The Rohtang pass at 13,050 feet ( 4,350 metres ), 51 km. North of Manali gateway to the valleys of Lahaul and Spiti lies on the main Manali-Leh highway. It has remained the main attraction for all tourists visiting this picturesque hill resort. During the season from early June to mid-October, thousands of tourists visit the pass eavery day.
Besides affording a magnificent view of the snow-clad mountains of Lahaul, this pass is also the source of the river Beas. This river while fulfilling the thirst of many local travellers, also quenches the thirst of the fields of Punjab and Pakistan before flowing into the Arabian Sea. Thr river emerges from a cavern at the Rohtang pass and assume different identities as the seasons go by. From a clear blue easy flowing mountain river to an awesome torrent during the monsoon. The name Rohtang is a new one, the old one being Bhrigu Tung. On the South of this pass lay the civilized state of Kullant ( Kullu ), while to the North lay the more desolate and barren areas of Lahaul and Spiti. Both these areas were not connected and according to legend the people prayed to Lord Shiva to make a way. Lord Shiva with his trishul cut the Bhrigu Tung mountain and made a path that is known as the Rohtang pass. On the right of this pass lies the source of the river Beas also known as Beas Rishi. At this spot the great thinker and writer of the Mahabharta, Maharishi Vyas, meditated. To the South of this source lies another source known as Beas Kund. Both these mountain streams meet at Palachan village, 10 km. North of Manali to form the river Beas. In ancient times the river was not known as the river Beas but as Arjiki and till the time of the Mahabharta this remained its name. The world famous tourist resort of Manali is situated on the right banks of the river Beas. From Manali, this holly river after passing through dense evergreen forests reaches the town of Kullu. After covering hundreds of Kilometres through the hills, the river at Hari Ka Patan in Ferozpore district of Punjab embraces the river Satluj before flowing into Pakistan.
The attraction of the river has been so great that whoever came here, remained to stay. The great sages Narad, Vashisht, Vishwamitra, Vyas, Prashar, Kanav and Parshuram came here on different occasions and meditated on the banks of this river. Till today their temples exist in this valley of Vyas.
Its main tributaries are the Parbati, the Spin and Malana nala in the East; and the Solang, the Manalsu, the Sujoin, the Phojal and the Sarvati Streams in the West. In Kangra, it is joined by Binwa, Neugal, Banganga, Gaj, Dehr and Chakki from North, and Kunah, Maseh, Khairan and Man from the South. The Beas enters district Kangra at Sandhol and leaves it near Mirthal. At Bajaura, it enters Mandi district situated on its left bank. In Mandi district, its own Northern feeders are Hansa, Tirthan, Bakhli, Jiuni, Suketi, Panddi, Son and Bather.The northern and Eastern tributaries of the Beas are perennial and snow fed, while Southern are seasonal. Its flow is maximum during monsoon months. At Pandoh, in Mandi district, the waters of the Beas have been diverted through a big tunnel to join the Satluj. It flows for 256 km. in Himachal Pradesh.
The Beas ( vedic Arjiki or Arjikiya and Sanskrit Vipasa ) forms the world famous valleys of Kullu and Kangra. This river bears testimony of those historical events which do not find mention in the recorded history. It has played a significant role in the development of peculiar hill culture which pervades the life of hill people living in the towns and surrounding villages since ages. We have to owe to this sacred river in terms of our culture, economy and social life. The important settlement on the bank of Beas river are Kullu, Mandi, Bajaura, Pandoh, Sujanpur Tihra, Nadaun and Dehra-Gopipur. The total lenght of this river is 460 km.
Important Tributaries of river Beas :
Awa River :
Rises from the Dhauladhar range in the Kangra valley of Himachal Pradesh. It flows in a South-Westerly direction before joining the river Beas. It receives both snowged as well as rainfall water from smaller channels.
Banner River :
It is also known as Baner Khad. It is a tributary of the Beas river and drains the central part of the Kangra valley. The Baner Khad rises as a small snow fed channel on the Southern slopes of the Dhauladhar range near Palampur. The general direction of flow of the Banner River is towards South-West.
Banganga River :
It joins the Beas river in the Kangra valley. It rises from the Southern slopes of the Dhauladhar range. the river is fed by snow melt waters and channels emanating from springs. Large fertile sediments have been formed all along the river near its mouth.
Chakki River :
It drains the South-Western part of Himachal Pradesh. The Chakki river rises as a small snow-fed and rain fed stream from the Southern slopes of the Dhauladhar range. The river enters Punjab near Pathankot and joins the Beas river.
Gaj Khad :
It rises as a small stream from the snows on the Southern slopes of the Dhauladhar range in Kangra district. A number of small streams form the Gaj Khad. The Gaj river joins the Beas river a little upstream of the Pong dam lake ( now known as Maharana Pratap Sagar ).
Harla River :
Harla river rises as a small channel from the snows in the depression of the North-Western plank of Kullu valley. It joins the river Beas near Bhuntar ( Kullu airport ). Numerous snow-fed streams join the river Harla.
Luni River :
Luni rises from the South slopes of Dhauladhar in the Kangra valley. It merges with the river Beas in the central part of Kangra valley.
Manuni River :
It rises from the Southern slopes of the Dhauladhar range and joins the river Beas. Steep slopes form the upper catchment of the Manuni river. There is a sharp fall in its gradient huge river terraces occur on the both sides of the river bed, which are used for cultivation extensively.
Parbati River :
It rises in the snowy Wastes upstream of Manikaran on the foothills of the main Himalayan range in Kullu district. The glacier which feeds this river discends down from the steep Southern slopes of the main Himalayas. It joins the river Beas at Shamshi in Kullu valley.
Patlikuhal River :
This river is a tributary of the Beas river in the Mandi area of Kullu district. It rises from the snow on the Southern slopes of the Pir Panjal range and thereafter it flows into the Beas river upstream of Kullu.
Sainj River :
It rises from the water divide of the Beas and Satluj rivers in the lower ranges of the main Himalayas to the East of Kullu. Thereafter it flows towards South-West to join the Beas river. Hust before it cuts across the Dhauladhar range near Larji. The Sainj valley is V shaped and the river flows past a series of interlocking spurs. It has widened near the mouth of the river.
Suketi River :
This river is a tributary of the Beas river in the Kangra valley. It rises from the South facing slopes of Dhauladhar range. A number of small channels join the Suketi river in its upper reaches. The river has formed huge terraces, most of which are under cultivation. The upper catchment of the river consists of steep slopes.
Tirthan River :
It is a tributary of the Beas river. It rises from the base of an offshoot of the great or main Himalayan range to the South-East of Kullu. Thereafter it follows a South-Westerly cource and flows into the Beas at Larji just before it cuts across the Dhauladhar range. Lower down, the valley opens up and it is fairly wide near its confluence with the Beas river.
Uhl River :
It is another tributary of the Beas river which rises as two feeder channels in the area to the North of the Dhauladhar range in Himachal Pradesh. thereafter the two channels cross this gigantic mountain barrier and merge at the base of the Southern slopes to form the main channel of the Uhl river in Kangra area. It flows for a considerable distance along the base of the Dhauladhar range. Then turns towards the South-East to merge with the Beas near the town of Mandi.