Indus River

Indus River

FACTS & FIGURES

Source Lake Mansarovar

Length 2,900 miles

Coverage Tibet, Ladakh, Zanskar Valley, and Pakistan

Tributaries Zanskar, Sutlej, Jhelum, Ravi, Beas, and Chenab

HISTORY AND MYTHOLOGY

According to Hindu mythology, in the beginning of the world was word and the first recorded word was ‘Veda’. And the Vedas are just ecstatic about the Sindhu (also Indus), the cradle of Indian civilization:

Sindhu in might surpasses all the streams that flow His roar is lifted up to heaven above the earth; he puts forth endless vigor with a flash of light… Even as cows with milk rush to their calves, so other rivers roar into the Sindhu.As a warrior-king leads other warriors, so does Sindhu lead other rivers Rich in good steeds is Sindhu, rich in gold, nobly fashioned, rich in ample wealth.

The river Sindhu has been invoked numerous times in the Vedic literature with other gods and goddesses. In fact, the Vedas refer to the Ganga only twice, but make as many as thirty references to the Sindhu. 

The name of India itself is a corruption of the word Sindhu. Arabians pronounced ‘s’ as ‘h’ and called India Hindustan, the land of Hindus. Greeks pronounced Sindhu as Indus, and so the name India. Sindhu is the oldest name in Indian history as well in Indian geography.

When Shiva carried the immolated body of his divine consort Sati over all the land, her skull-top with its hingula (sindur) fell at what has been Hinglaj ever since. It is near Karachi on the Sindh-Baluchistan border. To this holy spot-sanctified by the visit of Rama, Sita, and Lakshmana-went the great Sindhi Sufi poet-saint Shah Abdul Latif in the company of yogis. As long as East and West Pakistan were one state, a major attraction to the Bangladeshi Hindus visiting the west wing was Hinglaj.

The reference of Sindhu does not end with the Vedic texts but continued in the great epic of Mahabharata and then in the first history book written in India, Rajtarangini.

ALONG THE INDUS

Rising in southwestern Tibet, at an altitude of 16,000 feet, Indus enters the Indian territory near Leh in Ladakh. The river has total drainage area of about 4,50,000 square miles, of which 1,75,000 square miles lie in the Himalayan mountains and foothills.

After flowing eleven miles beyond Leh, Indus is joined on the left by its first tributary, the Zanskar, which helps green the Zanskar Valley. Many interesting mountain trails beckon the mountaineering enthusiasts to the Zanskar Valley.

The Indus then flows past Batalik. When it enters the plains, its famous five tributaries-Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas, and Sutlej-that give Punjab its name as the “land of five rivers,” join it.

Buddhist monasteries and other heritage sites are the principal tourist attractions of Central Ladakh and Zanskar. These sites, most within reach of Leh, may be visited by a bus or taxi. Many of the region’s major gompas (Buddhist monasteries) are open throughout the day and a caretaker Lama is available to show visitors around. Some of the less visited establishments have special opening hours, as in the case of Namgyal Tsemo, Shey Palace, and the Stok Palace Museum.

Hall of Fame, near Leh, is a tribute to our valiant soldiers. About 30 km from Leh, there is a Sikh gurdwara that is maintained by the Indian Army. Both the places are worth visiting.

SINDHU DARSHAN

The “Sindhu Darshan” or Sindhu festival held in the month of June aims at projecting the Indus as a symbol of India’s unity and communal harmony. Whilst promoting tourism to this area, this festival is also a symbolic salute to the brave soldiers of India who have been fighting not only with the enemies in the human form but also in the form of nature.

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