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SARASVATI

Civilization
Volume 1

Dr. S. Kalyanaraman
Babasaheb (Umakanta Keshav) Apte Smarak Samiti
Bangalore 2003

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SARASVATI: Civilization by S. Kalyanaraman
Copyright Dr. S. Kalyanaraman

Publisher: Baba Saheb (Umakanta Keshav) Apte Smarak Samiti, Bangalore

Price: (India) Rs. 500 ; (Other countries) US $50 .

Copies can be obtained from:

S. Kalyanaraman, 3 Temple Avenue, Srinagar Colony, Chennai, Tamilnadu 600015, India


email: kalyan97@yahoo.com
Tel. + 91 44 22350557; Fax 4996380

Baba Saheb (Umakanta Keshav) Apte Smarak Samiti,


Yadava Smriti, 55 First Main Road, Seshadripuram, Bangalore 560020, India
Tel. + 91 80 6655238

Bharatiya Itihasa Sankalana Samiti, Annapurna, 528 C Saniwar Peth, Pune 411030
Tel. +91 020 4490939

Library of Congress cataloguing in publication data

Kalyanaraman, Srinivasan.
Sarasvati/ S. Kalyanaraman

Includes bibliographical references and index


1.River Sarasvati. 2. Indian Civilization. 3. R.gveda
Printed in India at K. Joshi and Co., 1745/2 Sadashivpeth, Near Bikardas Maruti Temple, Pune
411030, Bharat

ISBN 81-901126-1-0
FIRST PUBLISHED: 2003

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Burial ornaments made of shell
and stone disc beads, and
turbinella pyrum (sacred conch,
s’an:kha) bangle, Tomb Step well, Abaneri
MR3T.21, Mehrgarh, Period 1A,
ca. 6500 BCE. The nearest source
for this shell is Makran coast near
Karachi, 500 km. South. [After Fig.
2.10 in Kenoyer, 1998].

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About the Author
Dr. S. Kalyanaraman has a Ph.D. in Public Administration from the
University of the Philippines; his graduate degree from Annamalai
University was in Statistics and Economics. His PhD dissertation was on
development administration, a comparative study of 6 Asian countries,
published as Public Administration in Asia in 2 volumes.

He was a Senior Executive in the Asian Development Bank, Manila,


Philippines for 18 years from 1978 to 1995 responsible for the world-wide
IT network of the Bank and disbursements on a portfolio of US$60 million
for over 600 projects in 29 developing countries of Asia-Pacific region. Prior to joining the Bank, he
was Financial Advisor on the Indian Railways (responsible, as part of a professional team, for
introducing computers on the Railways) and Chief Controller of Accounts, Karnataka Electricity
Board. He took voluntary retirement from the Bank five years' ahead of schedule and returned to
Bharat to devote himself to Sarasvati River researches and development projects.

He is well-versed in many languages of Bharat: Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Hindi, Sanskrit. He has
compiled a comparative dictionary for 25 ancient Indian languages, titled Indian Lexicon. He has set
up a website on Sarasvati River and Civilization with over 30,000 files
(http://www.hindunet.org/saraswati ); he is the founder of the yahoogroup, IndianCivilization,
which has over 800 members (April 2003). His work, Sarasvati, was published in 2001 a
compendium on the discovery of Vedic River Sarasvati. The present 7-volume enyclopaedic work
on Sarasvati Civilization is a result of over 20 years of study and research. He is Director, Sarasvati
Nadi Shodh Prakalp, Akhil Bharatiya Itihaasa Sankalana Yojana, Chennai 600015. The Prakalp is
engaged in researches related to Sarasvati Civilization and interlinking of national rivers of Bharat.
He has contributed to many scholarly journals and participated in and made presentations in a
number of national and international conferences including the World Sanskrit Conference held in
Bangalore in 1995. He delivered the Keynote address in the International Conference of World
Association of Vedic Studies, 3rd Conference held in University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, in
July 2002. kalyan97@yahoo.com

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Diacritical marks used

The Kyoto-Harvard convention is NOT used since the intermingling of English words with Indian
language words wll distort the representation of capital letters and is not easy to read.

The standard diacritical marks are deployed but, instead of ligaturing them on top and bottom of the
alphabet, the diacritical marks FOLLOW immediately after the vowel or consonant which is
modified. For e.g., a_ connotes ‘long a’, n. connotes retroflex N. After the UNICODE is
standardized, the next edition will display the modified codes for ease of representation on web
pages on the internet.

a rut,at e bet d then


a_/ law e_ ate d. dot
a~_ long e~_ bane l. rivalry
/a~ un- /e~ when,whey n. and
i it o obese n- new
i_ bee o_ note r- curl
i~_ been o~_ bone,one r. rug
/i~ in m. mum r.. (zsh)
u you n: king s fuse
u_/ ooze n~ nyet s. shut
u~_ boon h-/k- what s' sugar
/u~ june c change t both
c. so t. too

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List of languages and abbreviations

The languages of the linguistic area and the abbreviations used are as follows:

A.Assamese L. Lahnda_
Ap.Apabhram.s'a M. Mara_t.hi_
Ash. Ashkun (As.ku~_--Kafiri) Ma.Malayalam
Aw. Awadhi_ Mai.Maiya~_ (Dardic)
B. Bengali (Ban:gla_) Malt.Malto
Bal. Balu_ci_ (Iranian) Ma_lw.Ma_lwa_i_
Bashg. Bashgali_ (Kafiri) Mand.. Mand.a
BCE Before Common Era (BC) Marw.Ma_rwa_r.i_
Bel. Belari Md.Maldivian dialect of Sinhalese
Bhoj. Bhojpuri_ MIA Middle Indo-Aryan
Bi. Biha_ri_ Mj. Munji_ (Iranian)
Br. Bra_hui_ Mth. Maithili_
Brj. Brajbha_s.a_ Mu. Mun.d.a_ri (Munda)
Bshk. Bashkari_k (Dardic) N. Nepa_li
Bur.Burushaski Nahali
CE Common Era (AD) Nin:g. Nin:gala_mi (Dardic)
Chil. Chili_s (Dardic) Nk. Naikr.i (dialect of Kolami = LSI, Bhili of Basim;
D.. D.uma_ki Naiki of Chanda)
Dm. Dame~d.i_ (Kafiri-Dardic) OIA Old Indo-Aryan
G. Gujara_ti_ Or. Or.iya_
Ga. Gadba P. Punja_bi_ (Paja_bi_)
Garh.Gar.hwa_li_ Pa. Parji
Gau. Gauro (Dardic) Pali
Gaw.Gawar-Bati (Dardic) Pah. Paha_r.i_
Gmb. Gambi_ri_ (Kafiri) Pa_Ku. Pa_lu Kur-umba
Go. Gondi Pas'. Pas'ai (Dardic)
Gy. Gypsy or Romani Pe. Pengo
H. Hindi_ Phal. Phalu_r.a (Dardic)
Ir. Irul.a Pkt. Prakrit
K. Ka_s'mi_ri_ S. Sindhi_
Ka. Kannad.a Sant. Santa_li_ (Mun.d.a_)
Kaf. Kafiri Sh. Shina (S.in.a_.Dardic)
Kal. Kalasha (Dardic) Si. Sinhalese
Kand. Kandia (Dardic) Sik. Sikalga_ri_ (Mixed Gypsy Language: LSI xi 167)
Kat.. Kat.a_rqala_ (Dardic) Skt. Sanskrit
Kho. Khowa_r (Dardic) Sv. Savi (Dardic)
Khot. Khotanese (Iranian) Ta.Tamil
Kmd. Ka_mdeshi (Kafiri) Te.Telugu
Ko. Kota Tir.Tira_hi_ (Dardic)
Kod.. Kod.agu (Coorg) To. Toda
Koh. Kohista_ni_ (Dardic) Tor.To_rwa_li_ (Dardic)
Kol. Kolami Tu. Tulu
Kon. Kon:kan.i_ U. Urdu
Kond.a Werch.Werchikwa_r or Wershikwa_r (Yasin dialect of
Kor. Koraga Burushaski)
Kt. Kati or Katei (Kafiri) Wg. Waigali_ or Wai-ala_ (Kafiri)
Ku. Kumauni_ Wkh. Wakhi (Iranian)
Kui Wot..Wot.apu_ri_ (language of Wot.apu_r and
Kurub.Bet.t.a Kuruba Kat.a_rqala_. Dardic)
Kur.Kur.ux (Oraon, Kurukh) WPah. West Paha_r.i
Kuwi

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Abbreviations used for linguistic categories and other languages
Languages, Epigraphs etym. etymology
expr.expression
As'. As'okan inscriptions f./fem. feminine
Austro-as. Austro-asiatic (cf. Munda) fig. figuratively
BHSkt. Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit (Franklin fr. from
Edgerton, Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Grammar fut. future
and Dictionary, Newhaven, 1953) gen. genitive
Dard. Dardic hon. honorific
Dhp. Ga_ndha_ri or Northwest Prakrit (as id. idem (having the same meaning)
recorded in the Dharmapada ed. J. Brough, imper.imperative
Oxford 1962) incl. including
Drav. Dravidian inf.infinitive
IA. Indo-aryan inj.injunctive
IE. Indo-european inscr.inscription
Ind. Indo-aryan of India proper excluding Kafiri lex. lexicographical works or Kos'as
and Dardic (as classified by R.L. Turner) lit. literature
KharI. Kharos.t.hi_ inscriptions; Middle Indo- loc. locative
aryan forms occurring in Corpus Inscriptionum m. masculine
Indicarum Vol. II Pt.I, Calcutta, 1929 MIA M Middle
Middle Indo-aryan metath. metathesis (of)
NiDoc. Language of 'Kharos.t.hi_ Inscriptions N North
discovered by Sir Aurel Stein in Chinese Na_ Na_ci Na_t.u usage
Turkestan' edited by A.M. Boyer, E.J. Rapson, Naut. Nautical
and E. Senart nom.nominative
Ar.Arabic nom.prop. nomen proprium (proper name)
Aram.Aramaic num.numeral(s)
Arm.Armenian NWNorth-west
Av. Avestan (Iranian) O Old
E. English obl. oblique case
Gk. Greek onom.onomatopoeic
Goth. Gothic p. page
Ishk. Ishka_shmi_ (Iranian) part. participle
Kurd. Kurdish (Iranian) pass. passive
Lat. Latin perf. perfect
Lith.Lithuanian perh. perhaps
OHG. Old High German phonet.phonetically
Orm. O_rmur.i_ (Iranian) pl. plural
OSlav. Old Slavonic pp. past participle (passive)
Par. Para_ci_ (Iranian) pres. present
Pahl. Pahlavi (Iranian) pron. pronoun
Pers. Persian (Iranian) Pudu. Pudukkottai usage
Port. Portuguese redup. reduplicated
Pr. Prasun (Kafiri) ref. reference(s)
Psht. Pashto (Iranian) S South
Tib. Tibetan sb./subst.substantive
Toch. Tocharian semant. semantically
Turk. Turkish st. stem

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Yid. Yidgha (Iranian) subj. subjunctive
syn. synonym
Abbreviations : Grammatical Tinn. Tinnevelly usage
Tj. Tanjore usage
* hypothetical usu. usual(ly)
< (is) derived from vais.n..vais.n.ava usage
> (has) become vb. verb
? doubtful viz. videlicet (namely)
Xinfluenced by W West
+ extended by
~ parallel with
acc.accusative
adj. adjective
adv. adverb
aor. aorist
caus. causative
cent. century
cf. confer (compare)
cmpd.compound(ed)
com. commentary, t.i_ka_
conj.conjunction
dat. dative
dist.fr.distinct from
du. dual
E East
e.g. example

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Foreword

I had written a foreword for Dr. Kalyanaraman’s work titled Sarasvati in 2000. As promised, he has
now followed up this work with an additional seven volumes to complete the encyclopaedia on
Sarasvati – the river, godess and civilization of Bha_rata.

It is a privilege indeed to receive the seven volumes titled:

Sarasvati: Civilization
Sarasvati: R.gveda
Sarasvati: River
Sarasvati: Bharati
Sarasvati: Technology
Sarasvati: Language
Sarasvati: Epigraphs

This septet constitutes a fitting homage to Babasaheb (Uma_ka_nt kes’av) Apte, particularly in the
wake of the centenary celebrations planned for 2003 in memory of this patriot who wanted a
presentation of the history of Bha_rata from a Bha_rati_ya socio-cultural perspective.

The dream of the late Padmashri Vakankar, archaeologist is also partly fulfilled with the delineation
of the peoples’ lives over 5,000 years on the banks of the Rivers Sarasvati and Sindhu.

The Sarasvati Nadi Shodh Prakalp which is headed by Dr. Kalyanaraman under the guidance of Shri
Haribhau Vaze, All-India Organizing Secretary, Akhila Bharateeya Itihaasa Sankalana Yojana
should be complimented for bringing to successful completion this important phase of writing of the
history of ancient Bha_rata.

The River Sarasvati has not only been established as ground-truth (bhu_mi satyam), but the vibrant
civilization which was nurtured on the banks of this river has been exquisitely unraveled in the five
volumes, covering virtually all aspects of the lives of the pitr.-s, many of whose a_s’rama-s are
venerated even today in many parts of Bha_rata.

The seven volumes provide a framework for understanding the writing system evolved ca. 5,300
years ago to record the possessions and items traded by metal- and fire-workers, the bharata-s. The
language spoken by the people is also becoming clearer, with the existence of a linguistic area on
the banks of the two rivers – the substrata and ad-strata lexemes which seem to match the glyphs of
inscribed objects are a testimony to this discovery. This calls for a paradigm shift in the study of
languages of Bha_rata with particular reference to the essential semantic unity of all the language
families, thanks to intense socio-economic and cultural interactions across the length and breadth of
Bha_rata.

Hopefully, this work should generate many more research studies of this kind to further study the
impact of the civilization on the cultural unity of the nation.

It is also heartening to note that work has started to revive the Rivr Sarasvati and to interlink the
rivers of the country. This will be a garland presented by the children of the country to Bha_rata
Ma_ta_ setting up a network of about 40,000 kms. Of National Waterways which will complement

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the Railways system to further strengthen the infrastructure facilities and to provide a fillip to
development projects in all sectors of the economy.

I understand that Kalyanaraman is now embarking on a project to write the history of Dharma. I
wish him all success in his endeavours.

M.N. Pingley

Kaliyugabda 5105. a_s.a_d.ha, Gurupurnima. July 13, 2003 CE.

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Publisher’s Note

On behalf of Baba Saheb (Umakanta Keshav) Apte Smarak Samiti, it gives me great pleasure to publish
the set of seven volumes of the encyclopaedic work of Dr. S. Kalyanaraman with over 4,000 illustrations
and impressive documentation.

Sarasvati: Civilization
Sarasvati: R.gveda
Sarasvati: River
Sarasvati: Bharati
Sarasvati: Technology
Sarasvati: Language
Sarasvati: Epigraphs

This is a follow-up of the first work titled Sarasvati published in 2000 which focused on the River
Sarasvati. These seven additional volumes focus on the language, writing system, technology – archaeo-
metallurgy, in particular, the lives of the people who lived between 3500 to 5300 years ago and the
importance of this legacy and heritage on the history of Bha_rata.

This compendium has been made possible by the contributions made by scientists and scholars of the
country from a variety of disciplines, ranging from geology and glaciology to atomic research and
language studies. This comprehensive work on Sarasvati thus constitutes a golden chapter in the work of
the Akhila Bharateeya Itihaasa Sankalana Yojana, providing the foundation for future works on
subsequent periods of the history of the nation.

A principal objective of the Baba Saheb (Umakanta Keshav) Apte Smarak Samiti is the authenticated
study of the history of our nation. For this purpose the Akhila Bharatiya Itihaasa Sankalana Yojana
affiliated with the Samiti, has been working with a number of scholars and institutions organizing
seminars and conferences and bringing out publications. The Samiti is a non-profit, voluntary
organization and is entirely supported by volunteers and philanthropists. I wish to thank all the well-
wishers and contributors to the Samiti’s work. In particular, I would like to acknowledge with gratitude
the contribution made by Shri G. Pulla Reddy, Shri Ramadas Kamath, and Basudeo Ramsisaria
Charitable Trust, ICICI, Government of Goa, in enabling this publication. Sincere thanks are due to K.
Joshi and Co., and Dr. C.N. Parchure who have undertaken the supervision of the publication.

Plans have been initiated to start a national center to study the history of vanava_si people, to produce an
encyclopaedia on the Hindu World and to organize research centers in all states of the country, to publish
a series of research volumes on various aspects of the Bharatiya itiha_sa in all languages of Bharat, using
multimedia presentations.

Haribhau Vaze
National Organizing Secretary, Akhil Bharatiya Itihaasa Sankalana Yojana and Trustee, Baba Saheb
(Umakanta Keshav) Apte Smarak Samiti, Bangalore.
Kaliyugabda 5105. a_s.a_d.ha, Gurupurnima. July 13, 2003 CE

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Author’s Preface
At the outset, I offer my sincere thanks to Moropant Pingley and Haribhau Vaze for their
encouragement and support in pursuing this endeavour.

What can I say which has not already been said by eminent scientists, scholars and thinkers of
this great nation? All that I can do is to compile their thoughts and present them as I see fit and
as a tribute to the memories of our pitr.-s and ma_tr.-s, our ancestors who have made us what
we are and who have given us the vira_sat (heritage).

