It enters Himachal Pradesh at ‘Khadar Majri’ in Sirmaur district. Yamuna is the largest tributary of the Ganga. It rises from ‘Yamunotri’ in Garhwal hills and forms the Eastern boundary with Uttarakhand. The Yamuna is the Eastern-most river of Himachal Pradesh. Its famous tributaries are Tons, Pabbar and Giri or Giri Ganga. Its total catchment area in Himachal is 2,320 square km. It leaves the state near ‘Tajewala’ and enters into the Haryana state.
Jalal River : Jalal is the small tributary of the Giri river in Himachal Pradesh. It rises from ‘Dharthi ranges’ adjoining Pacchad and joins Yamuna at ‘Dadahu’ from the right side. The origin and entire course of this river lies in the lower Himalayas. This is the rainfed river and has abrupt flow during the rainy season. A number of human settlements have come up along with Jalal river. These include Bagthan and Dadhau.
Markanda River : It is a small river of Nahan area of the Sirmaur district. It rises from the Southern face of the lower Himalayas on the Western extremity of the Kiarda dun (Panota) valley. The lower Himalayan hills of Nahan occur on the right flank of the Markanda valley while the low rolling Shivalik hills are on its left flank. It is rainfed river and has very low flow in the winter and summer months, but rises abruptly in the monsoon.
Andhra River : This is a tributary of the Pabbar River which in turn drains in to the Tons river. This river rises from a small glacier tenated in a cirque of the lower hills of the main Himalayas in the area to the North West of Chirgaon in Shimla district. Thereafter it flows in a general direction towards South-East and merges with the Pabbar river at Chirgaon.
Giri River : The river Giri is an important tributary of the Yamuna. It drains a part of South-Eastern Himachal Pradesh. The Giri of Giriganga as it is famous in the Jubbal, Rohru hills that rises from ‘Kupar peak’ just above Jubbal town after flowing through the heart of Shimla hills flown down in the South-Eastern direction and divides the Sirmaur district into two equal parts that are known as Cis-Giri and Trans-Giri region and joins Yamuna upstream of Paonta below Mokkampur.
Asni River : This is a tributary of the Giri river which in turns drains into the Yamuna river. Numerous small springs fed tributaries join the Asni river at various places along its course.
Bata River : This originates in the boulders below the ‘Nahan ridge’ in the South-Western corner of Himachal Pradesh as the Jalmusa-ka-Khala. It is mainly fed by rain water that is cycled as underground water before finally coming up on the surface as a spring.
Pabbar River : This is a tributary of the Tons river, which in turn drains into the river Yamuna. This rises from the Dhauladhar range near the border of UP and Himachal Pradesh and the extreme North-Eastern of Shimla district.
Patsari River : It is a small spring fed tributary of the Pabbar river. This river rises from the lower Himalayan hills near Kharapathar in Shimla district of Himachal Pradesh. The river joins the Pabbar river near the mountain hamlet of Patsari about 10 kms upstream of Rohru.
Tons River : This river is as important tributary of the Yamuna river and joins it at ‘Kalsi’ in the North-Western part of Dehradun valley. It rises as the following two feeder streams
– the Supin river rises in the Northern part of the Tons catchment near the Himachal Pradesh and Uttrakhand border
– the Rupin river rises from a glacier at the head of the famous Har-Ki-Dun valley in the North-North Eastern part of the Tons catchment.
Rises from beyond Indian border in the Southern slopes of the Kailash mountain, near ‘Mansarover lake’ from ‘Rakas lake’ as Longchhen Khabag river (in Tibet) is the largest among the five rivers of Himachal Pradesh. It enters Himachal at ‘Shipki’ (altitude 6,608 mtrs) and flows into the South-Westerly direction through Kinnaur, Shimla, Kullu, Solan, Mandi and Bilaspur districts. Its course in Himachal Pradesh is 320 kms from ‘Rakastal’, with 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 Gayanthing, 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. Its total catchment area in Himachal Pradesh is 20,000 sq. kms. Its vedic name is ‘Satudri’ and Sanskrit name ‘Shatadru’. Satluj finally drains into the Indus in Pakistan. The prominent human settlements that have come on the banks of the Satluj river are Namgia, Kalpa, Rampur, Tattapani, Sunni and Bilaspur. Its total length is 1448 kms.
Baspa River : It is an important tributary of the river Satluj in its upper courses. The Baspa is joined by many smaller channels draining snow melt waters. The Baspa river has cut across the main Himalayan range. Thereafter it empties itself into the river Satluj in district Kinnaur. It originates from the Baspa hills, joins it from the left bank near Karcham (Kalpa). Satluj river leaves Kinnaur district in the west near ‘Chauhra’ and enters Shimla district.
