5 Major Rivers of Himachal Pradesh

India has the most astonishing diversity of all the countries in terms of ethnicities, languages, people, culture, and religions. But what is mostly overlooked in the awe of that is how diverse India is in terms of geographical landscapes and eye-catching mountains and rivers. The seven sisters in the North East boast a landscape of brooks and waterfalls, the Arunachal flaunts the beautiful fall season, the Dhauladhar ranges are proud of the snow-laden mountains as well. While Uttarakhand is developing itself as the new winter tourism capital and Jammu and Kashmir alongside Leh-Ladakh is undergoing its redemption from the after-effects of terrorism on tourism, Himachal is the place loved by all as a perennial tourist destination. 

Himachal Pradesh is often regarded as the adobe of the heavenly and that’s primarily because of the beautiful mountains, blue rivers, white waterfalls, and lush green valleys. Himachal is one of the beautiful most geographical locations in the whole Asia region and at the same time is inhabitable because of the balancing seasons and diversity in the landscape. Himachal is a tourist hub when it comes to most of the picturesque locations and many others subsequently are developing into major tourism hotspots. 

As popularly said, Rivers are what makes a landscape the perfect one by forming mountains, valleys, basins, and forests out of it. The Himachal River System is no exception to that. Ironically, Himachal Pradesh’s capital is the only town where you’ll miss rivers. Any other spot and rivers are there for your view. Himachal Pradesh River System feeds both the Indus and the Ganges basins. Primarily five rivers make up the Himachal Pradesh River System, the Chenab (the Chandra Bhaga), the Ravi, the Sutlej, the Beas, and the Yamuna. All five of these rivers are perennial i.e. have water all twelve seasons of the year and have rainfall and snow as the feeding factor. All these rivers are protected by an extensive cover of natural vegetation and thus are the backbone of the beautifully green Himachal. 

So, today we’d be discussing these 5 major rivers of the Himachal Pradesh River System. Stay on the line for a read if you want to know some interesting information about your fav travel destinations’ state.

1. BEAS RIVER

The Sanskrit name for this river is Bipasha. This north Indian river rises 4361 meters above sea level on the southern face of Rohtang Pass in Kullu, Himachal Pradesh. Its total length is 470-kilo meters and its drainage basin is 20303 square kilometers large, while the water body itself is home to the Indus Dolphin. The river Beas gets its name from the rishi Veda Vyasa, the one who is the author of the Hindu epic Mahabharata. As per the legend, he created it from the Vyas Kund.

Before Veda Vyasa the Vipasa River’s name was Saraswathi. This river is historically accounted to mark the eastern border of Alexander the great’s conquest in 326 BC. When his soldiers refused to obey his orders here in 326 BC making Alexander give in by raising twelve colossal altars to mark the glory of his expedition. This river has a sad incident to its records as on 8th June 2014, 24 engineering students and one tour operator drowned when the flood gates of the Larji dam were opened resulting in instantaneous overflooding. In another incident, back in 2018, countless aquatic life was found dead when a sugar mill in Gurdaspur dumped its waste material here. 

2. CHENAB RIVER

The Sanskrit name for this river is Asikni. This river flows in two countries namely India and Pakistan. It starts in the Lahaul and Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh. It is one of the 5 major rivers of the Punjab region. The waters of this river were allocated to Pakistan under the Indus Water Treaty. This river is formed by the confluence of two rivers namely Chandra and Bhaga at Tandi, 8 km southwest of Keylong in the Lahaul and Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh. 

This river has its mentions in the Rigveda and also is mentioned in the Mahabharata by the name Chandrabhaga. Even the ancient Greeks have mentioned it in their scriptures by the names Sandrophogas, Sandabaga, and Cantabra. The references on using Chenab for the first time on as the name goes back to Alberuni. Just like the Beas River, Alexander also has a history with the Chenab River. He allegedly founded the town of Alexandria on the Indus (present-day Uch Sharif) back in 325 BC. This river has 6 ongoing hydroelectricity projects.

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3. RAVI RIVER

Just like Chenab, this river also flows through India and Pakistan. As per the Indus Water Treaty in 1960, the rivers of this river are allocated to India. In Sanskrit this river’s name is Iravati. In Vedic times, it was known by the name Purushni and Hydraotes to the ancient Greeks. The Ravi River originates in the Himalayas, in the Multhan Tehsil of Himachal Pradesh. It follows a northwesterly course. 

It is mostly fed by the snow but also two of its tributaries Budhil and Nai join it 64 kilometers downstream origins from the Mani Mahesh-Kailash peak and Kali Debi Pass respectively. Another major tributary that joins it, later on, is the Seul River. Sadly, the valley formed by this rover was exploited for its rich Timber trees. This valley has large terraces which are very fertile and thus are called the gardens of Chamba, the yield from which feeds the Dalhousie town. The hydropower potential of the Ravi River system is assessed at 2294 W of which only 1638 W has been assessed thus wasting a huge potential of 650+ W.

4. THE SUTLEJ RIVER

In Sanskrit, this river is by the name Shatadru and is the longest of the five rivers that make Punjab. This river is also known as Satadree. It is the easternmost tributary of the Indus River. The waters of this river are allocated to India as per the Indus Water Treaty. The source of this river is in Tibet from the west catchment area of Lake Rakshasthal. This lake used to be a part of the Sutlej River long ago but then was separated by a major tectonic Movement. 

This river is known to have its history back to 1700 BC and many historians claim that it used to be a tributary of the Ghaggar-Hakra River. This river’s fast flow rate is also known to cause erosion of many rocks up in Rampur. This trend is expected to have the same effects as the Indus River had on the Nanga Parbat.  

5. THE YAMUNA RIVER

Although the Yamuna River has its origins from the Yamunotri in Uttarkashi district, Uttarakhand. But it also flows through Himachal Pradesh and has a total catchment area of 2320 square kilometers. Its tributaries in the region are the Tons, the Giri, and the Bata.

This river, right after its origin, flows into the Paonta Sahib region of Himachal Pradesh and flows for a while before flowing into the plains. 

So, these were the five major rivers of the Himachal Pradesh River System. If you’re planning on visiting Himachal; do try to guess the name or probably origins of the rivers you’ll be driving on the sides of mostly. I hope this article helps you in doing so. 

Till then Stay Safe, Stay Healthy.

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