PANJAB - THE LAND OF FIVE RIVERS

Panjab, the famous ‘Land of Five Rivers’ is a semi-arid landlocked region in the north-western part of South Asia (the Indian sub-continent). Its name is derived from the Persian words 'panj' meaning 'five' and 'ab' meaning 'water'. The spelling of ‘Panjab’ is used here to represent the whole area. The other spelling 'Punjab' is still officially in use in India for the state of Punjab and in Pakistan for the province of Punjab and is used accordingly.

Panjab, in fact, represents the vast fertile plain through which the five rivers flow after they leave the Himalayan Mountain ranges. The five rivers of Panjab, all tributaries of the mighty Indus River, are the Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas and Sutlej (from west to east). These five rivers have their originating source in the Himalayan Mountains as small lakes and rely on melting snow and monsoon rains. They flow in a northeast to a southwest direction across the immense alluvial plains of Panjab. The confluence of the five rivers of Panjab is named Panjnad (the five streams). The river waters then enter the Indus River, which finally ends in the Arabian Sea. (see Map on Home page) Both the Indus and Sutlej are antecedent rivers with stupendous crossings of the Himalayan ranges through spectacular gorges.

The plains of Panjab form a system of interfluvial tracts, known locally as doabs (the land between two rivers). There are six doabs in Panjab as follows (see Map in Resources):
• Sind Sagar Doab – between the Indus River and the Jhelum River
• Jech Doab - between the Jhelum River and the Chenab River
• Rechna Doab - between the Chenab River and the Ravi River
• Bari Doab – between the Ravi River and the Sutlej River
• Bist Jullundur Doab – between the Sutlej River and the Beas River
• Delhi Doab – between the Sutlej River and the Yamuna River

Other than the Himalayan Mountains, Dhauladhar range and Salt Range (Lunn Pahar), Panjab also has the Sulaiman range in the west, spurs of the Aravalli range in the south-east and the Shivalik hills in the north-east. Others hill ranges are the Kala Chitta, Murree, Margalla, Pabbi, and Solar Singhi and the low hills of Chiniot, Kirana and Sangla. There is also the Pothohar Plateau between the Indus and Jhelum rivers and the Thal desert and Cholistan desert (locally known as Rohi) and parts of the Thar desert. The Panjab plain itself lies between 180 and 300 meters above sea level. In actual fact, the plains of Panjab are a fairly recent creation of Kudrat (Creative Power of God) in geological terms - about 11 million years ago.

Panjab lies between the longitudes of 70 degrees E to 78 degrees E and the latitudes of 29 degrees N to 34 degrees N. The geographical boundaries of Panjab are quite distinct from the rest of the Indian sub-continent. Panjab is bounded on the north by the vast Himalayan mountain ranges; on the east by the river Yamuna (a tributary of the Ganges); on the south by the deserts of Rajasthan and Sindh; and on the west by the Sulaiman range. Although the geographical boundaries of Panjab have been created by Kudrat, the political boundaries keep changing with the march of events (see Maps in Resources).

  Click on box to enlarge map

The area of Panjab includes the states of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, the Union Territory of Chandigarh and the National Capital Territory of Delhi in India as well as the Punjab Province and the Islamabad Capital Territory in Pakistan.

REGION Province / State / Territory Area in sq km
West Panjab Punjab Province 205,345 sq km
West Panjab Islamabad Capital Territory 906 sq km
West Panjab Subtotal 206,251 sq km
East Panjab Punjab State 50,362 sq km
East Panjab Haryana State 44,212 sq km
East Panjab Himachal Pradesh State 55,673 sq km
East Panjab Union Territory of Chandigarh 114 sq. km
East Panjab National Capital Territory of Delhi 1,483 sq. km
East Panjab Subtotal 151,744 sq km
Panjab Total 357,995 sq km