Originating from Haiyang Mountain (海陽山) in Lingui of Guangxi, the Xiang is the largest river in Hunan and one of the largest tributaries of Yangtze River. It is 856-km long and 670-km of it is in Hunan. People say the Xiang and the Lijiang River share the same origination because of connecting the two rivers of the Lingqu Canal that it is located in Xing'an county, and 70 per centage of water in Lingqu flows in the Xiang and 30 percent flows in the Lijiang.
The river passes places such as Xing'an, Quanzhou, and Dongan, Yongzhou, Qiyang, Hengyang, Zhuzhou, Xiangtan, Changsha, Wangcheng, Xiangyin, and empties into Lake Dongting, where it connects to the Yangtze. The Xiang has 2,157 branches and covers 9,460,000 km², and 8,530,000 km² are in Hunan (40% of the province).
The river is said to be protected by two goddesses, the Xiang Consorts (湘妃 Xiangfei): Ehuang (娥皇) and Nüying (女英).
They were the wives of the mystical ruler, Shun. Unable to bear the pain of their husband's death, they committed suicide in this river. The spots on the dotted Xiang River bamboos (湘江竹 or 湘竹), also known as Xiang Consorts Bamboo (湘妃竹), are said to be the teardrops of the consorts. These bamboos are also known as Marked Bamboos (斑竹) or Tear Bamboos (淚竹).