The septet contains the following volumes:

Sarasvati: Civilization
Sarasvati: R.gveda
Sarasvati: River
Sarasvati: Bharati
Sarasvati: Technology
Sarasvati: Language
Sarasvati: Epigraphs

The enduring nature of the culture of the nation has been a source of awe and inspiration for
many generations of scholars.

The lives of the r.s.i-s and muni-s who contributed to the solidity of the Bha_rata Ra_s.t.ra is a
source of inspiration for generations of students of philosophy, politics, sociology, spiritual
studies, economics and culture.

The earlier work, Sarasvati, published in 2000 focused on the life-history of River Sarasvati.
This set of seven volumes follow-up on this work to present a comprehensive survey of the
lives of the people who nurtured a vibrant civilization on the banks of River Sarasvati. They
were enterprising people who ventured to the banks of River Sindhu and beyond and had
established a network of interactions which extended as far as Mesopotamia in the west and
Caspian Sea in the north-west.

The River Sarasvati, flowing over 1,600 kms. from Mt. Kailas (Ma_nasarovar glacier) and
tributaries emanating from Har-ki-dun (Svarga_rohin.i or Bandarpunch massifs, Western
Garhwal, Uttaranchal), through Kashmir, Uttaranchal, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana,
Rajasthan, and Gujarat made the region lush with vegetation and provided a highway for
interactions extending through the Gulf of Kutch, Gulf of Khambat, the Persian and Arabian
Gulfs. The story of this riverine, maritime civilization is the story of an enterprising group of
people who were wonderstruck by the bounties of nature and had organized themselves into a
cooperating society to harness the bounties of nature. The Samudra manthanam imagery
wherein the asura-s and deva-s cooperate in churning the ocean for its riches is an allegory of
this quest for material well-being while strengthening societal bonds.

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This march of history is a saga of adventure, a passion for discovery of new materials and new
methods of communication using a writing system and communicating orally profound
thoughts on the cosmic order in relation to humanity.

The next stop is Dharma: a history of Bharatiya Ethos and Thought.

Dr. S. Kalyanaraman
Former Sr. Executive, Asian Development Bank,
Sarasvati Nadi Shodh Prakalp, 3 Temple Avenue, Chennai 600015, India
Kalyan97@yahoo.com

Kaliyugabda 5105. a_s.a_d.ha, Gurupurnima. July 13, 2003 CE

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Table of Contents

New light on Sarasvati civilization 15


Sarasvati: Discovery and Rebirth 20
River Sarasvati: Archaeology, Culture and Heritage Tourism 50
Ecology, River Sarasvati and roots of Civilization of Bharat 59
Revival of River Sarasvati Begins 64
River Sarasvati: Archaeology, Tradition and Water Resources 75
Bharati, Sarasvati 87
Vidya_devi Sarasvati 127
Dilmun, Magan, and Sea-faring merchants of Meluhha 131
From Sarasvati to Haraquaiti 138
Mleccha, Mlecchita vikalpa: Language and writing system 154
Hieroglyphs of Sarasvati Civilization 164
S’ankha, Bhairava, Man.d.ala 198
Sculptural tradition 210
Bead-making tradition 237
Archery tradition 252
Mahabharata as the sheet-anchor of Bharatiya Itihasa 257
Sarasvati Civilization 276
Index 280

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New Light on Sarasvati Civilization
River Sarasvati is ground-truth: Story of the discovery of River Sarasvati

Vedic Sarasvati is not myth; but bhu_mi satyam, ground-truth, 1600 km. long river, 6 to 8 kms. wide channels,
from Manasarovar to Prabhas Patan (Somnath).

The search for River Sarasvati started over 150 years ago and thanks to a series of scientific
investigations, the entire course of this gigantic river system which drained north-west Bharat over a
distance of 1600 kms. from Manasarovar to Gujarat, has been traced. Together with the cumulative
discoveries of over 2,000 archaeological sites on the banks of this river, the key to an understanding of
the maturing of the riverine and maritime nature of the civilization unravel.

The search intensified during the last 25 years. In 1985,Vedic Sarasvati Nadi Shodh Pratishthan was
established in Jodhpur, Rajasthan. A team of over 35 scholars led by the late Padmashri senior
archaeologist, Shri Vakankar and Moropant Pingle started on a journey of discovery from Adi Badri to
Somnath. They traversed over 3,500 kms. along palaeo-channels (ancient courses) of River Sarasvati.
The journey which followed the path of Balarama inspired a number of scientists and scholars to further
explore scientifically the old courses of Vedic River Sarasvati. Three more organizations are involved in
the researches: Sarasvati Nadi Shodh Prakalp, located in Chennai; Sarasvati Nadi Shodh Sansthan,
Haryana located in Jagadhri; and Sarasvati Nadi Shodh Sansthan, Gujarat located in Ahmedabad.These
combined efforts of multidisciplinary teams of experts have borne fruit and the course of the river has
been fully and conclusively defined. It has now become possible to state that River Sarasvati is ground-
truth. With over 2,000 archaeological sites discovered on the banks of River Sarasvati, the civilization
should be called Sarasvati Civilization, the foundation of Bharatiya Culture. It has also been established
that the River will flow again to green the Marusthali and many regions of north-west Bharat.

The river was mightier than Brahmaputra, mightier than Ganga. Its average width of palaeo-channels
(ancient courses) was 6 kms.; at Shatrana, 60 km. south of Patiala in Punjab, the width of the channel was
20 kms. since two trunk river streams – S’utudri and Yamuna – joined the River Sarasvati at this place.

Plate tectonics – the ongoing clash of Indian and Eurasian plates – resulted in topological changes in the
flood plains and resultant river migrations. S’utudri migrated westwards to join the River Sindhu;
Yamuna migrated eastwards carrying the Sarasvati river waters drawn from Paonta Doon valley
(Himachal Pradesh) to join the River Ganga to constitute the Triven.i San:gamma. This evolutionary
history of the river system an emphatic validation, by the earth sciences, of the cultural tradition of
San:gamma of Ganga-Yamuna -Sarasvati.

So it is that on a solar eclipse day, a million pilgrims throng to Kuruks.etra to take a holy dip in the
Brahmasarovar in the Sarasvati River waters in a demonstration of spiritual adoration of a_pah, the
sacred waters. So it is that the River Sarasvati is adored in over 70 r.ca-s in the R.gveda and as Divinity
of arts, crafts and learning, prayers are offered to her twice every year – once on Ma_gha S’ukla
Pan~cami and another on the eighth day as a_yudha pu_ja during the Navara_tri celebrations. It is a
celebration of the collective memory of Bharatiya passed on from generation to generation, over a long
span of time, of over 5 millennia; it is a memory of adoration for a mother, a river, a divinity who
nurtured a civilization on her banks.

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Vedic Sarasvati. Tamasa (with Yamuna) and Sutlej rivers, and Dr.s.advati (now
represented by Chautang) were tributaries of River Sarasvati. [KS Valdiya, 1996].

Sarasvati is Naditame who assumes the ru_pa of Ambitame, Devitame

Sarasvati assumes and is celebrated all over Bharat, in many ru_pa, many forms. Sarasvati is a river,
the best of rivers, naditame. During the Vedic times, she was mightier than River Brahmaputra,
River Sindhu. She was a powerful torrential, glacial river, a_suri_ sarasvati as R.gveda notes. Like
any other glacial, Himalayan river, she had drained over 1600 kms. over virtually the region of
North-west Bharat from Uttaranchal to Gujarat. She is called saptathi_, seven-streamed. Many large
river systems were tributaries of Vedic River Sarasvati, including River S'utudri and River Yamuna.

She is a mother who nurtured a civilization. She nurtured the people living on the banks of the river.
She is a divinity. She had attained the status of a divinity even in the days of R.gveda as R.s.i
Gr.tsamada extols: ambitame, naditame, devitame Sarasvati (best of mothers, best of rivers and best
of divinities). She is a divinity celebrated in Bharat as vidya_devi (divinity of learning), kala_devi
(divinity of arts, crafts and technology), jna~a_nadevi (divinity of wisdom). She is the very
embodiment of Brahma, the prayer; she is Brahmi which is the name of an ancient writing system of
Bharat. She is mother beyond compare. Together with Mother Earth (Bhu_devi), she is Bharati, the
very embodiment of everything that every Bharatiya stands for. She is Mahasarasvati. She is an
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affectionate mother, she is a nourishing river, she is a divinity who bestows not merely the ability to
work with material phenomena, she is the spiritual Mother Divine who carries the Veda and Veena
in her arms. She is s'rutidevi.

She is also smr.ti devi. She is accompanied by the peacock, ma_raka, which signifies the after-life
and hence, people pay homage to her by offering ma_tr. tarpan.am in Brahmasarovar and in
Pr.thudaka (Pehoa), taking a dip in the sacred a_pah, the sacred waters. She is richly endowed with
many tirthastha_na-s and many r.s.i a_s'rama-s, a constant reminder of the heritage our ancestors,
our pitr.s and ma_tr.s who have bequeathed for the present and future generations of all humankind.

As she comes alive again to drain most of Northwest Bharat, the Dharma of R.gveda will prevail
again all over the world, governed by a spirit of rational enquiry and by lending a spiritual meaning
to cosmic phenomena to recreate the One World where noble, free thoughts flow from all directions:
a_no bhadra_h kratavo yantu vis'vatah. Yes, indeed, kurvanto vis'vama_ryam, let us make the
entire universe noble. Let us pray to Mahasarasvati to lead us unto this nobility in a rhythmic r.tam.
We owe this r.n.am, this debt, in memory of our ancestors who lived on the banks of River Sarasvati
and who have made us what we are.

Celebration of a heritage through Rebirth of Sarasvati

The partial drying up of River Sarasvati demise indicates how dramatic tectonic movements can
change the face of a society. Betrayed by its two snow-fed sources, the Sarasvati was left with the
waters of petty streams rising in the puny Shivaliks. Its twin sources survive to this day. The
Sarasvati was born in the Banderpunch (monkey's tail) massif in the Garhwal Himalayas. This is
today the source of the independent Tons, one of the Sarasvati's source streams. Beyond the Indian

Himalayas in Tibet near the holy lake Mansarovar is Kapalshikhar, the other source of the Sarasvati.
The river is still there, known locally as the Mang Nang Tsangpo; further downstream a Survey of
India map actually calls it the Sarasvati.

Without its snow-bound origins, the Sarasvati became a shadow of its former self. Its people
migrated upstream and settled in today's Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh. There seems to be
archaeological evidence to this movement: The total absence of late Harappan settlements in the
area of the Sarasvati is in sharp contrast to the dramatic increase in habitations in the plains of
Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh. There is also a remarkable scarcity of Harappan sites around
what are today's Yamuna and Sutlej. This is again in sharp contrast to the archaeological gold mines
turning up in the dry channels of Punjab, Rajasthan and Sindh in Pakistan.

Finally, only flood waters flowed down the Sarasvati's once vast channel. It remained dry for
several centuries, though some water again found its way in during the early centuries of the
Christian era. The Sarasvati's decline and the loss of its civilisation are an indication of how tectonic
shifts can combine with localised climate change to dramatically transform human settlement. As
the shifting Aravallis chopped off the Sarasvati's waters, the climate too was changing. Over the
years western Rajasthan, once a green, rich expanse with extensive rainfall, gradually turned into a
parched, desert land. Where there was once a torrent of water, there remained nothing but tonnes of
drying sand, a few lakes that survive to this day, and of course the veins of groundwater under the
earth.

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River Sarasvati's desiccation also demonstrates how central rivers have been to civilisation and
culture. With the Sarasvati gone, its place in mythology was taken over by the Ganga. To this day, it
is the Ganga that is predominant to India's Hindu consciousness. But the Sarasvati, as the drilling
rigs at Ghantiyal Ji should reveal, has not disappeared altogether.

The great Sarasvati River will flow again, its spiritual form will regain its Vedic glory, as the
legacies of the river are flooding back all over again.

Glaciological and geological source of River Sarasvati in the Himalayas

Tamasa, the anchorage stream of today’s


Yamuna, emerges from Har-ki-dun glacier in
Bandarpunch massif in northwestern
Garhwal (After KS Valdiya, 2002, Pl. 3)

Against this backdrop of glacial age, the geological


source of River Sarasvati is traced to the
Himalayan glaciers by Dr. Puri who is a
glaciologist with Geological Survey of India, who
has, over 30 years, inventoried 1500 glaciers in the
Himalayas as part of the World Glacier Inventory,
Geneva.

Tamasa, a tributary of Sarasvati

The collision of the Deccan plate with the Tibetan plate accounts for the landmass of Bha_rat
joining with the rest of Asia along the Burmese border, across the Ganga valley and the front of the
Himalayas and south along the mountains of NW Frontier and Baluchistan. The flow of the Ganga
is along the deep syncline which is filled with alluvium. The resultant effects have been the pushing
back and thrusting up of the Himalayan ranges. Sindhu flows along another syncfline, a down warp
and a tear as the Deccan plate pushes northward. This plate tectonic activity has contributed to the
occurrence of earthquake with the Himachal Pradesh on a 0.85 isoline prone to recurrent
earthquakes.

For millennia, people from all parts of Bharat have performed tirthayatras to these sacred waters.
The Manasarovar glacier the source of 5 mighty rivers: Sindhu, Sutlej, Sarasvati, Mahakali-
Karnali-Sharada and Tsangpo-Lohitya-Brahmaputra. Fiver other rivers emanate from the eastern
Himalayas: Irawaddy, Salween, Mekong, Yangtse and Huanghe. These glacial rivers nourish 250
crores of people in Bharat, China, Burma, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.

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Reminiscing Balarama’s pilgrimage along River Sarasvati

A mighty river called Sarasvati drained in North-west Bharat and led to the dawn and evolution of a
civilization with an unparalleled expansive area and which spanned over a period of two millennia
between 3300 BCE and 1500 BCE.

River Sarasvati is adored in the R.gveda in 72 r.ca-s. Rishi Gr.tsamada uses the metaphors:
ambitame, devitame (best of mothers, best of divinities) to describe the reality of the best of rivers
(naditame). Vedic Sarasvati River is not myth; but bhu_mi satyam, ground-truth, she was a 1600
km. long river, with 6 to 8 kms. wide channels, she flowed from Manasarovar glacier in the
Himalayas to Prabhas Patan (Somnath) to join the sindhusa_gara (Arabian Sea). One reference in
the R.gveda describes thus: giribhya a_ samudra_t, ‘from the mountains to the ocean’.

A war was fought on the banks of River Sarasvati. This is described in the Mahabharata. The
text of this epic includes over 150 astronomical references; it has been demonstrated as
explained in the appended note that one date is consistent with all these observed celestial
events verily inscriptions on the sky observed by Veda Vya_sa; that date is about 3000 BCE,
from the banks of River Sarasvati.

Balarama, elder brother of Kris.n.a goes on a pilgrimage along the Sarasvati River from Dwaraka to
Mathura, after visiting Plaks.apras’ravan.a and Yamunotri (Ka_ra_pacava). During the pilgrimage,
he visits many a_s’rama-s of Vedic rishis and offers homage to his ancestors. Balarama also offers
ma_tr. tarpan.am at Pr.thu_daka (called Pehoa today) at the confluence of Rivers Sarasvati and
Markanda. This pilgrimage center is celebrated even today as Ma_tr. Gaya together with Siddhapura
on the banks of Little River Sarasvati which joins the Little Rann of Kutch in Gujarat.(Even at the
time of the Mahabharata, the river was navigable for a distance of 1600 km. from Paonta Saheb
thru Lothal/Dwaraka to Somnath (Prabhas Patan). The pilgrimage along the Sarasvati River is
described in great detail in the s’alya parva of the Maha_bharata. So, our epics do contain valuable
historical, geographical information of ancient Bharat.

The story of the discovery of the Vedic River Sarasvati is matched in grandeur by the ongoing
project to make the River flow again upto Gujarat. The work has already progressed upto
Mohangar.h in Jaisalmer District in Rajasthan with a 40 feet wide and 12 feet deep channel which
has helped stem the march of the Marusthali desert and has resulted in afforestation of the desert.
The afforestation of Marusthali desert has started in 2002, thanks to the rebirth of Sarasvati.
Sarasvati river will flow again, within the next five years, from Manasarovar to Sabarmati River in
Gujarat when the interlinking of rivers projects gets completed soon.

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Sarasvati: discovery and rebirth
Discovery of the most extensive civilization of 4th millennium, discovery of a mighty river
of earlier millennia

A discovery of a civilization reported in 1924 resulted in rewriting the story of civilization, a


paradigm shift in the understanding of evolution and chronology of Bharatiya civilization.

A discovery and rebirth of a great river which nurtured this civilization will result in a
paradigm shift in the understanding of the indigenous origins and autochthonous evolution of
Bharatiya civilization.

Equally stunning is the fact that this river which was desiccated in the waning phases of the
civilization is now being revived thanks to the brilliant work done by scientists and engineers
of Bharat. Indeed, the civilization did not die; it is within Bharat even today. The cultural
markers of the civilization continue within Bharat. As the river flows again from Manasarovar
glacier in the Himalayas to Sabarmati River in Gujarat, the historical fact dawns that the
civilization did not fall after all. It continues to the present day in many facets of what may be
called Bharatiya culture. A historical investigation has thus resulted in a developmental
opportunity of unprecedented magnitude. Together with the rebirth of Sarasvati to drain north-
west Bharat again, plans have been launched to create a National Water Grid which will result
in bringing Brahmaputra waters to the central, eastern and southern regions of Bharat, upto
Kanyakumari.

