Rivers in Himachal Pradesh

Rivers and Drainage System of Himachal Pradesh
Rivers in Himachal Pradesh
The flow of water through a well-defined channel is known as a drainage and a network of such channels is known as the drainage system.

On this basis, the rivers of Himachal Pradesh (except Ghaggar) can be classified as the part of
(1) Indus River System
(2) Ganga River System

1. Indus River System
With total area cover of 1,081,718 sq. km, Indus River basin is one of the largest river basins in the world. The Indus River is the largest river in this river system. Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas, and Satluj are its main tributaries. The drainage basin includes the whole of Jammu and Kashmir and most of Himachal Pradesh.

2. Ganga River System
The Ganga River basin covers one-third of the Western Himalayan region. It extends from the east of the Shimla ridge to the south-west of Kanchenjunga massif on Sikkim-Nepal border. The Yamuna, the biggest tributary of the Ganga River, has a catchment area of 2320 sq. km. in Himachal Pradesh.

Rivers of Himachal Pradesh

Beas
Beas river rises from the Beas Kund in Pir Panjal range near Rohtang Pass and flows around 256 km in Himachal Pradesh. It traverses through Mandi and Kangra districts of Himachal Pradesh, before entering Punjab. It joins Satluj at Kapurthala, Punjab, after the course of 470 km.

The chief tributaries of Beas river are Banganga, Binwa, Chakki, Hurla, Luni, Malna, Mankhand, Parbati, Phung, Spin, Sainj, Suheti, and Uhl.

Parbati River
Parbati River rises from the Man Talai Glacier below the Pin Parbati pass, near the town of Manikaran. It joins the Beas River in Shamshi in Kullu district. The river is known for its fast water flow. There are two geothermal springs on the banks of the river at Manikaran and Khirganga.

Chakki River
Chakki river rises as a small snow and rain fed stream from the slopes of the Dhauladar range. Chakki River drains the south-western part of Himachal Pradesh. The river enters Punjab at Pathankot and joins the Beas.

Baner River
Baner river, also known as Baner Khad, is a tributary of Beas. It rises as a small snow-fed stream on the southern slopes of the Dhauladar range near Palampur. It flows in the southwest in the hills of Kangra Valley.

Sainj River
Sainj rises from the water divide of the Beas and Satluj in the lower ranges of the Himalaya near the East of Kullu. Later, it flows southwest and joins the Beas river.

Chenab
Chenab, also known as Chandrabhaga, originates from Tandi in Lahul-Spiti where two rivulets Chandra and Bhaaga meet to form this river. It is the largest river of Himachal Pradesh in terms of water volume. It was known as Askini or Iskamiti to Vedic people and Acesines to Ancient Greeks. It flows through Lahaul-Spiti, and Chamba districts of the State, before entering plains of Kashmir at Sansari Nala.

The chief tributaries of Chenab are Chandra, Bhaga, Miyar Nullah, Saicher Nullah, Jammu Tavi and Munawarwali.

Bhaga River
Bhaga river rises from the Lahaul valley. A number of snow-fed rivers join it in its course. Finally, it joins the Chandra river to form Chenab in Tandi village in Lahaul-Spiti district.

Chandra River
Chandra rivers from the snow lying at the foothills of main Himalayan range in Lahul-Spiti. Thereafter, it traverses for a considerable distance before meeting Bhaga river.

Ravi
Known as Purushani in Vedic age or Irawati in classic Sanskrit age, Ravi is one of the five major tributaries of Indus. It originates from Bara Banghal as a joint stream formed by glacier-fed ‘Bhadal’ and ‘Tant Gari’. In Himachal Pradesh, it flows through Kangra and Chamba districts, before entering Kashmir at Kheri. Some of the major tributaries are Bhadal, Nai, Siul, Tant Gari, Ujh, and Baira.

Bhadal River
Bhadal rises from the snowy mountains of the region lying between Pir Panjal and Dhauladhar range near Bara Banghal area. It flows westward before joining Tant Gari to form the mainstream of Ravi river.

Siul River
Siul rises from the tract between Dhauladhar range and Pir Panjal. It flows in the eastward direction, and then takes U-turn and attains a south-western course, before meeting Ravi river near Chamba. Baira river is an important tributary of Siul river.

Baira River
Baira originates from the slopes of Pir Panjal. Baira is a perennial river and fed by melting of snow. At the end of its course, it merges with Siul river, which in turn merges with Ravi river at Chamba.

Tant Gari
Tant Gari rises from the snows on the southern slopes of Pir Panjal, near Bharmaur in Chamba district. Later, it merges with Ravi river.

Satluj
Known as Sutudri in Vedic Age, Satluj is the largest tributary of the Indus River. It originates from west of Lake Rakshatal in Tibet.

The river flows about 260 km in this area under the name of Langqen Zangbo (Elephant River) before entering India at Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh through Shipki La pass.

