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Beas River
About 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 about 470 km to the Sutlej River in the Indian state of Punjab. Its total length is about 470 km and its drainage basin is 20,303 square kilometres (7,839 sq mi) large.

Beas River is one of the five rivers that give the Punjab (“Five Rivers”) its name. It rises at an altitude of 14,308 feet (4,361 metres) at Rohtang Pass in the Punjab Himalayas, in central Himachal Pradesh. From there it flows south through the Kulu valley, receiving tributaries from the adjoining mountains, and then turns west to flow past Mandi into the Kangra valley. After crossing the valley, the Beas enters Punjab state and turns south and then southwest to its convergence with the Sutlej River at Harike after a course of about 290 miles (470 km). The Beas River was the approximate eastern limit of Alexander the Great’s invasion of India in 326 BCE.

History of Beas River

The Beas River marks the eastern-most border of Alexander's conquests in 326 BC. It was also one of the rivers which created problem in Alexander's invasion towards India. His troops mutinied here in 326 BCE, refusing to go any further; they had been away from home for eight years. Alexander shut himself in his tent for three days, but when his men did not change their wishes he gave in, raising twelve huge altars to mark the limit and splendor of his voyage. According to the Kavyamimansa of Rajasekhara, the kingdom-territories of the Gurjara-Pratihara monarch Mahipala extended as far as the upper course of the river Beas in the north-west.

In the 20th Century, the river was developed under the Beas Project for irrigation andhydro electric power generation purposes. The second-phase Pong Dam was completed in 1974 followed by the first-phase 140 km upstream, Pandoh Dam in 1977. The Pong Dam served initially to primarily provide irrigation below Talwara but was soon developed as well for power generation; its power station has a 360 MW installed capacity. The Pandoh Dam diverts the river through a system of channels and tunnels to the 990 MW Dehar Power Station on the Sutlej River, connecting both rivers.

Etymology of Beas River

The river was also known as Arjikuja of the Vedas, or Vipasa to the ancient Indians, and the Hyphasis to the Ancient Greeks. The present name "Beas" is thought to be a corruption of the older name and original name "Vipasha" in Sanskrit. The river got this name, Vi-pasha, the "one who removes the bondage" (pasha in Sanskrit). According to ancient texts, the river was named after the incident in the life of the sage Vasistha. Vasistha was angry at the death of his 100 sons, he tried to end his life jumping into this river, after binding himself with a rope or an ivy. But as soon as the sage fell into the river, the kindly river (feminine) untied all the knots, and he was safely set on the banks. Hence, the river gained the name Vipasha in Himachal, especially called so in the Puranas (myths) and the history.

Course of Beas River

The river rises on the southern face of Rohtang Pass in Kullu about 13,326 feet above the sea-level, from the Beas Kund lake. It pass through the Mandi District and enters Kangra District at Sanghol, 1,920 feet above sea-level. During its lower hill course the Beas is crossed by several ferries, at many of which the means of communication consist of inflated skins (darais). Near Reh in Kangra District it divides into three channels, which reunites after passing Mirthal 1,000 feet above sea-level. On meeting the Sivalik Hills in Hoshiarpur, the river sweeps sharply northward forming boundary between that district and Kangra District. Then bending round the base of Sivalik Hills, it takes the southerly direction separating the district of Hoshiapur and Gurdaspur. After touching the Jullundur district for a few miles the river forms the boundary between Amritsar and Kapurthala district. Finally the Beas joins the river Satulej at the south-western boundary of Kapurthala district of Punjab after a total course of 290 miles. The main tributaries of the river are Bain, Banganga, Luni and Uhal.

Main Attractions of Beas River

The attraction of the river has been so great that whoever came here, remained to stay. The great sages Vishwamitra, Narad, Prashar, Parshuram, Vyas, Kanav and Vashisht came here on different occasions and meditated on the banks of this river. Till today their temples exist in this valley of Vyas.

The Beas forms the world famous valleys of Kullu and Kangra. This river bears evidence of those historical events which do not find mention in the recorded history. It has played a vital role in the development of peculiar hill culture which encompass the life of hill people living in the towns and surrounding villages since ages. We have to owe to this sacred river in terms of our economy, culture and social life. The important settlement on the bank of Beas river are Mandi, Pandoh, Kullu, Bajaura, Sujanpur Tihra, Nadaun and Dehra-Gopipur. The total lenght of this river is 460 km.

Important Tributaries of Beas River

Luni River
Luni river rises from the South slopes of Dhauladhar in the Kangra valley. It merges with the river Beas in the central part of Kangra valley.

Parbati River
It rises in the snowy Wastes upstream of Manikaran on the foothills of the main Himalayan range in Kullu district. It joins the river Beas at Shamshi in Kullu valley.

Suketi River
Suketi river is a tributary of the Beas river in the Kangra valley. It rises from the South facing slopes of Dhauladhar range. A number of small channels join the Suketi river in its upper reaches.

Uhl River
Uhl River rises as two feeder channels in the area to the North of the Dhauladhar range in Himachal Pradesh. Thereafter the two channels cross this huge mountain barrier and merge at the base of the Southern slopes to form the main channel of the Uhl river in Kangra area. It flows for a considerable distance along the base of the Dhauladhar range. Then turns towards the South-East to merge with the Beas near the town of Mandi.

Awa River
Awa River rises from the Dhauladhar range in the Kangra valley of Himachal Pradesh. It flows in a South-Westerly direction before joining the river Beas.

Banner River
It is a tributary of the Beas river and drains the central part of the Kangra valley.
The general direction of flow of the Banner River is towards South-West.

Banganga River
It joins the Beas river in the Kangra valley. It rises from the Southern slopes of the Dhauladhar range.

Gaj Khad
It rises as a small stream from the snows on the Southern slopes of the Dhauladhar range in Kangra district. A number of small streams form the Gaj Khad. The Gaj river joins the Beas river a little upstream of the Pong dam lake now known as Maharana Pratap Sagar .

Chakki River
It drains the South-Western part of Himachal Pradesh. The Chakki river rises as a small snow-fed and rain fed stream from the Southern slopes of the Dhauladhar range. The river enters Punjab near Pathankot and joins the Beas river.

Harla River
Harla river rises as a small channel from the snows in the depression of the North-Western plank of Kullu valley. It joins the river Beas near Bhuntar. Numerous snow-fed streams join the river Harla.

Patlikuhal River
Patlikuhal river is a tributary of the Beas river in the Mandi area of Kullu district. It rises from the snow on the Southern slopes of the Pir Panjal range and thereafter it flows into the Beas river upstream of Kullu.

Tirthan River
It is a tributary of the Beas river. It rises from the base of an offshoot of the great or main Himalayan range to the South-East of Kullu.

Manuni River
It rises from the Southern slopes of the Dhauladhar range and joins the river Beas. Steep slopes form the upper catchment of the Manuni river.

Sainj River
It rises from the water divide of the Beas and Satluj rivers in the lower ranges of the main Himalayas to the East of Kullu. Thereafter it flows towards South-West to join the Beas river.



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