The Tista River (also known as the Teesta River) is referred to as the lifeline of the state of Sikkim in India. The itinerary of the river spans almost the whole length of the state. The Tista River plays a key role in forming the lush green humid and moderate river basins of the Himalayan mountain ranges. It is also the most beautiful river in Sikkim and one of the important rivers in Bangladesh .

About the Tista River

The Tista River is famous for its emerald green waters. Prior to meeting the Brahmaputra River in Bangladesh as a tributary, the Tista River forms the boundary between West Bengal and Sikkim. The river is 196 miles (315) km long. About 115 km of its stretch is situated in Bangladesh. The average monthly flow of the river is approximately 2,430 cumec and the catchment area of the river on the mountains is only 12,500 sq km.

Itinerary of Tista River

The Tista River has its source in the Cholamo Lake in Northern Sikkim at an altitude of 5,330 meters (17,487 feet) over sea surface in the Himalayan mountain ranges. The Cholamo Lake is situated on the north of the Donkia Pass close to Shetschen, in which place the peak of the pass is around 8 km northeast of the Darjeeling district.

Subsequently, the Tista River is supplied by streams that originate from the Yumthang, Thangu, and Donkia-La mountain ranges. Then river then moves across the Rangpo town where it creates the frontier between Sikkim and West Bengal until it reaches Tista Bazaar. Just beneath the Tista Bridge, which connects Darjeeling with Kalimpong, the Tista River joins its major tributary, the Rangeet River. In this area, the river shifts its itinerary to the south, running into the state of West Bengal. The river meets the terrains at Sevoke, where it is covered by the Coronation Bridge that connects the states of the northeastern India to the other parts of India. Subsequently, the Tista River routes its itinerary to Jalpaiguri and after that the Rangpur district of Bangladesh, prior to ultimately fusing with the powerful Brahmaputra at Fulchori.

Geography of Tista River

Throughout its itinerary, the Tista River has formed canyons and narrow valleys in Sikkim rambling across the mountains with the hill station of Kalimpong situated just on the riverbanks. You will see diverse types of flora beside the itinerary of the river. At lesser heights, you will see tropical broad-leafed plants and bushes encompassing the hills nearby. At higher elevations, alpine plants are noticed. The Tista River has white sands on its side. This is an essential ingredient for the construction industry in the area. Big stones in and around the river waters make it a perfect place for river rafting fans.

Amid the townships of Lohapul and Rangpo, the river runs with an extremely mighty flow, which is right for whitewater rafting. Areas such as Melli and Tista Bazaar have amenities for river rafting in groups. In spite of the fact that the Teesta appears similar to a safe river, the underlying flows of the river are quite powerful. G.P. Robertson, the erstwhile Municipal Commissioner of Darjeeling, died after going berserk on the dinghy in the uproar at the time of inspecting the river. The boat hit a partly concealed stone and was drawn by a whirlpool, parting no hint of the riders. During the monsoon months, this modest river expands its riverbanks, both in terms of dimension and flow. Avalanches in these areas frequently block portions of the river in this period.

Shifts in the itinerary of rivers

Significant shifts have occurred in the itinerary of some of the rivers in West Bengal and the bordering regions throughout the period since 1500 AD. Despite the fact that constructive proof is absent, same types of shifts can be taken for granted in the more distant past. The Tista River is one of the very few rivers that have altered its itinerary over a significant period of time.

Previously, the Teesta River flowed southward from the Jalpaiguri district in three waterways, i.e. the Punarbhaba to the west, the Karatoya to the east, and the Atrai in the middle. These three canals probably contributed to the river being named as Trisrota (having three torrents), which has been abbreviated and distorted to Teesta. Of these three watercourses, the Punarbhaba met the Mahananda. The Atrai River traverses a huge swampy region named as Chalan Beel, meets the Karatoya, and their collective flow meets the Padma close to Jafarganj. In the devastating deluges of 1787, the river abandoned its previous waterway and ran to the southeast, meeting the Brahmaputra.

A study was conducted by Rennel between 1764 and 1777. The maps drawn by him are one of oldest and genuine maps of Bengal that are presently available. In these maps, Tista has been demonstrated as running through North Bengal in various tributaries – Atrai, Punarbhaba, Karatoya, and others. All these torrents become united with the Mahananda in the lower catchment Basin of the river, and get the name of Hoorsagar. Currently, Mahananda is the westernmost river in North Bengal. Ultimately, they pour into the Ganga at Jafarganj, close to present Goalundo. The Hoorsagar River is still present as the united outlet of the Barai, which is a spill canal of the Ganga, the Jamuneswari or Jamuna (not the central Jamuna through which the Brahmaputra currently runs) and the Karatoya. However, rather than pouring into the Ganges, it pours into the central Jamuna, one or two miles over its meeting point with the Padma at Goalundo.

