The Alaknanda River flowing in Uttarakhand is one of the two head-streams of holy river Ganga. The source of Alaknanda River is the confluence of Satopanth Glacier and Bhagirathi Kharak Glacier. The length of Alaknanda River is 190 km and the basin is about 10,882 km square. Alaknanda River is considered as the source stream of Ganga River. Whereas, according to Indian mythology Bhagirathi River, which is the other headstream is considered as the source stream.
Several rivers flowing in the Garhwal division merges with Alaknanda River at Panch Prayag, also known as “holy confluence of the rivers”. Alaknanda meets Dhauliganga River at Vishnuprayag, Nandakini River at Nandaprayag, Pindar River at Karnaprayag, Mandakini River at Rudraprayag, then it meets Bhagirathi River at Devprayag, where it officially becomes Ganga River. There are about 6 hydroelectric dams in operation, 8 under construction and about 23 proposed hydel projects on Alaknanda River.
The river flows in Garhwal division of Uttarakhand and passes through Chamoli, Rudraprayag, and Pauri Garhwal districts. Its left-bank tributaries are Saraswati, Dhauliganga, Nandakini, Pindar and its right-bank tributary is Mandakini. The towns along the banks of River Alaknanda are Badrinath, Vishnuprayag, Joshimath, Chamoli, Nandaprayag, Karnaprayag, Rudraprayag, Srinagar and Devprayag.