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HVK Archives: SAC scientist charts Sarasvatis Tibet to Gujarat course

SAC scientist charts Sarasvatis Tibet to Gujarat course - The Times of India, Ahmedabad

Shyam Parekh ()
October 9, 1998

Title: SAC scientist charts Sarasvati's Tibet to Gujarat course
Author: Shyam Parekh
Publication: The Times of India, Ahmedabad
Date: October 9, 1998

A river as mighty and as wide as Sarasvati could not have originated but
from a glacier or a glacial lake in the Himalayas and its flow was
continuous from the Himalayas to Gujarat between 6,000 to 8,000 BC, a
hypothesis based on ancient scriptures and substantiated by
remote-sensing satellites says.

The study says the now disappeared river may have originated from Mr
Kapalshikhar, situated north of Mansarovar and west of Kailash or in
Central Himalayas, in present-day Tibet. This hypothesis about the holy
river - origin and course of which has always been debated among
scholars - has been promulgated by scientist PS Thakkar of the Remote
Sensing Applications Group of the Space Applications Centre here.

What makes Mr Thakkar's hypothesis stand apart from dozens of other such
claims about the lost river is the evidence he has procured. He has been
working on the subject since early seventies and has virtually left no
reference material or scientific avenue untouched in his quest.

Ms theory draws from the Devi Bhagwad Puran and Sarasvati Puran for
tracing the origin and the course of the river and is authenticated by
the satellite images procured with the help of the Remote Sensing
Satellites. He claims: "The flow of the river Sarasvati was southwards
from the Kapalshikhar and then westwards, towards Rakshastal (near
Mansarovar) extending up to Plaksh Prasravan lake. From here, it headed
north-west to Adibadri - near the present day Dhulingmath in Tibet -
flowing further south till Haridwar."

Haridwar, he believes, was the entry point of Sarasvati in the plains
from the hills. It was flowing further eastward through the present day
Bijnaur, Nihtaur, Nurpur, Agroha, Sambhal, Sahasran, Pahadpur, Badayun
and Fatehgunj, and then westwards up to Sambhar lake near Jaipur in
Rajasthan and down south in Gujarat where it met the sea.

The holy confluence of three rivers - Ganga, Yamuna and Sarasvati -
according to him, was not at a specific place. River Alaknanda (Ganga)
met River Sarasvati near Mana village, bend then flowed together as
Ganga. The third river Yamuna meets this flow at Allahabad, which is the
sacred 'Triveni Sangam' of the Puranas.

Challenging scientists and archaeologists, who believe Sarasvati
originated from the Shiyalik ranges, Mr Thakkar comments, "It is
impossible that a perennial river which was as wide as up to 21 kms at
places, could originate from anywhere other than a source like Himalayas
and not from dry mountain ranges of Shivaliks."

He has another argument in his favour... "its true that most of the
Puranas and ancient scriptures show the origin of Sarasvati from near
Adibadri. There are three places named thus - in Haryana, Uttarakhand
and Tibet. Most studies have taken considered the first two - which do
not have any perpetual source of water."

"Therefore, I studied the third location and was quite surprised to find
that the river was not mythical, it did flow and very much on the course
referred to in the scriptures. The mystery is dispelled. There is no
need to look in to the deserts of Rajasthan and Pakistan or Shivalik
ranges for the river," he adds.

But what happened to the river, why was it lost? "Probably there was an
earthquake, which led to rise of Mana Pass in Himalayas, which cut off
the river near Mana village, somewhere around 1,900 BC. Scriptures also
refer to a pilgrimage called 'Vinashan Tirth' somewhere here, indicating
destruction. As a result, the river merged with the Sutlej and Yamuna
and was split into several rivulets. Later, Ganga changed its course
eastwards and captured the flow of river Sarasvati," explains the

To substantiate this, he offered the example of the Sabarmati river
which has changed course six times in the last century.

It was the drought period spread over couple of years during the last
decade, that helped him confirm his research. "When I studied the
satellite images of the course during the drought years, the difference
in the moisture level in the 'river' and adjacent areas confirmed
existence of a paleochannel or a subterranean water system. The length,
width and the course of which supports the theory," he concludes.

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