Jhelum River

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Hydaspes, [1] Bidaspes, [2] Vitastā, [3] Bihat, Wihat, Bihatab, Biyatta, Jailam [4]
Jhelum River-Pakistan.jpg
Jhelum River during the summer
Jhelum location .
Native nameجہلم(in Urdu)
ਜਿਹਲਮ (Punjabi)
झेलम (Devanāgarī)
Vyeth (ویتھ/व्यथ) (Kashmiri)
CountryFlag of India.svg  India  Flag of Pakistan.svg  Pakistan
Physical characteristics
  location Verinag Spring
Chenab River
Length725 km (450 mi)
  average221.9 m3/s (7,840 cu ft/s) (near Baramulla)
Basin features
  right Lidder River, Neelum River, Sind River

The Jhelum River (Urdu : جہلم, Punjabi: ਜਿਹਲਮ/جہلم, Kashmiri: Vyeth (ویتھ/व्यथ), Sanskrit: वितस्ता) is a river in northern India and eastern Pakistan. It is the westernmost of the five rivers of the Punjab region, and passes through the Kashmir Valley. It is a tributary of the Indus River and has a total length of about 725 kilometres (450 mi). [5]



Verinag Spring, major source of Jhelum River. Vitasta at Verinag.jpg
Verinag Spring, major source of Jhelum River.

Anjum Sultan Shahbaz recorded some stories of the name Jhelum in his book Tareekh-e-Jhelum as: [6]

Many writers have different opinions about the name of Jhelum. One suggestion is that in ancient days Jhelumabad was known as Jalham. The word Jhelum is reportedly derived from the words Jal (pure water) and Ham (snow). The name thus refers to the waters of a river (flowing besides the city) which have their origins in the snow-capped Himalayas.

However, some writers believe that when "Dara-e-Azam" reached a certain place on the river bank after winning many battles, he fixed his flag at that place and called it "Ja-e-Alam" which means "Place of the Flag". With the passage of time it became Jhelum from "Ja-e-Alam".

The Sanskrit name of this river is Vitasta. The river's name is derived from an apocryphal legend regarding the origin of the river as explained in Nilamata Purana. Goddess Parvati was requested by sage Kasyapa to come to Kashmir for purification of the land from evil practices and impurities of Pisachas living there. Goddess Parvati then assumed the form of a river in the Nether World. Then Lord Shiva made a stroke with his spear near the abode of Nila (Verinag Spring). By that stroke of the spear, Goddess Parvati came out of the Nether World. Shiva himself named her as Vitasta. He had excavated with the spear a ditch measuring one Vitasti (a particular measure of length defined either as a long span between the extended thumb and little finger, or as the distance between the wrist and the tip of the fingers, and said to be about 9 inches), through which the river – gone to the Nether World – had come out, so she was given the name Vitasta by him. [7]


Verinag Water Spring-Chief Source of Jhelum River Verinag Water Spring.jpg
Verinag Water Spring-Chief Source of Jhelum River
A passenger traversing the river precariously seated in a small suspended cradle Circa 1900 Picjhelum.jpg
A passenger traversing the river precariously seated in a small suspended cradle Circa 1900

The river Jhelum is called Vitastā in the Rigveda and Hydaspes (Greek : Υδάσπης) by the ancient Greeks. The Vitastā (Sanskrit : वितस्ता, fem., also, Vetastā) is mentioned as one of the major rivers by the holy scriptures — the Rigveda. It has been speculated that the Vitastā must have been one of the seven rivers (sapta-sindhu) mentioned so many times in the Rigveda. The name survives in the Kashmiri name for this river as Vyeth. According to the major religious work Srimad Bhagavatam, the Vitastā is one of the many transcendental rivers flowing through land of Bharata, or ancient India.

Alexander the Great and his army crossed the Jhelum in BC 326 at the Battle of the Hydaspes River where he defeated the Indian king, Porus. According to Arrian (Anabasis, 29), he built a city "on the spot whence he started to cross the river Hydaspes", which he named Bukephala (or Bucephala) to honour his famous horse Bukephalus or Bucephalus which was buried in Jalalpur Sharif. It is thought that ancient Bukephala was near the site of modern Jhelum City. According to a historian of Gujrat district, Mansoor Behzad Butt, Bukephalus was buried in Jalalpur Sharif, but the people of Mandi Bahauddin, a district close to Jehlum, believed that their tehsil Phalia was named after Alexander's dead horse, saying that the name Phalia was a distortion of Bucephala. The waters of the Jhelum are allocated to Pakistan under the terms of the Indus Waters Treaty. India is working on a hydropower project on a tributary of Jhelum river to establish first-use rights on the river water over Pakistan as per the Indus Waters Treaty. [8]


The river was regarded as a god by the ancient Greeks, as were most mountains and streams; the poet Nonnus in the Dionysiaca (section 26, line 350) makes the Hydaspes a titan-descended god, the son of the sea-god Thaumas and the cloud-goddess Elektra. He was the brother of Iris, the goddess of the rainbow, and half-brother to the Harpies, the snatching winds. Since the river is in a country foreign to the ancient Greeks, it is not clear whether they named the river after the god, or whether the god Hydaspes was named after the river.


