Geography of Jammu & Kashmir State

by Dr. A. N. Raina


Rivers, Lakes, Springs, Tributaries and Glaciers

Jammu and Kashmir State is well known for its charming scenery. There are beautiful springs, lakes, rivers and their tributaries. All these add to its scenic beauty.

The Jhelum (Vyeth in Kashmiri, Vetesta in Sanskrit and Hydaspes in Greek) is the main waterway of the valley of Kashmir. It rises from a beautiful spring called Verinag. This spring is situated at the foot of a spur of the Pir Panjal mountain.

The Jhelum flows to a distance of 25.6 Kms to Khanabal like a nullah. From that place a number of tributaries join the Jhelum and make it navigable from Khannabal to WullarLake. Its total length in the valley is 177 kms. It flows in loops through the valley till it enters the Wullar; it flows out from its other side to Baramulla and then it enters the boundary of Pakistan. This part is not navigable, as the river makes a very deep bed and acquires a swift flow.

The river Jhelum
The river Jhelum.

One of the bridges that span the Jhelum in the old city
One of the bridges that span the Jhelum in the old city.

Srinagar town is situated on the either side of the river Jhelum. This enhances the beauty of the town making it a source of attraction for the tourists who stay in house-boats staying permanently in water on the banks of the river.

Tributaries of the river Jhelum

1. The Vishav is fed by lhe Kaunsarnag lake which is about 3 Kms long. It joins theJhelum below Bijbehara. Kounsarnag is at an elevation of about 4000 metres above sea level in the Panjal mountains to the south of Kashmir. Ice is present in the lake even in summer.

The Vishav irrigates the Kulgam Tehsil and logs of timber cut in the forests in its upper course are floated down it to be transported to the valley.

2. The Romushi is another tributary of the Jhelum. It flows from Kharmarg to Pakharpur and flowing towards north-east. It joins the Jhelum at 75 deg. East longitude.

3 . The Dudhganga is another tributary of the Jhelum that flows from Ludurmarg and rises in the central Pir Panjal near Tata Kuti mountain. Two mountain streams, the Sangesafed and the Yachera, form this river. This river flows through Batmalu Swamp near Srinagar.

4. The Sukhang is another important tributary. It rises near Gulmarg and irrigates a large area.

5. The Lidar is one of the largest tributaries of the Jhelum. It flows in a swift narrow stream from Sheeshnag lake to the east of Pahalgam. The Lidar passes through many villages of which Mattan (Martand) is very famous. The Kolahai and Sheeshnag streamlets join the Lidar at Pahalgam to make it a river.

Lidar at Pahalgam
Lidar at Pahalgam.

6. The Ferozpore Nullah is an important water-way in the western mountains of Baramulla-Gulmarg area. It collects water from many mountain streams, small lakes and springs. This mountaineous area is mostly full of snow even in summer.

7. The Sind Nullah has its source in the Inner Himalayas at Dras and after it is fed by the Gangabal lake lying at Harmukh mountain (5150 meters), it joins the Jhelum at Shadipur. It is 96 Kms in length. The famous health resorts of Sonamarg and Ganderbal are situated on its banks. Its water is used for irrigation purposes and the 'Sind Valley Hydroelectric Power Project' uses its water at Gandarbal to produce electric power. It is navigable from Gandarbal downwards.

8. The Flood Spill Channel was constructed in 1904 to relieve the strain on the Jhelum in the city of Srinagar. By taking 2/3rd of the total flow in the river it helps the river Jhelum to regulate its water level while passing through the city of Srinagar. The Jhelum rises during floods and the Channel saves the city from being flooded.


1. The Wullar Lake in Kashmir is the largest fresh water lake in India. It is about 16 Kms.long and 9 .6 Kms wide with ill-defined shores. This lake lies between Bandipore and Sopore at a distance of 75 Kms. from Srinagar. The Jhelum enters this lake from the south-east and leaves it from thewest. Storms rise in the lake everyday in the afternoon. The deepest part of the lake is at Watlab towards the hill called Baba Sukhuruddin in the north-west. Many small streams, Harbuji, Aarah, Erin and Pohru join this lake.

