Indus River

Indus River

Overview
The Indus River is a major river which flows through Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

. It also has courses through China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 and India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

.

Originating in the Tibetan plateau
Tibetan Plateau
The Tibetan Plateau , also known as the Qinghai–Tibetan Plateau is a vast, elevated plateau in Central Asia covering most of the Tibet Autonomous Region and Qinghai, in addition to smaller portions of western Sichuan, southwestern Gansu, and northern Yunnan in Western China and Ladakh in...

 of western China in the vicinity of Lake Mansarovar in Tibet Autonomous Region
Tibet Autonomous Region
The Tibet Autonomous Region , Tibet or Xizang for short, also called the Xizang Autonomous Region is a province-level autonomous region of the People's Republic of China , created in 1965....

, the river runs a course through the Ladakh
Ladakh
Ladakh is a region of Jammu and Kashmir, the northernmost state of the Republic of India. It lies between the Kunlun mountain range in the north and the main Great Himalayas to the south, inhabited by people of Indo-Aryan and Tibetan descent...

 district of Jammu and Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir is the northernmost state of India. It is situated mostly in the Himalayan mountains. Jammu and Kashmir shares a border with the states of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab to the south and internationally with the People's Republic of China to the north and east and the...

 and then enters Pakistan via the Northern Areas (Gilgit
Gilgit
Gilgit is a city in northern PakistanGilgit may refer to other terms related with the area of the city:* Gilgit River* Gilgit Valley* Gilgit District* Gilgit Agency * Gilgit Airport...

-Baltistan
Baltistan
Baltistan , also known as بلتیول བལིུལ་ in the Balti language, is a region in northern Pakistan which forms Gilgit-Baltistan, bordering the Xinjiang Autonomous Region of China. In addition, a part of Baltistan also falls into Jammu and Kashmir of India. It is situated in the Karakoram mountains...

), flowing through the North in a southerly direction along the entire length of Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

, to merge into the Arabian Sea
Arabian Sea
The Arabian Sea is a region of the Indian Ocean bounded on the east by India, on the north by Pakistan and Iran, on the west by the Arabian Peninsula, on the south, approximately, by a line between Cape Guardafui in northeastern Somalia and Kanyakumari in India...

 near the port city of Karachi
Karachi
Karachi is the largest city, main seaport and the main financial centre of Pakistan, as well as the capital of the province of Sindh. The city has an estimated population of 13 to 15 million, while the total metropolitan area has a population of over 18 million...

 in Sindh
Sindh
Sindh historically referred to as Ba'ab-ul-Islam , is one of the four provinces of Pakistan and historically is home to the Sindhi people. It is also locally known as the "Mehran". Though Muslims form the largest religious group in Sindh, a good number of Christians, Zoroastrians and Hindus can...

.
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Encyclopedia
The Indus River is a major river which flows through Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

. It also has courses through China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 and India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

.

Originating in the Tibetan plateau
Tibetan Plateau
The Tibetan Plateau , also known as the Qinghai–Tibetan Plateau is a vast, elevated plateau in Central Asia covering most of the Tibet Autonomous Region and Qinghai, in addition to smaller portions of western Sichuan, southwestern Gansu, and northern Yunnan in Western China and Ladakh in...

 of western China in the vicinity of Lake Mansarovar in Tibet Autonomous Region
Tibet Autonomous Region
The Tibet Autonomous Region , Tibet or Xizang for short, also called the Xizang Autonomous Region is a province-level autonomous region of the People's Republic of China , created in 1965....

, the river runs a course through the Ladakh
Ladakh
Ladakh is a region of Jammu and Kashmir, the northernmost state of the Republic of India. It lies between the Kunlun mountain range in the north and the main Great Himalayas to the south, inhabited by people of Indo-Aryan and Tibetan descent...

 district of Jammu and Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir is the northernmost state of India. It is situated mostly in the Himalayan mountains. Jammu and Kashmir shares a border with the states of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab to the south and internationally with the People's Republic of China to the north and east and the...

 and then enters Pakistan via the Northern Areas (Gilgit
Gilgit
Gilgit is a city in northern PakistanGilgit may refer to other terms related with the area of the city:* Gilgit River* Gilgit Valley* Gilgit District* Gilgit Agency * Gilgit Airport...

-Baltistan
Baltistan
Baltistan , also known as بلتیول བལིུལ་ in the Balti language, is a region in northern Pakistan which forms Gilgit-Baltistan, bordering the Xinjiang Autonomous Region of China. In addition, a part of Baltistan also falls into Jammu and Kashmir of India. It is situated in the Karakoram mountains...

), flowing through the North in a southerly direction along the entire length of Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

, to merge into the Arabian Sea
Arabian Sea
The Arabian Sea is a region of the Indian Ocean bounded on the east by India, on the north by Pakistan and Iran, on the west by the Arabian Peninsula, on the south, approximately, by a line between Cape Guardafui in northeastern Somalia and Kanyakumari in India...

 near the port city of Karachi
Karachi
Karachi is the largest city, main seaport and the main financial centre of Pakistan, as well as the capital of the province of Sindh. The city has an estimated population of 13 to 15 million, while the total metropolitan area has a population of over 18 million...

 in Sindh
Sindh
Sindh historically referred to as Ba'ab-ul-Islam , is one of the four provinces of Pakistan and historically is home to the Sindhi people. It is also locally known as the "Mehran". Though Muslims form the largest religious group in Sindh, a good number of Christians, Zoroastrians and Hindus can...

. The total length of the river is 3180 kilometres (1,976 mi) and it is Pakistan's longest river.

The river has a total drainage area exceeding 1165000 square kilometres (449,809 sq mi). The river's estimated annual flow stands at around 207 cubic kilometers, making it the twenty-first largest river in the world in terms of annual flow. Beginning at the heights of the world with glaciers, the river feeds the ecosystem
Ecosystem
An ecosystem is a biological environment consisting of all the organisms living in a particular area, as well as all the nonliving , physical components of the environment with which the organisms interact, such as air, soil, water and sunlight....

 of temperate forests, plain
Plain
In geography, a plain is land with relatively low relief, that is flat or gently rolling. Prairies and steppes are types of plains, and the archetype for a plain is often thought of as a grassland, but plains in their natural state may also be covered in shrublands, woodland and forest, or...

s and arid countryside. Together with the rivers Jhelum
Jhelum River
Jehlum River or Jhelum River , ) is a river that flows in India and Pakistan. It is the largest and most western of the five rivers of Punjab, and passes through Jhelum District...

, Chenab, Ravi
Ravi River
The Ravi is a trans-boundary river flowing through Northwestern India and eastern Pakistan. It is one of the six rivers of the Indus System in Punjab region ....

, Sutlej
Sutlej
The Sutlej River is the longest of the five rivers that flow through the historic crossroad region of Punjab in northern India and Pakistan. It is located north of the Vindhya Range, south of the Hindu Kush segment of the Himalayas, and east of the Central Sulaiman Range in Pakistan.The Sutlej...

