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Jhelum River, Anantnag Overview

It is the largest and most western of the five rivers of Punjab and passes through Jhelum District. It is a tributary of the Chenab River and has a total length of about 450 miles (725 kilometres). Baramulla, being set up on the banks of the river Jhelum itself makes it very convenient for the tourists to bookmark this attraction in their bucket list.

The river Jhelum originates at the Verinag Spring at Anantnag, at the foot of the Pir Panjal range in the Kashmir Valley. The Jhelum is on the westernmost side of the five rivers of Punjab and flows through Kashmir Valley before it enters Pakistan through a gorge.

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History Associated with the River Jhelum

The river Jhelum is called Vitasta in the Rigveda and Hydaspes by the ancient Greeks. Vitasta has been mentioned as one of the major rivers by the holy scriptures of Rigveda. It has been assumed that the Vitasta must have been one of the sapta-sindhu as mentioned in the Rigveda. The Kashmiri name for this river is Vyeth. It is one of the many transcendental rivers flowing through the land of Bharata, or ancient India.


Anjum Sultan Shahbaz, the author of Tareekh-e-Jhelum, recorded in his book that, in the past, Jhelumabad was known as Jalham. The words Jalham, when divided into Jal and Ham, mean pure water and snow respectively. In his opinion, the river gained its name as it flowed beside the city and the seas mainly originated in the snow-capped Himalayan mountain ranges.

Another story says that when “Dara-e-Azam” after winning many battles, decided to fix his flag at a certain place on the banks of the river. He called this place “Ja-e-Alam”, which means “Place of the Flag”. With generations, the name gradually changed from Ja-e-Alam to Jhelum.

The river has its Sanskrit roots in the name “Vitasta”. The river got its name when Goddess Parvati assumed the form of a river in the Nether World at the request of Sage Kashyapa to protect and purify the land from the evil deeds of the demons. To bring his wife back from the Nether World, Lord Shiva then used his spear to make a stroke of one Vitasti (measuring about 9 inches) near the abode of Nila (Now, Verinag Spring). Hence, he named her Vitasta.

Lakes fed by Jhelum River

1. Wular Lake: Considered to be one of the largest fresh-water lakes in Asia, the Wular lake, sited in the Bandipora district of Jammu and Kashmir, was formed as a result of tectonic activity. Today, much of the lake has been drained out due to an increase in the willow plantations that are being built on its shore.

2. Manasbal Lake: Located in the Gandarbal district of Jammu and Kashmir, the Manasbal lake is said to be a derivative of the Manasarovar Lake. It encircles three villages- Jarokbal, Kondabal and Ganderbal. There are massive growths of lotuses on the periphery of the lake that add to its beauty.

3. Nigeen Lake: Situated in Srinagar, Jammu Kashmir, this mildly eutrophic lake is surrounded by many willow and poplar trees. It is due to this that it gets its name “nageena”, meaning “the jewel in the ring”. It is considered to be a part of the Dal lake and usually attracts many tourists due to its pristine and calm surroundings.

4. Dal Lake: Popular for its tourism and attraction, the Dal lake, located in Srinagar is known as the ‘Jewel in the crown of Kashmir” or ‘Srinagar’s Jewel”. Built during the reign of the Mughal king, Jahangir the lake is surrounded by the Mughal gardens, parks and houseboats.

5. Gangabal Lake: At the foothills of Mount Harmukh lies a serene lake that is mostly fed by glaciers and springs. You need to trek 15 kilometres upslopes from Naranag to reach the lake which can be either be covered by a horse ride or by foot. Look out for the Gujjar shepherds throughout your trek with their flocks of sheep and goats here and there!

6. Anchar Lake: Once known to be popular among the tourist groups to travel to and fro from the Dal lake on shikaras (a type of wooden boat) and houseboats, the state of the Anchar lake has deteriorated owing to the large scale pollution and encroachment that has taken place in its surroundings.


  • The Upper Jhelum Canal runs from Mangla Dam to the Chenab.
  • The Rasul-Qadirabad Link Canal runs from the Rasul Barrage to the Chenab.
  • The Chashma-Jhelum Link Canal runs from the Chashma Barrage on the Indus River to the Jhelum river downstream of Rasul Barrage. This is 40 kms from Mari Shah Sakhira town.

Dams on Jhelum river

1. Mangla Dam: Named after the village of Mangla, this multipurpose dam on the Jhelum river is considered to be the seventh largest dam in the world.

2. Uri Dam: The Uri Dam is a 480MW hydroelectric power station which is located on the Jhelum river in Baramulla district of Jammu Kashmir.

3. Rasul Barrage: Situated 72 kms downstream of the Mangla dam, the Rasul Barrage on the Jhelum river was constructed in 1968 as a means to control the water flow of the Jhelum that was used for irrigation purposes.

4. New Bong Escape Hydropower Project: The New Bong Escape Hydropower Project is located on the Jhelum river, 7.5 kms downstream of the Mangla Dam.

5. Kohala Hydropower Project: Still under construction, the Kohala Hydropower Project is a proposed run-of-the-river project that is supposed to be on the Jhelum river near Kohala, Azad Kashmir.

6. Karot Hydropower Project: Another under-construction project, the Karot Hydropower Project is a run-of-river concrete-core rockfill gravity dam, is proposed to be situated 1.7 kms upstream of the Karot Bridge and 74 kms upstream of Mangla Dam.

7. Azad Pattan Hydropower Project: A 700 MW hydroelectric power station on the Jhelum river, the Azad Pattan Hydropower Project is around 7 kilometres upstream of the Azad Pattan Bridge in Sudhnoti District of Azad Kashmir. The project is scheduled to be completed in the year 2025.

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