Spiti River : It originates from Kunzum range and ‘Tegpo’ and ‘Kabzian’ streams are its tributaries. Water draining of the famous Pin valley area are also a part of the Spiti river system.
The Nogli Khad : It joins Satluj below Rampur Bushahr. It touches Kullu district in Nirmand tehsil opposite to Rampur tehsil of Shimla district.
Soan River : It rises from the Southern slopes of the Shivalik range also known as ‘Solasinghi’ range in the tract to the East of the Beas gap across the Southern periphery of the Kangra valley. It joins the Satluj river near its gorge across the Shivalik hills which forms the boundary of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab.
Rohtang Pass at 13,050 feet, 51 km North of Manali gateway is the source of the river Beas. This river while fulfilling the thirst of many local travelers, also quenches the thirst of the fields of Punjab and Pakistan before flowing into the Arabian sea. The name Rohtang is a new one, the old one being ‘Bhrigu Tung’. At this spot the great thinker and writer of the Mahabharta, Maharishi Vyas, meditated.
After covering hundreds of kilometers through the hills, the river ar ‘Hari ka Patan’ in Ferozepore district of Punjab embraces the river Satluj before flowing into Pakistan. The important settlement on the banks of the Beas are Kullu, Mandi, Bajaura, Pandoh, Sujanpur Tehra, Nadaun and Dehra-Gopipur.
Awa River : Rises from the Dhauladhar range in the Kangra Valley of Himachal Pradesh. If flows in a South-Westerly direction before joining the river beas. It receives both snowfed as well as rain water from smaller channels.
Baner River : It is a tributary of the Beas and drains the central part of the Kangra valley. It rises as a small snow fed channel on the Southern slopes of the Dhauladhar range near Palampur.
Banganga River : It joins beas river in the Kangra Valley. It rises from the southern slopes of the Dhauladhar range. The river is fed by snow melt waters and channels emanating from springs. Large fertile sediments have been formed all along the river near its mouth.
Chakki River : It drains the South-Western part of Himachal Pradesh. The Chakki river rises as a small snow fed and rain fed stream from the Southern slopes of the Dhauladhar range. This river enters Punjab near Pathankot and Joins the Beas river. Many settlements lie along the Chakki river, Nurpur town is the most known one.
Gaj Khad : It rises as a small streams from the snows on the Southern slopes of the Dhauladhar range in Kangra district. A number of small streams form the Gaj Khad. The Gaj river joins the Beas a little upstream of the Pong dam lake.
Harla River : Harla river rises as a small channel from the snows in the depression of the North-Western plank of Kullu valley. It joins the river Beas near Bhuntar. The Harla river has a small catchment in the form of a narrow V-shaped valley. Numerous snow fed streams join the river Harla.
Luni River : Luni river rises from the south slopes of Dhauladhar in the Kangra valley. It merges with the river Beas in the central part of Kangra valley.
Manuni River : It rises from Southern slopes of the Dhauladhar range and joins the river Beas. Huge river terraces occur on the both sides of the river bed, which are used for cultivation extensively.
Parbati River : It rises in the snowy wastes upstream of Manikaran on the foothills of the main Himalayan range in Kullu district. It joins the river Beas at Shamshi in Kullu valley. Small terraces found on the both sides of the river have been formed by it over the past thousand of years. Hot water springs at Manikaran pour their water into this river. ‘Manikaran’ and ‘Kasol’ are the important human settlements along this river.
Patlikhul River : This river is a tributary of the Beas river in the Manali area of Kullu district. It rises from the snow covered peak on the Southern slopes of the Pir Panjal range and thereafter it flows into the Beas river upstream of Kullu.
Sainj River : It rises from the water divides of the Beas and Satluj rivers in the lower ranges of the main Himalayas to the East of Kullu. Thereafter it flows towards South-West to join the Beas. Just before it cuts across the Dhauladhar range near Larji. The Sainj valley is V shaped and the river flows past a series of interlocking spurs. It has widened near the mouth of the river.
Suketi River : This river is a tributary of the Beas river in the kangra valley. It rises from the south facing slopes od Dhauladhar range. A number of small channels join the Suketi river in its upper reaches. The river has formed huge terraces, most of which are under cultivation. The upper catchment of the river consists of steep slopes.
Tirthan River : It is a tributary of the Beas river. It rises from the base of an offshoot of the great or main Himalayan range to the South-East of Kullu. Thereafter it follows a South Westerly course and flows into the Beas at Larji just before it cuts across the Dhauladhar range.