Rebirth of Sarasvati and impetus for a National Water Grid

The Sarada-Yamuna link (E) and Yamuna-Sirsa Branch of Western Yamuna Canal (Rajasthan)
constitute the trunk streams of reborn Sarasvati. Projects are ongoing for watershed management,
rain-water harvesting and harnessing of ground water resources to augment the water resource
availability in the cultural sites in upstream Sarasvati in sites such as Adi Badri, Kapala Mochan,
Bilaspur, Pehoa and Sirsa. These steps provide an impetus to constitute a National Water Grid to
ensure equitable distribution of water resources in all parts of Bharat through interlinking of
Himalayan and Peninsular rivers.

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The birthplace of Sarasvati
was the glacier close to Har-
ki-dun valley in the
Svargarohini mountain
ranges of the Himalayas.
Mahabharata describes the
origin as Plaks.a
Pras’ravan.a.

The course of the river


traversed through
Uttaranchal, Himachal
Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab,
Rajasthan, Rann of Kutch
and Gujara to join the
Sindhu sa_gara at Prabhas
Patan (Somnath). R.gveda
refers to this flow as
“giribhya a_ samudra_t”
(from the mountain to the
sea). Pr.thudaks (Pehoa) is
the place where River
Markanda joins River
Sarasvati and is celebrated
by millions of pilgrims, as a
site for the performance of
s’ra_ddham in veneration of
their ancestors In her
journey, River Sarasvati
received the tributaries of
River Tamasa (referred to
by Va_lmi_ki in the
Ramayana), River Giri,
River Yamuna, River Bata,
River Markanda, River
Somb, River Ghaggar, River
Dr.s.advati, River Sutlej,
River Aruna, River
Chautang, and other streams
flowing from the foothills of
the Siwalik ranges.

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Siwalik hills were
left-laterally
displaced. NNW-
SSE-trending tear
fault is still active.
The earlier west-
flowing rivers were
swung southwards,
following the path
of the fault. The
Bata stream which
joins Yamuna from
the west has a very
wide valley.
[NRSA, ISRO,
Hyderabad]

The course of the river has been fully traced over a distance of 1,600 kms. From Manasarovar glacier in
W. Tibet (with an average width of over 6-8 kms. and at one point at Shatrana, 60 kms. south of Patiala,,
a width of 20 kms. of palaeo-channels) to Somnath. This has been established thanks to the availability
early on of Landsat images and later IRS 1-c and 1-d satellite images provided by Indian Space Research
Organization, ground morphological studies done by the Central Ground Water Authority of India, the

tritium analysis work of atomic scientiss in the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, and
glaciological/seismological studies by many scientists. The scientific investigations have proved the
historicity of the geographical information provided in the Mahabharata about the course of River
Sarasvati described in S’alya Parva during the course of the pilgrimage undertaken by Balarama,
Kr.s.n.a’s elder brother, from Dwaraka through Somnath to Plaks.a Pras’ravan.a traversing pilgrimage

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sites and a_s’ramas of R.s.is such as Udapa_na, Camasobheda, S’ivodbheda, Na_godbheda, Pr.thudaka
(modern Pehoa), Ka_ra_pacava (Yamunotri).
the Triveni Sangamam and of Sutlej river
towards Sindhu. Sarasvati River was
thus deprived of glacial, Himalayan
waters. It flows even today as a small
stream, dependent on monsoon waters
of the Siwalik ranges near Adi Badri
(near Yamunanagar, Kurukshetra).
People called Parvatis in Har-ki-dun
valley (the origin point of River
Sarasvati near Yamunotri) even today
celebrate an annual festival honouring
Duryodhana – an emphatic affirmation
of the historicity of Mahabharata.
TheMahabharata war was fought on the
banks of River Sarasvati. Veda Vyasa
was observing the celestial events from
the banks of River Sarasvati and he has
recorded 150 astronomical events in the
Archaeological settlements in Sarasvati Great Epic. These events have been proved
River Basin: Kalibangan, Bana_wali, using modern Planetarium Computer
Ra_khigarhi. [After Joshi and Bisht, 1994]. Software to have occurred in 3000 BCE.
Out of 2,600 archaeological sites in North- Mahabharata and Sarasvati thus become the
west Bharat, 2,000 sites have been discovered sheet anchors of modern and ancient history
on the banks of River Sarasvati making it the
Sarasvati Civilization of circa 3300
to 1500 BCE (Before Common
Era). Major sites are: Rupanagar,
Rakhigarhi, Banawali,
Lakhmirwala (Bhatinda, Punjab),
Kalibangan, Dholavira, Dwaraka,
Lothal, Somnath. Satellite images
and geomorphological studies have
established the entire course of
Vedic Sarasvati River over a
distance of 1,600 kms. from
Manasarovar glacier (Himalayas) to
Somnath (Prabhas Patan, Gujarat).
BARC scientists have proved
through tritium analysis the
channels) carrying glacial waters
dated to over 8,400 years Before
Present. Plate tectonics caused by
the clash of Indian Plate and
Eurasian plate resulted in the tilting
of the terrain of north-west Bharat
This led to migration of Yamuna
river towards Ganga to constitute of Bharat.
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Early and mature Harappan settlements in Cholistan – Hakra sector of Sarasvati River:
Ganweriwala. [After Mughal, 1974].

Density of settlements in Siwalik foothills, upper reaches of River Sarasvati. This denotes
upstream migration. Note: absence of settlements west of Ropar on Sutlej. [After Joshi and Bisht,
1994].

The trunk stream which joined River Sarasvati was River Sutlej which emanated from Mt. Kailas,
Manasarovar glacier. At one of the sites of the civilization, on the left bank of River Ravi, the site of
Harappa, S'iva lingam-s were found in situ, attesting to the antiquity of a_gama and Eka-rudra-
vra_tya tradition in Bharat. R.gveda notes that both vra_tya-s and yajn~ika-s were children of
Praja_pati.

Kamalagad.ha, Markanda River


course (Shri Govinda Kheka_d.e)
(After Bapat, V.D., and Umapathy, K.R.
(tr.), 1994, Lost’ River Sarasvati,
Mysore, Bharatiya Itihasa Sankalana
Samithi (tr. from Vakankar, L.S. and
Parcure, C.N., 1992, Lupta Sarasvati_
Nadi_ s’odh (Marathi).

A secondary cause for the desiccation of


the river system was climate change.
Climatic changes may perhaps
constitute only one of the reasons for
the loss of vegetation and consequent migrations of people. “The weight of modern opinion appears to
be against desiccation in the true sense of an actual climatic change; but prolonged human interference
with natural drainage, deforestation of the Siwaliks, and so on have undoubtedly led to marked
deterioration in ground-water conditions and so in vegetation. The accounts of Alexander’s campaigns
and Mogul hunts bear witness to considerable forest growth; and today on the more arid margins strong
winds and frequent but torrential rains have led to a serious spread of shifting sands and more serious if
less spectacular deterioration of good cultivated land.” (Spate, O.H.K and Learmonth, A.T.A., 1967,
India and Pakistan: A general and regional geography. 3rd edn. London: Methuen & Co.: 519).

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Sarasvati River is seen to be lost in the desert near Beriwala wheren an inland delta is formed (After
Possehl, G.L., 1999, Fig. 3.139). “(a palaeochannel) ends as a shallow depression near Beriwala. On
the LANDSAT imagery the lower course looks as if it debouched into the sea, but obviously it was
unlikely that the sea was so far inland in Mid-Holocene. It is possible, however, that the chain of
tectonic events which diverted the Sutlej and the easterly rivers away from the Ghaggar, caused a
depression into which the Ghaggar, deprived of its major source of water, died into a lake-like
depression.” (Agrawal and Sood, 1982: 236). No settlements have been found around Beriwala;
however, dense Harappan settlements have been found in hundreds around Fort Marot and Fort
Derawar. (Mughal, 1997: 9).

“Prehistoric settlement in Sind...The temporal priority of Amrian and Kot Dijian occupations to
Harappan levels has been well established by excavations at the respective type-sites (Amri and Kot
Diji), and qualifies them as pre-Harappan, or in Mughal’s terminology, Early Harappan (Mughal 1970).
Although few in number, available radiocarbon dates (MASCA corrected) for this phase indicate a time
span from about 3600 to 2500 BC (see Dales, George F., 1973, Archaeological and Radiocarbon
Chronologies for Protohistoric South Asia, in: South Asian Archaeology, Norman Hammond, ed., pp.
157-169, London. Duckworth)...Indeed, the settlement pattern maps show a clear ‘movement’ of
population through time from the Sind Kohistan and Kirtihar regions to the Lower Indus Basin from the
end of the fourth millennium to the middle of the third millennium...

“Mughal’s (1980) recent explorations in Cholistan (along the now dry bed of the Hakra River),
Bahawalpur District, Pakistan, have revealed a long history of occupation in the region beginning
approximately with the fourth millennium. In this region, Mughal discovered 41 Kot Dijian-related
sites...Semi-precious stones—agate,
carnelian, chalcedony—occur in small

quantities in Sind Kohistan. Eastern Kutch is another source area for agates. Copper sources are known
in Rajasthan, Kutch, Las Bela, Jalawan, and Sarawan in Baluchistan, and in eastern Iran. Steatite can be
found in eastern Kutch and in south-eastern Iran...

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“The Harappan settlement pattern indicates a shift away from the western sources for the most widely
and frequently used minerals, e.g., copper and stones, such as agate, carnelian, chalcedony, and
steatite...The settlement pattern thus shifts to the northeast (Cholistan), the east (Lower Indus Basin), and
the southeast (Kutch) to control more closely the exploitation of resources from their sources. The major
exchange routes shift away from the hills in the west and onto the rivers and their plains to the east.” .”
(Louis, 1986, Recent explorations in Sind: paleogeography, regional ecology, and prehistoric settlement
patterns (ca 4000 – 2000 BC), in: Jacobson, Jerome, ed., Studies in the Archaeology of India and
Pakistan, New Delhi, Oxford and IBH Publishing Co., p. 82).

Palaeochannels in Sindh (After Possehl, G.L., 1999, Fig. 3.121). Using aerial photographs (Holmes,
D.A., 1968; The recent history of the Indus. The Geographical Journal, 134(3): 367-82; Lower
Indus Project, 1965, Lower Indus Report: Physical Resources. Vol. 2, Geomorphology, Soils and
Watertable. Karachi: Ferozsons), Louis Flam has delineated Holocene course remnants of the Indus
rivers and also courses ancestral to the present course but not as old as the Holocene course
remnants (ca. 8000-4000 BC). On the western side of the present-day Sindhu river are the oldest
Holocene course remnants: Jacobabad, Shahdadkot, Warah; and in the southern Sindhu delta are the
oldest Holocene course remnants: Sanghar, Samaro-Dhoro Badahri courses. The palaeochannels
ancestral to the present-day course but not as old as the Holocene remnants are: Kandhkot on the
west and Khairpur and Shahdadpur on the east.

This delineation seems to confirm the statement made in Marshall’s Mohenjodaro report that
Mohenjodaro ca. 2500 BC was an island caught between the Sindhu River and the Eastern Nara
(what we now to be the Sarasvati River) course. The delineation of the ancient courses of the Sindhu
follow the arguments provided by Butler, B.E., 1950, A theory of prior streams as a causal factor of
soil occurrence in the riverine plain of southeastern Australia. Australian Journal of Agricultural
Research, 1: 231-52; Pels, Simon, 1964, The present and ancestral Murray River System. Australian
Geographical Studies, 2: 111-19; and Schumm, S.A., 1968, River adjustments to altered hydrologic
regimen—Murrumbidgee River and palaeochannels, Australia. United States Geological Survey
Professional Paper. Washingtron D.C.: U.S. Geological Survey. The Kandhkot Course which is
“…for most of its length a single channel, narrow, deep, and winding, running parallel to the
modern Indus river from Kashmore, through Kandhkot which is located on its bank, to the south of
Shikarpur, where it is cut by the modern Indus.” (Holmes, 1968: 371). The Khairpur Course begins
below Sukkur. The Shahdadpur Course “…emerges from the modern river about eight kilometers
below Sarkand and can be traced just west of Shahdadpur, east of Tando Adam and south to Tgando
Allahyer. It has the same features of the deep, winding channels and high bar deposits as Khairpur
Course and is probably a continuation of it” (Holmes, 1968: 373).

Speculations about River Sarasvati

History of ancient Bharat is being written by scientists whose investigations have yielded
spectacular perspectives on the drainage system in north-west Bharat.

Doubts are cast on the dates when the migration of Yamuna occurred and also on the links with
Sarasvati through the Chautang river course. One view is that the migration could be dated to the
Pleistocene or the Early Holocene, based on the evidence of well developed terraces in the upper
Yamuna. “Yamuna-like rivers, rising from the Himalaya, stopped flowing in the study area well
before the Protohistoric period. This assessment is based on the lack of Yamuna type alluvium at a
depth less than 8 m below the present day floodplain and especially by its absence below the
Protohistoric sites. Alluvium deposited during the early Holocene, just below the Protohistoric
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period, was similar to the Ghaggar one.” (Courty, M.A., 1989, Integration of sediment and soil
information in the reconstruction of protohistoric and historic landscapes of the Ghaggar Plain,
north-west India. In, Karen Frifelt and Per Sorensen, eds., South Asian Archaeology 1985.
Scandinavian Institute of Asian Studies, Occasional papers No. 4: 255-59).

Doubts are also expressed about the Sutlej having joined the Sarasvati by comparing the soil types
of the Sotar (Hakra) which are fine, fertile alluvium and hence, different from the sandy silt of
Sutlej: “The soil (of Sotar) is all rich alluvial clay, such as is now being annually deposited in the
depressions which are specimens of these numerous pools which have given the Sarasvati its name,
‘the river of Pools’; and there seems little doubt that the same action as now goes on, has been going
on for centuries, and the numerous mountain torrents of the Indo-Ganges watershed, fed, not by the
snows but by the rainfall of the Sub-Himalayan ranges, wandering over the prairie in many shallow
channels, joined in the Sotra or Hakra valley and formed a considerable stream, at first perhaps
perennial but afterwards becoming absorbed after a gradually shorterning course, as the rainfall
decreased over the lower Himalayan slopes, and as the spread of irrigation in the submountain tract
intercepted more and more of the annual floods…” (Wilson 1884, quoted in Oldham, R.D., 1887:
334). Oldham argues that alluvial processes change over time and notes the presence of Naiwal
branches of Sutlej in Bhatinda and neighbouring districts linking with Sarasvati. This observation is
substantiated by the finds of three large Harappan sites: Lakhmirwala, Hasanpur Two and
Curnikalan One. (Joshi, J.P., 1986, Settlement patterns in the third, second and first millennia in
India—with special reference to recent discoveries in Punjab. In, K.C. Varma et al eds., Rtambhara:
Studies in Indology. Ghaziabad: Society for Indic Studies: 134-39).

Present day and ancient courses of Shatadru (Sutlej), Vipas (Beas), Parasuni (Ravi) (Sridhar et al.
1999).

