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"Hydaspes" redirects here. For the historic battle, see Battle of the Hydaspes.
Jhelum River during the summer
Jehlum River or Jhelum River ( , , , ) is a river that flows in Indiamarker and Pakistanmarker. It is the largest and most western of the five rivers of Punjab, and passes through Jhelum District. It is a tributary of the Chenab Rivermarker and has a total length of about 480 miles (774 kilometers).


A photograph from 1900 shows a passenger traversing the river precariously seated in a small suspended cradle.
The river Jhelum is called Vitastā in the Rigveda and Hydaspes by the ancient Greeks. The Vitasta ( , fem., also, Vetastā) is mentioned as one of the major rivers by the holy scriptures of the Indo-Aryans — the Rigveda. It has been speculated that the Vitastā must have been one of the seven rivers (sapta-sindhu) mentioned so many times in the Rigveda. The name survives in the Kashmiri name for this river as Vyeth.
The River Jhelum below the bridge beside Jhelum City
The river was regarded as a god by the ancient Greeks, as were most mountains and streams; the poet Nonnus in the Dionysiaca (section 26, line 350) makes the Hydaspes a titan-descended god, the son of the sea-god Thaumas and the cloud-goddess Elektra. He was the brother of Iris, the goddess of the rainbow, and half-brother to the Harpies, the snatching winds. Since the river is in a country foreign to the ancient Greeks, it is not clear whether they named the river after the god, or whether the god Hydaspes was named after the river.

Alexander the Great and his army crossed the Jhelum in BC 326 at the Battle of the Hydaspes River where he defeated the Indian king, Porus. According to Arrian (Anabasis, 29), he built a city "on the spot whence he started to cross the river Hydaspes", which he named Bukephala (or Bucephala) to honour his famous horse Bukephalus or Bucephalus which was buried in Jalalpur Sharifmarker. It is thought that ancient Bukephala was near the site of modern Jhelum Citymarker. According to a historian of Gujrat district, Mansoor Behzad Butt, Bukephalus was buried in Jalalpur Sharifmarker, but the people of Mandi Bahauddinmarker, a district close to Jehlum, believed that their tehsil Phalia was named after Bucephalus, Alexander's dead horse. They say that the name Phalia was the distortion of the word Bucephala. The waters of the Jhelum are allocated to Pakistanmarker under the terms of the Indus Waters Treaty.


The river Jhelum rises from a spring at Verinag situated at the foot of the Pir Panjalmarker in the south-eastern part of the valley of Kashmirmarker in India. It flows through Srinagar and the Wular lakemarker before entering Pakistan through a deep narrow gorge. The Kishenganga (Neelum) River, the largest tributary of the Jhelum, joins it near Muzaffarabadmarker, as does the next largest, the Kunhar Rivermarker of the Kaghan valley. It also connects with Pakistan and Pakistan-held Kashmir on Kohala Bridgemarker east of Circle Bakotemarker. It is then joined by the Poonch river, and flows into the Mangla Dammarker reservoir in the district of Mirpur. The Jhelum enters the Punjabmarker in the Jhelum District. From there, it flows through the plains of Pakistan's Punjab, forming the boundary between the Chaj and Sindh Sagar Doabs. It ends in a confluence with the Chenabmarker at Trimmu in District Jhangmarker. The Chenab merges with the Sutlejmarker to form the Panjnad Rivermarker which joins the Indus Rivermarker at Mithankotmarker.
Jhelum River c.
1900; photo taken by Eugene Whitehead Esq.

Dams and barrages

Jhelum River near Bele BBQ
Water control structures are being built as a result of the Indus Basin Project, including the following:
  • Mangla Dammarker, completed in 1967, is one of the largest earthfill dams in the world, with a storage capacity of 5.9 million acre-feet (7.3 km³)
  • Rasul Barrage, constructed in 1967, has a maximum flow of 850,000 ft³/s (24,000 m³/s).
  • Trimmu Barrage, constructed in 1939 some 90 km from Mari Shah Sakhira town, at the confluence with the Chenab, has maximum discharge capacity of 645,000 ft³/s (18,000 m³/s).
  • Harahpur (Victoria Bridge) Constructed in 1933 Approximate 5 km from malakwal near Chak nizam Village. Its lenght is 1 km mainly used by Pakistan Raiways but there is a passage for light vehicle (motor cycle, cycle and by boot at both side.


  • The Upper Jhelum Canal runs from Mangla to the Chenabmarker.
  • The Rasul-Qadirabad Link Canal runs from the Rasul barrage to the Chenab.
  • The Chashmamarker-Jhelum Link Canal runs from the Chashma Barrage on the Indus Rivermarker to the Jhelum river downstream of Rasul Barrage. This is 40 km away from Mari Shah Sakhira town.

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