Uhl River : Uhl is another tributary of the Beas which rises as two feeder channels in the area to the North of the Dhauladhar range in Himachal Pradesh. Thereafter the two channels cross this gigantic mountain barrier and merge at the base of the Southern slopes to form the main channel of the Uhl river in Kangra area. It flows for a considerable distance along the base of the Dhauladhar range. Then it turns towards the South-East to merge with the Beas near the town of ‘Mandi’.
Two streams namely ‘Chandra’ and ‘Bhaga’ rise on the opposite sides of the Baralacha pass at an elevation of 4,891 mts., and meet at Tandi (2,286 mts) to form the river Chenab. The Chandra rises from the South-East and Bhaga from the North-West of the Baralacha pass. It enters Pangi valley of Chamba district near ‘Bhujind’ and leaves the district at ‘Sansari Nala’ to enter Podar valley of Kashmir. It flows in Himachal for 122 kms. With its total length of 1200 kms, it has a catchment area of 61,000 sq kms out of which 7,500 sq. kms lie in Himachal Pradesh. It is the largest river of Himachal Pradesh in terms of volume of waters. The Chenab valley is a structural trough formed by the great Himalayan and Pir Panjal ranges.
Bhaga River : This river originates from the Lahaul valley. A number of snowfed rivers joins it during its course, before it joins the Chandra stream at Tandi. From its origin it flows in the South-South Westerly direction as a raging torrent before joining the Chandra river. U shaped valleys, waterfalls, glaciers and Moraines characterizes the upper catchment of the Bhaga river. The entire tract is devoid of a vegetative cover. The discharge of this river increases during the summer months, when the snow on the high mountains starts melting.
Chandra River : It rises in the snows lying at the base of the main Himalayan range in Lahaul-Spiti district. Thereafter it flows for a considerable distance along the base of thin range in the South-East direction, before making a 180 turn and taking a South-West course in Spiti Valley. The entire area is a vast cold desert that receives little or no rains as it lies in the rain shadow of the Pir Panjal range lying towards South. The important human settlements along the river is Kolsar.
Rises from ‘Bara Banghal’ – a branch of Dhauladhar as a joint stream formed by the glacier fed ‘Badal’ and ‘Tant Giri’. The right bank tributaries of the Ravi are the Budhil, Tundahan Beljedi, Saho and Siul; and its left bank tributary worth mentioning is Chirchind Nala. Town Chamba is situated on the right bank of the Ravi. In later Sanskritik period it came to be known by the name of Irawati. The river flows by the foot of Dalhousie hill, through the famous Chamba valley. The river with its length of about 158 km in Himachal has a catchment area of about 5,451 sq kms. As the Ravi flows down from the heights, it passes hill sides with terraced fields. Sometimes the hills seem to move away and the river comes out into lovely green valleys.
Bhadal River : It rises from the snowy range of the area lying between the Pir panjal and Dhauladhar ranges in the Bara Banghal area of the Central Himachal Pradesh. It flows in a Westerly direction before merging with the Tant Gari river, to form the mainstream of the Ravi. Bhadal river’s catchment is made up of U-shaped valleys, waterfalls, moraines, cirques and towering peaks.
Siul River : It is the tributary of the Ravi river. It rises from the tract between the Dhauladhar and Pir Panjal ranges near J & K and Himachal Pradesh border. Then after this river flows towards East, takes a U-turn and attains a South-Westerly course before flowing into the Ravi river downstream of Chamba. River Baira is the prominent tributary of the Siul river. This river is fed by both snow melt water and spring waters.
Baira River : It rises from the snows on Southern slopes of the Pir Panjal range in Himachal Pradesh. Numerous tributaries of the Baira river are also fed by the snow and so make it a Perennial river before it joins the Siul river, which is a tributary of the Ravi river. Its catchment consists of steep slopes, deep valleys and terraces that have been laid down by the river since a long time.
Tant Gari : It is a tributary of the Ravi. This river rises as a small stream from the slopes of an off-shoot of the Pir Panjal range in the area East of Bharmaur in Chamba district. The Tant Gari then quickly descends down the steep slopes to form the Ravi river after merging with the Bhadal river. Melting snow is the perennial source of water for this river. A number of small streams join this river on its way, before it makes the part of the Ravi river.
The Swan river catchment in lower Shivaliks in Una district of Himachal Pradesh is one of highly degraded land masses in the Himalayas calling for elaborate corrective measures for the restoration of its ecology. It intersects district Una in almost two equal parts. Out of total area of 1540 Sq Km of Una district, the Swan river and its tributaries cover about 1290 sq. km. The Swan catchment is bordered by Kangra district in the North, Hamirpur in the East, Rupnagar (Punjab) in the South and Hoshiarpur district from South-West to North-West.