The river Jhelum rises from Verinag Spring situated at the foot of the Pir Panjal in the southeastern part of the Kashmir Valley. It is joined by its tributaries Lidder River at Khanabal and Sind River at Shadipora in Kashmir Valley. It flows through Srinagar and Wular Lake before entering Pakistan through a deep narrow gorge. The Neelum River, the largest tributary of the Jhelum, joins it at Domel Muzaffarabad, as does the next largest, the Kunhar River of Kaghan Valley. It also connects with the rest of Pakistan and Pakistani Kashmir at the Kohala Bridge east of Circle Bakote. It is then joined by the Poonch River, and flows into the Mangla Dam reservoir in the Mirpur District. The Jhelum enters Punjab in the Jhelum District. From there, it flows through the plains of Pakistan's Punjab, forming the boundary between the Jech and Sindh Sagar Doabs. It ends 67 Kilometers from Mari Shah Sakhira City in a confluence with the Chenab River at Trimmu in the Jhang District. The Chenab merges with the Sutlej to form the Panjnad River, which joins the Indus River at Mithankot.


Dams and barrages

The river has rich power generation potential in India. Water control structures are being built as a result of the Indus Basin Project, including the following:


See also

Related Research Articles

Indus River River in Asia

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Chenab River major river of India and Pakistan

The Chenab River is a major river that flows in India and Pakistan, and is one of the 5 major rivers of the Punjab region. It rises in the upper Himalayas in the Lahaul and Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh state, India, and 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 waters of the Chenab were allocated to Pakistan under the terms of the Indus Waters Treaty.

Mangla Dam dam in Mangla

The Mangla Dam is a multipurpose dam located on the Jhelum River in the Mirpur District of Azad Kashmir in Pakistan. It is the seventh largest dam in the world. The dam got its name from the village of Mangla. Major Nasrullah Khan of the Pakistan Army revealed for the first time in 2003, that the project was designed and supervised by Binnie & Partners of London, and it was built by Mangla Dam Contractors, a consortium of 8 U.S. construction firms, sponsored by Guy F. Atkinson Company of South San Francisco.

The name Mangla (منگلا) is derived from the name of a small village that was situated in District Mirpur within the State of Jammu Kashmir. The village is located in the west of the foothills of Mangla's fort. It is surrounded on three sides by the semicurvature of river Jhelum flowing North to South. It is bordered with Jhelum district and with the right bank of mangla between the State of Jammu Kashmir and Punjab province of Pakistan. Presently the word "Mangla", after the village had been razed to the ground, is used for a wide area which includes; Mangla Cantonment, Mangla Colony and Mangla Hamlet. The village Mangla itself was named after Mangla Devi, a Hindu goddess. It has been narrated to be the site of the crossing of the Jhelum river by the forces of Alexander the Great facing King Porus. At the time of construction of the Mangla Dam, the villages of Thill, Baral and Baruti across the river in Jhelum District were developed as residential colonies and offices for foreign workers and officials.

Jhelum City in Punjab, Pakistan

Jhelum is a city on the right bank of the Jhelum River, in the district of the same name in the north of Punjab province, Pakistan. Jhelum is known for providing a large number of soldiers to the British Army before independence, and later to the Pakistan armed forces - due to which it is also known as City of Soldiers or Land of Martyrs and Warriors.

Panjnad River river in Pakistan

Panjnad River with major tributaries of Indus River

Sarai Alamgir City in Punjab, Pakistan

Sarai Alamgir (pop. 175,288 is the main town of Sarai Alamgir Tehsil, located in the Gujrat district in the north of the Punjab province of Pakistan. Sarai Alamgir is one of four tehsils of Gujrat district.

Neelum River River in Pakistan and India

The Neelum River, or Kishanganga, is a river in the Kashmir region of India and Pakistan; it starts in the Indian city of Gurais and then merges with the Jhelum River near the Pakistani city of Muzaffarabad.

The Nadistuti sukta, "hymn of praise of rivers", is hymn 10.75 of the Rigveda.

Rivers, such as the Sapta Sindhavah play a prominent part in the hymns of the Rig Veda, and consequently in early Hindu religion. Vedic texts have a wide geographical horizon, speaking of oceans, rivers, mountains and deserts. “Eight summits of the Earth, three shore or desert regions, seven rivers.”.

Trimmu Barrage dam in Pakistan

Trimmu Barrage is a barrage on the River Chenab in the Jhang District of the Punjab province of Pakistan. It is situated downstream of the confluence of the River Jhelum and River Chenab. It is situated some 25 km from the city of Jhang near the village of Atharan Hazari where the River Jhelum flows into the River Chenab.

Verinag town in Jammu and Kashmir, India

Verinag (; is a tourist place and a notified area committee with tehsil status in Anantnag district in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir, India. It is about 26 kilometers away from Anantnag and approximately 78 kilometres south-east from Srinagar which is the summer capital of the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. Verinag is also the first tourist spot of Kashmir Valley when travelling by road from Jammu, the winter capital of the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir towards Srinagar, the summer capital of the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. It lies at the entry point of Kashmir Valley right after crossing Jawahar Tunnel and is also known as Gateway of Kashmir.

