Losing the Trail – Saraswati River

Posted in History Around The World | September 27, 2011 | 0 Comments


Did you know that India was once known as the land of the Ganga Jamuna and the Saraswati? Yes, there was the river Saraswati with which the Indian subcontinent was identified with. Today this River doesn’t exist anymore. Sad , but true.

It is said that many many years ago when the rivers were flowing down the slopes of the gigantic Himalayas in India, then the portion of western Rajasthan was very verdant and was fed by these rivers. The rainfall here and the abundance of water gave enough facilities for farming in these regions. Then all this  prosperity and success suddenly met with a disaster – the disaster of the river disappearing.

Intrigued? But this is the story of the Saraswati River. This river spread so much scenic splendor and success in agriculture in this part of India and then it suddenly dried up. The reasons are said to be shifting of the course of the river, but these reason still remain as enigmatic as the river disappearing.

Rajasthan ceased to become a green zone and today is the arid Indian desert region. So the hot winds accumulated at the sand and then sand dunes were formed. Whoever lived here those days shifted elsewhere and the existing civilizations just disappeared. It is not like we have not seen cities and towns disappearing as also civilizations. But the number of cities that have disappeared in the northwestern part of India surpass all the limits.

Some of the major civilizations like the Mesopotamian, Indus Valley and the Egyptian civilizations have flourished on the river banks. In India, rivers are revered and respected and considered to be very sacred. The Saraswati River too has been respected and worshipped by all and has been given a lot of recognition in the Indian Vedas. Saraswati River has been referred to in all the Indian epics and mythology as the main river in this country.

So what exactly happened ?

It is said that the river started disintegrating, then shifted its course and then deviated its path and the waters therefore started reducing. The river bed dried up and the total tectonic movement of the earth resulted in all this sudden disappearance. It could be an earthquake, it could be a change in climate and it could be so many other natural events. The Saraswati River thus was a victim of such catastrophic incidents and it all happened in quick succession in the period of the Cenozoic time. Along with the Pennar, Cauvery, Palar, Netravati, are all rivers which have dried up in India.

The Saraswati was earlier even bigger than all the big Indian rivers of today. Even the Sindhu River which was huge was small in comparison to Saraswati River. In the Indian Vedic Age it had flowed in between Sutlej and Yamuna. But these rivers exist today.

Water from the Himalayan glaciers fed the Saraswati River and the origin was supposed to be the Bandapunch massif. It is believed that it had three tributaries – the Drishadvati , the Shatadru and the Old Yamuna River.

All in all, the disappearance is a mystery and the result is the desert Rajasthan region.

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