Five Rivers of Punjab

The word Punjab is made of two words Punj (Five) + Aab (Water) i.e. land of five rivers. It is named so because of the five rivers flowing through this land and these five rivers of Punjab are Sutlej, Beas, Ravi, Chenab and Jhelum. Historically, Punjab was the name of the region containing today's states of Punjab (Pakistan), Punjab (India), Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Delhi. The rivers flowing through this region are an important geographical feature of this land, thus made this region popular with the name 'land of five rivers' or 'Punjab'.

As of today, only two rivers Sutlej and Beas flow through Punjab state in India. The third river Ravi flows partially in Punjab, mainly along the international boundry of India and Pakistan and then enters Pakistan. The other two rivers Chenab and Jhelum flow in the Punjab state in Pakistan. All these five rivers are tributaries of Indus river. All these five rivers finally merge into Indus river directly or indirectly and the Indus then terminates into Arabian Sea near Karachi city in Pakistan. These rivers, including the Indus river are considered part of Indus Valley River System.
Greeks referred to this region as Pentapotamia, an inland delta of five converging rivers. This name was given to the region as five rivers of Punjab converge together to form the Indus river.
In the Indian mythological texts Puranas and Mahabharata, this region is named as Pancha-Nada which also means land of five rivers.
Do you know that before the arrival of Aryans in India, Punjab used to be known with the name Sapat Sindhu. The word Sapat Sindhu means the land of seven rivers. These seven rivers were Sutlej, Beas, Ravi, Chenab, Jhelum, Saraswati (mythological river) and Sindhu.
Suggested Reading:
Geography of Punjab
Agriculture in Punjab
Districts Wise Population and Area of Punjab
Indus Waters Treaty: The rivers of Indus Valley River System flow through India and then enter into Pakistan. To share the water of these rivers between the two countries, a treaty called Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) was signed by India and Pakistan in 1960 at Karachi. The agreement was brokered by World Bank and it was signed by Jawaharlal Nehru (P.M. of India) and Ayub Khan (President of Pakistan). According to this treaty, the waters of three eastern rivers i.e. Satluj, Beas and Ravi are allocated to India and waters of three western rivers i.e. Chenab, Jhelum and Indus are assigned to Pakistan.
Five Rivers of Punjab

List of Five Rivers of Punjab

A list of five rivers of Punjab with details like place of origion, its path, tributaries of each river, merging with the other rivers or ocean and other important details are given below:
  1. Sutlej
  2. Beas
  3. Ravi
  4. Chenab
  5. Jhelum
The following table shows a summary of all the five rivers of Punjab:
River Name Length (In KM) Place of Origin Terminates In
Sutlej 1500 Rakshastal lake in Tibet Chenab river
Beas 470 Beas Kund in Himalayas, Himachal Pradesh Sutlej river at Harike in Tarn Taran district
Ravi 720 Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh Chenab river
Chenab 960 Upper Himalayas in Lahaul and Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh Merge with Sutlej and forms Panjnad river, which flows into Indus river
Jhelum 725 Verinag spring in Kashmir Chenab river


Sutlej (or Satluj) is the eastern most tributary of Indus river. Its sanskrit name is Shatadru. The source of origin is Rakshastal Lake in Tibet. Some geologists consider the source as Mansrover lake. The two lakes Mansrover and Rakshastal are very huge lakes in Tibet region and close to each other. The water of Mansrover lake overflows into Rakshastal lake. The river enters India in Himachal Pradesh and then enters Ropar district of Punjab. The river Beas merges with it at Harike in Tarn Taran district. It unites with Chenab river near Uch Sharif in Pakistan, forming the Panjnad river. The Panjnad river merges with the Indus river at a distance of 100 Km from Bahawalpur city in Pakistan. The total length of Sutlej is around 1500 Km. This is the longest river in Punjab.
Bhakra Dam is one of the biggest dams in India and its reservoir Gobind Sagar Lake is the second largest reservoir in India in terms of water storage capacity. Nangal Dam, Karcham Wangtoo Dam, Nathpa Jhakri Dam are the other main dams on this river.


Beas is named Arjikiya in vedas and ancient name in sanskrit is Vipasa. Beas river originates from Beas Kund (also called Vyas Kund) in Himalaya mountains in Himachal Pradesh. It enters Punjab in Hoshiarpur district. The total length of the river is approximately 470 Km and terminates by merging with Sutlej river at Harike in Tarn Taran district of Punjab. Pong dam and Pandoh dam are the two main dams built on this river. Pong Dam, also called as Maharana Partap Sagar, is located in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh. Pandoh dam is located in Mandi district of Himachal Pradesh and it diverts the waters of Beas river to Sutlej river.


Vedic name of Ravi is Purushini and its name is Iravati in sanskrit. Ravi river rises in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh and enters into Punjab in Pathankot district. The river flows along the international border of India and Pakistan separating the Gurdaspur and Amritsar districts of Punjab from Pakistan. It flows for a total length of around 720 Km and finally terminates by merging with Chenab river near Ahmadpur Sial town in Pakistan. Major dams on this river are Ranjit Sagar dam (or Thein Dam), Shahpur Kandi dam, Chamera dam, Karcham dam and Kaushalya dam.


This river is known with the name Askani in Vedas and its sanskrit name is Chandrabahga. Chenab river starts in upper Himalayas in Lahaul and Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh. It then flows through the Jammu region in Jammu and Kashmir state and enters into Punjab state in Pakistan. The river does not flow through the today's state of Punjab in India. The total length of this river is around 960 Km. The river Jhelum join it at Trimmu and then Ravi joins it near Ahmedpur Sial. It then merges with Sutlej to form the Panjnad river. The Panjnad river then merge with the Indus river which terminates by flowing into the Arabian Sea.


The vedic and sanskrit name of Jhelum is Vitasta. Jhelum river originates through Verinag Spring located in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The place is located in Verinag, around 80 Km distance from Srinagar. It is the western most of the five rivers of Punjab and is a tributary of Chenab river. The river flows through Jammu and Kashmir state in India and then enters Punjab state in Pakistan. It does not flow through state of Punjab in India, neither touches its boundry at any place. The total length of the river is around 725 Km and it terminates into Chenab river near Trimmu in Jhang district.

Doab Regions In Punjab The area between two rivers is called Doab. This word is made of two persian words "Do" meaning two and "Ab" meaning water or river. So according to the rivers flowing in this region, the area is divided into various Doab which are named according to the name of rivers that form a particular doab. The name of these Doab regions are given below:
  • Bist Doab - The area between Beas and Sutlej rivers is called Bist Doab. The region is also called as Jullundhar Doab, after the name of major city of Jullundhar or Jalandhar in this region. This is also called as "Doaba" and "Doabi" dialect of Punjabi language is the main spoken language of this area. Punjab state is divided into three regions Majha, Malwa and Doaba according to the language and culture.
  • Bari Doab - The area enclosed between Beas and Ravi rivers is called Bari doab. This is part of the Majha region of Punjab. Majhi dialect of Punjabi language is the main spoken language of this area.
  • Rechna Doab - This is the area between Ravi and Chenab rivers. This area is in Punjab province in Pakistan. This is also part of Majha region.
  • Jech Doab - This is the area between Jhelum river and Chenab river and named so as of combination of names of these two rivers. This is also part of Majha region.
  • Sind Sagar Doab - This is the area between Jhelum and Indus (also called Sind) rivers.