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.

Rasul Barrage is a barrage on the River Jehlum between Jhelum District and Mandi Bahauddin District of the Punjab province of Pakistan. It is situated 72 km downstream of Mangla Dam.

Topography of Pakistan

The topography of Pakistan is divided into eight geographic areas: the northern highlands, the Indus River plain, the desert areas, the Pothohar Plateau, Balochistan Plateau, Salt Range, and the Sistan Basin. All the rivers of Pakistan, i.e. Sindh, Ravi River, Chenab River, Jhelum River, and Sutlej River, originate from the Himalayas mountain range. Some geographers designate Plateau as to the west of the imaginary southwest line; and the Indus Plain lies to the east of that line.

Neelum–Jhelum Hydropower Plant dam in Muzaffarabad, Azad Kashmir

The Neelum–Jhelum Hydropower Plant is part of a run-of-the-river hydroelectric power scheme in Azad Kashmir, Pakistan-administered Kashmir, designed to divert water from the Neelum River to a power station on the Jhelum River. The power station is located 42 km (26 mi) south of Muzaffarabad, and has an installed capacity of 969 MW. Construction on the project began in 2008 after a Chinese consortium was awarded the construction contract in July 2007. After delay of many years, the first generator was commissioned in April 2018 and the entire project is completed in August 2018 when the fourth and last unit was synchronized with the national grid on 13 August and attained its maximum generation capacity of 969 MW on August 14, 2018. It will generate 5,150 GWh per year at the levelised tariff of Rs 13.50 per unit for 30 years.

Kishanganga Hydroelectric Plant building in India

The Kishanganga Hydroelectric Plant is an $864 million run-of-the-river hydroelectric scheme in Kashmir, India. It diverts water from the Kishanganga River to a power plant in the Jhelum River basin. It is located 5 km (3 mi) north of Bandipore in Jammu and Kashmir and has an installed capacity of 330 MW. Construction on the project began in 2007 and was expected to be complete in 2016. Construction on the dam was temporarily halted by the Hague's Permanent Court of Arbitration (CoA) in October 2011 due to Pakistan's protest of its effect on the flow of the Kishanganga River. In December 2013, the Court ruled that India could divert water for power generation while ensuring a minimum flow of 9 cumecs (m3/s) downstream to Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

Indus Basin Replacement Works

Indus Basin Replacement Works was carried out in Pakistan's Indus Basin Irrigation System which is one of the world's largest continuous irrigation system. The replacement works also known as the Indus Basin Settlement Plan were implemented to provide Pakistan with enough water for irrigation needs following the Indus Waters Treaty between India and Pakistan. The treaty gave away the rights three eastern rivers of the Indus Basin to India and to make up for this loss of water a network of dams and link canals was built to haul water from the western rivers Indus, Jhelum and Chenab to the eastern Ravi, Sutlej and Beas rivers. The government of Pakistan completed the construction of Tarbela Dam and Mangla Dam and a number of barrages now being managed by Punjab Irrigation Department under the Indus Basin Replacement Works. As many as 8 inter river link canals were also built between western and eastern rivers. It is due to connectivity between these rivers that Pakistan's irrigation system is called a contiguous irrigation system.

Punjab Irrigation Department

Punjab Irrigation Department, Pakistan, is a provincial irrigation department in the Punjab province of Pakistan. Punjab Irrigation Department irrigates 21 million acres of agricultural land in Punjab. Mr. Muhammad Mohsin Leghari, an MPA from Rajanpur, is the Minister for Irrigation. Secretary Irrigation to the government of the Punjab is the administrative head of the department.


  1. The Quarterly Review. Murray. p. 170. Retrieved 17 March 2017.
  2. Bakshi, S. R. Kashmir Through Ages (5 Vol). Sarup & Sons. p. 110. ISBN   9788185431710 . Retrieved 17 March 2017.
  3. Rapson, E. J. Ancient India: From the Earliest Times to the First Century AD. Cambridge University Press. p. 171. ISBN   9780521229371.
  4. Naqvi, Saiyid Ali. Indus Waters and Social Change: The Evolution and Transition of Agrarian Society in Pakistan. Oxford University Press Pakistan. p. 10. ISBN   9780199063963 . Retrieved 17 March 2017.
  5. Jhelum River -- Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved on 2013-10-04.
  6. Shahbaz, Anjum Sultan (2003). Tārīkh-i Jihlam (in Urdu). Main Bazar, Jhelum: Buk Kārnar [Book Corner]. OCLC   60589679.
  7. The Nilamata Purana English Translation by Dr. Ved Kumari Ghai, verses 247–261.
  8. "India fast-tracks work on Jhelum river hydroelectric power project" . Retrieved 25 May 2010.

Coordinates: 31°12′N72°08′E / 31.200°N 72.133°E / 31.200; 72.133