Region : Near Mansarovar Lake,
Tibetan Plateau, India-China Border
Also Known As : Sindhu River
Altitude : 4,200m
Total length : 3200 km (1988 miles).
Total drainage area : Exceeding
450,000 square miles
Annual flow : Around 207 cubic
Main Tributaries : Hanle River,
Gurtang River, Shigar River, Shigar (South) River, Shyok River, Gilgit
River, And Astor River
Indus River is the longest and most important river in Pakistan and one
of the most important rivers on the Indian subcontinent. Beginning at
the heights of the world with glaciers, the river feeds the ecosystem of
temperate forests, plains and arid countryside. The Indus is one of the
few rivers in the world that exhibit a tidal bore. The Indus system is
largely fed by the snows and glaciers of the Karakoram, Hindu Kush and
Himalayan ranges of Tibet, Kashmir and Northern Areas of Pakistan.
This river makes a sharp turn south of Pangong Lake and cuts through the
Ladakh range. Further downstream it turns towards the south and rounds
the western flank of the Nanga Parbat massif to take a westerly course
and leave the Himalayas near Sazin. It swiftly flows across Hazara, and
is dammed at the Tarbela Reservoir. The Kabul River joins it near Attock.
The remainder of its route to the sea is in plains of the Punjab and
Sind, and the river becomes slow-flowing and highly braided. It is
joined by Panjnad River at Mithankot.
Together with the rivers Chenab, Ravi, Sutlej, Jhelum, Beas and the
extinct Sarasvati River, the Indus forms the Sapta Sindhu ("Seven
Rivers") delta in the Sindh province of Pakistan. It has 20 major
The Indus is the most important supplier of water resources to the
Punjab and Sindh plains - it forms the backbone of agriculture and food
production in Pakistan. The river is especially critical as rainfall is
meagre in the lower Indus valley.
The ultimate source of the Indus is in Tibet; it begins at the
confluence of the Sengge and Gar rivers that drain the Nganglong Kangri
and Gangdise Shan mountain ranges. The Indus then flows northwest
through Ladakh-Baltistan into Gilgit, just south of the Karakoram range.
The Shyok, Shigar and Gilgit streams carry glacieral waters into the
main river. It gradually bends to the south, coming out of the hills
between Peshawar and Rawalpindi.
Climate at Indus
Average annual rainfall at :
Abbottabad : Around 1,200mm (47 inches)
Murree : Around 1,700mm (67 inches)
Lying just to the west of the Thar Desert of Rajasthan, the Indus
delta is one of the driest in the Indian subcontinent. Owing to the
passage of cyclones from the Arabian Sea, rainfall is extraordinarily
Higher elevations in Kashmir and the Northern Areas receives a large
amount of precipitation in the form of snow, but the lower valleys are
extremely dry and quite warm in the summer. The upper basin of the Indus
receives 4-8 inches of rainfall (higher in the west) in the winter
months owing to northwestern winds.
Annual temperatures fall below freezing in the northern mountainous
regions in the winter, while exceeding 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the
plains of Punjab and Sindh in the summer. The Punjab plains, however,
receive considerable rainfall from the summer monsoon.
Flash floods are known to have occurred in the Indus basin from time to
time. The most devastating flood occurred in the latter part of the last
century when a dam formed by an avalanche burst in the Indus catchment
of Ladakh. Huge loss of life and property occurred in the area at that
Palla fish (Hilsa ilisha) of the river is a delicacy for people
living along the river. The population of fishes in the river is
moderate. Sukkur, Thatta and Kotri are the major fishing centres.
These all are in the lower Sindh course.
Here marine fishes are found in
abundance, including pomfret and prawns.Damming and irrigation has made
fish farming an important economic activity.
The Blind Indus River Dolphin (Platanista gangetica minor) is a
sub-species of Dolphins found only in the Indus River. It formerly also
occurred in the tributaries of the Indus river.
Tributaries Of Indus
The main tributaries of this river in the Ladakh region of Jammu
and Kashmir are :
- The Hanle River
- The Gurtang River
- The Shigar River
- The Shigar (South) River
- The Shyok River
- The Gilgit River
- The Astor River
There are a number of human
settlements that lie along the Indus River in Ladakh, namely Leh, Marol,
Skardu and Bunji. Other rivers in Ladakh, which form tributaries of
the Indus and its feeder streams, include the Nubra River and the Drass