In This Post:
– Map of River Indus
– Tributaries of River Indus
– Course of River Indus
– History of River Indus
– Water Supply via Indus
– Irrigation System
– Dams on River Indus
– Quick Facts about River Indus
One of the most beautiful rivers in the world, River Indus has an interesting history and significance. Sutlej, Ravi, Chenab, Beas and Jhelum are some of the tributaries that fall into River Indus, converting it into one gigantic river flowing through the length of Pakistan. In this blog, we will specifically focus on significance, history, quick facts and the course of River Indus. All you have to do is to read till the end so that you don’t miss out on any important information.
Map of River Indus
River Indus is a beautiful long river in Pakistan. Its importance stems from the fact that it flows through three countries i.e. China, India and Pakistan. Originating from the Tibetan plateau in China, passing through Ladakh in India, it flows through Gilgit and southern parts of Pakistan, traversing across the length of Pakistan and finally completing its journey by merging into the Arabian Sea in Karachi.
Tributaries of River Indus
River Indus has many tributaries that contribute to the gigantic and wide Indus River.
- Beas River
- Chenab River
- Gar River
- Gilgit River
- Gomal River
- Hunza River
- Jhelum River
- Kabul River
- Kunhar River
- Kurram River
- Panjnad River
- Ravi River
- Shyok River
- Soan River
- Suru River
- Satluj River
- Swat River
- Zanskar River
- Zhob River
Course of River Indus
The river rises from Tibet near Lake Mapam in China at an elevation of 18,000 feet. For around 200 miles it flows northwest at about 15,000 feet, reaching Ladakh in the Indian administered state of Jammu and Kashmir. It is joined on its left by its first tributary, the River Zaskar. Continuing its journey further for about 240 km in the same direction, the Indus River is joined by its notable tributary, the River Shyok on the right bank.
In the Kohistan region of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in Pakistan, the river is fed by melted snow from mighty glaciers of the Karakoram Range. Shigar, Shyok, Gilgit and other streams carry the water from the glaciers and merge into Indus River. Moving further downstream, River Gilgit merges with Indus River at the site of Bunji, continuing to flow at a fast pace between the River Swat and Hazara areas until it reaches the reservoirs of Tarbela Dam.
The River Kabul joins the Indus River just above Attock, where the Indus River flows at an elevation of 2,000 feet, entering the plains of Punjab. Five notable tributaries – the River Jhelum, Chenab, Beas, Sutlej and Ravi join Indus River, making it larger and more prominent.
Moving through the western and southern plains of Punjab, the wide gushing river enters Sindh, depositing silt along its banks. Near Thatta, the Indus River branches into various tributaries that form a delta and joins the sea at various points south or south-east of Karachi.
Since the Indus River is mostly snow-fed, its flow and width of the river widely varies during different times of the year. In the winter season, the river has less water while during the monsoon season from July to September, it can flood the banks. There has also been a shift in the course of the river since prehistoric days and now it deviates into Rann of Kutch in Sindh after the earthquake in 1816.
History of River Indus
There is an interesting history associated with Indus River. The Indus Valley Civilisation flourished thousands of years ago, in the Bronze Age from 3,300 BC to 1,900 BC. The first evidence of the Harappan civilization was found in the 1820s near the banks of the Indus when Charles Mason, a British explorer in India found the ruins of a lost city.
The infrastructure of these cities speak volumes of the masterful engineering skills and urban planning. According to the findings of the archaeologists, the city of Mohenjo Daro was built around the 26th century BC, making it one of the largest and oldest settlements of ancient times.
The ruins of these ancient cities depict a civilized society conscious of its norms and traditions. Public baths, assembly halls and houses with courtyards all reflect towards a society with commendable level of social organization.
How Much Water Does the River Indus Carry?
Rivers are a major source of providing water supply. Moreover, soil deposited on river banks is a rich source of fertile land, good for plantation. Annually, the Indus River from the snow-capped mountains of the northern areas carries about 26.5 cubic miles (110 cubic km)—which is slightly less than half the total supply of water in the River Indus system. The River Jhelum and Chenab together carry roughly about one-fourth of the water in Indus River, while the River Ravi, Beas, and Sutlej contribute to the remaining part of the Indus River.
Irrigation through Indus River
The irrigation from Indus River has provided water for agriculture since ages. Modern irrigation systems were introduced during the British reign in 1850, large canal systems were constructed. There were many old canals present in Sindh and Punjab, which were renovated to form one of the biggest canal irrigation systems in the world.
At the time of partition in 1947, the international boundary between India and what was then West Pakistan cut the irrigation system of Sutlej Valley and Bari Doab Project, which was originally designed as one scheme, was later divided into two parts. The system’s headwork was given to India, while the canals ran through Pakistan.
The supply to Pakistan was affected. The water dispute between Pakistan and India was resolved through the Indus Water Treaty. According to the agreement, the rivers of the Indus, Jhelum, and Chenab is assigned to Pakistan, whereas the flow of the three eastern rivers, the River Ravi, Beas and Sutlej is reserved exclusively for India.
Dams on Indus River
There are two dams present on the Indus River. The Mangla Dam on the River Jhelum near the town of Jhelum is one of the largest rolled earth-fill dams in the world.
It has a height of more than 480 feet and was completed in 2009. However, the height of the dam was raised by 30 feet i.e. 9 metres. The project generates about 1,000 megawatts of hydroelectricity. In addition, the reservoir has been developed as a fishing centre and a tourist attraction as well as a health resort. It has also been developed as a fishing spot and a health resort.
Tarbela Dam is another notable dam built on the Indus River. It is located 50 miles northwest of Rawalpindi. The dam is about 9,000 feet long and 470 feet high and its reservoir is 50 miles long. The dam’s generating capacity is three times that of the Mangla Dam, and its total potential is considerably greater.
Quick Facts about Indus River
- The river has a total drainage area exceeding 1,165,000 km2. Its estimated annual flow stands at around 243 km3, which is twice that of the River Nile and three times that of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers combined. This makes it one of the largest rivers in the world in terms of the annual flow.
- Ancient ruins of Harappa and Mohenjo daro exist near the Indus River, also known as the Indus Valley Civilisation
- The Indus River is one of the few rivers in the world which exhibit a tidal bore. This is a rare tidal phenomena in which the incoming tide forms a wave that travels up the river or narrow bay against the direction of the river
- The Mughal Emperor Babur writes about encountering rhinoceroses along the bank of Indus River in his memoirs
- The Indus River Dolphin is only found in the Indus River. The Indus River Dolphin, as per the World Wildlife Fund is one of the most threatened cetaceans and there are only about 1,000 of these still existing
- The Indus River is the backbone of agriculture and fish production in Pakistan
We hope this detailed information about Indus River would prove useful to you. If you are interested to know more about the natural resources of Pakistan, then read the following blogs:
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