Bhote Koshi

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Bhote Koshi (Poiqu)
Bhote Kosi near Tibet.JPG
Bhote Koshi near the Tibetan border during dry season
Basin features
Main source Zhangzangbo Glacier, Tibet
8,012 m (26,286 ft)
River mouth Sun Kosi near Balephi, Sindhupalchowk, Nepal
640 m (2,100 ft)[1]
27°43′58″N 85°46′47″E / 27.73278°N 85.77972°E / 27.73278; 85.77972Coordinates: 27°43′58″N 85°46′47″E / 27.73278°N 85.77972°E / 27.73278; 85.77972
River system Koshi River

The Bhote Koshi is the upper river course of the Sun Kosi, known as Poiqu in Tibet.[2] It is part of the Koshi River system in Nepal.[1]

A western tributary of the upper Dudh Koshi is also called Bhote Koshi.[3]

River course[edit]

The valley of Bhote Koshi

The headwaters of Poiqu and Bhote-Sun Koshi River are located at the Zhangzangbo Glacier in Tibet.[4] The river flows out of the Lumi Chimi lake. When entering Nepal, it is called Bhote Koshi. Further downstream, from the village of Bahrabise onwards, it is called Sun Koshi.[1]


In July 1981, a sudden ice avalanche caused a Glacial Lake Outburst Flood in the moraine-dammed Zhangzangbu-Cho Lake in the headwaters of the Bhote Koshi. The ensuing debris flow destroyed bridges, and sections of both the Arniko and the Nepal–China highways.[5]

Names and etymology[edit]

Nepali: भोटे कोशी; Chinese: 波特科西; pinyin: Bōtè Kēxī

In Nepali language, the word "bhoṭe" or "bhoṭiyā" means Tibetan;[6] and the word "kosi" means river.[7]

Tourism and sports[edit]

The Bhote Kosi is used for both rafting and kayaking. It is the steepest river rafted in Nepal, with a gradient of 15 m per km. Bungee jumping or swinging over the Bhote Kosi has been described as the ‘ultimate experience’.[8]

The river carves a steep and direct drop at the top that gradually eases to more placid streams and calmer pools with a 46-km run at the Lamosunga dam. The rapids are class IV-V at high flow, and III at lower levels. The river is steep and continuous with one rapid leading into another.


  1. ^ a b c Shrestha, A. B., Eriksson, M., Mool, P., Ghimire, P., Mishra, B., & Khanal, N. R. (2010). Glacial lake outburst flood risk assessment of Sun Koshi basin, Nepal. Geomatics, Natural Hazards and Risk 1(2): 157–169.
  2. ^ Yamada, T., Sharma, C. K. (1993). Glacier lakes and outburst floods in the Nepal Himalaya. IAHS Publications-Publications of the International Association of Hydrological Sciences, 218: 319–330.
  3. ^ Kattelmann, R. (2003). Glacial lake outburst floods in the Nepal Himalaya: a manageable hazard? Natural Hazards 28(1): 145–154.
  4. ^ Bajracharya, S. R., Mool, P. K., Shrestha, B. R. (2006). The impact of global warming on the glaciers of the Himalaya. Pages 231–242 in: Proceedings of the International Symposium on Geodisasters, Infrastructure Management and Protection of World Heritage Sites. Nepal Engineering College, Ehime College and National Society for Earthquake Technology Nepal.
  5. ^ Mool, P. K.; Joshi, S. P.; Bajracharya, S. R. (2001). Glacial Lake Outburst Floods and Damage in the Country. Pages 121–136 in: Inventory of Glaciers, Glacial Lakes and Glacial Lake Outburst Floods: Monitoring and Early Warning Systems in the Hindu Kush-Himalayan Region, Nepal. International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, Kathmandu.
  6. ^ Turner, R. L. (1931). "bhote". A Comparative and Etymological Dictionary of the Nepali Language. K. Paul, Trench, Trubner: London. 
  7. ^ Turner, R. L. (1931). "kosi". A Comparative and Etymological Dictionary of the Nepali Language. K. Paul, Trench, Trubner: London. 
  8. ^ Bindloss, J. (2010). "Bungee Jumping". Nepal. Lonely Planet. p. 87. Retrieved 2010-05-23.