A good example of historians’ speculations about River Sarasvati (without referring to the well-
documented and well-authenticated results of recent scientific investigations of geological and
environmental sciences) is the surmise made by Irfan Habib that Sirsa river might have been the
River Sarasvati mentioned in the Rigveda: “This river rises near Kalka, the railway station for Shimla,
and runs northwestwards in a long valley with the Himalayan ranges on one side and the Siwaliks on the
other. It finally joins the Sutlej, the great Himalayan river coming from the north. After the junction the
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latter pierces the Siwaliks above Rupar where it makes a great change of direction to flow almost due
west. The tributary we are speaking of is a perennial river with a respectably long catchment area and, in
its lower course, forms a broad channel, which still bears the name Sirsa. [See Survey of India, Quarter-
Inch Sheets 53A (6th ed., 1952) and 53B (4th ed., 1946)]…Compare ‘Sirsa’ in Hisar district of Haryana,
known until the fourteenth century as Sarsati.[Ibn Battuta travelled to Delhi from Ajodhan (mod.
Pakpattan) on the Sutlej via Sarsati, 4 days’ march from Ajodhan and producing excelent rice (H.A.R.
Gibb, transl., The Travels of Ibn Battuta, AD 1325-1354, Indian ed., Delhi, 1993, III, p.617). The place is
also mentioned as being near Hansi with the same spelling in Ziya Barani, Tarikh-i-Firozshahi, ed.
Saiyid Ahmad Khan, W. Nassau Lees and Kabir al-Din, Bib.Ind., Calcutta, 1862, p.556.] The Sirsa river
too similarly enters 14th-century historical record as Sarsati. This occurs in the accounts of an attempt of
Sultan Firoz Tughluq (1351-88) to cut through a hill in order to find a point of release for the river
southwards. The contemporary work Sirat-i Firozshahi has a description of the Sultan’s massive
enterprise to capture the river (‘Sarsati’) for the plains; [Anonymous, Sirat-i Firozshahi, Bankipur Lib.
MS, ff.38b-39a.] but the Tarikh-i Mubarakshahi (early 15th century) has a geographically more
interesting account of what the project was about: “After some time he [Sultan Firoz] heard that near
Barvar [?] there is a mound of earth. A river flows by [lit. through] that big mountain and runs into the
Satuldar [Sutlej]. It is called Sarsati. This side of the hill is a stream called the Salima stream. [The
Sultan] thought that if that earthen mountain is dug through, the river Sarsati would move into this stream
and running to Sirhind, Mansurpur, and then to Sunam, would flow perennially.”[Yahya Sirhindi,
Tarikh-i Mubarakshahi, ed. M. Hidayat Husain, Bib. Ind., Calcutta, 1931, p.130.]… "Tughluq (he) cut
another canal (jui, stream) from the Ghaghar and brought it to the fort of Sarsati [Sirsa] and from there he
carried it to Harni Khera."[Yahya Sirhindi, Tarikh-i Mubarakshahi, p.129.] If the fort of Sarsati (modern
Sirsa), to judge by its name, was on one of the old beds of the Sarasvati, Firoz must have run a channel
from the Ghaghar into that bed and so joined the two streams.” (Irfan Habib, 2001, Imagining River
Sarasvati: A Defence of Commonsense)

Historian Irfan Habib errs in trying to extapolate the records of the historical periods into the 5th and
4th millennia BCE ignoring the presence of major archaeological sites on the Sarasvati River Basin:
sites such as Rakhigarhi, Kalibangan, Ropar, Banawali, Kalibangan, Gurnikalan and Hasni (the last
two sites in Bhatinda District which are twice as large as either Mohenjodaro or Harappa). His
views also run counter to the evidence presented by KS Valdiya in his Sarasvati: The River that
disappeared (2002). Of particular reference are the reference to Shatrana (60 kms. south of Patiala)
where the width of the palaeo-channels of two streams joining there (palaeo-courses of River Sutlej
and River Yamuna) is as wide as 20 kms.! The average width of the dry-bed of Drishadvati beyond
Sirsa through Ghaggar-Hakra-Nara is 6 kms., an evidence of a substantial flow of glacier waters
from the Himalayas to the Rann of Kutch. Habib also ignores the evidence presented by Sridhar,
Merh et al on the three delta areas of the mouth of River Sarasvati east of Dholavira in the Rann of
Kutch. The explanation offered by KS Valdiya that the course of Tamasa (Tons)-Giri-Yamuna
could have been through the Bata River in the divide between Himalayas and Siwalik range before
joining with the River Sarasvati is consistent with the evidence presented by plate tectonics of a
lateral shift in segments of the Siwalik range. Yamuna tear near Paonta Doon valley explains the
eastward migration of Yamuna River which was earlier a tributary of River Sarasvati through the
Drishadvati stream. Considering that the civilization was essentially dependent upon the use of the
water-ways to conduct exchange of resources and produced artifacts, the presence of sites on
Kalibangan and Rakhigarhi on Drishadvati River can be explained as part of a river system which
facilitated contacts between these sites and other sites of the civilization on the Sarasvati River
basin. Another significant evidence ignored by Habib is that there are no archaeological sites on
River Sutlej west of Ropar. This lends enormous weight to the arguments of Yashpal et al that the
ancient courses of River Sutlej were indeed joining River Sarasvati at Shatrana through a south-
ward course and that this course was deflected by 90 degree-diversion of the River Sutlej at Ropar,
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explained again as caused by plate tectonics. That there is no mention at all about the migration of
river courses caused by plate tectonics is a major omission in analyzing the overwhelming scientific
evidence for a river which had flowed from Himalayas to Rann of Kutch (and beyond through Nal
Sarovar) into Saurashtra, Gulf of Khambat and the Arabian Ocean, perhaps joining the ocean at
Prabhas Patan. This latter surmise gains increasing validity – the Saurashtra coastline between
Lothal-Rojdi-Prabhas Patan might have been at a lower elevation after circa 10,000 years ago --
based on the finds of submergence of palaeo-channels of Rivers Narmada and Tapati by the
incursion of the sea and the formation of the Gulf of Khambat.

"...the Indian paleontologist M.R. Shani noticed silt deposits perched many feet above the level of
the Indus plain near the city of Hyderabad in what is now West Pakistan. This and other evidence
suggested to him that the area's ancient floods had not been mere river overflows but events on a far
larger scale. Major tectonic upheavals, Sahni proposed, might have blocked the Indus River from
time to time; each such stoppage would have caused the gradual formation of a huge upstream lake
that might then have persisted for decades... Raikes's preliminary research not only suggests that the
dam-and-lake hypothesis proposed 25 years ago by Sahni is tenable but also singles out an area near
Sehwan, some 90 miles downstream from Mohenjo-daro, as the most probable area of tectonic
disturbance affecting the city... Both the multiple layers of silt at Mohenjo-daro and the evidence of
multilevel reconstruction suggest that the city was flooded in this prolonged and damaging fashion
no less than five times and perhaps more... Could such a series of natural catastrophes, rathern than
the Aryan invasion, have brought about the collapse of the Harappan civilization?" ((From: George
F. Dales, 1972, The decline of Harappans, in: Scientific American readings: Old world
archaeology: foundations of civilization, San Francisco, WH Freeman and Company, p. 160).
Dholavira (Kotda), Rann of Kutch in relation to the ancient Sarasvati Delta (After Sridhar et al.,
Late Quaternary Drainage Disruption in Northwestern India, in: Vedic Sarasvati, 1999, Fig. 4, p.
196).

The Rann of Kutch and the Little Rann of Kutch are not deserts. They are stretches of sand leveled
to an asphalt-like consistency by salty efflorescence and brine. The area remains waterlogged during
monsoons and until the onset of winter. The area is dotted with low hills. The sandstones of the area
constitute the veritable storehouses of underground water.

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"A review of the regional archaeological assemblages indicates a cultural continuity, without

stratigraphic break, demonstrating that the Harappan


culture did not end abruptly, as was thought earlier
(Possehl, Gregory L., Indus Valley Civilization in
Saurashtra, New Delhi). Nevertheless, there was a change
during the second millennium BC that led to the
abandonment of cities like Mohenjodaro, Harappa, Lothal
and many other Harappan sites. In Gujarat, the
settlements of the Mature Harappan phase are few and far
between compared to the large number of settlements of
later phases... the settlements at Nageswar, Lothal and the
sites in Kutch amply demonstrate that the settlements
were developed mainly for trade and access to raw
materials or to facilitate administration rathern than
simply subsistence activities. The expansionist tendency
on the part of Harappans towards resource areas is further
substantiated by the discovery of Shortugai in the lapis
lazuli producing region of northern Afghanistan
(Frankfort, H.P. and M.H. Pottier, 1978, Sondage
preliminaire sur l'establishment protohistorique
Harappeen et Post-Harappeen de Shortagai, Arts
Asiatique, 34: pp. 28-85)." (Kuldeep K. Bhan, Late
Harappan Settlements of Western India, with specific
reference to Gujarat, pp. 219-234 in: Wisconsin
Archaeological Reports 2, 1989).

Sindhu River at Sukkur and old channels (After Lambrick, 1964: Fig. 9; Possehl, G.L., 1999,
Fig. 3.120).
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Some indologists have wrongly assumed that the reference of Sarayu in the following r.ca is to Hari
Rud in Afghanistan; the argument is that: Sindhu (Avestan, Hindu) is Indus, Sarasvati (Avestan,
Harakhvaiti) is Arghandab-Helmand, and Sarayu (Avestan, Haroiva), is Hari Rud.[The Avestan
names are in the Vendidad, 1. Cf. Gherardo Gnoli, The Idea of Iran, Rome, 1989, p.55. Gnoli
emphasizes the eastern-Iranian context of Avestan geography. Cf. Aurel Stein, ‘Afghanistan in
Avestan Geography’, Indian Antiquary, XV (1886), pp.21-23; see p.22 for ‘Haraeva’ and
‘Harahvaiti’.]

RV9.64-9: Let the great streams come with their mighty help, Sindhu, Sarasvati and Sarayu
with waves. You Flood Divinities, you mothers, animating all, promise us water rich in
fatness and in balm.
The use of the word ‘sindhu’ in this r.ca can as well be interpreted as a general appellation
of a mighty river and hence an attribute of River Sarasvati. The r.ca can thus be re-
interpreted as: “Let the great streams come with their mighty help of River Sarasvati and
Sarayu with waves… You Flood Divinities, you mothers…”
‘Harakhvaiti’ is equated with Arghandab, a tributary of the Helmand (Avestan, Haetmant). Both
streams are separately named in the Vendidad. It should also be noted that Helmand is a minor
stream in a basin with little rain in the cathment area, does not flow into the sea, but ends an inland
in a region of marshes and lakes (Hamun-i Helmand). Even assuming for the sake of argument that
this interpretation is valid, it points to an Out of Bharat movement, moving northeastwards, away
from the Sindhu!

Before understanding the flow of River Sarasvati independent of the present-day course of River
Sutlej (S’utudri_ as mentioned in the R.gveda), and independent of River Sindhu, it is apposite to
review the recorded events in the recent evolutionary history of the River Sindhu (Indus).

``Evidence from many sources, including that of archaeological remains associated with old river
courses, indicates that a major river, stemming mainly from the same sources as the present Sutlej,
flowed through Northern Rajasthan, Bahawalpur and Sind-- to the southeast of the present course of the
Sutlej and the Indus -- in the third to second millennium BC. This river, known as the Sarasvati in its
upper course, at different times either joined the lower course of the Indus in Sind, or found its way
independently into the Arabian Sea via Rann of Kutch.'' (Allchin, B., Goudie, A., and Hegde, K., 1978).

"...To C.F. Oldham (1874 and 1893) and R.D. Oldham (1886), two officers of the Geological
Survey of India goes the credit of focussing attention on palaeo-drainage of northwestern India. C.F.
Oldham as early as 1874 had given a preliminary account of the traces of a lost river in the Thar
deser (Great Indian Desert). Subsequently, in 1893, he came out with a detailed paper, wherein he
described the Rigvedic Sarasvati and speculated on the circumstances leading to its subsequent
disappearance... C.F. Oldham (1893) reported the existence of a dry bed course of a great river
within the sands, which once flowed across the desert to the sea. He has referred to this channel as
Hakra which flowed through Bikaner and Bahawalpur into the Rann of Kach. This rive according to
him represented the former course of Shatadu (Sulej) and the Sarasvati was a major tributary joining
it. At some point of time when he Sutlej changed its course westwards to meet Beas and finally the
Indus, its abandoned eastern arm viz., Hakra was left as a deserted channel...

R.D. Oldham, 1886, On probable changes in the geography of the Punjab and its rivers - a historico-
geographical study, J. Asiatic Soc. Bengal, 55: 322-343: “... we have now seen that a dry river bed

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can be traced, practically continuously, from Tohana in Hissar district to the Eastern Narra in Sind
...”

R.D. Oldham (Deputy Superintendent, Geological Survey of India) provides a geologist’s account
in the earliest attempt to unravel the courses of the ancient Sarasvati River: “Of all the problems with
which we are brought in contact when we try to unravel the ancient geography of India, none surpass in
terest or difficulty thaose connected with the rivers of the Punjab and Sind. Both interest and difficulty
result from the fact that, previous to the advent of English, all civilization and every invader have entered
India from the Northwest, and tgheir difficulty from the changes that appear to have taken place in the
courses of these rivers during the last three thousand years…

“The Lost River of the Indian Desert. We have lost sight of the dry bed of the old river Wandan in Lat.
280 16’, Long. 700 33’. Above this comes a stretch of sixty miles in which the river bed has either been
completely obliterated by the drifting sand or at any rate is not marked on the Revenue Survey maps of
Bahawalpur, but in Lat. 280 46’, Long. 710 25’ we again find a dry river bed which, under the varying
names of Hakra, Sotra, Choya, etc. can be traced through Bahawalpur, Bikanir, and the Sirsa districts till
it is lost near Tohana in the Hissar district. Although the connection of these two dry river beds has not
yhet been traced (unless we may take a passage— Notes on the Lost River of the Indian Desert, Calcutta
Review, LIX, 17, (1874)—in the essay which has more than once been alluded to mean that the writer
had personally traced the connection), there can be but little doubt that the two were originally
continuous and are the sole remaining traces of that great river which, according to the traditions
prevalent throughout the desert, once flowed through this now barren tract to the sea, or, according to
other accounts, to the Indus at Sukkur…

“Another theory, propounded by an anonymous writer in the Calcutta Review (LX, 351, 1875) is that the
Hakra was originally occupied by the Jamuna or a branch of it…but it is certain that it could not have
done so since the time of Manu, who mentions Jamuna as joining the Ganges at the modern city of
Allahabad; and I have shown that the Hakra was probably a flowing river at a later period than that…the
most probable theory is that the anonymous essayist (C.F. Oldham, 1874, Calcutta Review, LIX, pp. 1-
27)…who supposes the Hakra to be the old bed of the Sutlej, which previous to the thirteenth century,
did not join the Beas, as it now does, but pursued an independent course to the sea…Mr. Wilson in his
final report on the settlement of the Sirsa district…’From the appearance of the Sotar valley and the
numerous remains of towns and villages which stud its banks all the way to Bahawalpur, it is evident that
at one time it conveyed a much larger volume of water than at present, and probably was the channel of a
perennial stream. But though it must have been, as it now, the largest and most important of all the
drainage channels between the Sutlej and the Jamuna, it can never have carried a river at all approaching
the size to either of these two. The valley is too shallow and shows too few marks of violent flood action
for this to have been the case…

“The soil is all rich alluvial clay, such as is now being annually deposited in the depressions which are
specimens of those numerous pools which have given the Sarasvati its name, ‘The river of Pools’…and
the bed of the stream is gradually attaining one uniform slope throughout’…I have quoted this passage as
giving a clear statement of the nature of the objections raised, viz., the shallowness of the channel and
the difference of its soil from the sandy silt found in the present bed of the Sutlej, and at the same time
describing the manner in which it is even now being filled up with the alluvium precisely similar to the
existing soil, and different from the sandy silt of the present bed of the Sutlej…

“Another objection which has been raised is, that the Sutlej flows in a depression below the level of the
plain over which the Sotar pursues its course, and that neither it nor any of the dry river channels, to be
mentioned further on, which communicate with it have been traced into connexion with the Sutlej…With
regard to the second objection…rivers flow in places in a single well-defined deep channel, but in the
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other they spread out over a shallow ill-defined bed or even split up into several distinct channels…but
lower down, where the river flowed in a deeper and better defined channel, the dry bed remains
distinguishable and marks the former presence of the river…

“In the Vedas, the Sutlej is several times mentioned under the name of Satadru, but only in one case is it
mentioned or supposed to be mentioned in connection with the Beas, and that is the 33rd hymn of the 3rd
Mandala, where the confluence of the S’utudri and the Vipas is referred to…it would not prove that the
Sutlej did njot pursue an independent course at a subsequent period, unless we could also prove that the
present configuration of the ground, the distinction of Khadir and Bhangar, of strath and upland, existed
in Vedic times…

“We have now seen that a dry river bed can be traced, practically continuously from Tohana in the Hissar
district to the Eastern Narra in Sind…We have seen that the supposed mention of the confluence of the
Sutlej and Beas in the Vedas is not conclusive; that, though Ptolemy seems to take the former river into
the latter much as is now the case, yet, when we come to the time of the Arab invaders of India, we find a
pecular nomenclature of the river, which points to the conclusion that the Sutlej can then only recently
have become a tributary of the Beas and so of the Indus; and, moreover, we find a number of dry river
channels, all of which lead from within a few miles of the present channel of the Sutlej, and ultimately
join the dry bed of the lost river. Taking all these points into consideration, we may well conclude that
this Lost River of the Indian Desert was none other than the Sutlej, and that it was lost when the river
turned westwards to join the Beas…

“The Sarasvati of the Vedas. Probably the most difficult of all these problems relating to the rivers of
Northern India is the persistent reference, in the Vedas, to the Sarasvati as a large and important river. It
is impossible to suppose that rational beings would have selected the insignificant streamlet, now known
by that name, whose bed contains no water for a large portion of the year, to associate it on equal terms
with the rivers of the Punjab and the Indus, still less to exalt it above them all, to describe it as “chief and
purest of rivers flowing from the mountains to the sea”, or as “undermining its banks with mighty and
impetuous waves.” The only conclusion open to us is, then, either that there has been some great change
in the rivers of this region, or that the Sarasvati of the Vedas has no connection with the insignificant
streamlet which we now cal by that name.

“The latter of these two is the opinion adopted by Mr. E. Thomas (JRAAS, XV (new ser.), 1883, pp. 357-
386) in an essay on the rivers of the Vedas. According to him, a part of the ancient Aryans, after leaving
their native country at the headwaters of the Oxus, remained for some time in the valley of the Helmund,
references to which were incorporated in their sacred hymns. After a while they were again compelled to
migrate, and, on reaching the Punjab, tried to revive the seven rivers of their original home;
unfortunately, however, there were only six large rivers, but the Sarasvati being a stram that lost itself in
the lake or tank of Kurukshetra reminded them in a manner of the Sarasvati they had left behind them,
the name was transferred to it, and the seventh river was found. In favour of this hypothesis may be
mentioned the fact that, in the Zend, the Helmund is called the Harakhaiti, a word identified with the
Sanskrit Sarasvati, according to the recognized rules of transliteration, but there is little else that can be
produced in favour of this highly ingenious but far-fetched hypothesis. It implies an almost incredible
degree of childishness in the ancient Aryans to suppose that they would confuse together a petty
streamlet and a large, navigable river simply for the reason that the one ended in a large lake, while the
other flowed into a tank of jhil.

