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Home to sublime glaciers and towering peaks, the ‘snow- laden mountain state’ of Himachal Pradesh has a rich geography. A quick glance at Himachal Pradesh on Google Maps will leave you agape. Right from rugged mountain trails to beautiful meadows, this northern state of India has it all. Amidst the browns and whites on Google Maps, you will also see plenty of blues. That’s right; the mountain state as a massive river system courtesy of its glaciers, and rivers that flow into the state from neighbouring areas.

If the soft babble of the river soothes you, or the roaring of the majestic rivers inspire you, continue reading to know what are the different rivers in Himachal Pradesh that you can visit on your next vacation!

  • Beas

Home to the Indus dolphin, the 470km river originates at Beas Rishi and Beas Kund, near the Rohtang Pass. It passes through Kullu to enter Mandi district. The quaint town of Mandi is situated at the banks of the Beas. It continues to flow into Kangra district. Beas meets Sutlej at “Hari ka Patan” in Punjab, and continues to enthral thousands in Pakistan, its next stop. The Beas has a catchment area of 12000 sq. kms in Himachal Pradesh.

Fun fact: the Beas River served as the eastern limit of Alexander the Great’s invasion of the country.

Now, for river rafting enthusiasts- Kullu and Manali are great spots to ride the tides and indulge in some crazy adventure. October to February are the best months for river rafting on the Beas as you can catch Grade 1-3 rapids easily. A good idea is to stay back in Manali for a few days and catch not just the rapids but also some relaxing days next to Beas. Check out Club Mahindra Snow Peaks or Club Mahindra White Meadows resorts for a pleasant stay.

  • Chenab

The biggest river in Himachal Pradesh by volume, Chenab River originates in the Lahaul-Spiti district. Out of its total length of 960kms, 122kms flows through the state. Its Sanskrit name ‘Chandrabhaga’ is derived from the names of two streams, Chandra and Bhaga, which meet to form the formidable river at Tandi village in Pattan valley. 

 It moves into Jammu and Kashmir through the Podar valley via Sansari Nala at Chamba district. The powerful Chenab has a total catchment area of 61000 sq. kms, and in Himachal Pradesh it is 7500 sq.kms. However, under Indus Water Treaty, India is allowed to only use the river waters for purposes such as power generation rather than consumption. 

If you are embarking on the famous Spiti circuit, you may want to catch some rapids at Lahaul-Spiti near the Atal Tunnel or Tandi.

  • Sutlej

Sutlej begins in the spiritual land of Tibet. Originating from Rakas Lake near Lake Mansarovar in Tibet, Sutlej enters Himachal Pradesh at Shipki La pass in Kinnaur district near the India-China border. It is the longest river in HP with a total length of 1448 kms of which 320 kms lie in the northern state. It also has the largest catchment area of all rivers in Himachal Pradesh at a whopping 20000 sq. kms. Also known as ‘Shatadru’, the Sutlej is another well-known river for white water rafting. Head to Tattapani village on the banks of the river Sutlej in Mandi district, 50kms from Shimla, for some serious rafting experience. Check out the Club Mahindra Mashobra, Club Mahindra Pristine Peaks, and Club Mahindra Kandaghat if you are heading out for some rafting on the Sutlej. Maybe a couple of days at the resort will help you prepare for your adventure on the Sutlej.

  • Ravi

This river finds its origin in the remote tribal village of Bada Bhangal in Kangra district. Running a length of 158kms through Himachal Pradesh, its catchment area is 5451 sq. kms. The various stretches of the Ravi River are being developed as an adventure tourism hotspot, you guessed it right- for river rafting. The Ravi holds a geographic significance for another reason- it separates the Pir Panjal range from Dhauladhar mountain ranges.

  • Yamuna

The Yamuna does not originate in the might glaciers of Himachal, neither is it the biggest river in the state. However, Yamuna finds a mention on the list of ‘rivers Himachal Pradeshis because it is geographically significant for the state. The Tons River, a tributary of the Yamuna, acts as a natural boundary between the states of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. It enters Himachal Pradesh through Sirmaur district. One of the biggest rivers in India, Yamuna flows through Himachal Pradesh for only 22kms. Out of a total catchment area of 366220 sq. kms, only 2320 sq. kms is found in HP.

Experience the power of Nature at its best as you stroll along the Rivers of Himachal Pradesh, or engage in some river rafting. A holiday with one of the Himachal Rivers as the star of the movie is bound to be one for the ages!

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