Saraswati River

  • The Saraswati River is a deified mythological river first mentioned in the Rigveda and later in Vedic and post-Vedic texts. It played an important role in the Vedic religion, appearing in all but the fourth book of the Rigveda.
    • According to Hindu scripts and texts, the Saraswati River is one of the principal Rigvedic Rivers. It is also well-known by the name Ghaggar-Hakra River. 
  • The river originated from Kapal Tirith in the Himalayas in the west of Kailash, flowed southward to Mansarovar and then turned towards the west. The river flowed through Haryana, Rajasthan and North Gujarat.
  • According to sources, the river is distinct from the other historic river, the Indus, and flows from the Himalayas to the Arabian Sea. Saraswati River in the Aravalli mountain ranges is located in Rajasthan, and it is believed to have been seen near Badrinath, Uttarakhand.
    • In the early Rigvedic “Nadistuti” hymn, the Saraswati River is mentioned between the east of the Yamuna and the west of the Sutlej.
      • Yet, it is later claimed in other Vedic texts that the Saraswati River dried up in a desert. Saraswati river forms a transboundary between India and Pakistan. Additionally, only during the monsoon does this river cross both countries.
    • The Saraswati River was formerly known as the Ghaggar in the region before the Ottu barrage, and it takes the name Hakra when it crosses this barrier. 
      • During the monsoon season, the Ghaggar river serves as a trans-border river between Pakistan and India, while the Hakra, an extension of the Ghaggar in India, turns into a dried-up canal in Pakistan. 
    • The Ghaggar originates in the Himachal Pradesh state’s Shivalik Mountains and flows through Punjab, Haryana, and even certain areas of Rajasthan. This river in Rajasthan provides water to two irrigation channels.
Saraswati River

Historical Evidence of the Saraswati River

  • The Saraswati River is mentioned in the Rigveda, the oldest Hindu scripture.
    • Book 6 of the Rig Veda includes a hymn called the ‘Nadistuti Sukta’, which sings praises of the Saraswati as being “perfect mother, unsurpassed river, supreme goddess”.
    • It is a mighty river that flowed through the land of the Aryans. It is also mentioned in other Vedic texts, as well as in the Puranas and other Hindu scriptures.
  • Geologists have found evidence of a large river system that flowed through northwestern India and Pakistan. This was during the Holocene epoch (the past 11,700 years). This river system is now known as the Ghaggar-Hakra River system.
  • Archaeologists have found evidence of Harappan settlements along the dried-up bed of the Ghaggar-Hakra River. This suggests that the Harappans were dependent on the Saraswati River for their livelihood.
  • Radiocarbon dating of sand dunes in the Ghaggar-Hakra basin has shown that they were deposited by a large river system between 9,000 and 4,500 years ago.
  • Geologists have also found evidence of river channels, floodplains, and meanders in the Ghaggar-Hakra basin.
  • Archaeologists have found Harappan settlements along the dried-up bed of the Ghaggar-Hakra River in Haryana, Rajasthan, and Gujarat.
  • In addition to Harappan settlements, archaeologists have also found evidence of earlier human occupation along the Ghaggar-Hakra River. This dates back to the Mesolithic period (10,000-5,000 years ago).

Map of Saraswati River

Ghaggar-Hakra River System

  • The Ghaggar-Hakra River System is an intermittent river system in India and Pakistan. It flows only during the monsoon season.
  • The river is known as Ghaggar before the Ottu barrage and as Hakra downstream of the barrage in the Thar Desert.
  • The Ghaggar-Hakra River System is believed to be the remnant of the ancient Saraswati River. 
Ghaggar-Hakra River System

Religious Significance of Saraswati River

  • The Sarasvati River has significant religious importance in Hinduism.
  • It is mentioned in ancient scriptures such as the Vedas and other Vedic texts.
  • The river is revered as a sacred and powerful entity, both as a physical river and as a goddess.
  • In the Rigveda, it is described as a great and holy river in northwestern India.
  • It is also depicted as a smaller river that ends in a terminal lake or ocean in later texts.
  • Sarasvati is worshipped as the goddess of knowledge, wisdom, music, arts, and learning.
  • Devotees seek her blessings for intellectual pursuits, artistic endeavors, and spiritual growth.
  • The Sarasvati River holds a metaphysical significance and is believed to merge with the Ganges and Yamuna rivers at the Triveni Sangam.
  • This confluence is considered highly auspicious, and pilgrims gather there during the Kumbh Mela for spiritual purification.
  • The identification of the Sarasvati River is a subject of scholarly debate.
  • Some scholars propose that it corresponds to the present-day Ghaggar-Hakra River system.
  • The religious significance of the Sarasvati River represents the divine flow of knowledge, creativity, and spirituality.
  • Devotees believe that connecting with the essence of Sarasvati can lead to inner wisdom and spiritual enlightenment.
  • The Sarasvati River continues to inspire devotion and reverence among millions of Hindus worldwide.

Rivival of Saraswati River

  • The governments of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh have entered into an agreement to build a dam at Adi Badri in Yamunanagar district, which, among others, will rejuvenate the mythical Saraswati river.
    • As proposed by the state government, the dam, with a capacity of 224-hectare metres, will be constructed on Haryana’s border with Himachal Pradesh. 
    • A portion of the Som river water would be diverted to the dam from where it would flow into the stream of the Saraswati river starting from Adi Badri (Yamunanagar) to Guhla Cheeka in the Kaithal district.
      • Adi Badri, situated in Haryana near the Himachal Pradesh border, is believed to be the river’s origin point.
  • The Centre, in 2021, reconstituted an advisory committee to chalk out a plan for studying the mythical Sarasvati river for the next two years, after the earlier panel’s term ended in 2019.
    • The ASI had first set up the committee on December 28, 2017 for a period of two years.
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments