Dams · Yamuna River

Explore A Living Stretch Of Dying Yamuna At The Threshold Of Delhi  

Yamuna River is infamous as one of the most polluted rivers of the country. A mere thought of Yamuna, brings the picture of a stinking black water course, in the mind of most of the concerned.  But the initial 26 km of the River in Delhi from Palla upto Wazirabad Barrage presents a totally different Yamuna.

Unlike the city part, the river here has clean flowing water. Natural vegetations can be seen standing tall along still inviolate banks. Sighting of riparian birds in good number offers great solace from robotic city life. Few in-know of this secret, go fishing here during leisure and weekends. Farming activities on adjoining lands adds rustic charm to the panorama. If this is not enough, nearby floriculture strips, turns the riverbank colourful.

The river water is bathing quality. Many fresh water birds flock around. Herders take out cattle. Fishermen catch fish. Boatmen ferry visitors on demand. Devotees bath in the river and say prayers. Farmers remain busy with cultivation.

Annual flood marks are visible. It replenishes ground water and enriches the soil. Floodplains are still spared of concretization. All this contributes to make the river live and lovely. 

To experience this part of Yamuna, Delhi Walk Festival (DWF) organised a Flowing Yamuna Walk on November 11, 2017. The walk helped a delegation of concerned citizens feel the beautiful side of ‘stinking water course’ and offer gratitude for immeasurable and innumerable services, the ‘infamous river’ is providing to the ungrateful city.

Here are some stunning pictures clicked by the participants that show how alive is River Yamuna at the threshold of the Delhi.

Yamuna between Palla-Wazirabad
Google Earth map of Yamuna river between Palla and Wazirabad

Flowing Yamuna
Google Earth map of river stretch covered by walk

Sunrise at Yamuna Bio-diversity Park (Pic by Praveen Kumar)

Participants going through fields to reach river bank (Image Credit: Raghvendra)

Palla Marigold Field lowres
Floriculture turning riverbank colourful (Image credit: Juhi Saklani)

Our real guide Rajpal Ji getting some farm fresh turnips for visitors (Image Credit: Praveen Kumar)

Riverbanks under natural vegetation (Image Credit: Deepti Dawar)

Natural vegetation on river bank (Image Credit: Praveen Kumar)

Buffaloes crossing Yamuna lowres
 Buffalo herd crossing river (Image Credit : Juhi Saklani)

A Delhi man visits the river for fishing during weekend (September 2017, Image Credit:Yayati Bhardwaj)

Cormorants in formation lowres
Cormorant flocking over the river (Image Credit, Juhi Saklani)

A close view of cormorants (Image Credit: Praveen Kumar)

Video showing playful flight of Cormorants (Video Credit: Chandan Tiwari) 


Eagle descending on river bank (Image Credit: Yayati Bhardwaj)
Flood Monitoring site (Image Credit: Deepti Dawar)
Flood chart of river at Palla Monitoring Station (Image Credit: Praveen Kumar )
Discussion on why river is dying (Image Credit: Syed Mohammad Qasim)
Villagers enjoying bathing in the river at Ram Ghat (Image Credit: Yayati Bhardwaj)
Villagers enjoying bathing in the river at Ram Ghat (Image Credit: Yayati Bhardwaj)


Devotees visiting and worshiping at Ram Ghat (Image Credit: Praveen Kumar)


Fisherman with his fish catch at Ram Ghat (Image Credit: Deepti Dawar)
Boatman diving in the river (Image Credit: Yayati Bhardwaj)

About River Yamuna

River Yamuna is the largest tributary of River Ganga. It originates from Bandarpunch glacier in Uttarkashi district of Uttarkhand. The river travels 1376 km before joining the River Ganga at Sangam in Uttar Pradesh. 

Why The River Is Dead In Delhi

The Delhi stretch of River Yamuna is listed among most polluted river stretches in the country. More than 2000 Million Litres per Day (MLD) of untreated sewage enters the river here. Industrial and domestic effluents from cities located upstream of Delhi are also reaching the river. Already built barrages, hydro power and dam projects have fragmented the river. There are many such projects in the pipeline. The water intensive agriculture in Gangetic plains along its length have also contributed to drying up of the river.

Why River Yamuna Is In Good Condition At Palla

September 2017, video showing beauty of Yamuna River at Palla 

The total length of River Yamuna in Delhi is 48 km, of which 22 km lies in main capital and the rest falls in National Capital Region. River Yamuna flowing between Palla and Wazirabad forms the 26 km of this stretch. It enters Delhi at Palla village.  Here Drain Number (DN) 8, carrying major part of Delhi’s drinking water, joins it. So there is some flowing water in the river round the clock resulting in good condition of the river. However, illegal sand mining, increasing use of water and chemicals in farming around Palla and large scale littering of river banks during religious festivals will soon take away the still remaining natural charm of the river. And yes, upstream of this location, the once perennial river Yamuna has now turned seasonal.

To know why, you may like to go through the link https://sandrp.wordpress.com/2015/04/13/blow-by-blow-how-pollution-kills-the-yamuna-river-a-field-trip-report/

I whole heartedly thank all the participants for visiting and sharing pictures showing beautiful side of a dying river, Yamuna.

People guided by experts ride along the banks of Yamuna during the Delhi Walk Festival near Palla Village in New Delhi.(Sushil Kumar/HT PHOTO)

Composed by Bhim Singh Rawat (bhim.sandrp@gmail.com)

2 thoughts on “Explore A Living Stretch Of Dying Yamuna At The Threshold Of Delhi  

  1. I got quite confused with the various drains. I was sorry to learn how industrial effluents were being dumped and this polluted water got mixed with drinking water.
    The description of river scenes and photos were lovely including some idea from Google maps.
    The contradiction of the government in policy and ground reality is really sad.
    Much strength to you and the efforts of your body. May you achieve much success in saving our Yamuna 🙂


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