, Beas
Beas River
The Beas River is a river in the northern part of India. The river rises in the Himalayas in central Himachal Pradesh, India, and flows for some 470 km to the Sutlej River in the Indian state of Punjab....

 and two tributaries from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

, the Indus forms the delta
Indus River Delta
The Indus River Delta , forms where the Indus River flows into the Arabian Sea in Pakistan. The delta covers an area of about 41,440 km² , and is approximately 210 km across where it meets the sea. The active part of the delta is 6,000 km² in area. The climate is arid, the region only receives...

 of Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 mentioned in the Vedic
Vedic
Vedic may refer to:* the Vedas, the oldest preserved Indic texts** Vedic Sanskrit, the language of these texts** Vedic period, during which these texts were produced** Vedic pantheon of gods mentioned in Vedas/vedic period...

 Rig Veda as Sapta Sindhu and the Iranic
Iranian peoples
The Iranian peoples are an Indo-European ethnic-linguistic group, consisting of the speakers of Iranian languages, a major branch of the Indo-European language family, as such forming a branch of Indo-European-speaking peoples...

 Zend Avesta as Hapta Hindu (both sets of terms meaning Seven Rivers).

The river has been a source of wonder during the Classical Period. King Darius of Persia sent Scylax of Caryanda
Scylax of Caryanda
Scylax of Caryanda was a renowned Carian explorer and writer of the 6th and 5th centuries BCE.-Exploration and literary works:In about 515 BCE, Scylax was sent by King Darius I of Persia to follow the course of the Indus River and discover where it led. Scylax and his companions set out from city...

 to explore the river in 510 B.C.

Description


The Indus river provides the key water resources for the economy of Pakistan
Economy of Pakistan
The economy of Pakistan is the 47th largest in the world in nominal terms and 27th largest in the world in terms of purchasing power parity . Pakistan has a semi-industrialized economy, which mainly encompasses textiles, chemicals, food processing, agriculture and other industries...

 - especially the Breadbasket of Punjab province
Punjab (Pakistan)
Punjab is the most populous province of Pakistan, with approximately 45% of the country's total population. Forming most of the Punjab region, the province is bordered by Kashmir to the north-east, the Indian states of Punjab and Rajasthan to the east, the Pakistani province of Sindh to the...

, which accounts for most of the nation's agricultural production, and Sindh.The Five rivers after which Punjab is named are the Jhelum
Jhelum River
Jehlum River or Jhelum River , ) is a river that flows in India and Pakistan. It is the largest and most western of the five rivers of Punjab, and passes through Jhelum District...

, Chenab
Chenab River
The Chenab River چنRiver' آب) is a major river of Jammu and Kashmir and the Punjab in Pakistan. It forms in the upper Himalayas in the Lahaul and Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh, India, and flows through the Jammu region of Jammu and Kashmir into the plains of the Punjab, Pakistan...

, Ravi
Ravi River
The Ravi is a trans-boundary river flowing through Northwestern India and eastern Pakistan. It is one of the six rivers of the Indus System in Punjab region ....

, Beas
Beas River
The Beas River is a river in the northern part of India. The river rises in the Himalayas in central Himachal Pradesh, India, and flows for some 470 km to the Sutlej River in the Indian state of Punjab....

 and the Sutlej. The river also supports many heavy industries and provides the main supply of potable water in Pakistan.

The ultimate source of the Indus is in Tibet
Tibet
Tibet is a plateau region in Asia, north-east of the Himalayas. It is the traditional homeland of the Tibetan people as well as some other ethnic groups such as Monpas, Qiang, and Lhobas, and is now also inhabited by considerable numbers of Han and Hui people...

; it begins at the confluence of the Sengge
Sênggê Zangbo
Sênggê Zangbo, Sênggê River , a.k.a. Shiquan River or Shiquan He is a river in Ngari, Tibet, China. Senggezangbo Town is named after it....

 and Gar rivers that drain the Nganglong Kangri and Gangdise Shan mountain ranges. The Indus then flows northwest through Ladakh and Baltistan into Gilgit
Gilgit River
Gilgit River is a tributary of the Indus River, and flows past the town of Gilgit. It is located in the Northern Areas of Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan. The Gilgit starts from Shandur lake. The Gilgit River is also referred to as the Ghizar River....

, just south of the Karakoram
Karakoram
The Karakoram, or Karakorum , is a large mountain range spanning the borders between Pakistan, India and China, located in the regions of Gilgit-Baltistan , Ladakh , and Xinjiang region,...

 range. The Shyok River
Shyok River
The Shyok River flows through northern Ladakh in India and the Northern Areas of Pakistan , spanning some .The Shyok River, a tributary of the Indus River, originates from the Rimo Glacier, one of the tongues of Siachen Glacier. The river widens at the confluence with the Nubra River...

, Shigar
Shigar
Shigar is a town in Baltistan near Skardu in northern Pakistan. Nearby is the Shigar River.-External links:* *...

 and Gilgit
Gilgit
Gilgit is a city in northern PakistanGilgit may refer to other terms related with the area of the city:* Gilgit River* Gilgit Valley* Gilgit District* Gilgit Agency * Gilgit Airport...

 streams carry glacial waters into the main river. It gradually bends to the south, coming out of the hills between Peshawar
Peshawar
Peshawar is the capital of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and the administrative center and central economic hub for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan....

 and Rawalpindi
Rawalpindi
Rawalpindi , locally known as Pindi, is a city in the Pothohar region of Pakistan near Pakistan's capital city of Islamabad, in the province of Punjab. Rawalpindi is the fourth largest city in Pakistan after Karachi, Lahore and Faisalabad...

. The Indus passes gigantic gorges 4,500-5,200 meters (15,000-17,000 feet) deep near the Nanga Parbat
Nanga Parbat
Nanga Parbat is the ninth highest mountain on Earth, the second highest mountain in Pakistan and among the eight-thousanders with a summit elevation of 8,126 meters...

 massif
Massif
In geology, a massif is a section of a planet's crust that is demarcated by faults or flexures. In the movement of the crust, a massif tends to retain its internal structure while being displaced as a whole...

. It flows swiftly across Hazara, and is dammed at the Tarbela Reservoir
Tarbela Dam
Tarbela Dam on the Indus River in Pakistan is the second largest dam in the world by structural volume. It is located in Haripur District, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, about northwest of Islamabad.The dam is high above the riverbed. The dam forms the Tarbela Reservoir, with a surface area of approximately...

. The Kabul River
Kabul River
Kabul River , the classical Cophes , is a 700 km long river that starts in the Sanglakh Range of the Hindu Kush Mountains in Afghanistan and ends in the Indus River near Attock, Pakistan. It is the main river in eastern Afghanistan and is separated from the watershed of the Helmand by the Unai Pass...

 joins it near Attock
Attock
Attock is a city located in the northern border of the Punjab province of Pakistan and the headquarters of Attock District...

. The remainder of its route to the sea is in plains of the Punjab and Sindh, and the river becomes slow-flowing and highly braided. It is joined by Panjnad River
Panjnad River
Panjnad River is a river at the extreme end of Bahawalpur district in Punjab, Pakistan. Panjnad River is formed by successive confluence of the five rivers of Punjab, namely Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas and Sutlej...

 at Mithankot
Mithankot
Mithankot , is located in southern Punjab, Pakistan.- Geography :Mithankot is located on the right bank of the Indus River, only a short distance downstream from its junction with Panjnad River. The latter is formed by successive confluence of the five rivers of Punjab, namely Jhelum, Chenab,...

