Sarasvati River Revival: Status Report

S.Kalyanaraman kalyan99 at NETSCAPE.NET
Wed Jul 28 08:58:17 UTC 1999

The following report may be of interest to indology:


A historic event unfolded in Jagadhri, (Dist. Yamunanagar, Haryana State) on
24 July 1999, which will have a long-term beneficial impact on major parts of
North West India and revive memories of over 5,000 years ago.

Three projects to revive the legendary Sarasvati River were inaugurated; one
was to link re-activate the ancient channels of the river from Adh Badri
(Yamunanagar Dist.) to Pehoa (referred to as Pruthudaka in the Great Indian
Epic, Mahaabhaarata); the second was to provide a piped feeder from the Bhakra
Main canal to Pehoa, using the perennial waters of the Sutlej emanating from
the Mansarovar glacier in Mt. Kailash; the third was to map the course of the
river over a stretch of 1600 kms. from Bandarpunch massif in Western Garhwal
(Har-ki-dun glacier) to the Arabian Sea near Somnath (Prabhas Patan, Gujarat)
using the remote sensing application centre in Jodhpur, Rajasthan and to
delineate the groundwater sanctuaries and palaeo-drainage system of North West

Shri Suraj Bhan, Governor of Uttar Pradesh and who was an M.P. representing
Ambala consitutency, inaugurated the Sarasvati Shodh Sansthaan, Haryana. Dr.
S. Kalyanaraman, Sarasvati Sindhu Research Centre, Chennai was a keynote

The initial stage of the revival of the Sarasvati River begins with the
re-activation of the channel from Adh Badri to Pehoa is mentioned as Sarasvati
Nadi on the Survey of India topo-sheets.  This project is financed by the
World Bank as part of the package of $139 million US Dollars for rejuvenation
of the water systems of North West India. The re-activation of this section
will keep the river flowing all 365 days of the year upto Pehoa and beyond.
Pehoa has the ancient Vasishtha ashram where the Sarasvati River becomes
east-flowing and Sarasvati Ghats where homage to ancestors (pitru tarpan.a) is
offered by pilgrims. The ghats are more ancient than the pilgrimage ghats in
Varanasi on the Ganga River. This pilgrimage site was also visited by Balarama
during his pilgrimage from Dwaraka to Mathura along the course of the
Sarasvati River as described in the shalya parvam of the Great Indian Epic.
The website Universal Resource Locator (URL) is:

A number of organizations are involved in the research and project work:
National Remote Sensing Agency, Geological Society of India, Bhabha Atomic
Research Centre, Central Water Commission, State Water Resources Agencies,
Central Arid Zone Research Institute, Central Arid Zone Forest Research
Institute, Indian Space Research Organization. Satellite images from LANDSAT,
EOSAT, IRS 1-A to 1-D have been put to extensive use in the research studies.
The participation of the scientific community in the studies is highlighted by
the recent publication (Feb. 1999) by Geological Society of a book titled
VEDIC SARASVATI describing the palaeodrainage system of North West India.

Dr. S. Kalyanaraman

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