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What is the Story Behind River Saraswati?

6 min read

The Saraswati River Originates from the Aravalli Mountains from Rajasthan. The River passes through many places from Sidhpur and Patan before overflowing through Rann of Kutch. 

The Holy River is a tributary of  River Alaknanda which originates from the Badrinath. The question has arisen whether the river existed, does it have any mythological connections. 

The Mythical Saraswati River

Saraswati river 2

The geological, hydrological and archaeological evidence proves that the river existed and it flowed through various parts of India along with its tributaries. Historians opine that the River disappeared some 4000 years ago. 

Satellite images measured that the River was flowing through the Northwestern part of India. Moreover, the excavation carried out in 2015 showcase the results that the Harappan Civilisation died as the river Saraswati dried up. 

We can thus relate that the Indus Valley civilisation had a close connection with Saraswati River as it flowed through these areas. Also, the scientists prove that the River declined in size and got extinct around 2000 BC.

History Supports the Mystery

Saraswati river 3

Ample evidence exists that vouch for the connection between the existence of the Saraswati river and the mythology. 

Some say Saraswati River has been mentioned Rigveda. The meaning of the Saraswati River in Rig Veda referred to as ‘having many pools’. The River got his name from the goddess Saraswati, learning/knowledge goddess of Hindu mythology. 

The River also finds its mention in one of the oldest epic Mahabharata. In Rig Veda, the River mentioned as a most magnificent river along with Ganga and Indus. 

The ancient text also indicates that it flowed along with Yamuna and Sutlej rivers. Drishadvati and Apaya were its tributaries, and it flowed through Mountains and Oceans. 

History and many historians claim the River has hugely contributed to the Harappan Civilisation. 

The Confluence

Another myth related to the River lined with the confluence of three rivers: Saraswati, Yamuna and Ganga, which is famously known as Triveni Sangam, Allahabad. It is a place where people gather around every 12 years,  celebrated as Kumbh Mela.

The mystery got its answer when the scientists accessed the area of Thar desert where the River had dried up. It is believed that this was the flow channel of the River around 3500 years ago.

The Disappearance

How the River disappeared is still a matter of research. Climatic conditions and tectonic movements may have been the leading cause of the disappearance. 

According to the geological surveys, the River originated from Kapal Tirth situated in the Himalaya, and it separated its flow from Adi Badri. It could not revive after many natural disasters hit the place. Finally, the River gradually shrunk and eventually disappeared.

Rakhigarhi Site

Another Excavation was done in the year 2015 Rakhigarhi by Survey of India, along with Korean scientists from Seoul National University and Deccan College, Pune and Department of Archaeology, Haryana. 

Researchers from the excavation site say that the Harappan Culture was 1000 years old or more than that. Thus, the study showcased the results that the civilisation first started in the east and then moved to the west where the Ghaggar-Hakra Basin originated, the place where the Saraswati River had flown. 

Mr.Vasant Shinde the then-Vice-Chancellor of Deccan College, Pune, who was the main person behind the team of Archaeologists mentioned that the Harappan civilisation vanished due to the drying up of Saraswati River or vice-versa. 

Before the excavation, he also told that the sudden disappearance of Rakhigarhi site resulted in the drying up of Saraswati River around 2000 BC. 

Mr.Shinde’s results were supported by Mr Amarendra Nath who was then the director of Archaeological Survey of India, who also had excavated on the same Rakhigarhi site between 1997 and 2000. 

He claimed that the ASI had discovered 2000 Harappan sites located around Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab. 

The 1400 sites were in and around the Saraswati River belt, and the Indus belt does not have more than 400 locations. ASI team concluded that the Saraswati river existed and the results were also shared publicly to remove the anxiousness it had created.

What are the Possibilities of Revival? 

Indian Government has initiated endeavours for the revival of the Saraswati River. The efforts started in 2003 by the then ruling government led by Bharatiya Janata Party. 

After a long gap of 4000 years, scientists finally claimed that the River flowed from Adi Badri (the origin) in the Yamuna Nagar District of state of Haryana. 

The imagery provided by the Indian Space Research Organisation and various excavations and soil tests led to the search of the site. Geology Department of the Kurukshetra University tested the sediments. The tests showed the sketches of a Himalayan river passing through the Jind District.

Saraswati River 4 

Another excavation results also proved that it was a river line land. Researchers found out the specific site near the Chautang River plains. The Haryana Saraswati Heritage Development Board has protected the site.

Recently Physical Research Laboratory Ahmedabad collaborated with IIT Bombay for a new research study. They reported “unequivocal evidence” as a perennial river existed in Northwestern part of India. 

They have found the River was flowing approximately with the route of new Ghaggar and they admit entirely that this was the holy River Saraswati mentioned in the ancient Rig Vedic text.

Government’s Revival Projects and Plans

To revive the River, the government has been working on several projects. In 2003, Saraswati Heritage Project started by the BJP led NDA government. However, the project was shelved by the UPA government claiming that the existence of the river as purely a myth. 

Later, Haryana Saraswati Heritage Development Board started to find the origin of the River. Also, recently the Haryana Government has approved 14 projects to revive the Rigvedic river. They have planned to construct Somb Saraswati Barrage and Saraswati Reservoir which helps to store 1000 hectares of water.

The board has also provided the green signal to construct bridges at different locations along with a Saraswati Ghat. It also involves connecting the Markanda River with Saraswati River through Kainthla channel.

Will the Rigvedic Saraswati River be Ever Revived?

The revival of Saraswati River is on full swing, however, on the flip side, there are many oppositions for this project. Some of the political leaders disagree with the project saying that to revive a lost river is a waste of money, time and energy. 

Such people holding this opposing view say that instead, we must focus on rejuvenating the Yamuna River which is polluted and facing the water shortage. 

As regards public opinion, there are many opinions among individuals. Some are in support of a revival project for the Saraswati river as they believe that the river existed and it has a mythological connection. A few others thoroughly disapprove of this. 

However, in my opinion, the government must take the necessary steps to revive the lost Saraswati river as well as also to rejuvenate other rivers of our country. Mixing up religious beliefs and politics is totally unwarranted. There will be many agreements and disagreements among people, however, the efforts for revival must go on. 

The government should create significant awareness among the public to safeguard our natural resources as well as the historical heritage. The serenity and purity of the water bodies have already started depleting and is a cause of concern. 

As citizens, we should support and collaborate with the government to protect our nature and its surroundings.

The mystery of the Saraswati River continues, and it is a research topic until it reaches its conclusion.

Please share your views by means of comments below.

You may also like to read about the truth of the Aryan Invasion Theory

Vande Mataram 

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