The Bagmati River (Nepal Bhasa:बागमती खुसी, Nepali: बागमती नदी) is a river of Nepal. It flows through the Kathmandu valley and separates Kathmandu from Lalitpur. It is considered a holy river by Hindus and Buddhists. A number of Hindutemples are located on its banks.
The importance of Bagmati also lies in the fact that Hindus are cremated on the banks of this holy river, and Kirants are buried in the hills by its side. According to the Nepalese Hindu tradition, the dead body must be dipped three times into the Bagmati River before cremation. The chief mourner (usually the first son) who lights the funeral pyre must take a holy river-water bath immediately after cremation. Many relatives who join the funeral procession also take a bath in the Bagmati River or sprinkle the holy water on their bodies at the end of cremation. The Bagmati River purifies the people spiritually.
The Bagmati River is considered the source of Nepalese civilization and urbanization. The river has been mentioned as Vaggumuda (वग्गुमुदा) in Vinaya Pitaka and Nandabagga. It has also been mentioned as Bahumati (बाहुमति) in Battha Suttanta of Majjhima Nikaya. An inscription dated 477 AD describes the river as Bagvati parpradeshe (वाग्वति पारप्रदेशे) and subsequently in Gopalraj Vanshavali.
The Chobar gorge cuts through the Mahabharat Range, also called the Lesser Himalaya. This 2,000-to-3,000-metre (6,600 to 9,800 ft) range is the southern limit of the "middle hills" across Nepal, an important cultural boundary between distinctive Nepali and more Indian cultures and languages, as well as a major geological feature.
The basin of the Bagmati River, including the Kathmandu Valley, lies between the much larger Gandaki basin to the West and the Kosi Basin to the east. These adjacent basins extend north of the main Himalayan range and cross it in tremendous gorges, in fact the Arun tributary of the Kosi extends far into Tibet. The smaller Bagmati rises some distance south of the Himalaya. Without glacial sources, its flow is more dependent on rainfall, becoming very low during the hot season (April to early June), then peaking during the monsoon season (mid-June to mid-August). In these respects the Bagmati system resembles the (West) Rapti system lying between the Gandaki basin and the Karnali basin in the far west of Nepal.