Rivers in Himachal Pradesh

rivers in himachal

Rivers in Himachal Pradesh

A massive collision between two tectonic plates of the Indian and Eurasian landmasses about 50 to 70 million years ago led to the formation of the youngest and tallest mountain ranges, the Himalayas. well. The river systems of the Himalayas developed because of rains and melting snow. The newly formed rivers were like sheets of water flowing towards the fore-deep carrying whatever came in their way. Once the rivers reached the plains their gradients became lesser, their hydraulics changed and they started to deposit their sediment. The Himalayan rivers are older than or as young as the Himalayas themselves.

Important and Main rivers flow through Himachal Pradesh are:


  • Length: 320 Km
  • Source: Rakas Lake (Kailash Mountain, Tibet)
  • Its total catchment area in Himachal Pradesh is 20,000 sq. Km.
  • Districts:  Lahaul Spiti, Kinnaur, Shimla, Kullu, Mandi and Bilaspur
  • Main Tributaries: Siyul, Budhil, Tantgiri
  • Satluj is the longest of the five rivers that flow through the historic crossroads region of Punjab in northern India and Pakistan.
  • The Sutlej River is also known as Satadree.
  • It is the easternmost tributary of the Indus River.
  • There are several major hydroelectric projects on the Sutlej, including the 1,325 MW Bhakra Dam, the 1,000 MW Karcham Wangtoo Hydroelectric Plant, and the 1,500 MW Nathpa Jhakri Dam.
  • The river basin area in India is located in Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir and Haryana states.
  • Also known as Satudri in Rig Veda and Shatudra in Sanskrit.
  • It is known as Longchhen Khabab in Tibet.
  • Its famous tributaries viz. the Spiti, the Ropa, the Taiti, the Kashang, the Mulgaon, the Yula, the Wanger, the Throng and the Rupi as right bank tributaries, whereas the Tirung, the Gayathing, the Baspa, the Duling and the Soldang are left bank tributaries.
  • It leaves Himachal Pradesh to enter the plains of Punjab at Bhakhra, where the world’s highest gravity dam has been constructed on this river.


  • Length: 158 Kms
  • Source: Bara Bhangal (Kangra)
  • Districts: Kullu and Chamba
  • Main Tributaries: Siyul, Budhil and Tantgiri
  • According to ancient history traced to Vedas, the Raavi River was known as Iravati. The Raavi was known as Parushni or Iravati to Indians in Vedic times and as Hydraotes to the Ancient Greeks.
  • The Ravi River, a transboundary river of India and Pakistan, is an integral part of the Indus River Basin and forms the headwaters of the Indus basin.
  • The waters of the Ravi River drain into the Arabian Sea (Indian Ocean) through the Indus River in Pakistan.
  • The river rises in the Bara Bhangal, District Kangra in Himachal Pradesh.
  • The river drains a total catchment area of 14,442 square kilometres (5,576 sq mi) in India after flowing for a length of 720 kilometres (450 mi). Flowing westward, it is hemmed by the Pir Panjal and Dhauladhar ranges, forming a triangular zone.
  • 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.
  • It debouches into the Chenab a little above Rangpur in Pakistani Punjab.
  • Its tributaries are Bhadal, Siul, Baira, Tantgari, Saho, Budhil, Tundahan, Beljedi, Chirchind Nullah.


  • Length: 122 Kms
  • Source: Bara Lachha Pass (Lahaul-Spiti)
  • Districts: Lahaul-Spiti, Chamba
  • Main Tributary: Miyar Nalla
  • It flows through the Jammu region of Jammu and Kashmir into the plains of Punjab, Pakistan, before flowing into the Indus River near the city of Uch Sharif.
  • The river is formed by the confluence of two rivers, Chandra and Bhaga, at Tandi, 8 km southwest of Keylong, in the Lahaul and Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh.
  • The Bhaga river originates from Surya taal lake, which is situated a few kilometers west of the Bara-lacha la pass in Himachal Pradesh.
  • The Chandra river originates from glaciers east of the same pass (near Chandra Taal). This pass also acts as a water-divide between these two rivers.
  • The Chandra river transverses 115 km (71 mi) before the confluence. The Bhaga river transverses through narrow gorges a distance of 60 km (37 mi) before the confluence at Tandi.
  • Its Tributaries are: Chandra, Bhaga, Miyar Nulaah and Saicher Nullah.
  • It flows 120 km in Himachal Pradesh and Its total length is 1200km.
  • It is the largest river of Himachal Pradesh in terms of Volume of water.


