|Flows through (areas in India)||Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir|
|Flows through (areas in Pakistan)||Punjab|
|Source||Baralacha La pass|
|• location||Lahul and Spiti district, Himachal Pradesh, India|
|Mouth||Confluence with Sutlej to form the Panjnad River|
|Bahawalpur district, Punjab, Pakistan|
|Length||1,200 km (750 mi)approx.|
|• location||Marala Headworks|
|• average||977.3 m3/s (34,510 cu ft/s)|
|• minimum||310.53 m3/s (10,966 cu ft/s)|
|• maximum||31,148.53 m3/s (1,100,000 cu ft/s)|
|River system||Indus River|
|• left||Tawi River, Ravi River|
|• right||Marusudar River, Jhelum River, Neeru river and Kalnai River|
The Chenab River[a] is a major river that flows in India and Pakistan, and is one of the 5 major rivers of the Punjab region. It is formed by the union of two headwaters, Chandra and Bhaga, which rise in the upper Himalayas in the Lahaul region of Himachal Pradesh, India. The Chenab flows through the Jammu region of Jammu and Kashmir, India into the plains of Punjab, Pakistan, before ultimately flowing into the Indus River.
The waters of the Chenab were allocated to Pakistan under the terms of the Indus Waters Treaty. India is allowed non-consumptive uses such as power generation. The Chenab River is extensively used in Pakistan for irrigation. Its waters are also transferred to the channel of the Ravi River via numerous link canals.
The Chenab river was called Asikni (Sanskrit: असिक्नी) in the Rigveda (VIII.20.25, X.75.5). The name meant that it was seen to have dark-coloured waters. The term Krishana is also found in the Atharvaveda. A later form of Askikni was Iskamati (Sanskrit: इस्कामति) and the Greek form was Ancient Greek: Ἀκεσίνης - Akesínes; Latinized to Acesines.
In the Mahabharata, the common name of the river was Chandrabhaga (Sanskrit: चन्द्रभागा) because the river is formed from the confluence of the Chandra and the Bhaga rivers. This name was also known to the Ancient Greeks, who Hellenised it in various forms such as Sandrophagos, Sandabaga and Cantabra.
The Bhaga river originates from Surya taal lake, which is situated a few kilometers west of the Bara-lacha la pass in Himachal Pradesh. The Chandra river originates from glaciers east of the same pass (near Chandra Taal). This pass also acts as a water-divide between these two rivers. The Chandra river transverses 115 km (71 mi) while the Bhaga river transverses 60 km (37 mi) through narrow gorges before their confluence at Tandi.
The Chandra-Bhaga then flows through the Chamba district in Himachal Pradesh before entering the Jammu division of Jammu and Kashmir, where it flows through the Kishtwar, Doda, Ramban, Reasi and Jammu districts. It enters Pakistan and flows through the Punjab province before emptying into the Sutlej, forming the Panjnad river.
The river was known to Indians in the Vedic period. In 325 BCE, Alexander the Great allegedly founded the town of Alexandria on the Indus (present-day Uch Sharif or Mithankot or Chacharan in Pakistan) at the confluence of the Indus and the combined streams of Punjab rivers (currently known as the Panjnad River). Arrian, in the Anabasis of Alexander, quotes the eyewitness Ptolemy Lagides as writing that the river is 2 miles wide where Alexander crossed it.
The river has rich power generation potential in India. There are many dams built, under construction or proposed to be built on the Chenab for the purpose of hydroelectric power generation in the country, including:
- Baglihar Hydroelectric power project (900 MW) near Ramban
- Salal Dam - 690 MW hydroelectric power project near Reasi
- Dul Hasti Hydroelectric Plant - 390 MW type power project in Kishtwar District
- Ratle Hydroelectric Plant - an under-construction power station near Drabshalla in Kishtwar District
- Pakal Dul Dam - a proposed dam on a tributary Marusadar River in Kishtwar District
- Kiru Hydroelectric Power Project (624 MW proposed) located in Kishtwar district
- Kishtwar Hydroelectric Power Project (540 MW proposed) located in Kishtwar district
All of these are "run-of-the-river" projects as per the Indus Water Treaty of 1960. The Treaty allocates the waters of Chenab to Pakistan. India can use its water for domestic and agricultural uses or for "non-consumptive" uses such as hydropower. India is entitled to store up to 1.2 million acre-feet (1.5 billion cubic metres) of water in its projects. The three projects completed as of 2011[update], Salal, Baglihar and Dul Hasti, have a combined storage capacity of 260 thousand acre-feet (320 million cubic metres).
Pakistan has four headworks on the Chenab:
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chenab ancient name.
- "River, Chenab River on Encyclopædia Britannica". Retrieved 8 December 2016.
- Encyclopædia Britannica article on the Chenab
- "Alexandria (Uch)". Archived from the original on 10 May 2008. Retrieved 26 March 2020.
- Arrian (2010). Romm, James (ed.). The Landmark Arrian : the Campaigns of Alexander ; Anabasis Alexandrous : a new translation. Translated by Mensch, Pamela. New York: Pantheon Books. p. 222. ISBN 9780375423468. OCLC 515405268. Retrieved 9 July 2023.
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- Chenab River in the context of Pakistan - by Pakistan Tourism Portal