It is also called Bagvati in Vishnu Purana. The Svayambu and the Vardha Purana call it the Vagmati. It is called Bachamati in Buddhist literature, because it was created by the word uttered by Buddha Krakuchhanda when the latter visited Nepal with his disciples from the Gaud-desa. Vdana mentions a river Vaggumuda which flowed to the east of the Vajji territory. This Vaggamuda seems to be the Vagamati of the present time. Baghavati, the name given to this river by Vidyapati seems to have some connection with the word Vyaghra (tiger). Tigers are found in abundance on its banks in the Nepalease Terai.
It flows through the Kathmandu valley and is the river separating Kathmandu from Lalitpur. It is considered a holy river both by Hindus and Buddhists. A number of Hindu temples are located on the banks of this river.
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 is considered to purify the people spiritually.