Beas River and Its Tributaries in Himachal Pradesh

Beas River 

Beas is one of the five rivers that give Punjab its name. It originates from Beas Kund in the Pir Panjal range near the Rohtang Pass and intersects the Dhauladhar mountain ranges at Larji. The Beas river has the second-largest catchment area in Himachal Pradesh, after Satluj, covering an area of 13,663 km². Although the total length of the river is 470 km, it flows only about 256 km in central Himachal Pradesh. 

After flowing through central Himachal Pradesh, the Beas river flows south through the Kulu valley, receiving tributaries from the adjoining mountains. It then turns west to flow past Mandi into the Kangra valley. Once it crosses the valley, the Beas river enters Punjab state and turns south and then southwest to converge with the Sutlej River at Harike after covering a distance of about 290 miles (470 km).

The river flows through the famous valleys of Kullu and Kangra, with Manali, a world-renowned tourist resort, located on its right bank. 

Major settlements along its banks include Manali, Naggar, Katrain, Ralson, Kullu, Pandoh, Mandi, Nadaun, and Sujanpur.

Main features of Beas river

Features of Beas River


Vedic Name


Sanskrit Name


Greek Name



286 kms


Beas Kund (Rohtang Pass)


Kullu, Mandi, Kangra

Catchment Area

13,663 sq. km. – 24.5% of HP’s area

Hydro Electric Projects (Total)

359 projects

Hydro Electric Projects (Capacity)

5463 MW

Potential Capacity

5995 MW


The Beas River was the eastern-most part of India conquered by Alexander the Great in 326 BC. It was known to be the biggest obstacle in his invasion of India. His troops mutinied here in 326 BCE, refusing to go any further. Alexander shut himself in his tent for three days, but when his men did not change their desires he gave in, raising twelve colossal altars to mark the limit and glory of his expedition.
The name "Beas" originated from its Sanskrit name "Vipasha" which is often associated with Vyasa of Veda Vyasa, proving that the river starts from the Vyasa Kund.

The Parbati River, the largest tributary of the Beas, is the birthplace of many religious and folk tales that make the Parbati Valley attractive and sacred to many. The story of Manikaran is a popular legend where Lord Shiva and Goddess Parbati are the main characters. They spent 3000 years in the surreal beauty of the place. It is believed that during this time, Parbati lost her mani, her earring, in a stream and asked Shiva to retrieve it. When his attendant failed to find the earring, an angry Shiva opened his third eye (believed to be the locus of occult power and wisdom in the forehead of a deity), unleashing chaos in the universe. Eventually, Sheshnag, the serpent God, had to intervene to pacify Lord Shiva and stop the destruction. Sheshnag hissed and boiling water surged from the ground, pushing up precious stones similar to the ones in the earrings. This made an upset Parbati happy and pacified an angry Shiva.

Manikaran holds religious significance for Sikhs too, as Guru Nanak is believed to have visited the spot with his disciple Bhai Mardana. Upon reaching the spot, Guru Nanak asked Mardana to get flour from the langar to pacify their hunger. Mardana did so diligently and even rolled them into rotis. However, they had no fire to cook on. It is believed that when Mardana lifted a stone under Guru Nanak's instruction, a hot spring appeared at the spot magically. When Mardana placed the rotis on the hot spring, he was disappointed as they sank to the bottom. Guru Nanak then suggested that he pray, and if the rotis floated back up in answer, they would donate one in God's name. This story remains a reminder that those who give in the name of God will get back what they have lost in the folklore of the mountains.

Tributaries of Beas River

The Beas river has several important tributaries. Its main tributaries in the east are the Parbati, Spin and Malana nala, while in the west it has the Solang, Manalsu, Sujoin, Phojal and Sarvati streams. In Kangra, it is joined by Binwa, Neugal, Banganga, Gaj, Dehr and Chakki from the north, and Kunah, Maseh, Khairan and Man from the south. The northern and eastern tributaries of the Beas are perennial and snow-fed, while the southern ones are seasonal. Its maximum flow is during monsoon months. At Pandoh in Mandi district, the Beas river waters have been diverted through a large tunnel to join the Satluj.