. Beyond this confluence, the river, at one time, was named Satnad River (Sat = seven, Nadi = river), as the river was now carrying the waters of the Kabul River, the Indus River and the five Punjab rivers. Passing by Jamshoro
Jamshoro
Jamshoro is a city in Jamshoro District, Sindh, Pakistan. It is located on the right bank of Indus River, approximately 18 kilometres north-west of the city of Hyderabad and 150 kilometres north-east from the provincial capital Karachi....

, it ends in a large delta to the east of Thatta
Thatta
Thatta is a historic town of 220,000 inhabitants in the Sindh province of Pakistan, near Lake Keenjhar, the largest freshwater lake in the country. Thatta's major monuments especially its necropolis at Makli are listed among the World Heritage Sites. The Shah Jahan Mosque is also listed...

.

The Indus is one of the few rivers in the world that exhibit a tidal bore
Tidal bore
A tidal bore is a tidal phenomenon in which the leading edge of the incoming tide forms a wave of water that travel up a river or narrow bay against the direction of the river or bay's current...

. The Indus system is largely fed by the snows and glaciers of the Himalayas
Himalayas
The Himalaya Range or Himalaya Mountains Sanskrit: Devanagari: हिमालय, literally "abode of snow"), usually called the Himalayas or Himalaya for short, is a mountain range in Asia, separating the Indian subcontinent from the Tibetan Plateau...

, Karakoram and the Hindu Kush
Hindu Kush
The Hindu Kush is an mountain range that stretches between central Afghanistan and northern Pakistan. The highest point in the Hindu Kush is Tirich Mir in the Chitral region of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan.It is the westernmost extension of the Pamir Mountains, the Karakoram Range, and is a...

 ranges of Tibet, the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir is the northernmost state of India. It is situated mostly in the Himalayan mountains. Jammu and Kashmir shares a border with the states of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab to the south and internationally with the People's Republic of China to the north and east and the...

 and the Northern Areas
Northern Areas
Gilgit-Baltistan , is the northernmost political entity within Pakistan. It borders Pakistan's Khyber Pukhtunkhwa province to the west, Afghanistan's Wakhan Corridor to the north, China to the east and northeast, Azad Kashmir to the southwest, and Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir to the...

 of Pakistan respectively. The flow of the river is also determined by the seasons - it diminishes greatly in the winter, while flooding its banks in the monsoon
Monsoon
Monsoon is traditionally defined as a seasonal reversing wind accompanied by corresponding changes in precipitation, but is now used to describe seasonal changes in atmospheric circulation and precipitation associated with the asymmetric heating of land and sea...

 months from July to September. There is also evidence of a steady shift in the course of the river since prehistoric times - it deviated westwards from flowing into the Rann of Kutch
Rann of Kutch
The Great Rann of Kutch, also called Greater Rann of Kutch or just Rann of Kutch , is a seasonal salt marsh located in the Thar Desert in the Kutch District of Gujarat, India and the Sindh province of Pakistan....

 and adjoining Banni grasslands after the 1816 earthquake
Earthquake
An earthquake is the result of a sudden release of energy in the Earth's crust that creates seismic waves. The seismicity, seismism or seismic activity of an area refers to the frequency, type and size of earthquakes experienced over a period of time...

.

History





Paleolithic
Paleolithic
The Paleolithic Age, Era or Period, is a prehistoric period of human history distinguished by the development of the most primitive stone tools discovered , and covers roughly 99% of human technological prehistory...

 sites have been discovered in Pothohar near Pakistan's capital Islamabad
Islamabad
Islamabad is the capital of Pakistan and the tenth largest city in the country. Located within the Islamabad Capital Territory , the population of the city has grown from 100,000 in 1951 to 1.7 million in 2011...

, with the stone tools of the Soan Culture. In ancient Gandhara
Gandhara
Gandhāra , is the name of an ancient kingdom , located in northern Pakistan and eastern Afghanistan. Gandhara was located mainly in the vale of Peshawar, the Potohar plateau and on the Kabul River...

, near Islamabad
Islamabad
Islamabad is the capital of Pakistan and the tenth largest city in the country. Located within the Islamabad Capital Territory , the population of the city has grown from 100,000 in 1951 to 1.7 million in 2011...

, evidence of cave dwellers dated 15,000 years ago has been discovered at Mardan
Mardan
Mardan , known as The city of hospitality, is a city and headquarters of Mardan District in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, Pakistan. It is the de facto headquarters of the Yousafzai tribe and the second most populous city in the province, located at 34°12'0N 72°1'60E and an altitude of in the south...

.

The major cities of the Indus Valley Civilization
Indus Valley Civilization
The Indus Valley Civilization was a Bronze Age civilization that was located in the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent, consisting of what is now mainly modern-day Pakistan and northwest India...

, such as Harappa
Harappa
Harappa is an archaeological site in Punjab, northeast Pakistan, about west of Sahiwal. The site takes its name from a modern village located near the former course of the Ravi River. The current village of Harappa is from the ancient site. Although modern Harappa has a train station left from...

 and Mohenjo-daro
Mohenjo-daro
Mohenjo-daro is an archeological site situated in what is now the province of Sindh, Pakistan. Built around 2600 BC, it was one of the largest settlements of the ancient Indus Valley Civilization, and one of the world's earliest major urban settlements, existing at the same time as the...

, date back to around 3300 BC, and represent some of the largest human habitations of the ancient world. The Indus Valley Civilization extended from across Pakistan, with an upward reach from east of Jhelum River to Ropar on the upper Sutlej. The coastal settlements extended from Sutkagan Dor
Sutkagan Dor
Sutkagan Dor is the westernmost known archaeological site of Indus Valley Civilization. It is located about 480 km west of Karachi on Makran coast near the Iran border in Baluchistan in Pakistan...

 at the Pakistan, Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

 border to kutch in easternmost Pakistan. There is an Indus site on the Amu Darya
Amu Darya
The Amu Darya , also called Oxus and Amu River, is a major river in Central Asia. It is formed by the junction of the Vakhsh and Panj rivers...

 at Shortughai in northern Afghanistan, and the Indus site Alamgirpur
Alamgirpur
Alamgirpur is an archeological site of the Indus Valley Civilization that thrived along Indus River from the Harappan-Bara period, located in Meerut district, Uttar Pradesh, India. It is the eastern most site of the civilization....

 at the Hindon River
Hindon River
Hindon River, a tributary of Yamuna river, is a river in India that originates in the Saharanpur District, from Upper Shivalik in Lower Himalayan Range...

 is located only 28 km from Delhi
Delhi
Delhi , officially National Capital Territory of Delhi , is the largest metropolis by area and the second-largest by population in India, next to Mumbai. It is the eighth largest metropolis in the world by population with 16,753,265 inhabitants in the Territory at the 2011 Census...

. To date, over 1,052 cities and settlements have been found, mainly in the general region of the Ghaggar-Hakra River
Ghaggar-Hakra River
The Ghaggar-Hakra River is an intermittent river in India and Pakistan that flows only during the monsoon season. The river is known as Ghaggar before the Ottu barrage and as the Hakra downstream of the barrage...

 and its tributaries. Among the settlements were the major urban centers of Harappa and Mohenjo-daro, as well as Lothal
Lothal
Lothal is one of the most prominent cities of the ancient Indus valley civilization. Located in Bhāl region of the modern state of Gujarāt and dating from 2400 BCE. Discovered in 1954, Lothal was excavated from February 13, 1955 to May 19, 1960 by the Archaeological Survey of India...

