Hydaspes to the ancient Greeks, Behat to the Persians, Vitasta to brahmins and Vyeth to historians, the Jehlum is the cradle of civilisation in Kashmir.
Lawrence noted that 'Life in the Srinagar city and elsewhere in Kashmir revolves around the river Jhelum.'
The Jehlum starts out as a leisurely flowing river from the immeasurable depths of Verinag and meanders like an immense silver serpent through the valley.
An engraving in 'Letters from India and Kashmir' by J. Duguid, 1870. The caption in the book reads 'The curves of the Jehlum, the inspiration for the shawl or pine pattern…'
During its journey the Jehlum receives tributaries from the Pir Panjal and the mighty Himalayas.
The river then forms a delta as it merges into its personal sea – the Wular Lake – at one time the largest fresh water lake in Asia. From the Wular the Jehum flows out towards Uri where it forms a raging torrent as it leaves the valley.
Ordinary rivers have three well-defined stages – rapid flow through steep hillsides, followed by meandering through plains and finally delta formation as the river reaches the sea.
Over the approximately 200-km course of the Jehlum through the valley, the second stage is followed by the third and then the first stage!
From its origin in the Verinag Spring, a 300-yard canal meets the Bihat stream from the higher reaches of the Pir Panjal near Kapran and flows towards Anantnag as the Sandrin stream.
Near Anantnag the Lidder river, formed at Pahalgam by the Aru stream from the Kolahoi Glacier and the Chandanwari stream originating in Sheshnag Lake, meets the Bringi and Arpath streams before joining the Sandrin stream to form the Jehlum river.
At Sangam (literally Confluence) the mighty Veshav from Kousarnag via Aharbal flows into the Jehlum after meeting the Rambiara stream.
The Jehlum then recieves the Sansara and Romshi near Kakapora before flowing into Srinagar.
This post details the journey of the Jehlum through Srinagar.
Beyond Srinagar, the Sindh, the largest tributary, recieves the Wangat stream originating in Gangabal and other lakes around Harmukh in the Sonamarg valley before meeting the Jehlum at Shadipur.
The Jehlum then flows lazily in and out of the Wular Lake – which also receives the Erin and the exquisitely named Madhumati streams.
Beyond the Wular, the Jehlum recieves the Pohru and Ningle streams before Baramulla. A number of smaller streams like the Boniyar stream and Nagdhari Nar flow into the torrent before the Jehlum crosses into Pakistan near Uri.
The Doodhganga and Shaliganga streams arise from Sang-e-safed in the central Pir Panjal range and merge with the Flood Spill Channel constructed in 1904 which diverts flood waters from the Jehlum at Shivpora towards the Hokarsar wetlands.
Other notable streams flowing in Kashmir are the Sukhnag stream near Dodhpathri, the Ferozepur stream near Tangmarg, the Dagwan from Marsar lake flowing through Dachigam National Park and the Arpat Kol near Tral.