  • Length: 286 kms
  • Source: Beas kund
  • District: Kullu, Mandi, Kangra
  • Cachment Area: 13663 sq. km. (24.5% of HP’s Area)
  • Main Tributaries: Parbati, Tirthan, Sainj, Harla, Gaj Khad, Chakki, Luni, Mamuni, uhl, Suketi.
  • It enters kangra district at Sandhol and leaves it near Mirthal.
  • It flows for some 470 kilometres (290 mi) to the Sutlej River in Punjab.
  • Veda Vyasa is the eponym of the river Beas, the author of Indian epic Mahabharata; he is said to have created it from its source lake, the Vyas Kund.
  • Rig-veda calls the river Vipāś, which means unfettered (free), in later Sanskrit texts it’s been called Vipāśā, Yāska identifies it with Argrikiya.
  • Ancient Greeks called it Hyphasis. Other classical names are Hynais, Bipasis, Bibasis.
  • It was one of the rivers which created problems in Alexander’s invasion of India. His troops mutinied (refuse to obey the order of authority) here in 326 BCE, refusing to go any further; they had been away from home for eight years.
  • The Pandoh Dam is an embankment dam on the Beas River in Mandi district. Under the Beas Project, the dam was completed in 1977 and its primary purpose is hydroelectric power generation.
  • The Pong Dam, also known as the Beas Dam, is an earth-fill embankment dam on the Beas River in Talwara district.


  • Length: 22 kms (of total 1376)
  • Source: Saptrishi kund, Yamunotri Glacier (Uttrakhand)
  • Districts: Shimla, Sirmaur
  • Catchment Area: 5872 sq. Km. – 10.6% of H.P’s Area
  • Main Tributaries: Giri, Tons, Babbar
  • It enters Himachal Pradesh at Khaadaar Majri in Sirmaur.
  • It leaves HP at Tajewala and enters into the state of Haryana.
  • The Yamuna aka Jamuna, is the second-largest tributary river of the Ganga and the longest tributary in India.
  • It merges with the Ganga at Triveni Sangam, Prayagraj, which is a site of the Kumbh Mela, a Hindu festival held every 12 years.
  • Yamunotri temple, a shrine dedicated to the goddess Yamuna, is one of the holiest shrines in Hinduism, and part of the Chota Char Dham Yatra circuit.
  • Its important tributaries are:
    • Tons River, Yamuna’s largest tributary, which rises in the 6,315-metre-high (20,719 ft) Bandarpoonch mountain, and has a large basin in Himachal Pradesh. It meets Yamuna below Kalsi near Dehradun, Uttarakhand.
    • Hindon River, which originates in the Saharanpur District, Uttar Pradesh from Upper Shivalik in the Lower Himalayan Range. It is entirely rainfed and has a catchment area of 7,083 square kilometres (2,735 sq mi), traverses 400 kilometres (250 mi) through Muzaffarnagar District, Meerut District, Baghpat District, Ghaziabad, Noida and Greater Noida, before joining Yamuna just outside Delhi.
    • Ken River, which flows through the Bundelkhand region of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. It originates near Ahirgawan village in Jabalpur district and travels a distance of 427 kilometres (265 mi) before merging with the Yamuna at Chilla village, near Fatehpur in Uttar Pradesh. It has an overall drainage basin of 28,058 square kilometres (10,833 sq mi).
    • Chambal River, known as Charmanvati in ancient texts, which is Yamuna’s longest tributary. It flows through Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh and traverses a total distance of 960 kilometres (600 mi) from its source in Vindhya Range, near Mhow.
    • Sasur Khaderi River, a.k.a. Sasur Khaderi, which is a tributary in Fatehpur district.
    • Betwa River, or Betravati rises from Vindhya range and flows to North-East via Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. The confluence of both rivers (Yamuna and Betwa) is Hamirpur district, Uttar Pradesh. One of the Indian Navy frigates INS BETWA is named in honour of the river Betwa.

Read Also: Lakes of Himachal Pradesh

Various types of Folk Dramas in Himachal Pradesh

External References:

  • State of India Rivers – 2016 by Dr. Manshi Asher
  • Wikipedia
About Rahul Dhatwalia 67 Articles
Rahul loves to read article on internet, He crawls over whole net for interesting and unknown facts. He is presently working in Public Sector Bank. In Leisure time He loves to play guitar, produce music and watching movies.

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