, Dholavira
Dholavira
Dholavira is an archaeological site in Khadirbet in Bhachau Taluka of Kachchh district of Gujarat state in western India, which has taken its name from a modern village 1 km south of it. The site of Dholavira, locally known as Kotada timba contains ruins of an ancient Harappan city...

, Ganeriwala, and Rakhigarhi
Rakhigarhi
Rakhigarhi, or Rakhi Garhi , is a village in Hisar District in the northwest Indian state of Haryana, around 150 kilometers from Delhi. In 1963 archeologists discovered the village was the site of an extensive city, part of the Indus Valley Civilization...

. Only 90-96 of the over-800 known Indus Valley sites have been discovered on the Indus and its tributaries. The Sutlej, now a tributary of the Indus, in Harappan times flowed into the Ghaggar-Hakra River
Ghaggar-Hakra River
The Ghaggar-Hakra River is an intermittent river in India and Pakistan that flows only during the monsoon season. The river is known as Ghaggar before the Ottu barrage and as the Hakra downstream of the barrage...

, in the watershed of which were more Harappan sites than along the Indus.

Most scholars believe that settlements of Gandhara grave culture
Gandhara grave culture
The Gandhara grave culture emerged ca. 1600 BC, and flourished in Gandhara, Pakistan ca. 1500 BC to 500 BC ....

 of the early Indo-Aryans
Indo-Aryans
Indo-Aryan is an ethno-linguistic term referring to the wide collection of peoples united as native speakers of the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-Iranian family of Indo-European languages...

 flourished in Gandhara
Gandhara
Gandhāra , is the name of an ancient kingdom , located in northern Pakistan and eastern Afghanistan. Gandhara was located mainly in the vale of Peshawar, the Potohar plateau and on the Kabul River...

 from 1700 BC to 600 BC, when Mohenjo-daro
Mohenjo-daro
Mohenjo-daro is an archeological site situated in what is now the province of Sindh, Pakistan. Built around 2600 BC, it was one of the largest settlements of the ancient Indus Valley Civilization, and one of the world's earliest major urban settlements, existing at the same time as the...

 and Harappa had already been abandoned.

The name Indus is used in Megasthenese's book Indica
Indica (Arrian)
Indica is the name of an ancient book about India written by Arrian, one of the main ancient historians of Alexander the Great. The book mainly tells the story of Alexander's officer Nearchus’ voyage from India to the Persian Gulf after Alexander the Great’s conquest of the Indus Valley...

 for the mighty river crossed by Alexander, based on Nearchus
Nearchus
Nearchus was one of the officers, a navarch, in the army of Alexander the Great. His celebrated voyage from India to Susa after Alexander's expedition in India is preserved in Arrian's account, the Indica....

's contemporaneous account. "Indus" is a Hellenic derivative of the Iranian
Iranian languages
The Iranian languages form a subfamily of the Indo-Iranian languages which in turn is a subgroup of Indo-European language family. They have been and are spoken by Iranian peoples....

 Hindu, in turn derived from Sindhu, the name of the Indus in the Rigveda
Rigveda
The Rigveda is an ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns...

. The Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

 Sindhu generically means river, stream, ocean, probably from a root sidh meaning to keep off; Sindhu is attested 176 times in the Rigveda, 95 times in the plural, more often used in the generic meaning. Already in the Rigveda, notably in the later hymns, the meaning of the word is narrowed to refer to the Indus river in particular, for example in the list of rivers of the Nadistuti sukta
Nadistuti sukta
The Nadistuti sukta ,"hymn of praise of rivers", is hymn 10.75 of the Rigveda.It is important for the reconstruction of the geography of the Vedic civilization...

. This resulted in the anomaly of a river with masculine gender: all other Rigvedic rivers
Rigvedic rivers
Rivers, such as the Sapta Sindhu , play a prominent part in the hymns of the Rigveda, and consequently in early Vedic religion...

 are female, not just grammatically, being imagined as goddesses and compared to cows and mares yielding milk and butter.

The Indus has formed a natural boundary between the Indian Subcontinent
Subcontinent
A subcontinent is a large, relatively self-contained landmass forming a subdivision of a continent. By dictionary entries, the term subcontinent signifies "having a certain geographical or political independence" from the rest of the continent, or "a vast and more or less self-contained subdivision...

 and its frontier with the Iranian Plateau
Iranian plateau
The Iranian plateau, or Iranic plateau, is a geological formation in Southwest Asia. It is the part of the Eurasian Plate wedged between the Arabian and Indian plates, situated between the Zagros mountains to the west, the Caspian Sea and the Kopet Dag to the north, the Hormuz Strait and Persian...

, a region which includes Pakistan's Balochistan
Balochistan (Pakistan)
Balochistan is one of the four provinces or federating units of Pakistan. With an area of 134,051 mi2 or , it is the largest province of Pakistan, constituting approximately 44% of the total land mass of Pakistan. According to the 1998 population census, Balochistan had a population of...

, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as well as Afghanistan, Tajikistan
Tajikistan
Tajikistan , officially the Republic of Tajikistan , is a mountainous landlocked country in Central Asia. Afghanistan borders it to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and China to the east....

 and Iran. It has been crossed by the armies of Alexander the Great - His Macedon
Macedon
Macedonia or Macedon was an ancient kingdom, centered in the northeastern part of the Greek peninsula, bordered by Epirus to the west, Paeonia to the north, the region of Thrace to the east and Thessaly to the south....

ian forces retreated along the southern course of the river at the end of the Asian campaign after conquering what is now Pakistan and joining it to the Hellenic
Hellenic
Hellenic is a synonym for Greek and may refer to:* Hellenic languages* Hellenic Airlines* Hellenic College, a liberal arts college in Brookline, Massachusetts* Hellenic College of London* Hellenic FC, a football club in South Africa...

 Empire. The Indus plains have also been under the domination of the Persian empire and the Kushan empire
Kushan Empire
The Kushan Empire originally formed in the early 1st century AD under Kujula Kadphises in the territories of ancient Bactria on either side of the middle course of the Oxus in what is now northern Afghanistan, Pakistan, and southern Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.During the 1st and early 2nd centuries...

. The Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 armies of Muhammad bin Qasim
Muhammad bin Qasim
Muhammad bin Qasim Al-Thaqafi was a Umayyad general who, at the age of 17, began the conquest of the Sindh and Punjab regions along the Indus River for the Umayyad Caliphate. He was born in the city of Taif...

, Mahmud of Ghazni
Mahmud of Ghazni
Mahmud of Ghazni , actually ', was the most prominent ruler of the Ghaznavid dynasty who ruled from 997 until his death in 1030 in the eastern Iranian lands. Mahmud turned the former provincial city of Ghazni into the wealthy capital of an extensive empire which covered most of today's Iran,...

, Mohammed Ghori, Tamerlane and Babur
Babur
Babur was a Muslim conqueror from Central Asia who, following a series of setbacks, finally succeeded in laying the basis for the Mughal dynasty of South Asia. He was a direct descendant of Timur through his father, and a descendant also of Genghis Khan through his mother...

 also crossed the river to strike into the inner regions of Punjab and further south east.

