Karakash River

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Karakash River
Karakash River IMG 3396.jpg
Karakash River is located in Xinjiang
Karakash River
Location in Xinjiang
CountryIndia (disputed), China
ProvincesAksai Chin, Xinjiang
Physical characteristics
SourceKarakoram range
 • locationAksai Chin
 • coordinates34°54′26″N 78°28′22″E / 34.907349°N 78.472665°E / 34.907349; 78.472665
 • elevation19,000 feet (5,800 m)
 • location
Hotan River
 • coordinates
38°05′24″N 80°56′08″E / 38.090°N 80.935417°E / 38.090; 80.935417Coordinates: 38°05′24″N 80°56′08″E / 38.090°N 80.935417°E / 38.090; 80.935417
Length740 km (460 mi)
Basin size19,983 km2 (7,715 sq mi)
 • average69.7 m3/s (2,460 cu ft/s)
Basin features
ProgressionHotanTarimTaitema Lake
LandmarksXaidulla, Hotan

The Karakash or Black Jade River, also spelled Karakax (Chinese: 喀拉喀什河; pinyin: Kālākāshí Hé, Uighur: قاراقاش دەرياسى, Қарақаш Дәряси), is a river in the Xinjiang autonomous region of the People's Republic of China that originates in the disputed Aksai Chin region administered by China. It passes through the historical settlement of Xaidulla (Shahidulla or Saitula) and passes by Khotan (Hotan) before joining the Tarim River. The lower course of the river is known as the Hotan River.


The river begins above 19,000 feet (5,800 m) about 7 miles (11 km) northeast of Galwan Kangri peak in the disputed Aksai Chin region administered by China. It flows north to Sumnal (15,540 ft), then turns sharply eastwards (skirting just north of the Soda Plains of Aksai Chin) until just beyond Palong Karpo, when it turns sharply northwestwards, and crosses into Xinjiang proper. It flows past the towns of Sumgal, Fotash, Gulbashem, until it reaches Xaidulla (Shahidulla).

The river then turns sharply northeastwards again near Xaidulla, and, after passing through Ali Nazar crosses the Kunlun mountain range near the Suget or Sanju Pass. It passes by east of Khotan, running parallel to the Yurungkash River, which it joins near Koxlax (some 200 km north of Khotan, 38°05′N 80°34′E / 38.08°N 80.56°E / 38.08; 80.56). From there it continues north as the Hotan River, which flows into the Tarim River.


The Karakash River is famous for its white and greenish jade (nephrite) carried as river boulders and pebbles toward Khotan, as does the nearby Yurungkash (or 'White Jade') River. This river jade originates from eroded mountain deposits of which the most famous one is near Gulbashen, in southwestern Xinjiang (formerly Chinese Turkestan).

The Karakash Valley was also a caravan road for the north–south trade between Yarkand (China) and Leh over the Karakoram Pass in Leh District of Ladakh.

See also[edit]