Netrawati River Also Known as Ankhu Khola

12 March, 2024 By Dambar Khadka

Nepal is home to more than 6000 rivers flowing from East to west, each of which significantly affects the country’s ecosystem and economy. Among them, the Netrawati River is underrated in the Dhading district. Flowing through the source of the Ganesh Himal range, Kalo Kunda, and Seto Kunda, the river is a significant source of support for the surrounding residents. On the trek trail to the Manaslu circuit, trekkers must cross the Netrawati River by the bridge at Taribenshi. 

Lying in Dhading district, Bagmati zone, and province number 3, the district has more than 1743 rivers with smaller rivers, springs, and seasonal streams. Netrawati is one, with its crystal clear water and beautiful surroundings.

The Netrawati River of Charange Dhading is more than 200 km long and flows from East to west. The river’s width at the top is 5-7m, and at the bottom, it is 30-35m wider. Many streams join into the Ankhu Khola; at the end, the river joins at Budhi Gandaki. 

As the source of Netrawati is in the Himalayan high-altitude ranges, it flows down, creating cascading waterfalls and gorges that add to the region’s natural beauty. The Netrawati River flows across different ecosystems and provides vital nutrients for various plants and fauna. The surrounding lands where the rivers flow are the areas with high biodiversity, helping conserve unique species and promoting ecological balance.

The water flowing density of the Netrawati River varies around the year. During the monsoon (June to August), the river overflows with extreme water; during the dry season, the river becomes narrower and smaller. 

Due to heavy rainfall in monsoons and snowmelt from the Himalayas on the Netrawati River, the problems regarding floods are high. The heavy flow of the water on the river causes vast landslides in the villages and terraced fields. 

Despite its causes during the monsoon, the Netrawati River plays an essential role in the economic well-being of people near its banks. The Netrawati River supports the area’s agriculture on fertile land by providing a proper irrigation facility for crops like rice, wheat, and maize for cultivation. Furthermore, the river’s hydroelectric potential helps Nepal’s energy-producing capacity.

Netrawati River or Ankhu Khola Hydropower 

Located in Dhading district and 132 km away from the capital city of Nepal, the Ankhu Khola hydropower project represents a remarkable achievement in the sustainable energy development of Nepal. The powerhouse lies on the right bank of the river at Sisneri Khet in Rigna Bazar of Dhading. 

Ankhu Khola is another name for the Netrawati River. Hence, the primary source of the Ankhu Khola Hydropower Project is the Netrawati River/ Ankhu Khola. The hydropower utilizes the flow of the Netrawati River. 

The project site of Ankhu Khola hydropower is at 28000 ’00” to 28000′ 57″ N latitude and 84054 ’00” to 84055′ 32″E longitude. A while back, the capacity produced by hydropower was 7.0 MW, then it increased to 804 MW. The capacity currently in use is 8.4MW. And the intended output for 8.4 MW is 34.50 m3/s. Hence, the total contribution of the Ankhu hydropower project to the nation is 8.4 MW.

Local area Nearby the river 

The Netrawati River flows through different areas and settlements in the Dhading district. The river winds through beautiful settlements of various ethnic groups, including Brahmin, Chettri, Newar, Sherpa, and Tmanag. Each ethnic group has different dialects and religions. Brahmin and Chettri of the areas speak the proper Nepali language, and other groups speak their language. 

The well-known local areas near the Netrawati River are: 

Gtalang

Gtalang is a small hamlet in the Dhading district, Bagmati zone, province number 3. Most people living in Gtalang are Tamang communities that follow the Buddhist religion. Most of the locals of the village engage in farming. The villagers from Gatlang are not well educated and still follow old traditions. 

Tipling

Tiplang is the village of Rubivalley, a rural municipality in the Dhading district, and it lies near the river of Netrawati. The town became famous after its motorway connection with Dhading Besi. The primary religion of the Tipling village is Christianity. According to the 1991 census, the area had a population of 2092 and 436 houses. 

Lapa

Lapa is a small settlement near the river of Netrawati. The village lies within Ruby Valley in the Dhading district. In the central part of Nepal, the village lies in Bagmati Zone. As per the result published by the census 1991, the village had a population of 3809 with 757 houses at that time. The primary religion of the town is Buddhism. 

Rigaun

Rigaun/ Ree gaun is a village development committee of Dhading in central Nepal in the Bagmati zone. The village lies within the Northern part of Dhading. The town comprises wards 1 and 2 of Ganga Jamuna Rural Municipality. The major religions of the area are Christian, Bon, and Buddhist, with  90% of the Tamang ethnic group and some with Gurung, Kami (BK), and  Damai. The area’s locals make their livelihoods in agriculture by providing irrigation from Netrawati’s river. 

Tripureshwor/Khahare

In Dhading district, Tripureshwor/ Khara is a village development committee of the Bagmati Zone in the central part of Nepal. The Netrawati River passes through the Tripureshwor village. The 1991 census of Nepal showed that the village had a population of 2707 and 497 houses.

 Among one of the mid-north village development committees that was politically stable and famous during the conflict of 10 years in Nepal, the Tripureshwor village is one. The village is now well doing and has facilities like hotels and schools. Furthermore, the major religion of the Tripureshwor village is Hinduism.

Lapang

Lapang lies in Tripurasundari municipality of Dhading district. It lies near the Netrawati River and the Ankhu Hydropower project. The village is on plain land. Most of the locals of Lapang engaged in farming and follow the Hindu religion. The temperature of the town during winter is humid. 