The word "India"
Etymology of India
The name India may refer to either the region of Greater India , or to the contemporary Republic of India contained therein....

 is derived from the Indus River. In ancient times, "India"
Etymology of India
The name India may refer to either the region of Greater India , or to the contemporary Republic of India contained therein....

 initially referred to the region of Pakistan along the eastern banks of the Indus river, but by 300 BC, Greek writers like Megasthenes applied the term to the subcontinent which extends further eastward.

The traditional source of the river is the Senge Khabab or 'Lion's Mouth', a perennial spring, not far from the sacred Mount Kailash
Mount Kailash
Mount Kailash is a peak in the Gangdisê Mountains, which are part of the Himalayas in Tibet...

, and is marked by a long low line of Tibetan chortens. There are several other tributaries nearby which may possibly form a longer stream than Senge Khabab, but unlike the Senger Khabab, are all dependent on snowmelt. The Zanskar River
Zanskar River
The Zanskar River is a north-flowing tributary of the Indus. In its upper reaches, the Zanskar has two main branches. First of these, the Doda, has its source near the Pensi-la mountain-pass and flows south-eastwards along the main Zanskar valley leading towards Padum, the capital of Zanskar...

 which flows into the Indus in Ladakh has a greater volume of water than the Indus itself before that point.
"That night in the tent [next to Senge Khabab] I ask Sonmatering which of the Indus tributaries which we crossed this morning is the longest. All of them, he says, start at least a day's walk away from here. The Bukhar begins near the village of Yagra
Yagra
Yagra is a village in the Tibet Autonomous Region of China, not far from the base of the sacred mountain, Mount Kailash. The Bukhar, one of the upper tributaries of the Indus River begins near Yagra and is fed by snowmelt.-References:...

. The Lamolasay's source is in a holy place: there is a monastery there. The Dorjungla is a very difficult and long walk, three days perhaps, and there are many sharp rocks; but it its water is clear and blue, hence the tributary's other name, Zom-chu, which Karma Lama translates as 'Blue Water'. The Rakmajang rises from a dark lake called the Black Sea.
One of the longest tributaries — and thus a candidate for the river's technical source — is the Kla-chu, the river we crossed yesterday by bridge. Also known as the Lungdep Chu, it flows into the Indus from the south-east, and rises a day's walk from Darchen. But Sonamtering insists that the Dorjungla is the longest of the 'three types of water' that fall into the Seng Tsanplo ['Lion River' or Indus]."

Geography



Tributaries

  • Nagar River
    Nagar River
    Nagar River is in the Bogra District of Bangladesh:-Early history:The Nagar is a branch of the Karatoya and serves as theboundary between the Sibganj and Bogra thanas, for about...

  • Astor River
  • Balram River
  • Dras River
    Dras river
    The Dras River is a tributary of the Suru River, and originates in the Machoi Glacier situated near the Zozi-la Pass....

  • Gar River
  • Ghizar River
  • Gilgit River
    Gilgit River
    Gilgit River is a tributary of the Indus River, and flows past the town of Gilgit. It is located in the Northern Areas of Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan. The Gilgit starts from Shandur lake. The Gilgit River is also referred to as the Ghizar River....

  • Gumal River
  • Kabul River
    Kabul River
    Kabul River , the classical Cophes , is a 700 km long river that starts in the Sanglakh Range of the Hindu Kush Mountains in Afghanistan and ends in the Indus River near Attock, Pakistan. It is the main river in eastern Afghanistan and is separated from the watershed of the Helmand by the Unai Pass...

  • Kurram River
  • Panjnad River
    Panjnad River
    Panjnad River is a river at the extreme end of Bahawalpur district in Punjab, Pakistan. Panjnad River is formed by successive confluence of the five rivers of Punjab, namely Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas and Sutlej...

  • Shigar River
    Shigar River
    Shigar River is located in Baltistan, Northern Areas, Pakistan. The Shigar River is formed from the melt water of the Baltoro Glacier and Biafo Glacier. It flows through the Shigar Valley. The river is tributary to Indus River and meets the Indus in Skardu Valley.-See also:*Shigar...

  • Shyok River
    Shyok River
    The Shyok River flows through northern Ladakh in India and the Northern Areas of Pakistan , spanning some .The Shyok River, a tributary of the Indus River, originates from the Rimo Glacier, one of the tongues of Siachen Glacier. The river widens at the confluence with the Nubra River...

  • Sohan River
  • Tanubal River
  • Zanskar River
    Zanskar River
    The Zanskar River is a north-flowing tributary of the Indus. In its upper reaches, the Zanskar has two main branches. First of these, the Doda, has its source near the Pensi-la mountain-pass and flows south-eastwards along the main Zanskar valley leading towards Padum, the capital of Zanskar...


Geology



The Indus River feeds the Indus submarine fan, which is the second largest sediment body on the Earth at around 5 million cubic kilometres of material eroded from the mountains. Studies of the sediment in the modern river indicate that the Karakoram Mountains
Karakoram
The Karakoram, or Karakorum , is a large mountain range spanning the borders between Pakistan, India and China, located in the regions of Gilgit-Baltistan , Ladakh , and Xinjiang region,...

 in northern Pakistan are the single most important source of material, with the Himalayas providing the next largest contribution, mostly via the large rivers of the Punjab (i.e., the Jhelum, Ravi
Ravi River
The Ravi is a trans-boundary river flowing through Northwestern India and eastern Pakistan. It is one of the six rivers of the Indus System in Punjab region ....

, Chenab, Beas
Beas River
The Beas River is a river in the northern part of India. The river rises in the Himalayas in central Himachal Pradesh, India, and flows for some 470 km to the Sutlej River in the Indian state of Punjab....

 and the Sutlej). Analysis of sediments from the Arabian Sea has demonstrated that prior to five million years ago the Indus was not connected to these Punjab
Punjab region
The Punjab , also spelled Panjab |water]]s"), is a geographical region straddling the border between Pakistan and India which includes Punjab province in Pakistan and the states of the Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh and some northern parts of the National Capital Territory of Delhi...

 rivers which instead flowed east into the Ganges and were captured after that time. Earlier work showed that sand and silt from western Tibet was reaching the Arabian Sea by 45 million years ago, implying the existence of an ancient Indus River by that time. The delta of this proto-Indus river has subsequently been found in the Katawaz Basin, on the Afghan-Pakistan border. The Indus according to the ancient Rigveda
Rigveda
The Rigveda is an ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns...

 is the Saraswati
Saraswati
In Hinduism Saraswati , is the goddess of knowledge, music, arts, science and technology. She is the consort of Brahma, also revered as His Shakti....

 which flowed from the Himalayas
Himalayas
The Himalaya Range or Himalaya Mountains Sanskrit: Devanagari: हिमालय, literally "abode of snow"), usually called the Himalayas or Himalaya for short, is a mountain range in Asia, separating the Indian subcontinent from the Tibetan Plateau...

 through Pakistan to the Arabian Sea.

In the Nanga Parbat
Nanga Parbat
Nanga Parbat is the ninth highest mountain on Earth, the second highest mountain in Pakistan and among the eight-thousanders with a summit elevation of 8,126 meters...

 region, the massive amounts of erosion due to the Indus river following the capture and rerouting through that area is thought to bring middle and lower crustal rocks to the surface.

