After an expert panel recently confirmed the existence of the mythical Saraswati river in India’s North-West, scientists at the Indian Institute of Technology-Kharagpur now claim they have found evidence of another ‘lost’ Indian river.
Called Chandrabhaga, the ancient river is believed to have existed at a distance of about two km from the 13th century Sun Temple at Konark, a Unesco World Heritage Site in Odisha.
No trace of any water body is at present visible in the proximity of the temple, but “the mythical river figures prominently in ancient literature”, the scientists report in the journal Current Science .
Almost all myths regarding Konark, including illustrations and photographs, indicate the presence of the Chandrabhaga river in the proximity of the temple, they say.
The IIT study aimed to verify this myth.
They did this through integrated geological and geophysical exploration in conjunction with historical evidence and analysis of satellite data.
Imagery from Landsat and Terra satellites of the US and those obtained by NASA Space Shuttle Endeavour’s ‘Radar Topography Mission’ in 2000 were used.
According to their report, the satellite imagery and Google Earth image showed a “sinusoidal” trace, characteristic of a typical “palaeo channel” — remnant of an inactive river — passing north of the Sun Temple extending approximately parallel to the coast.
The existence of a palaeo channel was further corroborated through profiling the surface using “ground-penetrating radar” that showed the existence of a V-shaped subsurface river valley, the scientists report.