Chamoli tragedy: Glacial Breach Triggered Floods

An avalanche and flash floods triggered in Alaknanda river in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand following a glacial breach.


  • Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment (SASE) is investigating the matter.
  • SASE works under the nodal head Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)
  • Exact reason for the flooding is not yet known.
  • Experts points that, this avalanche was caused probably due to glacial breach. The glacial breach also breached a lake in the Raini village in Chamoli district.
  • The raini village is situated on the boundary of Nanda Devi biosphere reserve.
  • The breach has resulted into increase in water levels in the Dhauliganga river and the Rishiganga, one of the tributaries of Dhauliganga river.
  • The avalanche has destroyed the Rishi Ganga hydel plant on the Rishiganga river.

 Alaknanda River

  • It is a Himalayan river in Uttarakhand.
  • It is one of the two headstreams of River Ganga. The other is the Bhagirathi.
  • River Alaknanda is also called as the source stream of the Ganges because of its greater length and discharge.
  • But in Hindu mythology and culture, Bhagirathi is called as the source stream of Ganga.
  • There are five main tributaries of Alaknanda in order namely the River Dhauliganga, River Nandakini, River Pindar, River Mandakini and River Bhagirathi. All of them rise in the northern mountainous regions of Uttarakhand.
  • It is one of the best river for river rafting in the world because of its high rafting grade.

Holy confluence of rivers

  1. At Vishnuprayag, Dhauliganga River meets Alaknanda river.
  2. At Nandaprayag, Nandakini River meets Alaknanda.
  3. At Karnaprayag, Pindar River meets Alaknanda.
  4. At Rudraprayag, Mandakini River meets Alaknanda.
  5. At Devprayag, Bhagirathi River meets alaknanda and it officially becomes River Ganges.


It is among the six source streams of the River Ganges river. The river meets the river Alaknanda at Vishnuprayag in Joshimath.


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