Emerging from the majestic peaks and bifurcating into sundry tributaries, the Himalayan rivers whisper stories as they cascade alongside the ashen soils of the Himalayan terrain. Millions travel to witness the might of these cyan stretched only to lose their hearts and go back with everlasting memories. Most of these rivers are part of the Indus River system, one of world's largest river basins with more than 10 rivers criss-crossing across!
Here’s a specially curated list of Himalayan rivers that are sure to leave you awestruck.
The Indus River and its tributaries have been silent witness to the rise and fall of Mohenjo-Daro civilization, Indo-Pak partition, Kargil war, and many more changes across the Indian subcontinent. Originating from the Himalayan glaciers, with a geographical vantage, Indus flows southwards towards Pakistan, ultimately emptying into the Arabian sea. She is a mother to many tributaries—Chenab, Sutlej, Jhelum, Shyok and Zanskar to name a few. The water is brimming along the banks in the months from mid-July to mid-August due to the melting of glaciers and rain water. A river that has been supporting agriculture cross borders, the Indus is a significant outlet for hydropower generation in India and Pakistan.
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One of the most important tributaries of Indus is the Zanskar river. It flows through the Zanskar gorge that stands tall on either side of the bank. It is a tourist hot-spot in both winters and summers. In summer, the river gushes down from Chiling to Nimmu making it a perfect for kayaking and river rafting expeditions. In the winter months, when the temperatures fall and freeze the river out, the famous Chadar trek is conducted . Additionally, the frozen Zanskar is the only means of getting to Padum village, as the mountain passes shut down due to heavy snowfall.
Sangam: The union of Zanskar and Indus
Vehicles slow down on the way from Leh to Srinagar to view the spectacular confluence of Rivers Indus and Zanskar. Situated close to the quaint village of Nimmu, Sangam is the point where the longest river in Asia, Indus, and its most important tributary Zanskar meet and flow together. What makes it a truly enthralling experience is the difference in hue and flow of the two rivers in summer and winter.
In Ladakhi, Shyok is loosely translates to 'the river of death'. The reason behind the ominous name is the several numbers of lives lost, human and animals, while crossing this wild river. But worry not, today it’s not a life-threatening excursion, thanks to the sturdy overbridges. Emerging from the Rimo glaciers of the Karakoram range, River Shyok covers a stretch of 550 km and lies close to the Nubra valley.
The Nubra river emerges from the largest glacier in the world—Siachen. It is a tributary of the Shyok river that engulfs the Nubra valley, abuzz with tourists, eateries, beautiful monasteries and interesting stories! From here, Nubra joins its parent river near Diskit before finally flowing towards Pakistan.
At an altitude of 4350m above sea level, Pangong Tso is world’s highest saltwater lake. The lake assumes a different shade at different times of the day. One-third of it lies in India while the rest extends into China. Pangong Tso, which translates to high grassland lake (in the Tibetan language) has an aura that instantly puts you in Zen mood.
After the success of Hindi film, Three Idiots, Pangong Lake has become a tourist hub. Amidst the snow washed mountains and an azure lake, you can undertake activities such as camping, stargazing, bird-watching and (if you are feeling too adventurous) diving into the ice-cold waters of Pangong!
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