“Rejecting the ingenious explanation of Mr. Thomas, there is no alternative but a considerable change in
the hydrography of the region… The configuration of the ground west of the high bank of the Jamuna is
that of a very broad and gently sloping cone; this is clearly shown by the general directions of the minor
water courses west of the Jamuna, which, as a glance at a sufficiently large-scale male will show, radiate
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from the point where the Jamuna leaves the hills…The Jamuna must, consequently, during the period
which geologists call Recent, have flowed sometimes into the Ganges and sometimes through the Punjab;
but it is not possible for geology pure and simple to give the exact date at which the Jamuna last changed
its course.

“Two of these now minor drainage channels, the present Sarsuti and the Chitang, are continuous with the
Sotar, and die out after approaching within a fes miles of the old high bank of the Jamuna; and it is not
impossible that one or the other may mark approximately the course of the Jamuna, or Sarasvati of the
Vedic period.

“In this connection, a coincidence may be mentioned which is perhaps germane; when about the
commencement of the century, the Brahmaputra, a sacred river like the Sarasvati, broke away from its
old course and flowed west of the Madhopur jungle to join the Ganges, the new channel thus formed was
immediately christened the Jamuna, a name it retains to this day, while the old channel now deserted by
the main stream is still known as the Brahmaputra. Possibly, a similar explanation may be assigned to the
name of the Jamuna, which, originally known as the Sarasvati, struck out a new course for itself during
the Vedic period and doing so, acquired a new name. If this be so, the native tradition that the old
Sarasvati joins the Ganges at Allahabad is, unwittingly, a true statement of fact. [This observation of
Oldham gains credence by reviewing some semantics related to the word: there is a possible that the
word, ‘Yamuna’, is derived from the root, ‘yam’ meaning ‘ to restrain, to guide towards (RV 1.84.6;
5.73.3; 9.44.5) with derivations such as yami_ = twin (RV 5.47.5); yamya = twins (RV 3.55.1); yamuna
= restraining, governing (Vedic.lex.)

“The most weighty and indeed almost the only, argument that can be uirged against this hypothesis must
be derived from the mention of both the Sarasvati and the Jamuna in the Vedas, and even in the same
verse of the same hymn. It may have been, however, that the Jamuna, after leaving the hills, divided its
waters…and that the portion which flowed to the Punjab was known as the Sarasvati whiel that which
joined the Ganges was called the Yamuna…

“It may perhaps be thought that there is some inconsistency in thus claiming the Sotar first as an old
course of the Sutlej and then of the Jamuna, but this is apparent, not real, for, as I have pointed out, the
Sotar takes its rise where the fans of these two rivers meet, and must as soon as they were building up the
deposits they are now excavating, have constantly been receiving a supply of water from one or other of
the two. It so happens that the last change of course of both rivers, previous to that change of condition
which led to their excavating the exting depressed channels, took the one into the Beas, the other into the
Ganges, and a dry bed is all that remains of what was once a large river flowing through the fertile land.

“Conclusion. I have now shown that we may take it as proved that there have been great changes in the
hydrography of the Punjab and Sind within the Recent period of geology, that there are abundant
indications, not amounting to proof, that these changes have taken place within the historic period, and
that the most important of them, by which a large tract of once fertile country has been converted into a
desert, appears to have taken place after several centuries of the Christian era had sped. It is hopeless to
expect an authoritative settlement of the question; the physical conditions cannot be said to favour the
idea, but they are far from being inconsistent with so recent a drying up of the “Lost River of the Indian
Desert”.(R.D. Oldham, 1886, On probable changes in the geography of the Punjab and its rivers an
historico-geographical study, Journal of Asiatic Society Bengal, v. 55, pp. 322-343).

Following R.D. Oldham’s geological account of the hydrological changes in Northwest India which
could explain the ancient courses of the Sarasvati River, C.F. Oldham provides a review of the earth
science perspective from the evidence provided by the ancient texts. ‘Sarasvati in the R.gveda. In the
R.gveda we are told of a large and rapid river flowing from the mountains to the sea. The Maha_bha_rata
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described the same stream as losing itself in the sands. At the present day we find a river, wide and rapid
during floods, but containing little water at other times, joining another stream of similar character, and
thereupon losing its name, the river below the confluence being now called Ghaggar… We find (RV
7.95.1.2: “…Alone among all rivers Sarasvati listened, she who goes pure from the mountains as far as
the sea. She who knows of the manifold wealth of the world has poured out to man her fat milk” With
reference to this passage, Prof. Max Muller remarks: “Here we see Samudra used clearly in the sense of
sea, the Indian Sea, and we have at the same time a new indication of the distance which separates the
Vedic age from the later Sanskrit literature. Though it may not be possible to determine by geological
evidence, the time of the changed course which modified the southern area of Punjab and caused the
Sarasvati to disappear in the desert, still the fact remains that the loss of the Sarasvati is later than the
Vedic age, and that, at that time, the waters of Sarasvati reached the sea.”…Disappearance of Sarasvati at
Vina_s’ana. In the R.gveda nothing is said of the disappearance of the Sarasvati in the sands. At the time
of Manu, however, the waters of the sacred river no longer flowed to the sea. From the Maha_bha_rata
we learn that “Baladeva proceeded to Vina_s’ana, wehre the Sarasvati has become invisible in
consequence of her contempt for S’u_dras and Abhi_ras.”…And in another place we find: “Here is the
beautiful and sacred river Sarasvati, full of waters; and here is the spot known as Vina_s’ana, or the spot
where the Sarasvati disappears. Here is the gate of the country of the Nisha_das, and it was from hatred
of them that the Sarasvati sank into the earth, that the Nisha_das might not see her.” From a reason being
thus assigned for the disappearance it would seem to have been then recognized that there had been a
time when the sacred stream did not lose itself in the sands. Although the Vedic accounts of the Sarasvati
differ so much from those of less ancient authorities, and from the actual condition of the stream now
known by that name, it is very unlikely that the river to which so important a position is assigned in the
Brahmanical writings could ever have lost its identity, or that its name and sacred character could have
been transferred to another and less considerable stream. Indeed it is tolerably certain that the Sarasvati
of the present day is the river mentioned in the Veda and the Maha_bha_rata.

‘Gap in the hills and the course of Sarasvati. The Sarasvati rises in the outer Himalayan range, usually
called Siwalik, close to the watershed of Upper India, and not far from the gtap in the hills by which the
Jamuna enters the plains…After a south-westerly course of nearly 100 miles, and after receiving its
tributaries the Ma_rkanda and other streams, the Sarasvati now joins the Ghaggar near the village of
Rasula. Although the river below the confluence is makre in our maps as Ghaggar, it was formerly the
Sarasvati; that name is still known among the people, and the famous fortress of Sarsuti or Sarasvati was
built upon its banks nearly 100 miles below the present junction with Ghaggar. How the sacred river
came to lose its own name and acquire that of its former tributary is not known. It may have been owing
to some change in its course in comparatively modern times. There is no mention in the Veda or
Maha_bha_rata of any such river as the Ghaggar, or of any important stream between the Sutadru and the
Sarasvati. The ancient fortress off Sarsuti or Sarasvati (now Sirsa) was a place of importance upto the
time of the early Mahommedan invasions. Its site is marked by immense mounds rising some sixty feet
above the plain. Some seven or eight miles to the eastward of Sirsa is another old bed of Sarasvati. This
is partially obliterated, but it apparently joined the channel just referred to, not far from Sirsa. It may,
however, have once been continuous with the old river bed, called in our maps as Chitrang…

‘Why was Sarasvati lost?…The view held by several writers on the subject appear to be that it was owing
to a shrinking of the stream caused by diminished rainfall. This, however, could not possibly have been
the cause. It would have involved the existence, previously, of such meteorological conditions as must
have rendered the holy land of the Brahmans an uninhabitable swamp…The neighbouring large
rivers…some of them, in fact, which are mentioned in the Vedas as being fordable, are so with difficulty
at the present day…Sarasvati, Ghaggar, and their tributaries…are fed by rain only; and not by the
melting snows…

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“It was not, then, owing to the shrinking of its stream that the waters of the Sarasvati lost themselves in
the sands instead of flowing onwards to the ocean. Its ancient course, however, is continuous with the dry
bed of a great river which, as local legends assert, once flowed through the desert to the ssea. In
confirmation of these traditions, the channel referred to, which is called Hakra or Sotra (perhaps a
corruption of Satroda or Satruda, the old name of the Sutlej; just as Hakra is a modified form of Sagara,
Sankra, ‘ocean’) , can be traced through the Bikanir and Bahawalpur States into Sind, and thence
onwards to the Rann of Kutch. The existence of this river at no very remote period and the truth of the
legends which assert the ancient fertility of the lands though which it flowed, are attested by the ruins
which everywhere overspread what is now an arid sandy waste. Throughout this tract are scattered
mounds, marking the sites of cities and towns. And there are strongholds still remaining, in a very
decayed state, which were places of importance at the time of the early Mahommedan invasion. Amongst
these ruins are found, not only the huge bricks used by the Hindus of the remove past, but others of a
much later make. All this seems to show that the country must have been fertile for a long period, and
that ie became desert in comparatively recent times. Freshwater shells, exactly similar to those now seen
in the Punjab rivers are to be found in this old river-bed and upon its banks…

“It is not beyond the bounds of possibility that the Jamuna may at some very remote period have taken a
westerly instead of an easterly course and joined the Hakra; for, as observed by R.D. Oldham, of the
Indian Geological Survey, this old river-bed lies between the fan or talus of the Jamuna, and that of the
Sutlej…It would seem that the Sutlej has changed its course from time to time, until at last it joined the
Beas, and the two streams flowed in the same channel. It is most likely that the legend related to the
Maha_bha_rata, of the Satadru having separated into a hundred channels was founded upon some great
changes in its course. The tradition current throughout the tract between the Sutlej and Sarasvati all agree
that the Sutlej flowed in the Hakra channel, and that, till then, the country upon its banks was fertile and
populosu…

“The Hakra is formed by the union, near Wallur, on the borders of Bikanirr and Bahawalpur, of two large
branches. Each of these arises from the junction of several channels, most of them dry, or only containing
a little water in the rainy season. In some of them, however, streams still flow for some distance. When
the Sutlej changed its course to the westward, and abandoned the eastern arm of the Hakra, the Sarasvati,
which had been a tributary, was left in possession of the deserted channel, in the sands of which its
waters were swallowed up. It is of course impossible to fix any period for this change, but it may be
presumed that it took place between the Vedic period and that of Manu, when we first hear of the
disappearance of the Sarasvati in the sands…

‘Rann of Kutch an estuary. It is not difficult to understand the formation of the Rann, if it be considered
as the former embouchure of three important rivers (the Indus, Sutlej, and Luni) of which the first and the
greatest has long abandoned it. The traditions of all the tribes bordering upon it agree that this expanse of
salt and sand was once an estuary. And, as noticed by Burnes and others, places still exist up[on its
shores which once were ports… Sufficient evidence has, I think, been brought forward to show that the
Hakra did not dry up from diminished rainfall, or from any failure of its source, but that its waters,
having ceased to flow in its ancient bed, still find its way by another channel to the sea. We have also
seen that the Vedic description of the waters of the Sarasvati flowing onward to the ocean and that given
in the Maha_bha_rata, of the sacred river losing itself in the sands, were probably both of them correct at
the periods to which they referred.’(C.F. Oldham, 1893, The Sarasvati and the Lost River of the Indian
Desert, JRAS, v. 34, pp. 49-76).

`` C.F. Oldham, 1893, The Sarasvati and the lost river of the Indian Desert, Journal of the Royal Asiatic
Society, pp. 48-76: `` ... local legends assert (that Sarasvati) once flowed through the desert to the sea. In
confirmation of these traditions, the channel referred to, which is called Hakra or Sotra, can be traced
through the Bikanir and Bhawulpur states into Sind, and thence onwards to the Rann of Kutch... attested
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by the ruins everywhere overspread what is now an arid sandy waste. Throughout this tract are scattered
mounds, marking the sites of cities and towns. And there are strongholds still remaining ...

“Amongst these ruins are found, not only the huge bricks used by the Hindus in the remote past, but
others of a much later make ... Freshwater shells, exactly similar to those now seen in the PanjAb rivers,
are to be found in this old river-bed and upon its banks ... After entering Sind the Hakra turns southward,
and becomes continuous with the old river-bed generally known as Narra. This channel, which bears also
the names of Hakra or Sagara, Wahind and Dahan, is to be traced onward to the Rann of Kutch... Tha
Hakra varies in different parts of its course from about two to six miles in width, which is sufficient for a
very large river ... The only river near Marot was the Hakra ...

The dried-up bed -- wadi -- of sarasvati


might have constituted the great road
between Hastina_pur and Dva_ra_vati_
(Dva_raka). Part of this road would have
constituted the road from Sind to Delhi via
Bahawalpur, Marot, Anupgarh, Suratgarh,
Dabli, Kalibangan., Bhat.ner (Hanumgarh),
Tibi and Sirsa suggested by Major F.
Mackeson in 1844 to the British
government (Report on the Route from
Seersa to Bahawulpore, JAS, Beng., XLII,
Pt.I, 1844, No. 145 to 153)]. A synonym of
sirsa is sarsuti < sarasvati; at this place,
about 100 miles below Rassauli, a fortress
was built. Stein observes that Anupgarh
had alternative names (Mathula Their and
Mallavali Their) which indicate that a river
was flowing plying boats: “The designation
of Mallavali (the ‘mound of the boatman’),
suggests connection with the story about
the ferry boats for which the Mathula ridge
is supposed to have once served as a
landing place…(another mound in the
vicinity is called Jandewala and)…is
supposed to have been named after the
boatman whom local belief assumes to
have taken his boat across the Ghaggar
river from Juhanzwala to Mathula.” (Stein,
A., 1943, An archaeological tour along the Ghaggar-Hakra River, 1940-42. American Documentation
Institute Microfilm No. ADI-4861: 71-2,76).

Synoptic Overview of Quaternary Tectonism, Climatic variations and Effects on drainage


changes in NW India

Tectonic changes:

1st major tectonic activity around 10,000 BP


Nawabandar-Babarkot southern coast of Saurashtra (Holocene, Before 4500 BP) (cf. Pant and Juyal,
1993)

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Kalibangan 3700 BP (cf. B.B. Lal, 1984)
Dwaraka Submergence 3600 BP (cf. S.R. Rao, 1995)
3000-5000 BP Rise of Delhi-Haridwar Ridge. Reactivation of older lineaments and vertical
movements along E-W and N-S fractures. Uplift of the Aravallis.
Tectonic activity around 11th/13th Century reactivation of E-W and N-S fractures over the
northwestern plains.
56 B.C. Ujjain and 60 towns (cf. Baird-Smith, 1843).
1705 A.D. Bhavnagar (cf. Manuk, 1908).
1819 A.D. Allah-Band (cf. T. Oldham, 1883)

"...intermittent reactivation of the Kutchfault and the Luni-Sukri lineament (extending from the
Great Rann of Kutchto Dehradun) causing severe earthquakes such as those of 1819 and 1937 AD
of Kutchwhich raised land by 5-7m at several places forming e.g. the Allah Band dam... Shift in
river courses must have been aided by differenial rise of land by reactivation of Cambay graben,
Jaisalmer-Barwani lineament and Khatu lineaments which trend NW-SE... The Indus has migrated
towards he northwest in the northern part and towards the wes in central and southern parts.
Snelgrove (1979) shows this shift in lower reaches to be as much as 160 km westward in Sind. The
eastern boundary of the Indus flood plains in SInd is along the Hakra-Eas Nara. If the Sarasvati was
flowing into the Hakra-Nara bed the westward shift to the Indus might have also led to the
disorganisation of the Sarasvati system and its final burial in Anupgarh plains. The Indus has
migrated west by 100-120 km in Anupgarh sector. " (Ramasamy et al., 1991; B.Sahai, 1999).

Effects on Drainage:

Disruption of the early drainage by choking of their valleys and formation of inland lakes like
Sambhar

At 3700 BP, fluvial activity dwindles, Sarasvati course is disrupted as is that of Drishadvati.
Shatadru continues to flow after its capture of Vipas; abandoning the old Beas channel. Yamuna
swings away to the east beheading any connction with its west flowing course.

Luni originates from its present source. The vertical movements along N-S and E-W fractures result
in the formation of the new channel of Luni; following and E-W fracture till Balotra and then
flowing along a N-S fracture forming its present lower course till it meets the Great Rann.

5000-7000 BP Sarasvati, Drishadvati, Shatadru and Sindhu flowed with full vigour, carried much
water and formed an extensive drainage network.

Sutlej leaves its old course and joins the Indus. Ravi is captured by Chenab.