Dams proposed on Teesta River

A number of Dams have been proposed by the Indian Government on the Teesta River that should manufacture around 50,000 MW of electricity in the forthcoming 10-12 years. With a number of the biggest deposit levels, the formation of a tank will result in a higher stress on an active fault region. Experts are apprehensive that construction of these dams may cause river-stimulated seismicity. In spite of these concerns, the building of the dams had begun.

A number of hydroelectric power projects have been assigned to both private and public sector companies and they are as follows:

Name of Project Agency Capacity (MW) Year of Completion
Tista I (North) Himalayan Green Energy Pvt. Ltd. New Delhi 280 2012-13
Tista II (North) Him Urja Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd. New Delhi 330 2011-12
Tista III (North) Teesta Urja Limited, New Delhi 1,200 2011-12
Tista IV (North) NHPC Limited, New Delhi 495 2011-12
Tista V NHPC Limited, New Delhi 510 2006-07
Teesta VI (South) Lanco Energy Pvt. Ltd. 500 2011-12
Panan North Himagiri Hydro Energy Pvt. Ltd. Hyderabad 300 2011-12
Lachen North NHPC Ltd., New Delhi 210 2011-12
Rongnichu (East) Madhya Bharat Power Corporation Ltd. 96 2011-12
Rangyong (North) BSCPL-SCL Joint Venture Hyderabad 117 2011-12
Chujachen (East) Gati Infrastructures Ltd. Hyderabad 99 2009-10
Sada Mangder (South) Gati Infrastructures Ltd. Hyderabad 71 2011-12
Rolep (East) Amalgamated Transpower (I) Ltd. New Delhi 36 2009-10
Bhasmey (East) Gati Infrastructures Ltd. Hyderabad 32 2011-12
Chakhungchu (Nrth) Amalgamated Transpower (I) Ltd New Delhi 50 2011-12
Rangit II (West) Sikkim Ventures Pvt. Ltd., Mumbai 60 2011-12
Ralong (South) Amalgamated Transpower (I) Ltd. New Delhi 40 2011-12
Rangit IV (West) Jal Power Corporation Ltd. Hyderabad 120 2011-12
Jorethang Loop (South) DANS Energy Pvt. Ltd New Delhi 96 2011-12
Dikchu (North) Sneha Kinetic Power Projects Ltd. Hyderabad 96 2011-12
Thangchi (North) Lachung Power Private Ltd New Delhi 40 2011-12
Lingza (North) SSNR Super Power Private Ltd., Hyderabad 120 2011-12
Bimkyong (North) Teesta Power Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi 99 2011-12
Ting Ting (West) SMEC (India) Pvt. Ltd. New Delhi 70 2011-12
Bop (North) Chungthang Power Pvt. Ltd. New Delhi 90 2011-12
Tashiding (West) Shiga Energy Pvt. Ltd. 60 2011-12
Rateychu-Bakchachu (North) Coastal Projects Pvt. Ltd 40 2010-11

The projected hydroelectric power locations on the rivers in Sikkim are anticipated to generate more than 5.0 gigawatts of capacity.

Tista Bazaar or Teesta Bazaar

Teesta Bazaar is an important intersection on the Siliguri-Gangtok highway on National Highway 31A of West Bengal in India. The area is lying on the right riverbank of Teesta River. Moving upstream on the right riverbank from Siliguri, the way moves in the direction of Darjeeling. The Tista River gets traversed here by the Teesta Suspension Bridge. An intersection, 3 km (2 miles) before on the same main road, divides from the key way to Kalimpong. Teesta Bazaar is situated four km (2.5 miles) downriver from the industrial settlement of Melli.

Geography of Teesta Bazaar

Teesta Bazaar is situated between the coordinates 27°04′ North 88°26′ East and 27.06° North 88.43° East. The Bazaar is lying at a height of 300 feet (90 m) over the average sea surface. River rafting is a famous adventure sport activity in this area that draws significant numbers of tourists from different places of India and abroad. This is also the area where the Teesta River runs into West Bengal. Majority of the localities surrounding Teesta is guarded by the Indian Army since it falls under a susceptible boundary region.

Rafting Spots on Teesta River

The popular river rafting spots on the river are as follows:

Makha and Rongpo: Rongpo and Makha stretch is probably the smallest stint on the Teesta river. The tour will take about two and a half hours.
Dikchu and Teesta Bridge: This stretch is more extensive and more arduous than Makha and Rongpo tour.
Dikchu and Kali Johra (West Bengal): It is a five-day trip, beginning from Sikkim and finishing in Kali Johra situated in West Bengal.
Bordang and Melli: River rafting amid Borgand and Melli is one more thrilling choice over Teesta River.

Places related with Teesta River

The following places and states are related to the Teesta River in various ways:

  • Assam Himalayas (mountains in Asia)
  • Asia
  • Brahmaputra River (river in Asia)
  • Bangladesh
  • Jalpaiguri (West Bengal, India)
  • India
  • Nepal Himalayas (mountains in Asia)
  • Mangan (India)

Last Updated on March 13, 2020