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The Indus River

The Indus River

To the ancient Hindus, the Indus flowed from the mouth of the lion, Sinh-Ka-Baba. They described the river in Sanskrit as the Sindus. Then Greeks named it Sinthus, followed by Romans Sindus & Chinese Sintow, and then came Persians who named it Abisin. Pliny first used the name Indus as history tells us.

India was named after Indus, and through accidents and navigations to Indonesia, and the West Indies to the Red Indians and now to the world’s single water development program.

indus river

The Indus river flows across India, Pakistan, and Nepal. It covers about 901,321 square kilometers, which is about 348,000 Square miles from which 528,360 Square Kilometers lie in Pakistan.

It starts from Tibet, where it ran through a high Plateau about 3,180 Kilometers, after that it gains momentum as it drops rapidly. there it cuts its way to north- west between  Himalaya and Karakorum .  Entering in Kashmir it crosses the Cease Fire Line between Pakistan and India defined by United Nations and enters in  Baltistan area of Pakistan. The first town which Indus river meets is Skurdu which is almost 2,288 Meters above sea level, Below Skardu, Karakurum and Himalaya becomes close in and Indus becomes a deep tossing itself through canyons of naked Rocks.

indus river-

In a brief widening of its valley, the clear jade green Gilgit river foams down to meet it from Hindu Kush and from east it is joined by Astor. Thus re enforced, it twists and swirls along a through between the Hindu Kush to the North and a huge rampart of Nanga Parbat in the East.

All Along with this it sometimes cracks the glaciers and sometimes Glaciers slide in to the Indus stopping it to form a Lake so that Indus goes on.  At Last just above the Village called Tarbela, Indus breaks itself from Hindu Kush where one of the Larget Dams in world has been built on it to hold and control the Indus for irrigation and power generation.


After Tarbela, the Indus run through a wide and shallow space to the Potwar Plateau, then it comes to Attock where Akbar the Great built a fort in 1586, here Indus gathers itself again to become a force to enter in Salt Range, another mountain obstacle in its way.

Although it is the last obstacle on Indus river, At Kalabaagh, 1000 miles away from its source and almost same distance still to cover it enters in the plains of Punjab.

Here at Kalabaagh, there was a proposal for a Big Dam and some primary work has been done but since it becomes controversial from day one and so, it is still an incomplete project.


Indus makes a dramatic turns now as it enters in Punjab, because up till now it crossed fighting with mountain ranges, dropping down and leaning up Narrow places but here it starts becoming wider, it spreads itself so wide that sometime it is hardly possible to see one bank standing on another with naked eye.

In summers, when the snow and ice melts in the north, it brings flow in river which sometimes cause flood, but in winter when the river is low, one can see Islands and sand banks at the surface of the river along with clear water channels flowing in the maze around sand banks.


When the river is slow, it drops the silt it has carried from the upper mountain regions which cause Indus to rise its bed. In heavy Floods perhaps a glacier dam breached , or the monsoon arrived before the summer snowmelt, it may charge out of its bed and cut into a new channel in Plains.

Only one or Two relatively unimportant tributaries flow into the Indus river from the western mountains near Afghanistan at the beginning of its journey across the plains. But halfway to the sea the Indus is joined by the greatest of all its tributaries from the east, The Panjand, Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas & Sutlij, each has travelled from a different path of Himalaya uniting only some Eighty Kilometers ( 50 Mile) before they meet Indus.

river indus

Below the twin towns of Hydreabad & Kotri, the Indus runs south to delta of tamarisks, scrubs, and salt water rushes where the great river spreads out in dozens of channels dropping into creeks and ditches.

Sixteen Kilometers, almost 10 miles beyond the coast of Arabian Sea is discolored by the silt of Indus, and beneath its waters, a deep canyon marks the channel of the river  .

Here Indus which travelled into mountains cutting them fighting with high altitudes, driving around enormous sands, carves a last George in the seabed.

Indus River is also known as creator of early man civilizations in the history which starts from according to historians in 2500 B.C. It not only created but also curated many civilization on its banks till now. The most common known civilization associated with Indus river is Moen Jo Daro , followed by Harrappa, founded in Pakistan.


This River is also a main source of Cultivation of crops and irrigation system, which provides food and exports to Pakistan .The growth of well-known irrigation systems, permitted the homegrown population to deliver food for them. Wheat and Rice are main crops, though rye, peas, cotton, and sugarcane are also cultivated. And it also helps fishermen by having wide range of fish available for fishing, which is used locally and also exported.

Banks of the Indus river witnessed man grown up to this modern age, and many civilizations and religions Like Buddhism, Hinduism, Mono Theism, Poly Theism, Islam etc. In addition, not only witnessed but it supports and helps them in many ways. In Some areas of Sindh province, there is also a thanks-giving day celebrated to Indus River by the locals, by showering rose petals in it.

About Mutmainna Syed

One comment

  1. This is a beautifully written article about one of the most beautiful rivers on this planet. I hope I can visit it in my lifetime.

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