Evidence from R.gveda

Nadisu_kta of the Rigveda: "Favour ye this my laud, O Ganga, Yamuna, Sarasvati, O Sutudri,
Parushni With Asikni, O Marudvridha, Vitasta, O Arjikiya with Sushma, hear my call." [Translation
by Ralph T.H. Griffith, The Hymns of the Rigveda, 2nd ed., Benares, 1926, II, p.490.] The su_kta
omits the mention of Vipasa (Beas) cited in RV 3.31.1-3 and 4.30.11.

The su_kta emphatically locates Sarasvati as a river within the Sindhu-Yamuna river basins.

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The rivers are in an east to west sequence: Sutudri is Sutlej (Ptolemy calls it ‘Zaradros’); Parushni is
Ravi; and Asikni is Chenab (called Askesines by Greek historians and by Megasthenes);
Marudvridha is Maruwardwan, an affluent of the Chenab (Aurel Stein); Vitasta is Behat or Jhelum;
Sushoma is Soan or Sohan, an eastern tributary of the Sindhu (called ‘Soanos’ by Megasthenes).

Sarasvati is described as follows in R.gveda hymns:

eka_cetat sarasvati_ nadi_na_m s'uciryati_ giribhya a_ samudra_t


ra_yas'etanti bhuvanasyabhu_re ghritampayo duduhe nahus.a_ya (RV. 7.95.2)

Pure in her course from mountains to the ocean Sarasvati river bestows for Nahusha nutritious milk
and butter.

a_ yatsa_kam yas'aso va_vas'a_nah sarasvati_ saptathi_ sindhuma_ta_


ya_h sus.vayanta sudugha_h sudha_ra_ abhisvena payasa_ pipya_na_h (RV. 7.36.6)

May the glorious seventh (stream) Sarasvati, the mother of the Sindh and other (rivers) charged with
copious volume of water, flow vigorously; come together, gifting abundant food and milk.

[There is a possible interpretation that Sarasvati had seven tributaries and that the Indus and her 5
tributaries: Sindhu (Indus), Sutudri (Sutlej), Parushni (Ravi), Asikni (Chenab), Vitasta (Jhelum),
Vitasa (Beas) were also the tributaries of Sarasvati. RV. 3.24.4 indicates the possibility that
Drishadvati and Apaya were also tributaries of Sarasvati].

Viewed as an allegory, RV 1.32.10-13; 1.54.10; 2.30.3 hymns are explained as follows: "It looks as
though the Vedic sages experienced the life and death of the river system which, they loved most,
due to long spell of glaciation (ice age) and warming. They expressed it in terms of periodic war
between Indra and Vritra. The frozen rivers (Glaciers) occupying zig-zag passages were visualised
as the great serpent 'Vritra' who withheld water and the Sun god 'Indra' who released the water. The
tussle between this natural phenomen of freezing and thawing of water was described as a war
between the two...Two important tributaries, the Sutlej and the Yamuna; Sutlej (Sutudri) rises near
Manasarovar whereas Yamuna from the western slope of Bandarpunch in the Jamnotri glacier; both
being snow-fed perennial rivers had enough water to contribute...". (D.S. Chauhan, 1999; loc. cit.
Murthy, 1985; Wakankar, 1985; Hillebrandt, 1990).

da_spatni_rahigopa_ atis.tannirudha_ a_pah pan.ineva ga_vah


apa_m bilamapihitam yadasi_d vritram jaghanva_m apatadvava_r (RV. 1.32.11)

Mastered by the enemy, the waters held back like cattle restrained by a trader (Pan.i). Indra
crushed the Vritra and broke open the withholding outlet of the river.
Grassman (GW), Ludwig and Zimmer (AIL.10) are of the opinion, that in the R.gveda, Sarasvati_ is
usually and originally meant a mighty stream, probably the Indus (Sarasvati_ being the sacred and
Sindhu the secular name), but it occasionally designates the small stream in Madhyades'a, to which
both its name and its sacred character were in later times transferred. Max Muller believes it to be
identical with this small river Sarasvati_, which with the Dr.s.advati_ formed the boundaries of the
sacred region Brahma_varta and which loses itself in the sands of the desert, but in Vedic times
reached the sea. According to Oldham, a survey of ancient river beds affords evidence, that the

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Sarasvati_ was originally a tributary of the Sutudri_ (the modern Sutlej), and that when the latter left
its old bed and joined the Vipa_s', the Sarasvati_ continued to flow in the old bed of Sutudri_."
(A.A.Macdonell, The Vedic Mythology, Varanasi, Indological Book House, 1963, p. 87).

Stein identified Gan:gobheda with the shrine of Bheda_ devi at the village Hal-Mogulpur in Shrikru
close to the “Kooshopoora”. The village shrine is in a small enclosure round a magnificent old
Chinar tree. There is a lake on the summit of the Bheda_ hill and a place named Buda_bra_r in
Kashmiri and Bijabra_ri in Pahari.

“The Gan:gobheda Ma_ha_tmya relates how the sage Pulastya performed long penances in the
Satides’a and made the Gan:ga_ gush forth near him from Himavat mountain for the purpose of his
sacrifice. When Pulastya decided to discharge the river after finishing his worship, Sarasvati_
stopped him from doing so and announced that a ti_rtha names Gan:gobheda would arise at the
place from where the river issued. On the top of a hill where the level ground extends for ten
Dhanus, a great pond would be formed and its eastern foot a stream called Abhaya_ would issue. A
boon to the sage was granted for which he asked that the river may rest for ever by his side. The
boon was granted and the Gan:gobhedati_rtha was created. With a desire to see the goddess
Sarasvati_ the sage performed severe penances. Having been worshipped by him, Sarasvati_
explains her sixfold nature to him. With reference to this, the sage gave her the name of Bheda_ and
worshipped her as Ham.sava_gi_s’vari_ Bheda_. Since then the goddess received worship at
Gan:gobheda ti_rtha.” . (Savitri Saxena, 1995, Geographical Survey of the Pura_n.as, Delhi, Nag
Publishers, pp.732-733). The Ni_lamata gives a brief reference to the goddess Bheda_ at
Gan:gobheda (Ni_la. V. 1312; 1039)…it notes that the shrine of Bheda_ was made by Pulastya.

The reference to Pra_ci_ Sarasvati_ in many ancient texts assume that there was a western
Sarasvati_ in relation to the Sarasvati_ river courses and tributaries identified in the Kuruks.etra,
Kuruja_n:gala regions. This western Sarasvati_ is simply the mighty river which flows after
confluence with Ghaggar beyond Kalibangan, Suratgarh and Anupgarh towards the Bahawalpur
province and beyond through Sind into the Rann of Kutch and throught the Nal sarovar towards
Prabha_sa flowing beyond Lothal and Rojdi, to join the ocean. The western Sarasvati_ is the
saptathi_ sindhuma_ta_ or seven-sistered river referred to in the R.gveda (RV. 7.36.6). This is an
indication that the mighty Sarasvati_ river had seven tributary rivers. In another reference,
Sarasvati_ is called the seventh (RV. 7.36.6); the other six are the five Punjab rivers which are the
tributaries of Sarasvati_ river (VS 34.11) and Sindhu. The description of Sarasvati_ in these terms is
clearly a reference to the Ghaggar-Hakra-Nara river course which ahd been noted even at the time
of the advent of the Arabs in Sind. (cf. Raverty, Mihran of Sind and its Tributaries, JASOB, Vol.
LXI, Pt. I, Extra No. 1892, pp. 471-3 and 475 f.; JASOB, Vol. LXI, Pt. I, No. III-1892, pp. 155-
297).

Evidence from Mahabharata

sarasvati_ pun.ya vaha_... samudraga_ maha_ vega_ (MBh. 3.88.2)

Holy flow of the Sarasvati joins the sea impetuously.

The Great Epic has a treasure of geographical information about the courses of the River Sarasvati
and also the pun.ya ti_rthas and a_shramas of r.s.is located on the banks of the river. This

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comprehensive evidence authenticates the Maha_bha_rata as the sheet anchor of the textual
evidence for the ancient history of Bharat.

The Great Epic enumerates the janapadas around the land of the Kurus: Pa_n~ca_la, Cedi, Matsya,
S’u_rasena, Pat.accara, Das’a_rn.a, Navara_s.t.ra, Malla, S’a_lva and Yugandhara:

santi ramya_ janapada_h bahvanna_h paritah kuru_n


pan~ca_la_’cedimatsya_s’ca s’u_rasena_h pat.accara_h
dars’a_rn.a_ navara_s.t.ram ca malla_h s’a_lva_h yugandhara_h

(MBh. Vira_t.a 1.9)

Ka_lida_sa in Meghadu_ta describes the Sarasvati_ river as flowing in the Brahma_vartta janapada,
near Kanakhala. (MD 1.52-54). The poet exhorts the cloud to drink the waters and sanctify itself:
sa_rasvati_na_m antah s’uddhas tvam api bhavita_ varn.ama_tren.a kr.s.n.ah (MD 8.53). Ka_lida_sa
notes that the course of the river is manifest on the surface. In an apparent reference to the two-fold
division of Sanskrit and Pra_kr.ta, Sarasvati_ is seen to represent both as she praises S’iva and
Pa_rvati_ through Sanskrit and Pra_kr.ta:

dvidha_ prayuktena ca van:mayena sarasvati_ tan mithunam nuna_va


sam.ska_rapu_tena varam varen.yam vadhu_m
sukhagra_hyanibandhanena (Kuma_ra Sambhavam 7.90).

In the course of the River Sarasvati_ near Aravalli ranges, north of Gujarat on the Arasur hills is a
temple of Kotes’vara Maha_deva. Flowing past Siddhapura, the river disappears in the deserts of
Kachha. (For the presence of Sarasvati_ river in and near Mount Abu: Brahma_n.d.a P. Madhya.
Upo. 13.69; MBh. Vana 192.20-21; A_di 16.19-21; Padma P. Uttara 135.2-3,7).

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Drainage system in Gujarat

Ancient extent of Marubhu_mi (Thar desert) in


comparison with the present 250 mm isohyet. Line AA
is the present 250 mm isohyet and may represent the
current eastern margin of major active natural dunes.
Line BB is the approximate limit of Aeolian
depositional features. “A tentative chronology of major
climate phases in the Late Quaternary: Harappan wet
phase (3000-1800 BC; evidence: pollen analysis from
Rajasthan salt lakes, together with archaeological
evidence of thriving sites in currently dry area (Singh
1971); Pre-Harappan drier phase (7500-3000BC)
evidence: pollen analysis (Singh 1971). Moist phase
(8000-7500 BC)(evidence: freshwater lake sediments;
start to dune weathering; extensive microlithic
settlements); major dry phase (Pre-8000 BC, Upper
Paleolithic)(Evidence: dunes cover lake basins,
absence of human activity except at margins.”(After Goudie, A.S., Allchin, B., and Hegde, K.T.M.,
1973, The former extensions of the Great Indian Sand Desert, in: Geographical Journal, Vol. 139,
Part 2, June 1973; p. 254; Fig. 3). All along the Sarasvati Basin which is like a sponge between two
perennial rivers, the Ganga and the Sindhu, the settlement sites are only a few hundred feet above
the mean sea level in contrast with the Himalayan peaks approaching 9000 metres above sea level:
Bhiwani (720 ft.), Hissar (700 ft.),
Sirsa (650 ft.), Suratgarh (700 ft.);
Fort Abbas (537 ft.). Tectonics
were the principal determinants of
the quantity of water which
flowed through this Basin with is
a doab between the Ganga and the
Sindhu. Given the small nature of
the relief, even minor shifts in
surface contours resulted in
significant changes in the surface
and subsurface drainage systems.

Sarasvati R. at Pushkar (After


Allchin, B. and Goudie, 1972,
Andrew, Pushkar: prehistory and
climatic change in western India,
in: Man, December 1972, Vol. 7,
No.4). Skanda Pura_n.a (Prabha_sa 270/30) calls the Sarasvati_ Pratiloma_ Sarasvati_ and Pra_ci_
Sarasvati_ at Prabha_sa (cf. Indian Antiquary, VI, p. 192) and Pus.kara respectively. Va_mana
Pura_n.a (50/4) and Padma Pura_n.a (Sr.s.t.i 15/148, 18/127, 148, 203, 218) note that the Sarasvati_
river is easily accessible at all places excepting at Kuruks.etra, Prabha_sa and Pus.kara. Sarasvati_
river is said to re-start in a westerly course from the Pus.kara lake after the disappearance of the
river at Vinas’ana in Kuruks.etra. The five streams including Pra_ci_ Sarasvati_ are collectively
referred to as Pan~ca-srota_ Sarasvati_. (Padma P. Sr.s.t.i 18.118, 127; 33.119-120). It is notable
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that the Skanda Pura_n.a also describes Sarasvati_ in Prabha_sa, near Camasobheda where the river
reappears, as Pan~casrota_. (Sk. Prabha_sa 202.7).

Pus.kar is located close to a river named Sarasvati which joins the Luni river. This site has provided
evidence of a sequence of settlements from the mid-palaeolithic to upper Palaeolithic and
Mesolithic periods. A site in Bhilwara district, Bagor, has yielded tools and bones of wild and
domesticated animals dated to Mesolithic period. The earliest phase is carbon-14 dated to between
5000 BCE and 2800 BCE. The microliths continue at Ganes’war (close to the Khetri copper mines)
which emerges (ca. 2800 to 2200 BCE) as a Ochre Coloured Pottery (OCP) site with copper
artefacts. Ganes’war is located on the banks of River Kantli which had joined River Dr.s.advati
which was a tributary of River Sarasvati. Thapar conjectures that Ganes’war manufactured and
supplied copper artefacts to the Harappans. These findings attest to a continuous habitation in the
mid-Sarasvati basin in Rajasthan. (B.K. Thapar, Recent archaeological discoveries in India, Tokyo,
1985, p. 14, p. 17, p. 76, p. 102). Palaeontological investigations have indicated that the climate in
Rajasthan was moist, wet and cool upto 8000 BCE and organized farming began around 3000 BCE.
The period between 3000 to 17000 BCE was found to be a period of higher rainfall than at present.
(P.K. Das, The Monsoons, New Delhi, 1998, pp. 123 and 129).

Lopa_mudra_ met and married Agastya on the sea-shore near Prabha_sa. At the same place, the
Ya_davas got drunk, fought among themselves and got annihilated. The place where Kr.s.n.a gave
up his mortal body is known as Dehotsarga and is located near Prabha_sa which is also known as
Soma-ti_rtha on the southern coast of Kathiawad or A_narta country. Kr.tsama_raprabha_sa is said
to be situated on the bank of Sarasvati_. (Sk. P. Prabha_sa 199.1). To the north is river Bhadra_.
(Sk. P. Prabha_sa 4.12-21; Na_rada P. II. 70.4-5). The forests on the banks of the river are called
Ambika_vana (Va_mana Pura_n.a: 57/33) and Ka_mkyakavana (MBh. Vana 36/41). The river’s
confluences with three rivers are mentioned: with Gan:ga_ (gan:gobheda)(Padma Pura_n.a Svarga
32/3), Arun.a_ (Va_mana Pura_n.a 40/43-44), Manda_kini_ and Yamuna_. (Padma Pura_n.a Sr.s.t.i
11/15-16, 28/148). The Sarasvati_ course meeting the ocean at Prabha_sa is stated to have its source
in the jungles of Gir in Saura_s.t.ra. (Savitri Saxena, 1995, Geographical Survey of the Pura_n.as,
Delhi, Nag Publishers). The Sarasvati_ river is stated to reappear at three places: camasobheda,
s’irobheda and na_gobhyeda. (Padma Pura_n.a 25/17-18; MBh. vana 130/3-5).

Ta_n.d.ya Bra_hman.a explains the association of Sarasvati_ with the great river through a
legend: Praja_pati emitted the Word. The Word pervaded the whole (universe). It rose upwards
as a continuous stream of water. (an apparent reference to the perennial nature of the
river)[Ta_n.d.ya Br. 20.14.2; Caland (English tr.) Pan~cavim.s’a Bra_hman.a, Calcutta, 1931,
p. 538]. The banks of the Sarasvati_ river in North-west India nurtured the development of the
Vedic lore and learning. The river had flowed from the mountains to the sea (giribhya a_
samudra_t) and disappeared in the desert sands, as if heralding the end of the Vedic age. All
groups of peoples had lived and were nourished on the banks of the Sarasvati_ river and all
took the waters of the river without any distinction. (Matsya Pura_n.a CXIV.20). Together with
Devika_ and Sarayu_, Sarasvati_ is described as saridvara_h. (MP CXXXIIII.24).

According to the Milindapan~ho (p. 114). Sarassati_ (Sarasvati_) issued forth from the Himavanta.
(loc.cit. B.C. Law, Geography of Early Buddhism, 1932, Kegan Paul, Trench, Truber and Co., p.
39).