Wildlife



Accounts of the Indus valley from the times of Alexander's campaign indicate a healthy forest cover in the region, which has now considerably receded. The Mughal Emperor Babur
Babur
Babur was a Muslim conqueror from Central Asia who, following a series of setbacks, finally succeeded in laying the basis for the Mughal dynasty of South Asia. He was a direct descendant of Timur through his father, and a descendant also of Genghis Khan through his mother...

 writes of encountering rhinoceroses along its bank in his memoirs (the Baburnama
Baburnama
Bāburnāma is the name given to the memoirs of Ẓahīr ud-Dīn Muḥammad Bābur , founder of the Mughal Empire and a great-great-great-grandson of Timur...

). Extensive deforestation
Deforestation
Deforestation is the removal of a forest or stand of trees where the land is thereafter converted to a nonforest use. Examples of deforestation include conversion of forestland to farms, ranches, or urban use....

 and human interference in the ecology of the Shivalik Hills has led to a marked deterioration in vegetation and growing conditions. The Indus valley regions are arid with poor vegetation. Agriculture is sustained largely due to irrigation works.

The blind Indus River Dolphin
Indus River dolphin
The Indus River dolphin is a sub-species of freshwater or river dolphin found in the Indus River of Pakistan...

 (Platanista gangetica minor) is a sub-species of dolphin found only in the Indus River. It formerly also occurred in the tributaries of the Indus river. According to the World Wildlife Fund claims it is one of the most threatened cetaceans with only about 1000 still existing.

Palla fish (Hilsa
Hilsa
Ilish , also spelled Elish, is the most popular fish to Bengalis. Its the national fish of Bangladesh and extremely popular in parts of India such as West Bengal, Orissa, Tripura, Assam as well. Ilish also can be found at India's Assamese-, Bengali- Oriya-speaking regions and in Telugu-speaking...

) of the river is a delicacy for people living along the river. The population of fishes in the river is moderately high, with Sukkur
Sukkur
Sukkur, or Sakharu , formerly Aror and Bakar, is the third largest city of Sindh province, situated on the west bank of Indus River in Pakistan in Sukkur District. However, the word Sakharu in Sindhi means "superior", which the spelling of the city's name in Sindhi suggests is the origin of the...

, Thatta
Thatta
Thatta is a historic town of 220,000 inhabitants in the Sindh province of Pakistan, near Lake Keenjhar, the largest freshwater lake in the country. Thatta's major monuments especially its necropolis at Makli are listed among the World Heritage Sites. The Shah Jahan Mosque is also listed...

 and Kotri
Kotri
Kotri , a large town, is the headquarters station of the Kotri Taluka, or administrative district...

 being the major fishing centres - all in the lower Sindh course. But damming and irrigation has made fish farming an important economic activity. Located southeast of Karachi, the large delta has been recognised by conservationists as one of the world's most important ecological regions. Here the river turns into many marshes, streams and creeks and meets the sea at shallow levels. Here marine fishes are found in abundance, including pomfret
Pomfret
Pomfret are perciform fishes belonging to the family Bramidae.They are found in the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans, and the largest species, the Atlantic pomfret, Brama brama, grows up to long....

 and prawns.

Economy


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. Irrigation canals were first built by the people of the Indus valley civilization, and later by the engineers of the Kushan Empire
Kushan Empire
The Kushan Empire originally formed in the early 1st century AD under Kujula Kadphises in the territories of ancient Bactria on either side of the middle course of the Oxus in what is now northern Afghanistan, Pakistan, and southern Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.During the 1st and early 2nd centuries...

 and the Mughal Empire
Mughal Empire
The Mughal Empire ,‎ or Mogul Empire in traditional English usage, was an imperial power from the Indian Subcontinent. The Mughal emperors were descendants of the Timurids...

. Modern irrigation was introduced by the British East India Company
British East India Company
The East India Company was an early English joint-stock company that was formed initially for pursuing trade with the East Indies, but that ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent and China...

 in 1850 - the construction of modern canals accompanied with the restoration of old canals. The British supervised the construction of one of the most complex irrigation networks in the world. The Guddu Barrage
Guddu Barrage
Guddu Barrage is a barrage on the Indus River near Kashmore in the Sindh province of Pakistan. President Iskander Mirza laid the foundation-stone of Guddu Barrage on 2 February 1957...

 is 1,350 metres (4,450 ft) long - irrigating Sukkur
Sukkur
Sukkur, or Sakharu , formerly Aror and Bakar, is the third largest city of Sindh province, situated on the west bank of Indus River in Pakistan in Sukkur District. However, the word Sakharu in Sindhi means "superior", which the spelling of the city's name in Sindhi suggests is the origin of the...

, Jacobabad
Jacobabad
Jacobabad or Yaqubabad is the capital city of Jacobabad District, Sindh, Pakistan. The city is also the administrative centre of Jacobabad Taluka, an administrative subdivision of the district, the city is subdivided into 8 Union Councils...

, Larkana
Larkana
Larkana or Larkano is the fourth largest city in the north-western part of Sindh Province, Pakistan, and is located within Larkana District.The old name of larkano is chandka which was changed in 1901. In August 2000 Larkana celebrated its hundred years of existence...

 and Kalat
Kalat District
Kalat or Qalat is a district in Balochistan, Pakistan. It is one of 26 in that province, and encompasses an area of 6,621 km². The population of the district is estimated to be over 400,000 in 2005. The district is governed from the city of Kalat....

. The Sukkur Barrage
Sukkur barrage
Sukkur Barrage is a barrage on the River Indus near the city of Sukkur in the Sindh province of Pakistan.Sukkur Barrage is used to control water flow in the River Indus for irrigation and flood control purposes....

 serves over 20,000 square kilometres (5,000,000 acres).

After the independence of Pakistan, a water control treaty signed between India and Pakistan in 1960 guaranteed that Pakistan would receive water from the Indus River and its two western tributaries, the Jhelum
Jhelum
Jhelum or Jehlum may refer to:* Jhelum, a city in Pakistan on the banks of the Jhelum River* Jhelum District, an administrative division in Punjab, Pakistan surrounding the city of Jhelum...

 River & the Chenab River independent of upstream control by India. The project, Indus Basin Project
Indus Basin Project
The Indus Basin Project is a water control project that resulted from a treaty, Indus Waters Treaty, signed between India and Pakistan in 1960 that guaranteed that Pakistan would receive water from the Indus River independent from upstream control by India....

, consisted primarily of the construction of two main dams, the Mangla Dam
Mangla Dam
The Mangla Dam is located on the Jhelum River in the Mirpur District of Azad Kashmir, Pakistan. It is the sixteenth largest dam in the world. It was built from 1961 to 1967 with funding from the World Bank. The project was designed and supervised by Binnie & Partners of London, and it was built...

 built on the Jhelum River and the Tarbela Dam constructed on the Indus River, together with their subsidiary dams. The Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority undertook the construction of the Chashma-Jhelum link canal - linking the waters of the Indus and Jhelum rivers - extending water supplies to the regions of Bahawalpur
Bahawalpur
Bahawalpur , located in the province of Punjab, is the twelfth largest city in Pakistan. The city was once the capital of the former princely state of Bahawalpur. The city was home to various Nawabs and counted as part of the Rajputana states...

 and Multan
Multan
Multan , is a city in the Punjab Province of Pakistan and capital of Multan District. It is located in the southern part of the province on the east bank of the Chenab River, more or less in the geographic centre of the country and about from Islamabad, from Lahore and from Karachi...

