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Himachal Guide - Rivers

Temples of Himachal Pradesh

SUTLEJ RIVER
The Sutlej River (alternatively spelled as Satluj River) is the longest of the five rivers that flow through the historic crossroad region of Punjab in northern India and Pakistan. It is located north of the Vindhya Range, south of the Hindu Kush segment of the Himalayas, and east of the Central Sulaiman Range in Pakistan.
The Sutlej is sometimes known as the Red River. It is the easternmost tributary of the Indus River. Its source is near Lake Rakshastal in Tibet near Mount Kailas, and it flows generally west and southwest entering India through the Shipki La pass in Himachal Pradesh. In Pakistan,it waters the ancient and historical former Bahawalpur state. The region to its south and east is arid, and is known as Cholistan a part of Bahawalpur Division. The Sutlej joins with the Beas River in Hari-Ke-Patan, Amritsar, Punjab, India, and continues southwest into Pakistan to unite with the Chenab River, forming the Panjnad River near Bahawalpur.The Panjnad joins the Indus River at Mithankot. Indus then flows through a gorge near Sukkur, flows through the fertile plains region of Sindh, and terminates in the Arabian Sea near the port city of Karachi in Pakistan.

BEAS RIVER
The Beas forms the valleys of Kullu and Kangra, famed for their beauty. But ironically, its source is an insignificant looking igloo like structure near Rohtang Pass in Pir Panjal range to the north of Kullu. The main thrust of this river is southward to Larji and then to the west. Where it enters Mandi district and further still into Kangra. On account of its snow-fed, perennial tributaries, its inflow increases greatly during the monsoons, sometimes resulting in floods. At the Pandoh, in Mandi district, the waters of the Beas have been diverted to the Sutlej through 53-km of tunnel, with the Pong Dam constructed on the Beas, for the purpose of increasing the hydroelectric power supply.

RAVI RIVER
The Ravi is a trans-boundary river flowing through Northwestern India and Northeastern Pakistan. It is one of the six rivers of the Indus System in Punjab region (name of Punjab means "Five Rivers"). After the partition of India in August 1947, the waters of the Ravi River, along with five other rivers of the Indus system (Beas, Sutlej, Chenab, Jhelum and Indus), divided India and Pakistan under the Indus Water Treaty, which was facilitated by the World Bank. Subsequently, Indus Basin Project has been developed in Pakistan and many Inter Basin Water Transfers, Irrigation, Hydropower and multipurpose projects have been built in India. The Ravi river forms the biggest sub-micro region of Chamba district. From Bara Bangal of Kangra district, it flows through Bara Bansu, Tretha, Chanota and Ulhansa. The Ravi river merges with the Chenab in Pakistan. The well known human settlement along the river are Barmaur, Madhopur and Chamba town. Its total length is 720 km.

SPITI RIVER
The Spiti river has its source far north on the eastern slopes off mountain ranges which ruin between Lahul and Spiti. The river is formed at the base of the Kunzam Range by the confluence of Kunzam La Togpo and the streams Kabzima and Pinglung. On the western side of its sour lies a vast salt-water lake. The river follows a long winding course interloced here and there by spurs that project from the foot of the plateaus on both sides. The Spiti has a broad and flat valley bordered by high vertical cliffs. The valley tops are flat and plateau-like. Above the 'plateaus and land again rises in steep scarps. The length of the river within Spiti on the south-east, is about 130 km. It continues in Kinnaur district upto a place known as Khabo where it joins the Satluj. The main stream of the Spiti river, which is fed by the glaciers, is a perennial one, while some of the tributary streams disappear in the loose morain at the feet of the plateaus. During its course through the difficult, complex terrain, the Spiti is joined by a number of tributaries from both the sides.

CHANDRA RIVER
Chandra River rises in the snows lying at the base of the main Himalayan range in Lahaul-Spiti district. Thereafter it flows for a considerable distance along the base of thin range in the South-East direction, before making a 180° turn and taking a South-West course in Spiti valley. the entire area is a vast cold desert that receives little or no rain as it lies in the rain shadow of the Pir Panjal range lying towards South. The important human settlement along the river is Koksar.

