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West Rapti River

Uttar Pradesh is a province of north India. This state is a densely populated region. The main reason for high population density is availability of water through the network of many rivers and their tributaries. People settled along the banks of water bodies. River Ganga along with its main tributaries made the land very fertile. Ghaghara river is one of the main left bank tributaries of River Ganga. West Rapti River is a tributary of Ghaghara river. West Rapti and Ghaghara both have origins in Nepal.

History and Course

The Rapti zone is a district of Nepal. This district is about 200 kms west of the Nepalese capital city of Kathmandu. The West Rapti river rises in Nepal’s middle hills. Western Himalayas and the Mahabharat range of mountains together form a ridge. A summit at an elevation of 3,500 meters is marked as the origin of rivers. Water flowing from the southern side of the summit, eventually takes the form of the West Rapti river. Initially this river flows eastwards through Deukhuri valley. Later the river takes south eastern route to enter India. West Rapti river flows in the plains of India. Later it merges with Ghaghara river.

The West Rapti river passes through various districts of Uttar Pradesh in India. Districts of Shravasti, Siddharth Nagar, Basti, Sant Kabir Nagar and Gorakhpur are traversed by West Rapti. Beyond the city of Gorakhpur, West Rapti merges with Ghaghara river, at a place called Rajpur. After traversing further 120 kms, Ghaghara joins River Ganga at Chhapra in Bihar state.

Water flow in West Rapti varies significantly as per season. During monsoon season, West Rapti transforms into a huge river, sometimes endangering agriculture and people. Building of dams upstream is being considered on priority, to avoid such losses.  Dams can store water for irrigation purposes. Electricity generation can be another advantage. Other flood control programs are being studied for viability.


West Rapti river, when in Nepal, goes through many diverse terrains. West Rapti traverses through the highlands, gorges, and valleys. During the journey, the water flow is joined by many other small rivers. Madi Khola, Lungri Khola, Amrukh Khola, Jhimruk Khola, and Mardi Khola are names of West Rapti’s tributaries. All these tributaries merge with West Rapti in Nepal’s territory.

One more river, named as Rohini, is also a tributary of West Rapti. Rohini originates in Nepal. However, it flows separately and enters the Indian soil. Rohini becomes left bank tributary of the West Rapti and merges with West Rapti near the city of Gorakhpur in India.

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