Brahmaputra River, a large river in southern Asia. Brahmaputra is its name in India; in China the upper part is called the Maquan and the lower part is called the Yarlung. The Brahmaputra is about 1,800 miles (2,900 km) long and drains some 360,000 square miles (930,000 km2). The Brahmaputra begins at the junction of several streams from the Himalayas and the Gandise Mountains in southwestern Tibet. It flows easterly, parallel to the Himalayas, at elevations above 10,000 feet (3,000 m).
At the eastern tip of the Himalayas, the river turns southward and descends rapidly through a deep valley to the lowlands of Assam in India. Here the river is known as the Dihang. After receiving the Dibang and Luhit, the Brahmaputra veers southwest-ward and begins a long, sluggish course to the sea through a region rich in rice, sugarcane, and jute.
In western Assam the river turns southward into Bangladesh and splits into two branches, chief of which is the Jamuna. Near Dhaka, the Brahmaputra joins the Ganges and Meghna rivers, and their combined waters flow to the Bay of Bengal. The lower Brahmaputra is navigable for more than 800 miles (1,300 km) and is a major means of transport.