The Saraswati River, so far considered mythical, did exist, as the government-constituted expert committee has asserted the same. The K.S. Valdiya committee in its report submitted to the Union Water Resources Ministry has concluded that Saraswati River so far considered mythical, existed.

The committee comprising of geologists, archaeologists and hydrologists say that they have found evidence of the course of the river Saraswati. Earlier, River Saraswati was considered as a mythological river and has been vivid mentioned in the ancient Hindu scriptures such as the Rig Veda, Ramayana, Mahabharata, etc.

“We have reached a conclusion that Saraswati existed, it flowed. It originated in the Himalayas and met the gulf at the Western Sea,” said professor KS Valdiya, who led the panel, while handing over the report to the Indian government. The seven-member committee states that Saraswati River was approximately 4,000 km in length and flowed through India and Pakistan before meeting Arabian Sea through Rann of Kutch. Two-third stretch of river measuring nearly 3,000 km in length fell in India and reaming one-third of the river stretch fell in present-day Pakistan.

In its report, the committee discovers that the river had two branches – western and eastern. The Himalayan-born Satluj ‘of the past’, which flowed through the channels of present-day Ghaggar-Patialiwali rivulets, represents the western branch of the ancient river. While, the Eastern Branch comprises the Palaeochannels (remnants of defunct rivers) Sarsuti-Markanda rivulets in Haryana were courses of eastern branch of river, known as Tons-Yamuna. The confluence of the branches was considered to be near Shatrana, 25 km south of Patiala. From this confluence point river flow crossed dessert (Rann of Kutch) and meet gulf of western sea.

The conclusion of the expert committee was based on the six-month research. During the research the committee had came across a unique palaeochannel (path abandoned by river when it changes course) relating to present Sarsuti, Ghaggar, Nara and Hakra rivers. They also had studied piles of sediments, their features and shapes which appeared to have been brought by the big river and were considered reminiscent to ones found in present-day Ganga, Ghaggar and Yamuna. Importantly, the report comes a year after the Haryana government claimed to have discovered the river at Mughalwali village, 250 km from the national capital, strapping current of underground water was found at the depth of seven feet.

The main researcher Prof Valdiya has been researching the river for years and has written two books on it, he has been awarded the prestigious Padma Shree in 2007 and Padma Bhushan in 2015.

The Indian Union water resources minister Mrs. Uma Bharti, who received the report said, “This River was once upon a time the lifeline of the north-western states of India and a vibrant series of civilisations from the Mahabharat period to Harappa flourished on the banks of this river”. The minister also added the report, which would also be submitted to the cabinet, would be studied by the Central Ground Water Board “for its optimum use”


by Ashwani Srivastava

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