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The Karakash or Black Jade River, also spelled Karakax (Chinese: 喀拉喀什河; pinyin: Kālākāshí Hé, Uyghur: قاراقاش دەرياسى, ULY: Qaraqash Deryasi, Қарақаш Дәряси), is a river in the Xinjiang autonomous region of the People's Republic of China that originates in the Aksai Chin region of India. It passes through the historical settlement of Xaidulla (Shahidulla) and passes by Khotan before joining the Tarim River. The lower course of the river is knowns as the Hotan River.
Karakash River in western Kunlun Mountains
|Country||India (disputed), China|
|Provinces||Aksai Chin, Xinjiang|
|⁃ location||Aksai Chin of Indian UT of Laddakh|
|⁃ elevation||19,000 feet (5,800 m)|
|Length||740 km (460 mi)|
|Basin size||19,983 km2 (7,715 sq mi)|
|⁃ average||69.7 m3/s (2,460 cu ft/s)|
|Progression||Hotan→ Tarim→ Taitema Lake|
The river begins above 19,000 feet (5,800 m) about 7 miles (11 km) northeast of Galwan Kangri peak in the Aksai Chin region of India. It flows north to Sumnal (15,540 ft), then turns sharply eastwards (skirting just north of the Soda Plains of Aksai Chin) until just beyond Palong Karpo, when it turns sharply northwestwards, and crosses into Xinjiang proper. It flows past the towns of Sumgal, Fotash, Gulbashem, until it reaches Xaidulla (Shahidulla).
The river then turns sharply northeastwards again near Xaidulla, and, after passing through Ali Nazar crosses the Kunlun mountain range near the Suget or Sanju Pass. It passes by east of Khotan, running parallel to the Yurungkash River, which it joins near Koxlax (some 200 km north of Khotan, ). From there it continues north as the Hotan River, which flows into the Tarim River.
The Karakash River is famous for its white and greenish jade (nephrite) carried as river boulders and pebbles toward Khotan, as does the nearby Yurungkash (or 'White Jade') River. This river jade originates from eroded mountain deposits of which the most famous one is near Gulbashen, in southwestern Xinjiang (formerly Chinese Turkestan).