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Vinas’ana as the place where Sarasvati_ river disappears is mentioned in Ta_n.d.ya Bra_hman.a
(25.10.16: catus’ catva_rim.s’ada_ s’vi_na_ni sarasvatya_ vinas’ana_t plaks.ah pra_sravan.as
ta_vad itah svargo lokah sarasvati_sammitena_ dhvana_ svargam lokam yanti). As’vi_na is
explained as ekos’va ekena_hora_tren.a ya_vantam adhva_nam gacchati ta_va_n eka_s’vi_nah
(Sa_yan.a). Atharvaveda explains that A_s’vina may exceed 5 yojanas: yad dha_vasi triyojanam
pan~cayojanam a_s’vinam, tatastvam punara_yasi putra_n.a_m no asah pita_ (AV. 6.131.3): If (yat)
you run three leagues, five leagues, a horseman’s day a journey, then shall you come back; you shall
be father of our sons. A yojana may be 8 kros’a (1 kros’a = 2 miles). Thus, the distance between
Vinas’ana and Plaks.a Prasravan.a may be estimated to be 44X16 = 704 miles. Plaks.a Prasravan.a
is at a distance of 44 a_s’vina from Vinas’ana, an as’vina being the distance traveled by a
consistently moving horse in one complete day and night. Plaks.a Prasravan.a is the source of the
Sarasvati_ and Vinas’ana is the place of her disappearance. Maha_bha_rata places Vinas’ana at the
meeting point of the regions lived in by S’u_dras and A_bhiras. Vinas’ana is mentioned as a region
in the Baudha_yana S’rauta Su_tra (1.2.9): A_ryavarta lies to the east of the region where (the
Sarasvati--assumed) disappears, to the west of the Black-forest, to the north of the Pa_ripa_tra
(mountains), to the south of the Himalayas. (Max Mueller, Sacred Books of the East, Delhi, 1964,
Vol. XXXII, p. 59). Vinas’ana is also mentioned in the Pan~cavim.s’a Bra_hman.a and the
Jaimini_ya Upanis.ad Bra_hman.a.

Bharadwaj identifies Plaks.a Pras’ravan.a as Lavasa reserved forest (300 42’N; 770 9’E) in lowers
mountains in Pacchad sub-division of district Nahan in Himachal Pradesh. (Bharadwaj, O.P., 1986,
Studies in Historical Geography of Ancient India, Delhi, pp. 8-19).

S’ri_ Hars.a in Nais.adhi_yacarita (Nais.adhi_ya maha_ka_vya kavipras’asti XXII.2) refers to


Sarasvati_ as a river in general: dis’i dis’i girigra_va_nah sva_m vamantu sarasvati_m, let the
mountain-stones flow their river (sarasvati_m) in all directions. In Nais.adhi_ya maha_ka_vya
(IX.51), he elaborates on Sarasvati_ both as a river and as Va_k, using the phrase,
sarasvati_rasaprava_hacakres.u bhrama_mi te bhaumi. With the blessings of S’a_rada_,
another form of Sarasvati_ adored as the guardian deity in Kashmir region, the Nais.adhacarita
gained literary merit.

“The image created in the R.gveda for the Sarasvati River is one of a powerful, full flowing river,
not easily reconciled with the literal meaning of the name “Chain of pools”…It could be that when
the composers of the Vedas first came to the Sarasvati it was a river of great magnitude…This
carries with it an interesting chronological implication: the composers of the R.gveda were in the
Sarasvati region prior to the drying up of the river and this could be closer to 2000 BC than it is to
1000 BC, somewhat earlier than most of the conventional chronologies for the presence of Vedic
Aryans in the Punjab. The geography of the R.gveda is centered on the Punjab, and the reference,
‘seven sisters’, is to the ‘saptasindhava’ the ‘seven rivers’ of the region…There are a number of
points that suggest that the modern dry river bed with the name Sarasvqati was also the ancient
river, not the least of which is the historical continuity presumed in the nomenclature itself. In a key
passage of the R.gveda, the so-called ‘River Hymn’ in Book X, Hymn 75, the author enumerates a
series of rivers, evidently in order, beginning from the east; Ganga, Yamuna, Sarasvati, Sutlej and
Ravi…the hymn alludes to the Paravatas, a people shown by later evidence of the Pancavim.s’a
Bra_hman.a to have been in the east, a very long way from their original home, if Sarasvati means
Indus. Again, the Purus, who were settled on the Sarasvati, could with great difficulty be located in
the far west. Moreover, the five tribes might easily be held to be on the Sarasvati, when they were,
as they seem to have been, the western neighbours of the Bharatas in Kurukshetra, and the Sarasvati

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could easily be regarded as the boundary of the Punjab in that sense. ” (Possehl, G.L., 1999, p. 363;
Macdonell, A.A., and Keith, A.B., 1912, Vedic Index of Names and Subjects. 2 vols. London.: Vol.
II, 436).

Today, Sindhu flows through the Sukkur Gap, a break in the Rohri Hills. The river flows through a
gorge at the mouth of which is the Bukkur island. The stream becomes only 550 metres wide but
over 20 metres deep. There are some suggestions that the Sindhu River did not flow through this
Gap during the Indus Age but had flowed to the north around Sukkur. According to Pithawala
(1959: p. 284), ca. 3000 BC the river took a southerly course to the east of the modern course,
swung east joining the present Eastern Nara just below Umarkot and ending up in the Rann of
Kutch. “…the main stream of the Indus flowed…somewhere in its present valley, that is, between
the Rohri Hills and the Kirthar range. To enter this section of its course the river need not have run,
as now, through the Bukkur gap, but may have passed northward of the Sukkur hills. But if the
Indus slipped off its axial ‘ridge’ above this point to the left hand, what would be the inevitable
consequence? The river would get on the eastern side of the Rohri hills and would not be able to
regain the main valley till a point lower down it than the latitude of Chanhudaro. Thus about one
hundred and fifty miles, reckoning axially, of the Indus valley that we know would be deprived of
its river…We believe that the Indus was flowing not much if at all further from Mohenjodaro in its
great days than it is now, and the long duration of the city’s life implies a similar tenure of its
general course by the river.” (Lambrick, 1964: 80-1). The implication is that a possible shift of the
river to the east led to the abandonment by the river of Mohenjodaro and consequent desiccation of
the city.

Ancient Drainage Network in Rann of Kutch

Chitalwala notes an interesting site of Hajnali located near the junction of the Little Rann, Gulf of
Kutch and Saurashtra. “At present the site is three kms. inland from the Gulf. It measures only 60 X 60
m. but has three metres of occupational debris...From its shape and size it seems to have been made up of
a group of large structures; in the manner of a trading post...During high tide the waters of the Gulf come
close to the site and it seems that in the past it was actually on the Gulf. With the recession of sea level it
now stands inland. The name Hajnali is also suggestive in the context. It means ‘the place of embarkation
for pilgrims bound for Haj’. Likewise Lothal, with its dockyard an dindustrial township, is located much
inland today, on the southern shore of Saurashtra… Settlements like Dholavira and Pabumath, which
stood on the seashores during the Harappan times, are now on the margins of the Ranns. Sites like
Hajnali and Lothal, also once located on the seacost, now stand further inland. A study of eustasy
suggests there might have been a phase of regression in the level of the sea between 5000 and 3000 BP
which corresponds with the eclipse of the Mature Phase of the Harappan Civilization.” (Chitalwala,
Y.M., opcit., 1984, p. 200; Agrawal, D.P. and S. Guzder, 1972, Quaternary Studies on the western Coast
of India: preliminary observation, The Palaeobotanist, 21 (2): 216-22).

“...was the Rann during Harappan times geomorphologically what it is today? The tradition of the Ranns
being an arm of the sea is both persistent and persuasive. Those who live in small villages on the margin
fo the Rann speak of ships sailing across their waters bringing goods from distant lands. They
nostalgically speak of a rich and benevolent merchant named Jagdusha and his ships with full
consignment of gold in their holds, anchoring at many points along the shores of the Ranns. However, no
one knows exactlyh when the Rann was actually a part of the Arabian Sea. Writing in 1907, Robert
Siverights refers to Alexander Burnes who learned ‘that vessels had been known to be wrecked on
Pacham and that they came for shelter in heavy weather to the island of Khadir’ (Siverights,R., 1907,
Kutch and the Rann, Journal of the Royal Geographical Society, 29 : 531). Siverights further says that
the Rann was navigable for many hundred years after the Arab invasion. But, by 1361 it is learnt from
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the historian who accompanied the Sultann Firuz Shah in the year that he led the expedition to Gujarat
‘the intervening area that was once a marsh was now “a howling desert”’ (Siverights, 1907:
531)...Mallinath, the great literary critic of the 14th-15th centuries, also mentions Kutch as a marchy
region (Gazetteer of India, 1971: 1). It is, therefore, clear that in the 14th century the Ranns were what
they are at present…” (Chitalwala, Y.M., 1984, Harappan settlements in the Kutch-Saurashtgra Region:
patterns of distribution and routes of communication, in: Lal and Gupta, opcit., pp. 197-201). S.K. Gupta
notes, that based on hydrological studies, ‘even as late as 2000 years ago, Little Rann was about 4 m
deep’ and indicates that the Ranns were indeed under a permanent sheet of water at the time the
Harappan culture flourished in Kutch. (Gupta, S.K., 1977, The Indus valley culture as seen in the context
of post-glacial climate and ecological studies in northwest India, Archaeology and Physical
Anthropology in Oceania, 6).

"All these rivers, originated in the Himalayan foothills and after draining large tracts of Panjab and
Rajasthan fell into the then existing arm of the ancient Arabian Sea, now marked by the Great Rann of
Kach. What is striking about these rivers is that after traversing the wide expanses of the region, their
mouths came quite close to one another as mentioned in the R.gveda (Bhargava, 1964). Malik et al (199)
have suggested that the present day northern part of the Great Rann represent the palaeo-delta complex
comprising the mouth of the Shatadru, Sarasvati and Drishadvati. Tectonic changes in the Kutchregion
appear to have caused he Shatadru to swing westward and flow through the Kori Creek into the Sea. The
Sarasvati, on the other hand, swung eastward and extended its course through the Great Rann, Little
Rann and Nal depression before finally debouching into the Gulf of Cambay near Prabhasa (Bhargava,
1964). Perhaps Drishadvati met this extended channel of Sarasvati in the Great Rann. Dholavira and
Lothal, two famous Harappan cities were located along this extended course of Sarasvati.

The channel of an effluent of the Indus is seen in the Kori Creek in the northwest of Rann of Kutch.
The channel course can be traced from the Creek upto Allaha Bund which was created by an
earthquake in the region in the nineteenth century A.D. The largest ancient settlement in the Rann of
Kutch are: Kotada (Dholavira) in the Khadir island and Surkotada, which is a relatively smaller site
but functioned as a military outpost. About 20 kms. from Dholavira is a small settlement of
Pabumath, where a seal with ‘unicorn’ motif and inscription was found and also numerous shell
objects. The other sites are: Desalpur, Khirasara (Nakhatrana Taluka) which has yielded seals and a
fortified settlement; Bhedi (near the village of Kothara in Central Kutch); a coastal village site of
Navinal near Mundra on the Gulf of Kutch. Of these sites, Desalpur and Khirasara have shown
evidence for occupation in both Mature and Late phases. “At Surkotada, throughout a compact
citadel and residential annexe, complex has been found but no separate city complex as such has
been available...Was Surkotada a defensive complex through the centuries to provide protection to
the eastern movement of Harappans or a well protected trading center? Well fortified areea, guard
rooms in the citadel and residential annexe, engraved figure of a soldier from Period 1C, a large
number of sling balls and bone arrow heads from all periods are very interesting evidence in this
direction.” (Joshi, J.P., 1979, The nature of settlement of Surkotada, in: Essays of Indian
Protohistory, D.P. Agrawal and D.K. Chakrabarti, eds., Delhi, BR Publishing Corp.: 64).

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Palaeochannels of Sindh ca. 4000-2000 BC (After Possehl, G.L., 1999, Fig. 3.123).
Combining the Warah Course in the northwest and the Samaro-Dharo Badahri Courses in the south,
Flam notes that the combined course may represent the prehistoric course of the Sindhu. A
conjecture is that the Western Nara was part of this course. Possehl, however, notes that this
reconstruction may be erroneous since there is no evidence that the river flowed on the high ground
between Lakhi Hills and the Bado Range if ever the river flowed into the Lake Manchar hollow.

Two significant locii emerge from this picture of settlements in Sind. What Louis Flam calls the
Nara Nadi was indeed, the independent, perennial Sarasvati River System, combined with the
waters of the Sindhu (below Naukot), had extended beyond the Little Rann of Kutch to link up with
the Gulf of Khambat through the Nal depression. The settlements were close the raw material
resources of the Bronze-age civilization, in particular the copper resources of Khetri mines in
Rajasthan.. “To the east, the alluvium of the Indus seems very old and is interdigitated with silts
from the Eastern Nara…The land surface is old and is now largely covered by shifting sand dunes
so large that they can chose rivers. The sands hold seasonal lakes or dhands that are now used by
pastoral nomads for agriculture and domestic water. The presence of a scatter of small prehistoric
archaeological sites in this desert fringe is evidence that the same was probably true during the
Indus Age.”
(Possehl, G.L.,
1999, p. 284; loc.
cit. Lambrick,
1964: 88-9).
Eastern Nara may
be viewed as the
extention of the
Sarasvati River
System beyond
Bahawalpur
Province towards
the Rann of
Kutch.

Civilization was
at the mercy of
shifting water
run-offs

At many sites, the


civilization was at
the mercy of
shifting patterns
of run-offs and
water resources.

Raikes found the


soil in
Kalibangan, a "coarse greyish sand very similar in mineral content to that found in the bed of the
present day Yamuna.” (Raikes 1968: 286). Hydrological and archaeological investigations indicate
an "alternating capture of the Yamuna by the Indus and Ganges systems respectively" (Raikes 1968:
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286) Yamuna (or Drishadvati-Ghaggar) river tributaries of the River Sarasvati, switched back and
forth between two primary river channels. Kalibangan was abandoned circa 18th century BCE
perhaps due to the following changes in river channels:

Westward diversion to Sindhu 2500-1750 BCE=750 years (coinciding with the Harappan
period occupation).
Eastward diversion to Ganga 1750-1100 BCE=650 years (coinciding with the abandonment of
Harappan sites).
Westward diversion to Sindhu 1100-500 BCE=600 years (coinciding with Painted Grey Ware
sites).
Eastward diversion to Ganga 500-100 BCE=400 years (coinciding with a period of
abandonment).
Westward diversion to Sindhu 100 BCE-500 CE=600 years (coinciding with the Early Historic
period).
Eastward diversion to Ganga in about 500 CE (coinciding with a period of abandonment).

"Archaeological evidence...overwhelmingly affirms that the Hakra was a perennial river through
all its course in Bahawalpur during the fourth millennium B.C. (Hakra Period) and the early
third millennium B.C. (Early Harappan Period). About the end of the second, or not later than
the beginning of the first millennium BC, the entire course of the Hakra seems to have dried up
and a physical environment similar to the present day in Cholistan set in. This forced the people
to abandon most of the Hakra flood plain.” (Mughal, M. Rafique. "Recent Archaeological
Research in the Cholistan Desert," Harappan Civilization: A Contemporary Perspective,
Gergory L. Possehl, (ed.), Pp. 85-95, New Delhi: Oxford and IBH Publishing Company, 1982,
p. 94)."
Fifty kilometers north of Lhasa (the capital of Tibet), scientists found layers of pink sandstone
containing grains of magnetic minerals (magnetite) that have recorded the pattern of the Earth's flip-
flopping magnetic field. These sandstones also contain plant and animal fossils that were deposited
when the Tethys Sea periodically flooded the region. The study of these fossils has revealed not
only their geologic age but also the type of environment and climate in which they formed. For
example, such studies indicate that the fossils lived under a relatively mild, wet environment about
105 million years ago, when Tibet was closer to the equator. Today, Tibet's climate is much more
arid, reflecting the region's uplift and northward shift of nearly 2,000 km. Fossils found in the
sandstone layers offer dramatic evidence of the climate change in the Tibetan region due to plate
movement over the past 100 million years.

At present, the movement of India continues to put enormous pressure on the Asian continent, and
Tibet in turn presses on the landmass to the north that is hemming it in. The net effect of plate-
tectonics forces acting on this geologically complicated region is to squeeze parts of Asia eastward
toward the Pacific Ocean. One serious consequence of these processes is a deadly "domino" effect:
tremendous stresses build up within the Earth's crust, which are relieved periodically by earthquakes
along the numerous faults that scar the landscape. Some of the world's most destructive earthquakes
in history are related to continuing tectonic processes that began some 50 million years ago when
the Indian and Eurasian continents first met.
http://pubs.usgs.gov/publications/text/himalaya.html

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Dry channels of Sarsuti,
its tributary Ma_rkanda,
meet at Pehoa,
downstream, the river is
called Ghaggar. [KS
Valdiya, 2002, Fig. 3.1]

Maps show ‘Dry Bed of


Hakra or Ghaggar’ run past
Dilawar or Derawar in
Bahawalpur State and down
to Sind linking up with
‘Raini N’, which ran to a
point close to E. Nara R.
Nara River reached the Great
Rann of Cutch at Ali
Bandar.[See, e.g., The
Imperial Gazetteer of India, XXVI, Atlas, new (revised) ed., Oxford, 1931, Plates 34 and 38.]