. Pakistan constructed the Tarbela Dam
Tarbela Dam
Tarbela Dam on the Indus River in Pakistan is the second largest dam in the world by structural volume. It is located in Haripur District, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, about northwest of Islamabad.The dam is high above the riverbed. The dam forms the Tarbela Reservoir, with a surface area of approximately...

 near Rawalpindi
Rawalpindi
Rawalpindi , locally known as Pindi, is a city in the Pothohar region of Pakistan near Pakistan's capital city of Islamabad, in the province of Punjab. Rawalpindi is the fourth largest city in Pakistan after Karachi, Lahore and Faisalabad...

 - standing 2743 metres (9,000 ft) long and 143 metres (470 ft) high, with an 80 kilometres (49.7 mi) long reservoir. The Kotri
Kotri
Kotri , a large town, is the headquarters station of the Kotri Taluka, or administrative district...

 Barrage near Hyderabad
Hyderabad, Sindh
is the second largest city in the Sindh province of Pakistan. It is the seventh largest city in the country. The city was founded in 1768 by Mian Ghulam Shah Kalhoro upon the ruins of a Mauryan fishing village along the bank of the Indus known as Neroon Kot...

 is 915 metres (3,000 ft) long and provides additional supplies for Karachi. The Taunsa Barrage
Taunsa Barrage
Taunsa Barrage is a barrage on the River Indus in the Muzaffargarh District of Punjab province of Pakistan. It is situated 20 km southeast of Taunsa Sharif....

 near Dera Ghazi Khan
Dera Ghazi Khan
Dera Ghazi Khan is a city located in Dera Ghazi Khan District, Punjab, Pakistan. Dera Ghazi Khan is one of the most populous cities in Southern Punjab, and it is the largest district in Punjab in terms of area, being approximately in extent....

 produces 100,000 kilowatts of electricity. The extensive linking of tributaries with the Indus has helped spread water resources to the valley of Peshawar
Peshawar
Peshawar is the capital of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and the administrative center and central economic hub for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan....

, in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The extensive irrigation and dam projects provide the basis for Pakistan's large production of crops such as cotton
Cotton
Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, or protective capsule, around the seeds of cotton plants of the genus Gossypium. The fiber is almost pure cellulose. The botanical purpose of cotton fiber is to aid in seed dispersal....

, sugarcane
Sugarcane
Sugarcane refers to any of six to 37 species of tall perennial grasses of the genus Saccharum . Native to the warm temperate to tropical regions of South Asia, they have stout, jointed, fibrous stalks that are rich in sugar, and measure two to six metres tall...

 and wheat
Wheat
Wheat is a cereal grain, originally from the Levant region of the Near East, but now cultivated worldwide. In 2007 world production of wheat was 607 million tons, making it the third most-produced cereal after maize and rice...

. The dams also generate electricity for heavy industries and urban centres.

People



The inhabitants of the regions through which the Indus river passes and forms a major natural feature and resource are diverse in ethnicity, religion, national and linguistic backgrounds. On the northern course of the river in the state of Jammu and Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir is the northernmost state of India. It is situated mostly in the Himalayan mountains. Jammu and Kashmir shares a border with the states of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab to the south and internationally with the People's Republic of China to the north and east and the...

 in India, live the Buddhist people of Ladakh
Ladakh
Ladakh is a region of Jammu and Kashmir, the northernmost state of the Republic of India. It lies between the Kunlun mountain range in the north and the main Great Himalayas to the south, inhabited by people of Indo-Aryan and Tibetan descent...

, of Tibetan
Tibetan people
The Tibetan people are an ethnic group that is native to Tibet, which is mostly in the People's Republic of China. They number 5.4 million and are the 10th largest ethnic group in the country. Significant Tibetan minorities also live in India, Nepal, and Bhutan...

 stock, and the Dards of Indo-Aryan
Indo-Aryans
Indo-Aryan is an ethno-linguistic term referring to the wide collection of peoples united as native speakers of the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-Iranian family of Indo-European languages...

 or Dardic stock and practising Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 and Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

. Then it descends into Baltistan, northern Pakistan passing the main Balti city of Skardu
Skardu
Skardu , is the main town of the region Baltistan and the capital of Skardu District, one of the districts making up Pakistan's Gilgit Baltistan....

. As it continues through Pakistan, the Indus river forms a distinctive boundary of ethnicity and cultures - upon the western banks the population is largely Pashtun
Pashtun people
Pashtuns or Pathans , also known as ethnic Afghans , are an Eastern Iranic ethnic group with populations primarily between the Hindu Kush mountains in Afghanistan and the Indus River in Pakistan...

, Baloch
Baloch people
The Baloch or Baluch are an ethnic group that belong to the larger Iranian peoples. Baluch people mainly inhabit the Balochistan region and Sistan and Baluchestan Province in the southeast corner of the Iranian plateau in Western Asia....

, and of other Iranic stock, with close cultural, economic and ethnic ties to eastern Afghanistan and parts of Iran. The eastern banks are largely populated by peoples of Indo-Aryan stock, such as the Punjabis and the Sindhis. In northern Punjab and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, ethnic Pashtun tribes live alongside Dardic people in the hills (Khowar, Kalash, Shina
Shina
Shina can refer to:* Shina , a Japanese term for mainland China* Shina , Shina Gado, a character from the Bloody Roar video game series* Shina people, Dardic people of Pakistani Kashmir* Shin of Hindukush...

, etc.), Burushos (in Hunza
Hunza
Hunza may refer to*Hunza Valley*Former State of Hunza*Hunza River*Hunza Peak*Hunza people*Hunza is the Muisca name of the city of Tunja, Colombia...

), and Punjabi people
Punjabi people
The Punjabi people , ਪੰਜਾਬੀ ), also Panjabi people, are an Indo-Aryan group from South Asia. They are the second largest of the many ethnic groups in South Asia. They originate in the Punjab region, which has been been the location of some of the oldest civilizations in the world including, the...

.In the province of Sindh, peoples of Sindhi
Sindhi language
Sindhi is the language of the Sindh region of Pakistan that is spoken by the Sindhi people. In India, it is among 22 constitutionally recognized languages, where Sindhis are a sizeable minority. It is spoken by 53,410,910 people in Pakistan, according to the national government's Statistics Division...

 backgrounds form the local populations. Upon the western banks of the river live the Baloch
Baloch people
The Baloch or Baluch are an ethnic group that belong to the larger Iranian peoples. Baluch people mainly inhabit the Balochistan region and Sistan and Baluchestan Province in the southeast corner of the Iranian plateau in Western Asia....

 and Pashtun peoples of Balochistan
Balochistan (Pakistan)
Balochistan is one of the four provinces or federating units of Pakistan. With an area of 134,051 mi2 or , it is the largest province of Pakistan, constituting approximately 44% of the total land mass of Pakistan. According to the 1998 population census, Balochistan had a population of...

.

