Padma River the downstream of the ganges, more precisely, the combined flow of the Ganges and the jamuna after their confluence at goalandaghat. In Bangladesh the Ganges is popularly known as the Padma from its point of entrance at Manakosa and Durlabhpur unions of shibganj upazila, nawabganj district. This name (Padma or Podda) is sometimes applied to the Ganges as far up as the point at which the Bhagirathi leaves its rightbank, and according to the Hindus, it takes the sanctity of the Ganges with it. It is hydrographically more correct to use the name Ganges to refer to the river up to its confluence with the Jamuna (brahmaputra), and the downstream after the confluence as the Padma. The Padma is also sometimes wrongly referred to as the Ganges. The river between Aricha and Sureshwar (Chandpur) is therefore best called Padma.
The Padma is 120 kilometres long and from 4 to 8 km wide. The very important Goalandaghat-Chandpur steamer route is mostly on this river. Near Tepakhola, 14 km from Goalandaghat, the small Faridpur Khal distributary takes off from the rightbank. Fifty kilometres further down the arial khan takes off from the rightbank. Fourteen kilometres further downstream the Lohajang river falls into it at lohajang upazila on the leftbank, and the Kristanagar river branches off from the opposite side. A few kilometres from Lohajang, the Shosha Khal and the Naria Khal take off from the rightbank, join up and as one stream falls into the Arial Khan south of madaripur. The Padma joins the Meghna 5 km from Sureshwar in a maze of shifting shoals and chars. The Lower Meghna is actually a continuation of the joint flow of the Padma and the Meghna.
The Ganges-Padma is the major hydrodynamic system that formed one of the world's largest delta complex covering a major portion of the country and also a greater part of West Bengal in India. For a long period of development of the Ganges Delta, the river shifted southeast and has reached its present position in the Bengal Basin. The hydrology and drainage systems of the Ganges Delta in the southwestern part of Bangladesh are intimately related to the mighty Ganges and the fluvio-hydrological setting of the Bengal Basin. The deltaic estuaries of the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna system drain the combined discharges of these river systems, amounting on an average of 35,000 cumec. However, during the monsoon the discharge of the Padma rises to the order of 750,000 cumec with a corresponding increase in its sediment load. The low-level discharge of the river during the dry season is of the order of 15,000 cumec, and naturally very little sediment is borne by the river during this period. In the deltaic portion the river width ranges from 1.6 to 8.0 km and sometimes it shows a braided character although it is a meandering river. [Masud Hasan Chowdhury]
See map in Ganges-Padma River System.