Abstract Lithogenic grain-size, geochemical elements of core sediments from the central Bay of Bengal (BoB) were analyzed to identify sediment provenance and explore the regional “source-sink” processes since 25 ka. Based on the geochemical compositions of core BoB-88, relative contributions of three end-member sources (Himalayan, Myanmar, Indian Peninsula) were calculated and support the general understanding that Himalayan sources were dominant since the last glacial period, which could reach 70% on average in our study. However, sediments from the Indian Peninsula and Myanmar also contributed nonnegligible materials to the central BoB since 25 ka, especially the former shows an obvious increase since 7.5 ka, which was neglected in the previous studies. To trace the sedimentary processes of different provenance terrigenous materials and reveal their response to climate changes, four typical stages with obvious provenance percent variation, including the Last Glacial Maximum period (LGM), Heinrich 1 (H1), Early Holocene Climate Optimum (EHCO), and mid-late Holocene period, were highlighted and discussed. Sea-level change played a dominant role in the glacial-interglacial scale by controlling the transition of deposition center between the shelf/subaquatic delta and the Bengal Fan, especially for sediment from the Himalayan source, exerting influence on contributions from different provenance end-members between the Holocene and the last glacial period. The opposite directions of the southwest and northeast monsoon current in the BoB have a significant influence on the transfer of the Indian Peninsula and Myanmar materials to the studied core, which led to an increase of up to 11% than the average of the Indian Peninsula and a decrease of up to 9% than the average of the Myanmar source during the Holocene. The balance between sea level (limited transport to the deep sea) and ISM (improved erosion production and output to the BoB) during the mid-late Holocene period maintained the stability of Himalayan source percent. Due to the control of the ISM variations, the Himalayan source showed a decrease of up to 20% and 21% than average during the LGM and H1 period, respectively, and an increase of up to 14% than average during the EHCO. The Myanmar source exhibited fluctuations around the average value during the LGM period, but an obvious increase of up to 21% during the H1 period and a decrease up to 8% during the EHCO, while the Indian Peninsula source percent showed little variations during the LGM and H1, but a decrease of up to 6% during the EHCO. Obvious 1/4 processional and millennial periodic changes (5.0 kyr and 1.1 kyr) of contribution proportions from three end-members provide additional evidences for the climate control on the regional source-sink processes and proved the controlled mechanisms of the orbital parameters and possible influence from the solar activity on millennial scales.