The longest tributary of River Indus, Sutlej cuts through the toughest Himalayan terrain before entering into the plains and passing over to Pakistan. It makes a long journey from the Tibetan Himalayas in Lake La’nga at an elevation of 15,000 feet. So, we decided to take a closer look at the river and compiled a list of 15 amazing facts about Sutlej that will tickle your imagination.
1. River Sutlej originates at an altitude of 15,000 feet and flows for 1,550 kms.
About one-third of this distance is in Pakistan.
2. In Tibet, it is called the Red River.
It enters Tibet at Lowangko, close to Lake Rakshastal.
3. Sutlej is a very fast flowing river and has been tapped for power generation at many places in HP.
The Kol Dam, Nathpa Jhakri and Baspa are some of the prominent projects across Sutlej.
4. When in Punjab, it merges with Beas and further into Chenab.
All the three rivers finally merge into Indus.
5. Sutlej played a major role in the ancient civilizations located in Tibet.
According to historians, its valley was called Garuda valley. You can still see the ruins of the famous Kyunglung Palace here.
6. The river played a major role for the timber trade of Hamirpur and Bilaspur.
They used it to transport logs of deodar from one location to another. Seen below is the river passing through Rampur in Himachal Pradesh.
7. Tibetans believe that the river actually originates from Mansarovar Lake.
When the snow melts on the Mandata mountains, it flows down to the Mansarovar Lake.
8. According to a water treaty signed in 1960, water from the Sutlej was given to India and water of the Indus was allotted to Pakistan.
9. Sutlej has many big tributaries – most important ones are Baspa, Nogli Khad, Soan and Spiti.
10. When in Himachal, Sutlej covers a massive area of 6,553 sq km.
11. So mighty is this river that it cuts through the toughest Himalayan ranges of Zanskar, Great Himalayas and Dhauladhars.
12. On the eastern side of Sutlej, you will find slender valleys and on the western side you will find wide and open spaces.
13. All along te bank of this river, there is rich cultivation of fruits such as grapes, apples and apricots.
14. Till date, Sutlej valley is inhabited by nomads who are believed to be the descendants of Zhangzhung, primarily herders of yak.
15. Some historians believe that before 1700 BC,Sutlej was in fact a tributary of the now vanished Saraswati River.
The tectonic activity of 2500 BC period is believed to have changed its flow.