India : Assam : Along the Brahmaputra # 2

The Brahmaputra River is a large river by any standard.  It is one of the major rivers of Asia.  It originates in the Angsi Glacier on the northern side of the Himalayas in Tibet.  It cuts through the Himalayas in deep gorges and flows into the Indian state of Arunchal Pradesh before flowing SW through the Assam Valley.  It then flows in a southerly direction through Bangladesh and into the vast Ganges Delta.  After breaking through the Himalayas, the river exhibits typical braided river characteristics.  It is highly susceptable to channel migration which makes navigation difficult.  For our journey on the river a pilot boat charted the way.  The Brahmaputra has many name changes in its 2,900km (1,800ml) journey to the Bay of Bengal as each country, and even states, call it by a different name.

The river is prone to catastrophic flooding in spring when the Himalayan snows melt.  The average discharge is about 19,300 cubic metres (680,000 cu ft) per second.  This is the equivalent of 34.3 times the volume of Sydney Harbour.  The discharge can rise to 100,000 cubic metres (3,500,000 cu ft) per second during floods.  This is 178 times the volume of Sydney Harbour.

Although navigable for most of its length, I did not see much river trafficwhilst on this journey.

P1010205  © DY  of  jtdytravels

P1010205 © DY of jtdytravels

Although the river has an average depth of 38m (124ft),

there are many shallow sand banks jutting out into the river.


P1010197  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1010197 © DY of jtdytravels

The main type of river traffic we saw were small wooden fishing boats.


P1010209  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1010209 © DY of jtdytravels

Our pilot boat, Subansiri, was never far ahead – charting a safe course for us.


P1010212   ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1010212 © DY of jtdytravels

The Subansiri, and another boat hitching a ride, in the very flat landscape.


P1010247  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1010247 © DY of jtdytravels

One of the boats seen on the river.


P1010256  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1010256 © DY of jtdytravels

Another fishing boat, out for a day’s fishing.


P1010257  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1010257 © DY of jtdytravels

More fishing from a small wooden boat.


P1010271  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1010271 © DY of jtdytravels

High tension power cables crossing the river on tall support masts near

the Kolia Bhomora Setu Bridge.


P1010276  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1010276 © DY of jtdytravels

The Kolia Bhomora Setu bridge was the second bridge built over the Brahmaputra river.  It is an important link to the rest of India for the seven states in the NE of the country.  It is 3015m (just 223yds short of 2 miles) long and is supported by 27 piers.


P1010284  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1010284 © DY of jtdytravels

These kids belong to some of the tea pickers on the Koliabur Tea Estate.


P1010287  ©  DY  of  jtdytravels

P1010287 © DY of jtdytravels

Brightly dressed tea pickers on the Koliabur Tea Estate.

It had been a very interesting start to our river journey; a much more gentle journey.


More anon



Photography   Copyright  ©  David Young  of  jtdytravels


More of our travels stories and photographs can be found on





Leave a Reply