The largest of the five rivers of the region that straddles the line between Pakistan and India is the Jhelum River, which is a tributary of the Chenab, itself a tributary of the Indus. While it is now more popularly referred to as the Jhelum River, Westerners who have taken up world history should be more familiar with its old Greek name, which was Hydaspes. The Jhelum River is none other than the site of one of Alexander the Great’s most brilliant battles in what was a generally brilliant career.
The Jhelum River is not a small river: this body of water runs its course for a full length of approximately 813 kilometres in all. Its alleged source, Verinag Spring, is a mere 80km from Srinagar, right at the bottom of the Pir Panjal Range of the Himalayas. This adds to its distinction, as a matter of fact, because it is one of the few rivers that actually have their origins in the Kashmir itself. The river wends its way through the Kashmir, splitting the city of Srinagar into two parts and going on to Wular Lake, then finally crossing the border into Pakistan.
The river is of great importance to the people in the region, not least because it waters most of the lakes used for irrigation and other purposes. Even in the past and cultural heritage of the Kashmir, it is deemed significant: it is supposed to have been one of the seven rivers of the holy tome known as the Rigveda. Nowadays, it is also considered important for the purpose of tourism, for a good many parts of it are recommended to travellers coming to the area. For example, Verinag Spring is a popular site for tourists. Even the bridges connecting the bifurcated halves of Srinagar where the river splits them are often visited by tour groups.
People in Srinagar still depend on Jhelum River for many things, including that of their own enjoyment. For instance, many areas along the river are used by campers, trekkers, picnickers, and even fishers. There has also been a recent resurgence of interest in domestic water transport within the city and its environs: the government actually initiated the introduction of water taxis in the river for the use of the locals in their journeys around Srinagar. If you do go to the river, you may well be interested in seeing Mangla Dam, which is one place both the locals and those merely passing by the area on a vacation or holiday trip can enjoy. For tourists, this is a worthwhile site because of its impressive size and the amount of water it holds back: this is in fact the 16th largest dam on the globe, and it was constructed partly under the funding of the World Bank. The locals value it too because the dam was built to solve the issue of water shortage, especially for agricultural purposes, which have largely been resolved ever since the completion of the project towards the latter half of the 20th century.