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Sutlej (sŭtˈlĕj) [key], longest of the five rivers of the Punjab, c.900 mi (1,450 km) long, rising in the Kailas Range, SW Tibet region of China, and flowing generally west, meandering through the Himalayas in India, then onto the Punjab plain where it receives the Beas River and forms part of the India-Pakistan border; continuing into Pakistan, it is joined by the Chenab River (which received the Jhelum and Ravi rivers). The combined stream, the Panjnad, channels the collected waters of all five rivers of the Punjab into the Indus River. The Sutlej is extensively used for irrigation; many large canals branch from it. Bhakra Dam (750 ft/229 m) in Punjab state, N India, impounds water for irrigation and power production (450,000-kW capacity). Until the Sikh Wars in the 1840s, the Sutlej was the border between the Sikh and British spheres of influence.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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