Did you know that Jamuna, Brahmaputra, and Tsangpo are the names of the same river? I bet you didn’t. It’s the same mighty river, but called with different names while traversing through varied landscapes. Did you also know that it is revered by Jains, Hindus and Buddhists with the same passion and belief? Its origin is as mystical as its flows from underneath the glaciers in of the most sanctified regions on this planet. There are many folk stories, war episodes and mysteries that are associated with it from centuries. Let’s unravel a few and enlighten you about its glory and fame.
The Tibetans strongly believe that long before the humans inhabited this planet, the Tibetan plateau was covered by water and was a huge lake. An enlightened being decided to open the waters for the welfare of the people. Hence the Himalayas were cut to make a passage for Tsangpo which means the Great River. Old manuscripts in Buddhism have often claimed that the gorges and forests from where it flows are very holy. They believe that the gorge created leads the path to paradise in the mortal world or Shang-ri- La. The river is also often called Burha or old when in the mighty Himalayas.
The oldest records about the river date back to the 16th century when many armies, generals and officers wanted to trace the river to its source. Not many succeeded, but they all came back mystified about its beauty, diversity and vastness. The call of this river has been very difficult to resist for many.
The river is supposed to originate from Mansarovar in the mountain ranges called Kailash, which are supposed to be the abode of Lord Shiva and his family. It is a strange fact that Brahmaputra is the only male river in India, rest are females. It flows at a height of four hundred meters for almost thirteen thousand kilometers in the Himalayas and the Tibet. The highest any river has gone in the world. Based on the rate of its flow it is ranked fifth in the world. The river starts as a trickle and goes on to become a force to reckon by the time it enters Bangladesh.
The river is supposed to be the son of Lord Brahma, hence the name. Legend has it that Shantanu a sage was living in the area of Kailash with his beautiful wife Amodha. Lord Brahma got enchanted with her beauty, but she refused his proposal. Brahmaputra is supposed to be Brahma’s son who was conceived with Amodha. Even today there is a water source in that area called Brahmkund, from where the river is supposed to originate.
The river causes many floods and erosions every year. It is known to change it course without any notice. And is one of the few rivers to display a tidal behavior. The force in it is associated with these tidal waves that actually travel upstream against the current. So strong is its current that once it enters Arunachal Pradesh and Assam, it is harnessed for hydro power by many projects.
The delta of Brahmaputra has long been associated with an unexplained phenomenon. There are sounds that are heard which resemble an airplane or guns being shot. The strange part is that the noises have been reported even in the era when there were no planes. The hosts of explanations from meteors, tsunamis, vents of gas have failed to give a convincing answer. But after the earthquake of 1777 they have become less frequent.
When travelling in the North Eastern states of our country, you will surely hear this belief. If you cross the mighty river once, you have to cross it again. You cannot get away without doing it. Ask anyone and they will confirm this notion.