Taribeshi:

Taribeshi is a small village in the Dhading district of Bagmati province and the Nilkantha municipality. The village is 82 km north of Kathmandu and lies 700m above sea level.  Tarisbeshi is also near Budhi Gandaki Hydropower.  The village offers small hotels and lunch places.

From Taribeshi, the trail leads two ways: Salyantar, Arughat, and Manaslu circuit, and Khahare, Lapang, and Ganesh Himal. 

Salyantar

Salyantar is a beautiful place that one can reach through Tribeshi. The village lies within the central development region, Dhading district. The town is becoming more populated due to the establishment of modern facilities like health posts, education, and infrastructure. 

 Salyantar is a settlement with locals of different ethnic groups, including Kumai, Newar, Darai, and Chettri. The village is well known for its most extensive tar and where  Sri Narsimha Dham Kshetra lies. The principal occupation of the village’s locals is agriculture, with millet and pulses being a significant production source. Furthermore, the four well-known rivers encircle the village: Netrawati in the south, Budhigandaki in the west, Hyapinge in the East, and Kaste in the north. Thus, the town is a perfect mixture of beauty, diverse culture, and agricultural practices. 

Arughat 

In the Gandaki province of Gorkha district, Arughat is a well-known settlement at an elevation of 570m. The flowing Budhi Gandaki River adjoining the Arughat adds to the village’s charm. Also, hills, mountains, and terraced fields encircled the town, making it visually attractive. 

One of the major reasons why Arughat is well known is that the village is the starting point of the famous trekking route, Manaslu Circuit. Trekkers must pass through the town to start their thrilling journey on Manalsu. 

Although Arughat is accessible by road and one can reach the village within 5-6 hours of drive from Kathmandu, the town provides insight into traditional Nepali villages. The villagers built the houses with stone, mud, wooden windows, and doors. The villagers of Arughat are engaged in agricultural practice and animal husbandry to sustain their livelihood.

Religion

The residents near the Netrawati River follow the  Nepalese caste system, which consists of four broad classes, varna. As the locals believe in the caste system, they follow their castes. Each caste has its religious traditions and customs. Thus, the villages near the river of Netrawati consist of numerous religions. 

At the higher points, including at Gtalang, Tipling, Lapa, and Rigaun, locals are mainly from Tamang communities, so they follow Buddhism. And below Riguan, the majority of the locals follow the Hindu religion. In Tripureshwor, Khahare, Lapang, and Taribeshi villages, you’ll see ethnic communities of Brahmin and Chettri that mostly follow Hinduism. 

Furthermore, temples to worship by the Hindus are also there, as you get below Tripureshwor. Tripura Sundari’s temple is one of the significant temples for Hindus in the area where Ankhu Khola flows alongside. The temple holds great significance for Hindus in the region.

Budhi Gandaki River 

The Ankhu Khola/ Netrawati River is connected with the Budhi Gandaki River as the Netrawati joins Budhi Gandaki at Benighat. The Budhi Gandaki Khola is bigger than Netrawati, yet both rivers hold significance. 

Although the major source of the Budhi Gandaki River is the Manaslu mountain range, the river’s headwaters are Budhi Gandaki, Kali Gandaki, Seti, Trishuli, Rapti, Madi, and Marsyangdi. The Basin of the river lies in the Central Part of Nepal, with longitudes from  84˚30′ to 85˚10’E and Latitude from 27˚50′ to 29˚00’N. The river is more than 320m long along with the Basin, encompassing an area of around 6,950 square kilometers and flows from East to West. 

The river has significantly impacted Nepal’s economy in several ways. Among all the Budhi Gandaki Hydropower projects is one. The project uses the river’s potential to generate electricity. The project aims to contribute to Nepal’s electrical sector by supplying a large amount of environment-friendly and renewable electricity. 

The Budhi Gandaki Hydropower is the biggest hydropower project in Nepal, With an estimated available capacity of 1,200 MW. The project is in two parts of Nepal: Ghyalchok, Gorkha District, Western Development Region, and Dhading District, Central Development Region. The project’s total capacity is 3,3 km3 with a Catchment area of 5.000 km² and a Surface area of 49.8 km². The hydropower project has a Maximum length of 45 km, whereas its minimum elevation is 540 m. However, the Budhi Gandaki Hydropower project is under construction. 

Conclusion

All in all, even though the Netrawati is an unnoticed river in the Dhading district, the river holds immense significance. It has potential for the well-being of the People and economy of Nepal. With its role in supporting agriculture through irrigation and providing sustainability to biodiversity, the river is the basis of survival for locals in the ecosystem. 

Its role in Ankhu Khola hydropower is also noteworthy. Its crucial aspect of providing energy and creating potentiality for hydropower development contributes to Nepal’s economy and development. 

Nepal can maximize the potential of the Ankhu Khola rivers for sustainable development and progress while preserving its identity and maintaining a balance between development and conservation. However, the Netrawati River, Also Known as Ankhu Khola, is famous locally.

Dambar Khadka

Dambar Khadka, a passionate adventurer and the founder of Boundless Adventure Nepal, has spent his entire life writing about nature and Nepal's developing tourism business. Dambar's passion with nature and its different cultures began as a child in Nepal's stunning landscapes. He began writing following successful treks and expeditions across Nepal, Tibet, and Bhutan. Dambar Khadka created Boundless Adventure Nepal in 1992 to share the majesty of the Nepal Himalayas with the rest of the planet. As an explorer and writer, he is committed to responsible tourism and cultural connection, allowing readers and adventurers to immerse themselves in Nepal's enchantment through his works.

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