In Himachal Pradesh, Satluj flows through the district of Kinnaur, Shimla, Kullu, Solan, Mandi, and Bilaspur. It leaves Himachal Pradesh at Bilaspur and enters Punjab at Bhakra.

The major tributaries of Satluj River are Baspa, Beas, Soan, Spiti, Ungti Chu, and Pare Chu.

Baspa River
Baspa river originates from Baspa Valley (also known as Sangla Valley). It is fed by perennial glaciers and shares the catchment area with the Ganga. It meets Satluj near Karcham.

Spiti River
Spiti river originates from Kunzum Range. It is fed by waters from the glaciers. Kabzian and Tegpo streams are two main tributaries of the Spiti river. It is also joined by a number of water streams from Pin Valley. After traversing through Spiti valley, it meets Satluj River in Kannur.

Soan River
Soan river, also known as Solasinghi, rises from the Shiwalik range and meets Satluj in Kangra.

Yamuna
The Yamuna, known as Kalindi during Vedic age, is the largest tributary of the Ganga River System.

It originates from Yamunotri in Uttarkashi, Uttarakhand, and enters Himachal Pradesh at Khadar Majri in Sirmaur district.

Tons, Giri, Bata, and Pabbar are the major tributaries of the Yamuna from Himachal Pradesh region.

The total catchment area of Yamuna in Himachal Pradesh is 2320 sq. km.

Giri River
Giri River, also known as Giriganga, is one of the major tributaries of the Yamuna from Himachal Pradesh. It rises in the Jubbal hills and flows through Kot-Khai and Tatesh (part of Shimla district). It continues for forty kilometers forming a boundary with Keonthal region of Shimla.

At village ‘Mandoplasa’ it takes on southern-east direction, dividing Sirmour into two parts and flows for a distance of 86 km in this district and falls in the Yamuna at Rampur Ghat.

Jalal River
Jalal is a small, shallow and rain-fed river rises near Bani village in Sirmaur district.

It joins Giri river at Dadahu, which is tributary of Yamuna river.

Tons River
Tons is the largest tributary of the Yamuna that flows through Garhwal region in Uttarakhand, touching Himachal Pradesh. It joins the Yamuna at Kalsi in the north-west of Dehradun Valley. It is formed by the confluence of two rivulets, Supin River and Rupin River at Naitwar. It is one of the possible candidates for the mythical Saraswati river.

Pabbar River
Pabbar rises from the south-facing slopes of Dhauladhar range, near the border of Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh on the verge of Shimla District.

The river is fed by Chandra Nahan glacier. It joins the Tons at the base of Chakrata massif near Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh border.

Andhra River
Andhra River is a tributary of the Pabbar River, which is tributary of the Tons river. It originates from the lower hills of the main Himalayan range near Chirgaon in Shimla.

Patsari River
It is small spring-fed tributary of the Pabbar river. It rises the lower Himalayan hills near Kharapathar, Shimla. Later, it joins Pabbar river near the mountain hamlet of Patsari.

Bata River
Bata rivers originates as Jalmusa-Ka-Khala near Nahan ridge. It is fed by rain water and spring water. It is later joined by Khara-Ka-Khala and Kanser-Khala, both originating in Nahan ridge. The river joins Yamuna at the Bata Mandi.

Ghaggar
Ghaggar is an intermittent river, flow during monsoon season. It originates in the village Dagshai Village of Himachal Pradesh. The main tributaries of the Ghaggar are the Kaushalya river, Markanda, Sarsuti, Tangri and Chautang. The river is dammed at Ottu barrage near Sirsa. It is one of the contestant rivers for the mythical Drishadvati (Saraswati) river.

Markanda River
Markanda rises in the hills of Katasan in Sirmaur district on the border of Himachal Pradesh and Haryana. It is a rain-fed river and has very low flow in the winters.

Kaushalya River
Kaushalya river rises in the Shivalik hills on the border of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh State. It flows through Panchkula and merges with Ghaggar river near Pinjore. It flows along the border of Haryana and Punjab before joining Ghaggar river.

RiverTotal LengthLength of River in Himachal PradeshVedic NameSanskrit NameOriginMajor Tributaries
Satluj1448 km320 kmSutudriShatudriLake RakshatalBaspa, Spiti
Ravi720 km158 kmParushaniIravatiBhandal and Tantgiri Glacier, Bara BanghalBhandal, Baira, Siul, Tantgiri
Beas460 km256 kmAarjikaVipashaBeas Kund near Rohtang PassBinwa, Banganga, Chakki, Parbati, Luni, Sainj, Uhl
Chenab1200 km122 kmChandrabhagaAshkiniBarlacha PassChandra, Bhaga, Myar Nullah, Siacher Nullah
Yamuna1525 km22 kmKalindiYamunaYamunotri, UttarakhandGiriganga, Tons, Pabbar, Andhra