfall.

KakolatWaterfall It is located in South-East of Kakolat hills, about 35 km from Nawada near Govindpuri division. This is the most popular tourist site in Bihar. The total height of this fall is 47 m (160 ft) but its main height is 24m (80 ft).

There is a natural pond at the base of the fall. It is situated near the border that Bihar shares with Jharkhand. It is also known as Niagra of Bihar.During Chaitsankranti a fair is held here. The fall is found by the seven streams which came from Kodarma plateau.

TelharWaterfall It is located in Kaimur district. Its height is 262 ft. It falls into a deep pool. The pool is very deep with strong under currents thus, swimming in the pool is prohibited.

Dhua KundWaterfall This fall is located on Kao river in Tarachandi near Sasaram (Rohtas). Its height is 30 m. It is a pair of two waterfalls. The water of these falls is used as a source of hydro-electricity with a capacity to generate 50-100 MWof electricity. It is a part of Manjhar Kund waterfall.

TamasinWaterfall It is located on Mahane river which falls down at the height of 15m (50 ft).

Manjhar KundWaterfall It is located in Kaimur hills near Sasaram (Rohtas). It is located on Karmanasa river. A famous Raksha Bandhan fair is held here.

SukhaldariWaterfall It is located on the border of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar states. It is located on Kanhar river which falls from 100 ft height.

DurgawatiWaterfall It is located near Chanpapar village in Rohtas district. Its height is 91m (298 ft). It is located on Durgawati river. It is also known as ‘Khadarkoh waterfall’.

JiarkundWaterfall It is located on Phuwaria river in Bhojpur district.

Rakim KundWaterfall It is located on Gamghat river in Rohtas district.

KhuariDahWaterfall It is located on Asane river in Rohtas district. Its height is 590 ft.

OrkhanWaterfall It is located on Gopath river in Rohtas district. Its height is 295 ft.

DevdariWaterfall It is located on Karmanasha river in Rohtas district. Its height is 190 ft.

SuaraWaterfall It is located on East Suara river in Rohtas district. Its height is 394 ft.

Lakes in Bihar (Bihar GK in English)

➤ The river of North Bihar (Ganga, Burhi Gandak, Kosi, Mahananda and so on). have formed many natural lakes during changing their river courses.

➤ These are also known as ‘Man, Tal or Chaur’ in local language.

➤ Such lakes are used as fishing ground, home ground for migratory birds and their water is also used for irrigation.

➤ Important Oxbow lakes of Bihar are Saraia Man (Betia), Soneburg Man (Harsidhi), Kharagpur lake (Kharagpur), Siuri Man (Jogpatti) Moti lake (Motihari) and Pithra Man (Pithra).

Important Lakes of Bihar are given below:

Simri Lake

➤ The lake is located 25 km from Saharsa in Simri division.

➤ It is a combination of many lakes like, Jamunia, Sarria, Kumini and Gobara lakes.

➤ Its shape is like a horse-shoe. Kanwar lake is situated on the South-West and Kusheshwar Asthan lake is situated on the North-West of this lake.

Kanwar Lake

➤ The lake is located in Manjhaul village in Begusarai district in Bihar. It is Asia’s largest freshwater oxbow lake.

➤ It was formed by the meandering of Burhi Gandak river.

➤ During winter season (November and December) migratory birds of Siberia visit here. Due to its aquatic flora, this lake has been declared as ‘Reserved Area.’

➤ It has around 110 types of bird species thus, a Bird Breeding Station has also been set up here.

➤ It is world famous for its aquatic plants. Due to Sedimentation and eutrophication its area has been shrinked, and its water level has also gone down due to excessive plant growth.

Gogabil Lake

➤ This lake is located in Manihari sub-division of Katihar district. It is also known as ‘Ghogha Chap’ or ‘Ghogha lake’.

➤ It spreads over an area about 5 sq km. It receives water from monsoon rains as well as Mahananda river.

Jagatpur Lake

➤ This lake is located in Bhagalpur district. It spreads over an area of about of 400 hectares, which shrinks to 50 hectares during summer season. Many bird species have been preserved around this lake with the help of local people and the State Government.

Kusheshwar Sthan Lake

➤ This lake is located in the sub-division of Kusheshwar Sthan in Darbhanga district.

➤ It spreads over an area about 100 sq km. It is famous for its varied bio-diversity and it is also a religious place.

➤ It is also a major centre of fisheries and trade. In 1972, it was declared a bird sanctuary of Bihar.

Udaypur Lake

➤ It is also known as Saraiya Man. It is a famous tourist place of West Champaran district. Many migratory birds visit this lake.

Anupam Lake

➤ Anupam lake is situated in Kaimur Wildlife Sanctuary. Near this lake, Karkat and Telhar waterfalls are situated.

➤ Anupam lake is a rich flora and fauna reserves.

Muchilinda Lake

➤ It is located 3 km South of Mahabodhi temple near Mucharim village in Gaya district.

➤ It has a legend that once Muchalinda, the Snake king gave protection to Lord Buddha during a terrible storm sent by the demons to disturb his meditation.

Wetlands of Bihar (Bihar GK in English)

Wetland is a land which is covered by aquatic plants and Swampy vegetation.

According to NationalWetland Conservation Programme (NWCP), India has about 115 wetlands.Out of which Bihar has 3 wetlands such as Kanwar or Kobar (Begusarai), Kusheshwar Sthan (Darbhanga), and Baraila (Vaishali).

Other Wetlands of Bihar

District

Wetlands

East Champaran

Kesaria Chaur

Katihar

Ghogha Chap lake

Khagaria

Mansi Chaur

Muzaffarpur

Bhusan Man, Brahmapura Man, Bharbhua Chaur

Saharsa

Simri-Bakhtiyarpur, Bhagwa Chaur, Bora Chaur, Parba Murli Chaur, Muradpur Chaur

Saran

Haria Chaur

Vaishali

Raghupur

West Champaran

Udaypur lake, Chaita Chaur.

Hot Springs in Bihar (Bihar GK in English)

A spring is a point where water flows out of the ground. It is the result of an aquifer being filled to the point that the water overflows onto the land surface. Bihar is endowed with a number of hot springs. The temperature of water in these springs varies from 30° to 70°C. Rajgir has a number of popular and historical hot springs.

Prominent hot springs are Saptdhara, Surya Kund,Makhdum Kund and Nanak Kund. Brahma Kund is another popular hotspring in Rajgir, which has 150C temperature. All the smugs of Rajgir has a temperature more than 70C.Munger also has a number of hotsprings.

Important springs of Bihar and their location

Spring

Location

Agri Kund

Gaya

Lakshman Kund (Hottest in Munger), Rameshwar Kund, Gaumukh Kund, Sita Kund, Rishi Kund, Bhim bandh

Munger

Janam Kund, Lakshmishwar Kund, Shringar Rishi Kund, Bharari Kund, Panchtar

Munger

Saptdhara, Surya Kund, Makhdum Kund, Brahma Kund (Hottest in Rajgir), Nanank Kund

Rajgir