The Chenab River (ਚਨਾਬ, , चनाब, چناب, literally: 'Moon(Chan) چن River(aab)') آب is formed by the confluence of the Chandra and Bhaga rivers at Tandi located in the upper Himalayas in the Lahul and Spiti District of Himachal Pradesh, India. In its upper reaches it is also known as the . It flows through the Jammu region of Jammu and Kashmir into the plains of the Punjab, forming the boundary between the Rechna and Jech interfluves (Doabs in Persian). It is joined by the Jhelum River at Trimmu تریمو and then by the Ravi River Ahmadpur Siyaal احمدپورسیال. It then merges with the Sutlej River near Uch Sharif to form the Panjnad or the 'Five Rivers', the fifth being the Beas River which joins the Satluj near Ferozepur, India. The Chenab then joins the Indus at Mithankot. The total length of the Chenab is approximately 960 kilometres. The waters of the Chenab are allocated to Pakistan under the terms of the Indus Waters Treaty.
The river was known to Indians in the Vedic period as (अश्किनि) or Iskmati and as Acesines to the Ancient Greeks. In 325 BC, Alexander the Great allegedly founded the town of Alexandria on the Indus (present day Uch Sharif or Mithankot or Chacharan) at the confluence of the Indus and the combined stream of Punjab rivers (currently known as the Panjnad River).
The Chenab has the same place in the consciousness of the people of the Punjab as, say, the Rhine holds for the Germans, or the Danube for the Austrians and the Hungarians. It is the iconic river around which Punjabi consciousness revolves, and plays a prominent part in the tale of Heer Ranjha, the Punjabi national epic and the legend of Sohni Mahiwal.
This river has been in the news of late due to the steps taken by the Indian government to build a number of hydropower dams along its length (in India) most notably the Baglihar hydel power project(expected time of completion 2008). This is a result of the Indus Basin Project. These planned projects on Chenab have been hotly contested by Pakistan which says that India is breaking the terms and clauses of the Indus water treaty by storing and channelling the waters of this river, a claim totally rejected by the Indian government.