Aubaid Ahmad Akhoon
Nestled in the heart of Jammu and Kashmir, the Jhelum River is a breathtaking natural wonder that holds a special place in the hearts of the people who call this region home. This magnificent river stretches for approximately 725 kilometers, winding its way through the rugged terrain of the Kashmir Valley and providing sustenance and beauty to the people and landscapes that surround it.
The Jhelum River is a crucial source of irrigation water for the region’s agricultural industry. The river’s fertile banks provide the perfect environment for growing crops, and its steady flow of water is essential for the success of these crops. The agricultural industry is the primary source of livelihood for many people in the region, and the Jhelum River plays a vital role in supporting this industry.
“The beauty of the Jhelum River lies not just in its majestic waters, but in the vibrant culture and history that surrounds it.”
Tourism is another important aspect of the Jhelum River’s role in the region’s economy. This majestic river attracts visitors from all over the world, who come to take in its stunning beauty and participate in a variety of activities. Whether it’s boating or fishing, the Jhelum River offers a wealth of opportunities for adventure and recreation.
The scenic beauty of the Jhelum River is truly awe-inspiring. The river winds its way through valleys dotted with lush greenery and majestic mountains that provide a breathtaking backdrop. The valley is also home to several historical sites and monuments, such as the Martand Sun Temple and the beautiful Mughal gardens, such as the Shalimar Bagh and the Nishat Bagh, which are located along the river banks. These gardens are a testament to the region’s rich cultural heritage and provide a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Fishing and my childhood memories
“To see the Jhelum River is to witness the essence of Kashmir, its people, and its culture, all intertwined in the flow of its waters.”
Fishing is another popular activity along the Jhelum River. The river provides a habitat for a variety of fish species, including carp, catfish, and trout. Fishing is not only a source of livelihood for many people in the region, but it’s also a popular recreational activity for tourists. There are several fishing lodges and camping sites along the river, where visitors can enjoy the beauty of the river while fishing. The Jhelum River also supports aquaculture, with several fish farms located along its banks. These fish farms provide food and livelihood for the local people, and also contribute tio the region’s economy.
I’m also one of those lucky ones who have spent their childhood around the Jhelum river (Panderathan Srinagar) and even today a handful of memories go on circulating in my mind these childhood memories hold a special place in my life. I recall going out with my friends to enjoy fishing, which was not only a fun activity but also taught us the value of patience. The thrill of waiting for hours for a fish to get stuck on the hook was unmatched, and the satisfaction of finally catching one was incomparable. Fish is rich in protein and unsaturated fats, which can help lower cholesterol levels and prevent various diseases such as heart disease, depression, and cancer. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish oil, are particularly beneficial for the heart and can help improve cognitive and neural development, especially in pregnant women . The health benefits of fish are not limited to physical health but also extend to mental and cognitive health, with fish oil being a prime example.
In addition to fishing, the sand extracted from the Jhelum river was also a source of fun and exercise for the children who grew up near it. Piles of sand on the shores were used for games and sports, providing a welcome respite from the monotony of everyday life.
The memories of fishing, playing in the sand, and spending time by the river will always be cherished, and serve as a testament to the richness of experiences that nature can offer.
The Jhelum River is also a source of hydropower, with several hydroelectric power plants located along its banks.
Some of the notable hydroelectric power projects on the Jhelum River in India and Pakistan are:
Uri-II Hydroelectric Power Project: This project is located on the Jhelum River in Baramulla district of Jammu and Kashmir in India. It has an installed capacity of 240 MW and is operated by the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC).
Mangla Dam and Power Station: Located on the Jhelum River in the Mirpur district of Azad Kashmir in Pakistan, this project has a total installed capacity of 1,000 MW. It consists of a dam and a power station, and is operated by the Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA).
Rasul Barrage Hydroelectric Power Plant: This project is located on the Jhelum River near Rasul Headworks in Pakistan. It has an installed capacity of 22.5 MW and is operated by WAPDA.
Trimmu Barrage Hydroelectric Power Plant: This project is also located on the Jhelum River in Pakistan. It has an installed capacity of 39 MW and is operated by WAPDA.
Gulpur Hydroelectric Power Project: This project is located on the Poonch River, a tributary of the Jhelum River, in Kotli district of Azad Jammu and Kashmir in Pakistan. It has an installed capacity of 102 MW and is operated by the China Three Gorges South Asia Investment Limited.
These hydroelectric power projects are important sources of renewable energy and provide electricity to millions of people in the region and contribute to its overall economic development.
The Jhelum River is a magnificent natural wonder that holds a special place in the heart of Jammu and Kashmir. Its role in the region’s economy and its stunning beauty make it a must-visit destination for anyone looking to experience the best of what this region has to offer. From its fertile banks to its breathtaking landscapes, the Jhelum River is a symbol of the richness and beauty of this region and its people and the waters of the Jhelum River tell stories of ancient empires and modern struggles, of conquests and revolts, of love and loss .The Jhelum River is not just a river, it is a living entity that sustains the people and the land around it. The Jhelum River is a reminder that even in the midst of chaos and turmoil, there is a natural beauty that endures and uplifts. This River connects us to our past, present, and future, as we journey along its banks and discover its secrets.
“The Jhelum River is a symbol of resilience and perseverance, as it continues to flow despite the challenges it faces.”
(The author can be reached at [email protected])
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