Govt. panel of experts says river Saraswati did exist

An expert committee of geologists, archaeologists and hydrologists say they have found evidence of the course of the river Saraswati, a river mentioned in the Rigveda and Hindu mythology .

The seven-member committee, headed by Professor K.S. Valdiya of the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), in a report commissioned by the Water Resources Ministry and made public on Saturday, concluded that evidence from palaeochannels — remnants of defunct rivers — suggested that the Sarsuti-Markanda rivulets in Haryana were the water courses of the “eastern branch of a Himalayan river” and the Ghaggar-Patiali channels were the western branches.

These branches met in Shatrana, 25 kilometres south of Patiala and “flowed as a large river” emptying out into the sea that is now the Rann of Kutch. The mystery over the origins of the Saraswati rivers has occupied scholars over at least two centuries with some averring that the Yamuna, Sutlet and Ghagghar were all once part of the Saraswati, the shrinking of which is linked to the decline of the Harrapan civilization. Other scholars, however, hold that the Saraswati existed only in myths. “The palaeochannels of ancient mighty Saraswati from Himalaya to Rann of Kachchh have been compiled and presented in the map..” says a statement by the committee.

Lifeline of northwest

The finds are convincing evidence for the government. “The report is an assertion of the assumption that River Saraswati originated from Adibadri in the Himalaya to culminate in the Arabian Sea through the Runn of Kutch,” said Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti in a statement. “This river was once upon a time the lifeline of the north-western states of India and a vibrant series of civilizations from Mahabharat period to Harappa had flourished on the banks of this river.”

Apart from mythological investigation, the greater purpose of the six-month investigation was to check if these ancient channels, buried under several layers of sediment, can be replenished and used to improve groundwater levels, he added. The CGWB had vetted and part-funded the project. The committee was constituted in March to compile “all information on palaeochannels and references in modern and ancient literature, causes for their disappearance and assessing their recharge potential.”

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Printable version | Oct 26, 2020 11:19:06 PM |

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