Quick facts about Beas river

  • The Beas river enters district Kangra at Sandhol and leaves near Mirthal

  • It enters Mandi district at Bajaura on its left bank. In Mandi district, its northern feeders are Hansa, Tirthan, Bakhli, Jiuni, Suketi, Panddi, Son and Bather. 

  • The Parbati river is the biggest tributary of the Beas river and it meets the Beas river at Shamshi/Bhunter. 

  • Sainj and Tirthan meet the Beas river at Larji in the Mandi district. The Kangra fort and the town of Kangra are situated on the banks of the Banganga river.

Some of the important tributaries of the Beas river are as follows: 

1. Awa River: It originates from the Dhauladhar range in the Kangra valley of Himachal Pradesh. Before merging with the Beas river, Awa river flows in a south-westerly direction. It is fed by both snow and rainwater from smaller streams.

2. Banner River: It rises as a small snow-fed channel on the southern slopes of the Dhauladhar range near Palampur (Kangra valley). This river is a tributary of the Beas river, which drains the central part of the Kangra valley. It is also known as Baner Khad. The general direction of this river is south-west.

3. Banganga River: This river rises from the southern slopes of the Dhauladhar range. It joins the Beas river in the Kangra valley of Himachal Pradesh. It is fed by snowmelt waters and springs.

4. Chakki River: It originates from the southern slopes of the Dhauladhar range. It flows through the south-western part of the state. The river is fed by snow and rain. It joins the Beas river near Pathankot.

5. Gaj Khad: It originates from the southern slopes of the Dhauladhar range in Kangra district. It merges with the Beas river a little upstream of the Pong Dam lake (Maharana Pratap Sagar).

6. Luni River: It also originates from the southern slopes of the Dhauladhar range in the Kangra valley. The central part of Kangra valley is the meeting point of this river and the Beas river.

7. Uhl River: It originates from a lake formed by the Thamsar glacier in the higher Dhauladhar range. It flows along the base of the Dhauladhar range, then turns towards the south-east to merge with the Beas river near the town of Mandi.

8. Manuni River: It originates from the southern slopes of the Dhauladhar range and then joins the Beas river. The upper catchment of the Manuni river is formed by steep slopes. Due to the sharp fall in its gradient, huge river terraces occur on both sides of the riverbed, which are used for cultivation.

9. Parbati River: It originates from the snowy upstream of Mantalai lake near Manikaran on the foothills of the main Himalayan range in Kullu district. It meets the Beas river at Shamshi in the Kullu valley.

10. Sainj River: It originates from the water divide of the Beas and Sutlej rivers in the lower ranges of the main Himalayas to the east of Kullu. After flowing towards the south-west, it joins the Beas river. Before meeting with the Beas river, the Sainj river cuts across the Dhauladhar range near Larji.

11. Harla River: As a small channel, this river rises from the snow in the depression of the north-western part of Kullu valley. It joins the Beas river near Bhuntar.

12. Suketi River: It originates from the south-facing slopes of the Dhauladhar range. This river is formed by a number of small channels that join the Suketi river in its upper reaches. Terraces formed by this river are under cultivation.

13. Tirthan River: This river originates from the base of an offshoot of the great or main Himalayan range to the south-east of Kullu. After cutting across the Dhauladhar range, this river takes a south-westerly course and finally meets with the Beas river at Larji.

Important dam on beas river

  • The Larji Hydroelectric Power Project, situated upstream of the Beas Dam in the Mandi District of Himachal Pradesh, has a total installed capacity of 126 MW and is operated by the Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Board (HPSEB).
  • The Pandoh Dam has a hydroelectric power plant with a capacity of 990 megawatts (MW).
  • The Pong Dam, also known as the Beas Dam, is an earth-fill embankment dam on the Beas River and has a capacity of 396 megawatts (MW). The Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) is responsible for managing both the Pong and Pandoh dams.
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