Bhagirathi is the source stream of Ganga. It emanates from Gangotri Glacier at Gaumukh at an elevation of 3,892 m (12,770 feet). Many small streams comprise the headwaters of Ganga. The important among these are Alaknanda,Dhauliganga, Pindar, Mandakini and Bhilangana. At Devprayag, where Alaknanda joins Bhagirathi, the river acquires the name Ganga. It traverses a course of 2525 km before flowing into the Bay of Bengal. It has a large number of tributaries joining it during this journey .
In Uttarakhand, near Tehri,a dam,has been built on Bhagirathi for hydropower generation resulting in regulated additional water during the dry months. At Haridwar, Ganga opens to the Gangetic Plains, where a barrage diverts a large quantity of its waters into the Upper Ganga Canal, to provide water for irrigation. At Bijnore, another barrage diverts water into the Madhya Ganga Canal but only during monsoon months. At Narora, there is further diversion of water into the Lower Ganga Canal.
Further down, River Ramganga joins Ganga near Kannauj, adding additional water to the river. Yamuna confluences Ganga at the Sangam in Allahabad, making a major contribution to the river flow. BeyondAllahabad, Ganga is joined by several tributaries, most of which are from the north and a few from the south. In the stretch between Allahabad in U.P. and Malda in West Bengal, Ganga, therefore, has considerable flow. The Farakka barrage inWest Bengal regulates the flow of the river, diverting some of the water into a feeder canal linking Hooghly to keep it relatively silt-free.Downstream of this barrage, River Ganga splits,into two, Bhagirathi (Hooghly) on the right and Padma on the left. Bhagirathi (Hooghly) meets the Bay of Bengal about 150 km downstream of Kolkata. Padma enters Bangladesh and meetsriver Brahmputra and Meghna before finally joining the Bay of Bengal.