Indus River System and its Tributaries

The Indus River System

  • It is one of the largest river basins of the world, covering an area of 11,65,000 sq. km (in India it is 321, 289 sq. km and a total length of 2,880 km (in India 1,114 km).

  • The Indus also known as the Sindhu, is the westernmost of the Himalayan rivers in India.

  • It originates from a glacier near Bokhar Chu in the Tibetan region at an altitude of 4,164 m in the Kailash Mountain range.

  • In Tibet, it is known as Singi Khamban (Lion’s mouth).

  • After flowing in the northwest direction between the Ladakh and Zaskar ranges, it passes through Ladakh and Baltistan.

  • It cuts across the Ladakh range, forming a spectacular gorge near Gilgit in J&K.The Indus River System drainage

  • It enters into Pakistan near Chillar in the Dardistan region.

  • The Indus flows in India only through the Leh district in Jammu and Kashmir.

  • The Indus receives a number of Himalayan tributaries such as the Shyok, the Gilgit, the Zaskar, the Hunza, the Nubra, the Shigar, the Gasting and the Dras.

  • The other important tributaries joining the right bank of the Indus are the Khurram, the Tochi, the Gomal, the Viboa and the Sangar.

  • The river flows southward and receives ‘Panjnad’ a little above Mithankot.

  • The Panjnad is the name given to the five rivers of Punjab, namely the Satluj, the Beas, the Ravi, the Chenab and the Jhelum.

  • It finally discharges into the Arabian Sea, east of Karachi.

Major Tributaries of Indus RiverIndus tributaries 5

Jhelum River

  • The river is navigable for about 170 km out of a total length of 724 km.

  • The Jhelum, an important tributary of the Indus, rises from a spring at Verinag situated at the foot of the Pir Panjal in the south-eastern part of the valley of Kashmir.

  • It flows through Srinagar and the Wular lake before entering Pakistan through a deep narrow gorge.

  • It joins the Chenab near Jhang in Pakistan.

Chenab River

  • The Chenab originates from near the Bara Lacha Pass in the Lahul-Spiti part of the Zaskar Range.

  • It is formed by two streams, the Chandra and the Bhaga, which join at Tandi near Keylong in Himachal Pradesh. Hence, it is also known as Chandrabhaga.

  • The river flows for 1,180 km before entering into Pakistan.

  • It enters the plain area near Akhnur in Jammu and Kashmir.

Ravi River

  • The Ravi has its source in 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.

Beas River

  • The Beas originates near 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 is a comparatively small river which is only 460 km long but lies entirely within the Indian territory.

Satluj River

  • It originates in the Rakas lake near Mansarovar at an altitude of 4,555 m in Tibet

  • where it is known as Langchen Khambab. It flows almost parallel to the Indus for about 400 km before entering India, and comes out of a gorge at Rupar.

  • It passes through the Shipki La on the Himalayan ranges and enters the Punjab plains. It is an antecedent river.

  • It is a very important tributary as it feeds the canal system of the Bhakra Nangal project.

  • From near Ferozepur to Fazilka it forms the boundary between India and Pakistan for nearly 120 km.

  • Out of its total length of 1,450 km, it flows for 1,050 km in Indian territory.

Indus water treaty

  • The waters of the Indus river system are shared by India and Pakistan according to the Indus Water Treaty signed between the two countries on 19th Sep, 1960.
  • According to this treaty, India can utilize only 20 % of its total discharge of water.
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