The Indus River System
The Himalayan rivers are also known as North Indian Rivers.
These rivers take birth in the Himalayan mountains by glaciers (snowfed) and flows throughout the year (perennial).
Antecedent drainage: The major rivers of Himalayan origin belong to the category of antecedent rivers. It means these rivers existed even before the evolution of the Himalayas.
There are three main river systems in the Himalayan rivers. They are
The Indus River system
The Ganga River system
The Brahmaputra River system
1. The Indus River system
The river Indus is also known as the Sindhu.
Our country derives its name from this river.
It rises at Singge Khabab (Means lions mouth) in the Kailas range at a height of 5182 m. and it is a typical antecedent river.
It flows westwards between Ladakh and the Zaskar range in Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir.
At Nanga Parbat it takes a southerly course and flows through an antecedent gorge before entering Pakistan.
It drains into the Arabian sea near Karachi.
The Indus River flows over a distance of 2,880 km of which only 709 km course is in India.
Its total drainage in the country is spread over in an area of 1,17,864 sq. km.
In the Himalayan region, it is fed by the Skardu, Shyok, Zanskar, Dras,Nubra, Shigar and Gilgit rivers.
Its tributaries in the plains are very important. The Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas and Sutlej flows through the plain and drain into the Indus.
It is one of the oldest river systems of the world. Major part of its course and catchment area are in Pakistan.
The main tributaries of the Indus
The right-bank tributaries of Indus:
Shyok, Gilgit, Hunza, Nubra, Kabul, Khurram, Tochi, Gomal, Sangar, Kunar.
The left-bank tributaries of Indus:
Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas and Sutluj.
1. Jhelum River
It rises from a spring at Verinag in the south eastern part of the valley of Kashmir. It flows in north west direction where, it enters the Wular lake (Largest fresh water lake of India).
Dal lake is also formed by Jhelum river.
The river forms steep-sided narrow gorge through Pir Panjal Range below Baramulla.
At Muzaffarabad, the river takes a sharp hairpin bend southward.
Thereafter, it forms the India-Pakistan boundary for 170 km and emerges at the Potwar Plateau near Mirpur.
After flowing through the spurs of the Salt Range it debouches (emerge from a confined space into a wide, open area) on the plains near the city of Jhelum.
It joins the Chenab at Trimmu.
The river is navigable for about 160 km out of a total length of 724 km.
Its main tributary is Kishanganga which is harnessed for hydel power.
The river Jhelum is called Hydaspes by the ancient Greeks.
The Vedic name of Jhelum is Vitasta.
2. Chenab River
The Chenab originates from near the Bara Lacha Pass in the Lahul-Spiti part of the Zaskar Range.
Two small streams on opposite sides of the pass, namely Chandra and Bhaga, form its headwaters at an altitude of 4,900 m.
The united stream Chandrabhaga flows in the north-west direction through the Pangi valley, parallel to the Pir Panjal range.
It enters into the plain area near Jammu and Kashmir at Riasi.
From here it through the plains of Pakistan to reach Panchnad where it joins the Satluj river.
The Vedic name of Chenab is
The Baglihar, Selal and Dulhasti are the famous hydroelectric projects on this river.
The Baglihar has become a disputed project (between India & Pakistan) in the south western part of Jammu & Kashmir.
3. Ravi River
The Ravi rises near Kullu hills near the Rohtang Pass in Himachal Pradesh.
It drains the area between the Pir Panjal and the Dhaola Dhar ranges.
After crossing Chamba, it takes a south-westerly turn and cuts a deep gorge in the Dhaola Dhar range.
It enters Punjab Plains near Madhopur and later enters Pakistan below Amritsar.
It flows over a distance of 725 km in India and enters the Chenab river at Rangpur in Pakistan.
The Vedic name of Ravi is Purushni.
4. Beas River
The Beas originates in the Beaskund in the Rohtang Pass, at a height of 4,062 m above sea level, on the southern end of the Pir Panjal Range, close to the source of the Ravi.
It crosses the Dhaola Dhar range and it takes a south-westerly direction and meets the Satluj river at Harike in Punjab.
It flows over a distance of only 460 km.
The entire course of river lies in India.
The Vedic name of Beas is Vipas.
5. Satluj River
- It is the most important tributary of the Indus River.
- The Satluj rises from the Manasarovar-Rakas Lakes in western Tibet at a height of 4,570 m.
- Like the Indus, it takes a north-westerly course upto the Shipki La on the Tibet-Himachal Pradesh boundary.
- In Tibet the Sutlej River is called Langken.
- It cuts deep gorges where it pierces the Great Himalaya and the other Himalayan ranges.
- Before entering the Punjab plain, it cuts a gorge in Naina Devi Dhar, where the famous Bhakra dam has been constructed.
- After entering the plain at Rupar, it turns westwards and is joined by the Beas at Harike.
- From near Ferozepur to Fazilka it forms the boundary between India and Pakistan for nearly 120 km.
- The Vedic name of Sutluj is Sutudri.
- The famous Bhakra-Nangal project has been constructed across the Sutlej in Himachal Pradesh.
The Bhakra Nangal multi-purpose river valley project is constructed on this river, near Bhakra gorge.
It is the joint venture of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan.
The Bhakra dam is the second highest dam (741 ft.) of India.