Wular Lake
Wular Lake.

2. The Dal Lake is a beautiful lake near Srinagar. It is 8 Kms long and 6.4 Kms. wide. It is the flood-lung of the Jhelum. The famous Mughal gardens are situated around it. The lake is an ideal place for swimming and sailing in Shikaras and motorboats. Floating gardens are found in this lake where a large variety of vegetables is grown. The The Dal lake has two parts, the small Dal and the big Dal, separated by a swampy bund. The road round the lake is called Boulevard. There are two artificial islands in the lake, Rupalank and Sonalank, built by Mughal Emperors. Nehru Park is the western terminus of the lake. The lake is a spot of great attraction for visitors, who enjoy staying in house-boats in the lake.

Dal Lake
Dal Lake.

3. The Anchar Lake is a swampy area. The Sind Nullah enters this lake from one side and flows out from the other. It is about 8 Kms long and 3 Kms. wide. Gandarbal is a famous township on its north-west bank.

4. The Mansbal Lake is at a distance of 29 Kms. from Srinagar and is situated at Safapore (Tehsil Gandarbal). It is 5 Kms long and one Km. wide. It is connected with the Jhelum by a canal near Sumbal. Mughal Emperors have built a summer palace on its bank.

Manasbal Lake
Manasbal Lake.

5. The Harvan Lake is situated at a distance of 21 Kms from Srinagar. It is 278 meters long, 137 meters wide and 18 metres deep. This lake is a source of water supply to Srinagar city.

6. The Hokarsar Lake lies on Baramulla road about 13 Kms. from Srinagar. It is about 5 Kms. long and 1.5 Kms. wide. Willow trees are grown in abundance around its banks.

7. The Konsarnag or Vishno Pad Lake is situated in the Pir Panjal range at a height of 4000 meters above sea level to the south of Shopian. It is about 5 Kms. long and 3 Kms. wide and is the source of the river Vishav. It is at a distance of 34 Kms. from Shopian.

8. The Gangabal Lake is situated at a height of 3570.4M. on the peak of Harmukh mountain. Hindus consider it a sacred lake.

Gangabal Lake
Gangabal Lake.

9. The Sheshnag Lake is situated near Vavjan, enroute to Shri Amarnath cave. It is at a distance of 28 Kms. from Pahalgam.

Sheshnag Lake
Sheshnag Lake.

10. The Neelang Lake is situated in Tehsil Badgam at a distance of 10 Kms from Nagam. It is a beautiful lake with dense forests around it.

11. There are two more lakes, Tarsar and Marsar that lie on the northern slope of the Harmukh mountain. Marsar lake is the origin of the Canal Sharab Kohl that provides water to the fountains that play in the Mughal Gardens. Marsar lake flows into the Lidar which is one of the largest tributaries of the Jhelum.

Mansar Lake
Mansar Lake.

12. Sokh and Dokh are two frozen lakes situated at Harmukh Mountain. These are said to be two tear drops of Parvati; one a warm tear drop indicating happiness and other a cold one showing grief.


Kashmir valley abounds in numerous springs of which Verinag (source of the Jhelum), Martand (Anantnag), Achhabal (Anantnag), Kukarnag (Anantnag), Chashma Shahi (famous for its fresh and digestive water, situated near Srinagar on one side of the Boulevard road), Tullamulla or Khirbhawani (a sacred spring), Vicharnag, Sukhnag, Vishnosar and Harmukat Ganga in Srinagar area and Chirnagand Vasaknag in Anantnag are very famous.

Vishnosar Lake
Vishnosar Lake.

Gadsar Lake
Gadsar Lake.


Kashmiri Overseas Association
 Kashmir Geography