Watersheds There are mainly three watersheds.
Rivers The main rivers of the Himalayan group are the Indus, Ganga and the Bhramputra. These rivers are both snow-fed and rain-fed and have therefore continuous flow throughout the year. Himalayan rivers discharge about 70% of their inflow into the sea. This includes about 5% from central Indian rivers. They join the Ganga and drain into the Bay of Bengal.
The Indus which the Aryans called the Sindhu, has lent its name to India. Its valleys on both sides have been the seats of civilization. This historic river has five major tributaries - the Jhelum, the Ravi, the Beas and the Sutlej. The Indus rises from the Mount Kailash (the abode of Lord Shiva) in Tibet north of the Himalayas, at an elevation of 5,180 metres and traverses many miles through the Himalayas before it is joined by its tributaries in the Punjab. It travels west and southwest for 2,897 kilometres and empties into the Arabian Sea through several mouths. Thereafter it passes into Sind (Pakistan) to fall into the Arabian Sea.
The Ganga (also Ganges) famous like in legends and history, is considered the most sacred river by the Hindus. It covers, what is called the heartland of India, which was the main centre of the ancient Aryan culture. It is the greatest waterway in India and one of the largest in the world. It is most important to the Indians for the part it plays in the Hindu religion.
Each year, thousands of Hindu pilgrims visit such holy cities as Varanasi and Allahabad along the banks of the Ganga to bathe in the river and to take home some of its water. Temples line the riverbank, and ghats (stairways) lead down to the water. Some pilgrims come to bathe in the water only to cleanse and purify themselves. The sick and crippled come hoping that the touch of the water will cure their ailments. Others come to die in the river, for the Hindus believe that those who die in the Ganga will be carried to Paradise.
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