This is the last in a five part series on the Karnali as it flows from its source on the Tibetan Plateau in China, through Nepal to India. 

Faith to reality: A journey down the Karnali River from Tibet to India

Part 1: Living in fear of floods

Part 2: Dams and dreams – a journey down the Karnali

Part 3: Ignoring climate change in the Himalayas

Part 4: Dancing with the river

The Karnali River is older than the Himalaya, having cut its path over millions of years as the mountains rose. This phenomenon has created many wild and scenic gorges with rich biodiversity.

In Nepal, the Karnali is still largely untouched by the modern development like roads and dams, but mega dams are in the pipeline in Nepal. Currently only two dams in Tibet and one barrage in India disturbs its flow.

The Karnali River in the semi-desert landscape of Humla district of Nepal, near Hilsa on the Tibet border. This area is home to the snow leopard [image by: Nabin Baral]

A view of Karnali River cutting through rising mountains before Yangar village in the Humla district of Nepal [image by: Nabin Baral]

The Karnali River below Shreenagar village in Humla, Nepal [image by: Nabin Baral]

At the altitude of 1,500 metres the river surprises with alpine forests and palm trees growing together on the river banks in Humla Nepal [image by: Nabin Baral]

Rice terraces on the flood plains of Karnali River below Shreenagar village, Humla [image by: Nabin Baral]

The first scientific expedition team on the Karnali River raft God’s House rapids, one of the world class rapids on the Karnali River on the border of Achham and Surkhet districts [image by: Nabin Baral]

The scientific expedition team camps by the side of Karnali River in the Kailali district of Nepal [image by: Nabin Baral]

An old castle like structure carved into the rock along the Karnali River in Surkhet district of Nepal [image by: Nabin Baral]

Two one horned rhinos in Bardia National Park of Nepal. The flood plains of the Karnali River are the source of water for  endangered tigers and rhinos. The park covers 968 square kilometres and is the largest and least disturbed national park in Nepal [image by: Nabin Baral]

The Karnali/Ghaghara River, a few metres before meeting the Ganga in India, and about 100 kilometres northwest of Patna. From India the Ganga then enters Bangladesh where it meets the Brahmaputra. Both rivers then reach the Bay of Bengal in the Indian Ocean [image by: Nabin Baral]

This story is jointly published by and Nepali Times.  


  1. It was a journey of a life time. Great work, Ramesh and Nabin. Wonderful articals and amazing photographs.
    I did my best as a teamleader and many thanks for all your support, you guys have given your 100%+.
    Very much looking forward to the documentary and photo exhibition. Cheers

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