Satluj

This article is about the river in Punjab. For the Royal navy vessels named after it, see HMS Sutlej. For the river also known as River Sutlej in Hong Kong, see Shek Sheung River.


The Sutlej River (alternatively spelled as Satluj River) (Punjabi: ਸਤਲੁਜ, Hindi: सतलुज, Urdu: درياۓ ستلُج‎ ) 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 is sometimes known as the Red River. It is the easternmost tributary of the Indus River. Its source is Lake Rakshastal in Tibet. From there, it flows at first west-northwest for about 260 kilometres (160 mi) to the Shipki La pass, entering India in Himachal Pradesh state. It then turns slightly, heading west-southwest for about 360 kilometres (220 mi) to meet the Beas River near Makhu, Firozpur district, Punjab state.

Continuing west-southwest, the Sutlej enters Pakistan about 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) east of Bhedian Kalan, Kasur District, Punjab province, continuing southwest to water the ancient and historical former Bahawalpur princely state.

About 17 kilometres (11 mi) north of Uch Sharif, the Sutlej unites with the Chenab River, forming the Panjnad River, which finally flows into the Indus river about 100 kilometres (62 mi) west of the city of Bahawalpur. The area to the southeast on the Pakistani side of the Indian border is called the Cholistan Desert and, on the Indian side, the Thar Desert.

The Indus then flows through a gorge near Sukkur and the fertile plains region of Sindh, forming a large delta region between the border of Gujarat, India and Pakistan, finally terminating in the Arabian Sea near the port city of Karachi, Pakistan.

Contrary to the claims of Punjab state in India, a small part of Panchkula district in Haryana state is part of the Sutlej river basin area.[1] Thus, Haryana is also a riparian portion of the Indus river basin.

The waters of the Sutlej are allocated to India under the Indus Waters Treaty between India and Pakistan, and are mostly diverted to irrigation canals in India.[2] There are several major hydroelectric projects on the Sutlej, including the 1,000 MW Bhakra Dam, the 1,000 MW Karcham Wangtoo Hydroelectric Plant, and the 1,530 MW Nathpa Jhakri Dam.[3] There has been a proposal to build a 214-kilometre (133 mi) long heavy freight canal, known as the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL),[4] in India to connect the Sutlej and Yamuna rivers. This canal is designed to connect the entire Ganges, which flows to the east coast of the subcontinent, with points west (via Pakistan). When completed, the SYL will allow shipping more directly from India's east coast to its west coast and the Arabian sea (without having to circumnavigate its southern tip), drastically shortening shipping distances and creating important commercial links for north-central India's large population. However, the proposal has met with obstacles and has been referred to the Supreme Court of India.

History

The Upper Sutlej Valley was once known as the Garuda Valley by the Zhangzhung, the ancient civilization of western Tibet. The Garuda Valley was the centre of their empire, which stretched many miles into the nearby Himalayas. The Zhangzhung built a towering palace in the Upper Sutlej Valley called Kyunglung, the ruins of which still exist today near the village of Moincêr, southwest of Mount Kailash (Mount Ti-se). Eventually, the Zhangzhung were conquered by the Tibetan Empire.

Today, the Sutlej Valley is inhabited by nomadic descendants of the Zhangzhung, who live in tiny villages of yak herders.

The Sutlej was the main medium of transportation for the kings of that time. In the early 18th century, it was used to transport devdar woods for Bilaspur district, Hamirpur district, and other places along the Sutlej's banks.

Geology

The Sutlej, along with all of the Punjab rivers, is thought to have drained east into the Ganges prior to 5 mya.[5]

There is substantial geologic evidence to indicate that prior to 1700 BC, and perhaps much earlier, the Sutlej was an important tributary of the Ghaggar-Hakra River (thought to be the legendary Sarasvati River) rather than the Indus, with various authors putting the redirection from 2500-2000 BC,[6] from 5000-3000 BC,[7] or before 8000 BC.[8] Geologists believe that tectonic activity created elevation changes which redirected the flow of Sutlej from the southeast to the southwest.[9] If the diversion of the river occurred recently (about 4000 years ago), it may have been responsible for the Ghaggar-Hakra (Saraswati) drying up, causing desertification of Cholistan and the eastern part of the modern state of Sindh, and the abandonment of Harappan settlements along the Ghaggar. However, the Sutlej may have already been captured by the Indus thousands of years earlier.

There is some evidence that the high rate of erosion caused by the modern Sutlej River has influenced the local faulting and rapidly exhumed rocks above Rampur.[10] This would be similar to, but on a much smaller scale than, the exhumation of rocks by the Indus River in Nanga Parbat, Pakistan. The Sutlej River also exposes a doubled inverted metamorphic gradient.[11]

Gallery

See also

References

Template:Hydrography of Himachal Pradesh Template:Hydrography of Punjab, India

Template:Waters of Pakistan

Coordinates: 29°23′N 71°02′E / 29.383°N 71.033°E / 29.383; 71.033

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