The Brahmaputra is the only river in India named after a male god, making it a potent counterpart to the Great Mother Ganges.
A major river of South and Central Asia, the Brahmaputra flows from its source in the Himalayas, some 1,800 miles to its confluence with the Ganges, where the mingled waters spill into the Bay of Bengal. Along its course it passes through Tibet, the Indian states of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam, and Bangladesh. As it passes through different countries, the river assumes different names: Yarlung Tsangpo where it arises in Tibet’s Angsi Glacier, Dihang in the Arunachal Pradesh region of India, and the Jamuna River to the inhabitants of Bangladesh.
In the lush Assam valley in the northeast corner of India, the river becomes Brahmaputra, or “Son of Brahma,” in tribute to one of the greatest Hindu deities. Here, lucky travelers will discover historic palaces, forts and temples, and a rare glimpse into the customs and daily lives of remote tribes who have called this spot home for centuries. Other attractions include verdant tea plantations and one of the world’s great wildernesses, Kaziranga National Park, home to elephant, wild swamp and hog deer, white rhino, tiger, and leopard, as well as a living kaleidoscope of brightly colored birds.
The Brahmaputra River cruise season runs from November through April, when the monsoon rains end. A handful of operators offer river cruises on the Brahmaputra; regardless of who you travel with, chances are good you will sail aboard the MV Mahabaahu, the river’s largest vessel, accommodating 46 passengers on five decks.