Life in Ganga-Brahmaputra Basin

The tributaries of river Ganga and Brahmaputra together form the Ganga-Brahmaputra Basin in the Indian subcontinent.The basin lies in the subtropical region that is situated between 100 N to 230N latitudes. The tributaries of the river Ganga, like the Ghagra, the Son, the Chambal, the Gandak , the Kosi and the tributaries of Brahmaputra like Dibang River, Lohit River, Teesta, Manas drain it.

Main features of the basin:

The planes of the Ganga and Brahmaputra, the mountains and the foothills of the Himalayas and the  Sundarban delta are the main features of this basin.Ox-bow lakes dot the plain area.


 The areas is dominated by monsoon climate.The monsoon brings rain for mid-June to mid-September. The summers are hot and winters are cool.


The basin area has varied topography. The mountain areas with steep slopes have inhospitable terrain.Therefore less number of people live in the mountain area of the Ganga-Brahmaputra basin. The plain area provides the most suitable land for human habitation. The soil is fertile.Agriculture is the main occupation of the people where flat land is available to grow crops. The density of population of the plains is very high.Paddy is the main cropwhile other crops grown or wheat, maize, sorghum, gram, millets, jute and sugarcane.Cash crops like sugar cane and jute are also grown.Banana plantations are seen in some areas of the plain.In West Bengal and Assam, tea is grown in plantations.Silk is produced through the cultivation of silk worms in the parts of Bihar and Assam.In the mountains and hills, where the slopes are gentle, crops are grown on terraces.

Terraces are built on steep slopes to create flat surfaces on which crops are grown. The slope is removed so that water does not run off rapidly.

Paddy cultivation
Tea Garden Assam

Population density- It means the number of persons that live in one sq. km of area e.g. the population density of Uttarakhand is 189 while the density of West Bengal is 1029 and that of Bihar is 1102.


The vegetation cover of the area varies according to the type of landforms.In the Ganga and Brahmaputra plain, tropical deciduous trees grow, along with teak, sal and peepal. Thick bamboo groves are common in the Brahmaputra plain. The delta area is covered with the mangrove forests. In parts of Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh, coniferous trees like pine, deodar and fir can be seen because the climate is cool and the slopes are steep.


Elephants,tigers,deer and  monkeys are common.The one-horned rhinoceros is  found in the Brahmaputra plain. In the delta area, Bengal tiger, crocodiles and alligators are found.Aquatic life abounds in the fresh river waters, the lakes and the Bay of Bengal Sea. The most popular variety of the fish rohu, catlaand hilsa.Fish and rice is the staple diet of the people living in the area.

One horned rhinoceros

Towns and cities

The cities of Allahabad, Kanpur, Varanasi, Lucknow, Patna and Kolkata all with the population of more than ten lakhs are located along the River Ganga.The waste water from these towns in industries is discharged into the rivers which pollute the river.

In the fresh rivers ofRiver Ganga and River Brahmaputra, a variety of dolphins locally calledSusu also called blind dolphin is found.The presence of susu  is indication of the health of the river. The untreated industrial and urban waste with high amount of chemicals are killing these species.

Blind Dolphin

To accelerate the efforts to achieve universal sanitation coverage and to put fours on sanitation, the Prime Minister of India launched the Swatch Bharat Mission on 2nd October 2014.

To conserve the river gangaNamami Ganga programme has been initiated.


Ways of transport are well developed in the Ganga Brahmaputra basin.In the plain areas, the roadways and railways transport the people from one place to another.The waterways is an effective means of transport, particularly along the rivers.Kolkata is an important port on the River Hooghly.The plain area also has a number of airports.

Tourism centres

Tourism is another important activity of the basin. Taj Mahal on the banks of River Yamuna in Agra, Allahabad on the confluence of the Rivers Ganga and Yamuna.Buddhists stupas in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, Lucknow with its Imambara, Assam with Kaziranga and Manas with wildlife centuries in Arunachal Pradesh with a distinct tribal culture or some of the places worth a visit. 

Kaziranga National Park


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