The Alaknanda is a Himalayan river in the state of Uttarakhand, India that is one of the two headstreams of the Ganges which is the major river of Northern India and the holy river of Hinduism. The other headstream, Bhagirathi which is longer, is the source stream.
The Alaknanda rises at the confluence and feet of the Satopanth and Bhagirath Kharak glaciers in Uttarakhand. It meets the Bhagirathi River at Devprayag after flowing for approximately 190 km (118.1 mt) through the Alaknanda valley. Its main tributaries are the Mandakini, Nandakini, and Pindar rivers. The Alaknanda system drains parts of Chamoli, Tehri, and Pauri districts. Following the merging at Devprayag, the river is known as the Ganges. The Alaknanda contributes a significantly larger portion to the flow of the Ganges than the Bhagirathi. The Hindu pilgrimage centre of Badrinath lies along the banks of the Alaknanda river. The Alaknanda is also known for adventure sports like rafting.
In mythology, the Goddess Ganga descended to earth at Gangotri, the original source of the Bhagirathi before the Gangotri Glacier receded to its current location at Gomukh. The Alaknanda is believed to have split off from the celestial Ganges when it descended from heaven. The origin of Alaknanda River is of special interest to the tourists who dare to visit the important pilgrimages in Uttarakhand. The Ganges rises in the southern Himalayas on the Indian side of the Tibet border. The five headstreams of the Ganges including the Bhagirathi, Mandakini, Alaknanda, Dhauliganga and Pindar all rise in the northern mountainous regions of Uttarakhand.
At Alaknanda's origin, Lake Satopanth is a triangular lake, located at a height of 4402 meters above the sea level and named after the Hindu trinity Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva. Nanda Devi is the highest point of the Alaknanda basin. Near the border with Tibet, the Alaknanda merges with the present Saraswati River at Keshavprayag beyond Sri Badrinath at Mana.
Badrinath: Badrinath, one of the holy destinations for Hindus in India is located near to the bank of the Alaknanda River. This place is surrounded by two mountain ranges of Nar and Narayan and Neelkanth peak is located at the back side.
Rafting: Alaknanda River origin is of great interest for the tourists who visit the pilgrimages in Uttarakhand. Rise of the Ganges in India is from the southern part of the Indian Himalaya, near the Tibet border. This river is among the best for river rafting in the World due to its high rafting grade.
Several rivers in the Garhwal region merge with the Alaknanda at Panch Prayag or 'holy confluence of rivers'. These are:
There are 37 hydroelectric dams in operation, under construction or planned to block the flow of the Alaknanda river and its tributaries and generate electricity. As the river flows, the towns along its banks are Badrinath, Vishnuprayag, Joshimath
, Chamoli, Nandaprayag, Karnaprayag, Rudraprayag, Srinagar
and Devprayag. At each town with suffix prayag, Alaknanda meets another river.