BHAGA RIVER
Bhaga River originates from the Lahaul valley. A number of snowfed rivers join it during its course, before it joins the Chandra stream at Tandi. From its origin it flows in South-South-Westerly direction as a raging torrent before joining the river Chandra. U shaped valleys, waterfalls, glaciers and moraines characterises the upper catchment of the Bhaga river. The entire tract is devoid of a vegetative cover. The discharge of this river increases during the summer months, when the snow on the high mountains start melting.

CHANDRA/BHAGA/CHENAB RIVER
Two streams namely Chandra and Bhaga rise on the opposite sides of the Baralacha pass at an elevation of 4,891 metres and meet at Tandi at an elevation of 2,286 metres to form the river Chenab. The Chenab rises from the South-East and Bhaga from the North-West of the Baralacha pass. It enters Pangi valley of Chamba district near Bhujind and leaves the district at Sansari Nala to enter Podar valley of Kashmir. It flows in Himachal for 122 km. With its total length of 1,200 km., it has a catchment area of 61,000 sq. km., out of which 7,500 sq. km. lie in Himachal Pradesh. It is the largest river of Himachal Pradesh in terms of volume of waters. The Chenab valley is a structual trough formed by the great Himalayan and Pir Panjal ranges.

PARVATI RIVER
Parbati River is a river in Himachal Pradesh, India that flows into the Beas River at Bhuntar, some 10 km south of Kullu. It rises from the Man Talai Glacier below the Pin Parbati pass and flows in a gradual curve from north-northwest to west-southwest past the important temple town of Manikaran. The river valley has been a route to various places: Lahul across the Sara Umga La pass, Spiti across the famous Pin Parbati pass, and the recently discovered (1995) Debsa pass. The river has fine first-growth forests in its upper reaches which are being degraded as a consequence of development of its vast hydro-electric potential. There are geothermal springs on the banks of the river at Manikaran and Khirganga.

GIRI RIVER
The river Giri is an important tributary of the Yamuna river. It drains a part of South-Eastern Himachal Pradesh. The Giri or Giriganga as it is famous in the Jubbal, Rohru hills that rises from Kupar peak just above Jubbal town after flowing through the heart of Shimla hills, flows down in the South-Eastern direction and divides the Sirmaur district into equal parts that are known as Cis-Giri and Trans-Giri region and joins Yamuna upstream of Paonta below Mokkampur. The river Ashni joins Giri near Sadhupul ( Chail ) while river Jalal which originates from Dharthi ranges adjoining Pachhad joins it at Dadahu from the right side. The waer from the Giri river is led through a tunnel to the power house of Girinagar and after that it is led into the Bata river.

PABBAR RIVER
The Pabbar River is a tributary of the Tones River connecting to it from the west. The Pabbar River is the westernmost river that drains east to the Ganges. The Sutlej River is the next watershed over and is the easternmost river that drains west into the Indus.

YAMUNA RIVER
It enters Himachal Pradesh at Khadar Majri in Sirmaur district. Yamuna river is the largest tributary of the Ganga. The Yamuna river has mythical relation to the Sun. It rises from Yamunotri in Gharwal hills and forms the Eastern boundary with Unttar Pradesh. The Yamuna is the Eastern-most river of Himachal Pradesh. Its famous tributaries are Tons, Pabbar and Giri or Giri Ganga. The Giri Ganga rises from near Kupar peak just above Jubbal town in Shimla district, Tons from Yamunotri and Pabbar from Chandra Nahan Lake near the Chansal peak in Rohru tehsil of Shimla district. Its total catchment area in Himachal Pradesh is 2,320 km. It leaves the state near Tajewala and enters into the Haryana state. The main geomorphic features of the Yamuna valley are interlocking spurs, gorges, steep rock benches and terraces. The latter have been formed by the river over the past thousands of years. The area drained by the Yamuna system includes Giri-Satluj water divide in Himachal Pradesh to the Yamuna Bhilagana water divide in Gharwal. To be more precise the South-Eastern slopes at the Shimla ridge are drained by the Yamuna system. The utilization of water of the river system is being done by the way of transportation of timber logs, irrigation and a hydel power generation. After Himachal Pradesh, the river flows through the state of Haryana, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh where it merges with the Ganga river at Allahabad. The Yamuna is 2,525 km. long.