Modern issues


The Indus is a strategically vital resource for Pakistan's economy and society. After the independence of India and Pakistan in 1947, the use of the waters of the Indus and its five eastern tributaries became a major dispute between India and Pakistan. The irrigation canals of the Sutlej valley and the Bari Doab were split - with the canals lying primarily in Pakistan and the headwork dams in India disrupting supply in some parts of Pakistan. The concern over India building large dams over various Punjab
Punjab region
The Punjab , also spelled Panjab |water]]s"), is a geographical region straddling the border between Pakistan and India which includes Punjab province in Pakistan and the states of the Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh and some northern parts of the National Capital Territory of Delhi...

 rivers that could undercut the supply flowing to Pakistan, as well as the possibility that India could divert rivers in the time of war, caused political consternation in Pakistan. Holding diplomatic talks brokered by the World Bank
World Bank
The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for capital programmes.The World Bank's official goal is the reduction of poverty...

, India and Pakistan signed the Indus Waters Treaty
Indus Waters Treaty
The Indus Waters Treaty is a water-sharing treaty between the Republic of India and Islamic Republic Of Pakistan, brokered by the World Bank . The treaty was signed in Karachi on September 19, 1960 by Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and President of Pakistan Mohammad Ayub Khan...

 in 1960. The treaty gave India control of the three easternmost rivers of the Punjab, the Sutlej
Sutlej
The Sutlej River is the longest of the five rivers that flow through the historic crossroad region of Punjab in northern India and Pakistan. It is located north of the Vindhya Range, south of the Hindu Kush segment of the Himalayas, and east of the Central Sulaiman Range in Pakistan.The Sutlej...

, the Beas
Beas River
The Beas River is a river in the northern part of India. The river rises in the Himalayas in central Himachal Pradesh, India, and flows for some 470 km to the Sutlej River in the Indian state of Punjab....

 and the Ravi, while Pakistan gained control of the three western rivers, the Jhelum
Jhelum River
Jehlum River or Jhelum River , ) is a river that flows in India and Pakistan. It is the largest and most western of the five rivers of Punjab, and passes through Jhelum District...

, the Chenab and the Indus. India retained the right to use of the western rivers for non irrigation projects. (See discussion regarding a recent dispute about a hydroelectric project on the Chenab (not Indus) known as the Baglihar Project).

Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

 pilgrimage to holy sites alongside the river has been a source of conflict with local Kashmiri people complaining of encroachment of their traditional lands by hindu nationalist from deeper parts of india.

There are concerns that extensive deforestation, industrial pollution and global warming
Global warming
Global warming refers to the rising average temperature of Earth's atmosphere and oceans and its projected continuation. In the last 100 years, Earth's average surface temperature increased by about with about two thirds of the increase occurring over just the last three decades...

 are affecting the vegetation and wildlife of the Indus delta, while affecting agricultural production as well. There are also concerns that the Indus river may be shifting its course westwards - although the progression spans centuries. On numerous occasions, sediment clogging owing to poor maintenance of canals has affected agricultural production and vegetation. In addition, extreme heat has caused water to evaporate, leaving salt deposits that render lands useless for cultivation.

Recently, india's construction of dams on the river in violation of the Indus Waters Treaty
Indus Waters Treaty
The Indus Waters Treaty is a water-sharing treaty between the Republic of India and Islamic Republic Of Pakistan, brokered by the World Bank . The treaty was signed in Karachi on September 19, 1960 by Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and President of Pakistan Mohammad Ayub Khan...

, reducing water flow into Pakistan has caused Pakistan to take the issue to the international courts for arbitration. This has further strained relations between the two countries.

Effects of climate change on the river


The Tibetan Plateau
Tibetan Plateau
The Tibetan Plateau , also known as the Qinghai–Tibetan Plateau is a vast, elevated plateau in Central Asia covering most of the Tibet Autonomous Region and Qinghai, in addition to smaller portions of western Sichuan, southwestern Gansu, and northern Yunnan in Western China and Ladakh in...

 contains the world's third-largest store of ice. Qin Dahe, the former head of the China Meteorological Administration, said the recent fast pace of melting and warmer temperatures will be good for agriculture and tourism in the short term, but issued a strong warning:

"Temperatures are rising four times faster than elsewhere in China, and the Tibetan glaciers are retreating at a higher speed than in any other part of the world... In the short term, this will cause lakes to expand and bring floods and mudflows.. In the long run, the glaciers are vital lifelines of the Indus River. Once they vanish, water supplies in Pakistan will be in peril."



"There is [sic] insufficient data to say what will happen to the Indus," says David Grey, the World Bank's senior water advisor in South Asia. "But we all have very nasty fears that the flows of the Indus could be severely, severely affected by glacier melt as a consequence of climate change," and reduced by perhaps as much as 50 percent. "Now what does that mean to a population that lives in a desert [where], without the river, there would be no life? I don't know the answer to that question," he says. "But we need to be concerned about that. Deeply, deeply concerned."

2010 floods


In July 2010, following abnormally heavy monsoon
Monsoon
Monsoon is traditionally defined as a seasonal reversing wind accompanied by corresponding changes in precipitation, but is now used to describe seasonal changes in atmospheric circulation and precipitation associated with the asymmetric heating of land and sea...

 rains, the Indus River rose above its banks and started flooding. The rain continued for the next two months, devastating large areas of Pakistan. In Sindh, the Indus burst its banks near Sukkur
Sukkur
Sukkur, or Sakharu , formerly Aror and Bakar, is the third largest city of Sindh province, situated on the west bank of Indus River in Pakistan in Sukkur District. However, the word Sakharu in Sindhi means "superior", which the spelling of the city's name in Sindhi suggests is the origin of the...

 on 8 August, submerging the village of Mor Khan Jatoi. In early August, the heaviest flooding moved southward along the Indus River from severely-affected northern regions toward western Punjab, where at least 1400000 acre (566,560.4 ha) of cropland was destroyed, and the southern province of Sindh. , over two thousand people have died and over a million homes have been destroyed since the flooding began.

See also

  • 1974 Hunza earthquake
    1974 Hunza earthquake
    The 1974 Hunza Earthquake was a magnitude 6.2 earthquake in the rugged and isolated Hunza, Hazara and Swat districts of northern Pakistan at 12:11 UTC on December 28, 1974. The epicentre was located at 35.1 degrees north and 72.9 degrees east. The quake had a shallow focal depth and was followed by...

  • Chura Sharif
    Chura Sharif
    Chura Sharif Tehsil Jand, Attock, is situated at 102 km from Rawalpindi to Kohat road.Chura sharif is the largest naqshbandi shrine in the sub-continent. The Centre of Naqshbandi order in sub-continent. Almost 73 Dargahs in sub-continent got spiritualities from this pious and great shrine....

  • HMS Indus
    HMS Indus
    Five ships and two establishments of the Royal Navy, and one ship of the Royal Indian Navy have borne the name HMS Indus, after the Indus River in India:...

    , ships named after the Indus River
  • Indus Valley Civilization
    Indus Valley Civilization
    The Indus Valley Civilization was a Bronze Age civilization that was located in the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent, consisting of what is now mainly modern-day Pakistan and northwest India...

  • Indus Waters Treaty
    Indus Waters Treaty
    The Indus Waters Treaty is a water-sharing treaty between the Republic of India and Islamic Republic Of Pakistan, brokered by the World Bank . The treaty was signed in Karachi on September 19, 1960 by Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and President of Pakistan Mohammad Ayub Khan...

  • Sindhology
    Sindhology
    Sindhology is a field of study and academic research that covers the history, society, culture, and literature of Sindh, a province of Pakistan. The subject was first brought into the academic circles with the establishment of the Institute of Sindhology at Sindh University in 1964...


External links