There are indications that even as late as 16th the people of the desert – as it thus became – to
century CE, Sutlej was flowing through the the Indus valley. The course then taken by the
course of Ghaggar and had earlier charted an Sutlej was apparently a continuation of the
independent course into the Rann of Kutch. The present course of the Ghaggar. About 1593 the
satellite images do show the signature tunes of Sutlej left the Ghaggar and went north once
hundreds of ancient courses of river Sutlej more. The Beas came south to meet it, and the
(called Naiwals), as the river moved westwards two flowed in the same channel under various
away from Shatrana. “After it leaves the hills names – Macchuwah, Hariani, Dand, Numi,
the river is never called Sutlej by the people Nili and Gharah. Then the Sutlej once more
and it has changed its course more than once in returned to its old course and rejoined Ghaggar.
historical times. The history of those changes It was only in 1796 that the Sutlej again left the
can be traced with considerable probability and Ghaggar and finally joined the Beas.” (The
detail. In the time of Arrian, the Sutlej found an Imperial Gazetteer of India (New Edition),
independent outlet into the Rann of Kutch. In 1908, Volume XXIII, Clarendon Press, Oxford,
the year AD 1000 it was a tributary of the p.179.)
Hakra, and flowed in the Eastern Nara. Thence
the former bed can be traced back through “Classical writers mention as a great stream.
Bahawalpur and Bikaner into the Sirsa tahsil of (McCrindle, Ancient India, as described by
Hissar, until it is lost near Tohana. From Ptolemy, p. 88) But they do not mention it as a
Tohana to Rupar, this old bed cannot be traced; tributary of the Indus, though they mention the
but it is known that the Sutlej took a southerly other four rivers – Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi and
course at Rupar, instead of turning west, as Beas – by the names as branches of the Indus.
now, to join the Beas. Thus the Sutlej or the Their failure to mention a river of its
Hakra – for both streams flowed in the same dimensions then, could not be by oversight. It is
bed – is probably the lost river of the Indian argued in this connection that the Beas was the
desert, whose waters made the sands of Bikaner terminus of Alexander’s expedition and hence
and Sind a smiling garden. By 1245 the Sutlej his chroniclers have nothing to say of the
had taken a more northerly course, the Hakra country beyond it. But, be as it is, it is
had dried up and a great migration too place of unthinkable that if the Sutlej, at all, joined the
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Indus, even its junction would have passed
unnoticed by Alexander’s men while sailing (Shamsul Islam Siddiqi, River Changes in the
down the Jhelum…This fact inevitably shows Ghaggar Plain, Madras, Indian Geographical
that during the classical period it pursued an Journal, Vol. 19, No. 4, pp. 139-146)
independent course…

“It is, therefore, inferred that: (i) In early This observation is elaborated further by
historic times, an important river system, the Lambrick: “On the opposite side, that is the
Ghaggar, watered the Ghaggar plain. (2) The right bank, there are traces of flood channels
Sutlej was the most westerly and the Jumna the from old beds of the Sutlej, or it may
most easterly tributary of the Ghaggar and their sometimes have been the entire Sutlej River,
present courses are of comparatively late joining the Hakra in three widely separated
acquisition. There are both physical and places. The furthest upstream and least distinct
historical grounds for the belief that during of these seems to have come in at Bhatnir, some
early historic times the Juna discharged into the twenty-five miles above the junction of the
Sutlej. (Lyde, LW, The Continent of Asia, p. Chitang. Next in order, an ancient winding bed
393) (3) The affluents of the Ghaggar shifted of the Sutlej, unites with the Hakra at Walhar
east and west and were one after another (Fort Abbas), just within the border of
beheaded and captured by the Indus and Bahawalpur. This appears to derive from an old
Ganges systems. This hypothesis is course of the Sutlej which flowed past Bhatinda
corroborated by the recent investigations which and Malot, and its general alignment has been
have established beyond doubt a marked followed by the Hakra Branch Canal. The third
westing tendency in the Sutlej and an easting of these connecting channels runs down from
tendency in the Jumna. The Hindu tradition about 20 miles ENE of Bahawalpur City, and
which believes a mighty river, Sarsuti, to have meets the Hakra near Kudwala. Its general
once flowed across the Ghaggar Plain and later direction has been followed by another
joined the Ganges at Allahabad has mistaken irrigation canal, The Desert Branch; but we
the shifting of the Jumna and its junction with have been told that it was previously ‘a large
the Ganges at Allahad for Sarsuti’s. As such dry channel called Vahind, a feeder of the
this tradition also supports this conclusion. (4) Sankara’ (Buckley, R.B., 1893, Irrigation
When the two important tributaries of the Works in India and Egypt. London: E. & S.N.
Ghaggar, the Sutlej and the Jumna, were Spoon.: 156). Thirty miles or so below this
respectively captured by the Indus and the junction, in the neighbourhood of Derawal, the
Ganges and converted into their chief affluents single wide bed of the Hakra seems to develop
the Ghaggar was reduced to the insignificant into a sort of delta of smaller channels.”
stream, it now is.” (Lambrick, 1964: 30-1).

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River Sarasvati: Archaeology, Culture
and Heritage Tourism
The course of the River Sarasvati extends from the Himalayan glaciers through Rajasthan to
Gujarat through a variety of ecological zones—Himalayan snows, mountainous terrain
(challenging the mountaineers and trekkers), mighty rivers (some stretches navigable), vast
lakes with boating facilities, fertile alluvial plains, semi arid lands, salty marshes. Eco-tourism
can be promoted in the glacial sources and along the variety of watershed management projects
ongoing and proposed to ensure the equitable distribution of water from the glacier sources and
integrated development of surface, sub-surface and groundwater resources and water
harvesting projects. The river basin is thus a rich source for developmental tourism for
scientists, development professionals and students while we celebrate a_pah as the sacred
waters in the time honoured traditions of the country.
The tasks of relating archaeology to culture historical sites of River Sarasvati are an inter-
and promotion of heritage tourism on the disciplinary ende
avour involving arcaeology, water resources
management, development of cultural projects investigations from a variety of disciplines
and tourism. attesting to the fact that River Sarasvati is not a
myth but is ground truth. The historicity of the
Saravati Civilization: Locus and Survey of Mahabharata and Vedic texts is getting
research work done so far reinforced through the investigations of
scientists and technologists.
The following lists have been compiled:
Analysis of Settlement patterns in relation to
A comprehensive list of archaeological sites, palaeo-channels
mostly on the banks of Vedic River Sarasvati
with details of bibliographical references, site The list of archaeological sites of Sarasvati
sizes in hectare, site location coordinates and Civilization has been prepared based on
the typological classification of the artifacts published reports and after the framework
surveyed/excavated at the sites; and provided by Gregory Possehl in the Gazetteer
of Sites in his magnum opus: Indus Age – the
A comprehensive archaeological and geological Beginnigns. This is a preliminary list which
bibliography with particular reference to issues requires further updates. In a few instances,
related to archaeology, culture, tourism and information needs to be updated with
water resources management for the locations coordinates and the sizes of the identified sites.
mostly along the river banks, and close to the In particular, the status of excavations, if any,
coastline in Gujarat. A detailed study of the undertaken needs to be highlighted for each
literature related to specific sites listed in the site. The updates should provide details of
bibliography will help evaluate the selection excavation reports, if any, related to the
criteria for detailed exploration and to prioritise excavations carried out since 1947 at any of
the future archaeological survey/excavation these sites. In cases where excavations are
work. A remarkable pattern seen from the completed and/or ongoing, the expeditious
bibliography is that during the last 15 years publication of excavation reports (if possible,
there have been a number of scientific on the internet as has been done by Prof.

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Meadow and Kenoyer for the recent of Bha_rati_ya civilization over the last 5
excavations at Harappa) will be essential, to millennia, governed by two cultural streams of
avoid duplication of effort. The attached Vedic yajn~a and Vedic vrata which virtually
bibliography, which has been sought to be define the entire gamut of regional variations
made as comprehensive as possible, on exemplified by the emergence of temples and
archaeology and environmental/ geological/ a_gama in almost all regions of the country.
hydrological aspects, detailing the researches,
excavations/surveys carried out so far. While there are five very large sites on the
Sarasvati River Basin, three larger than either
Two remarkable features noticed from the Harappa or Mohenjodaro, it is notable that there
names of sites are: (1) that there are a number are hundreds of very small settlements of less
of plae names which are repeated in more than than one ha. in size. The sizes and close
one district; and (2) there are only a few place clustering of the settlements matches the
names ending with a –sar suffix. The –sar description of ‘gra_ma’ in the Vedic texts.
suffix is common in many place names Though boats were the major media of
recorded on Survey of India topo-sheets and transport on the waterways of rivers and the
many village names in Census records; this is long coastline of the civilization area, wagons
perhaps due to the fact that the archaeological were also used as evidenced by terracotta
sites were not close to lakes but were located on models of carts found at many sites.
the banks of a river system with tributaries and
distributaries. The formation of lakes was likely Further researches and development
a later geological event as the river Sarasvati projects
started desiccating deprived of the glacier
waters fed through tributaries: Sutlej and The riverine nature of the civilization is
Yamuna. apparent from the long-distance trade
established with Mesopotamia traversing the
The staggering number of sites and site Persian Gulf. The type of boats in use even
typologies such as Pre-Harappan, Transitional, today on River Sindhu were used to traverse the
Soth-Siswal and Post-urban Harappan, located Rivers Sindhu and Sarasvati and the Gulf,
on the banks of River Sarasvati point to the hugging the coastline.
continuous and indigenous evolution of culture
in the River Basin. This is further augmented
by the surprising finds of Copper Hoard sites
overlapping with the Mature Sarasvati
Civilization periods. This points to the
possibility of the migrations of people away
Mohenjodaro.Sindhu River near Mohenjodaro. Boat
and Basin
from the Gujarat and Rajasthan Sarasvati cart still plying here.Moulded steatite tablet
showing
towards the upper reaches of the River boat, Mohenjo-daro.
basin in Modern-day boat on
Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh and River Sindhu
towards the Ganga-Yamuna doab. This dramtic
feature of internal migrations exhibited by the Persian Gulf states had used a system of
site locations have to be elaborated further by weights similar to the one in use in Sarasvati
systematic excavation of the many sites located Civilization attesting to the presence of
on the banks of Palaeo-channels. seafaring merchants from Meluhha.

This pattern of internal migrations is of great Cubical weights in graduated sizes. These
cultural and historical significance in weights conform to the standard Harappan binary
determining scientically the roots and evolution weight system that was used in all of the
settlements. The smallest weight in this series is
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0.856 There are indications that Meluhha of
grams and Mesotamian and Akkadian cuneiform texts was
the most coterminus with the Sarasvati Sindhu
common Civilization. The cultural indicator is the use of
weight is turbinella pyrum (s’ankha) which is also
recorded in the R.gveda, Atharva Veda and
develops into a major industry in Bha_rata
extending upto the Gulf of Mannar and the
approximately 13.7 grams, which is in the 16th
coastal ports of the East Coast. It should be
ratio. In the large weights the system become a
noted that the habitat of turbinella pyrum is
decimal increase where the largest weight is 100
times the weight of the 16th ratio in the binary
only in the coastline of Bha_rata and does not
system. These weights were found in recent occur in any other part of the world. S’ankha
excavations at Harappa and may have been used (conch shell) is used as a conch trumpet, is used
for controlling trade. for making bangles, necklaces and other
The key is to unravel the riverine and maritime ornaments, it is deemed sacred as part of
nature of the origins of the Sarasvati as.t.aman:gal.a (eight auspicious symbols), used
Civilization. One example is provided by the by mothers to feed medicines to children and is
Amri-Nal typologies in many sites in Gujarat used as ladles on auspicious occasions and for
and in Makran regions hugging the shallow performing yajn~as. S’ankha adorns the
coast-lines of the Gulf of Khambat, Gulf of mu_rtis of Vis.n.u and S’iva in a_gama.
Khambat, Makran coastline and moving Kr.s.n.a is adorned with Pa_n~cajanya used to
towards the Persian Gulf As exemplified by the call the troops to battle and many heroes of the
early contacts with the Mesopitamian Mahabharata have specifically-named conch
civilization and contacts recorded among trumpets made of s’an:kha.
Mesopotamia, Dilmun, Magan and Meluhha.
Giant reservoirs at Dholavira (the largest measuring 263 feet by 39 feet and 24 feet in
depth) that together held more than 325,000 cubic yards of water.
http://www.archaeology.org/0011/newsbriefs/aqua.html

Dholavira, Stage IV. North Gate. An

Dholavira.
Polished

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stone pillars and ring-stones found in situ as structural supports
for posts to hold multi-storeyed structures are evidences of
advances in stone masonry in the Civilization. Similar ring-
stones were found in Mohenjodaro. Limestone ringstones:
discarded along a street in HR area, Mohenjodaro (ASI)

inscription of ten characters was found in


North Gate chamber, letters measure 33
X 27 cm. Approx.

The impressive rock-cut reservoir, polished stone pillars and ring-stone bases, apart from stone
fortifications and gateways found in Dholavira are an indication of the competence of well-diggers,
stone-cutters, builders and masons of the Civilization. This ability to scoop into rock is evidenced in
man-made caves of the historical periods, in many parts of Western, Central and Northern Bharat.
The word d.han:gar means both a metalsmith and a well-digger. A stone-cutter using the chisel and
hammer could create such a magnificent structure as the reservoir dug in stone in Dholavira.

The recent discovery of two sunken rivers and some artifacts from the Gulf of Khamat (which was
formed about 10,000 years ago by the incursion of the sea) by the National Institute of Ocean
Technology suggests a revision of the chronology for Afghanistan< Baluchistan and Sarasvati
Civilization, in the context of Amri-Nal culture occurring in many sites in Gujarat (close to the Gulf
of Khambat and Gulf of Kutch) and in the Makran coast. This may hold the key to the extensive
trade contacts with Mesopotamia established early in the 3rd millennium BCE.

It is also necessary to have the excavation reports (interim or preliminary) published for the sites
already excavated.

To evolve a strategy for further excavation work, the following frequency distribution of sites,
particulary in relation to the ancient river courses, may be taken into consideration.

Sites in Bharat: [District: No. of sites] Sites in Pakistan: [District;


No. of sites]
Jind 162 Bhatinda 26 Bahawalpur 344
Kurukshetra 78 Jaipur 24 Jhalawan 82
Karnal 72 Kheda 23 Dadu 41
Bhavnagar 64 Jamnagar 15 Karachi 19
Hissar 56 Gurgaon 17 Dera Ismail Khan 14
Banaskantha 53 Ambala 14 Bannu 14
Ganganagar 53 Jullunder 14 Kachi 13
Amreli 33 Gurdaspur 9 Bulandshahr 11
Ahmedabad 27 Broach 7 Hardoi 7
Kalat 7
Kharan 7

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Ganganagar-Bahawalpur province connection (Sarasvati River)

Ganganagar District (53 sites) in Bharat borders the Bahawalpur province in Pakistan (344 sites).

The clustering of almost 400 settlements in just two districts, one in Bharat (Ganganagar) and one in
Pakistan (Bahawalpur) may be seen from the sites listed with the coordinates as follows. The sites
are close to the banks of River Sarasvati-Ghaggar (Hakra); and indicate the migration of Sutlej river
away from the River Sarasvati to join the River Sindhu and further flow southwards along the sites
in Bahawalpur province:

Chak 011 Ganganagar Mature Harappan 29 14 00 N73 36 00 E


Sothi-Siswal
Chak 015/3 Ganganagar Mature Harappan 29 14 00 N73 36 00 E

Chak 021 Ganganagar Mature Harappan 29 14 00 N73 36 00 E

Chak 040 Ganganagar PGW


Sothi-Siswal
Chak 043 Ganganagar Mature Harappan 29 10 00 N73 29 00 E

Chak 044 Bahawalpur 0.8 Mature Harappan 29 13 55 N71 46 15 E


Chak 045 Bahawalpur 0.7 Kot Diji 29 13 55 N71 48 48 E
Chak 045 'A' South Bahawalpur 1.5 Mature Harappan 29 11 50 N71 47 27 E
Chak 045 'B' North Bahawalpur Mature Harappan 29 13 25 N71 48 00 E
Chak 050 Ganganagar Mature Harappan 29 10 00 N73 29 00 E

Chak 051 Bahawalpur 0.5 Cemetery H 29 11 05 N71 43 50 E


Chak 058/1 Ganganagar PGW
Sothi-Siswal
Chak 058/2 Ganganagar Mature Harappan
Chak 059 Ganganagar PGW
Sothi-Siswal
Chak 061 East Bahawalpur 0.7 Cemetery H 29 06 30 N71 37 38 E
Chak 061 West Bahawalpur Mature Harappan 29 06 27 N71 37 30 E
Chak 069 Bahawalpur 5 Cemetery H 29 09 32 N71 51 13 E
Chak 071/1 Ganganagar Mature Harappan 29 14 00 N73 17 00 E

Chak 072/3 Ganganagar Mature Harappan 29 10 00 N73 19 00 E


Sothi-Siswal
Chak 075, Bharat Ganganagar Mature Harappan 29 10 00 N73 18 00 E
Sothi-Siswal
Chak 075, Pakistan Bahawalpur 0.4 Mature Harappan 29 01 33 N71 14 58 E
Chak 076 Bahawalpur 2.5 Mature Harappan 29 01 25 N71 14 38 E
Kot Diji
Chak 077 Ganganagar Mature Harappan
Chak 080 Ganganagar Mature Harappan 29 12 00 N73 15 00 E

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Chak 087 Ganganagar Rang Mahal 29 13 15 N73 15 00 E
Mature Harappan
Chak 088 'A' West Bahawalpur 8.1 Cemetery H 29 06 51 N71 47 30 E
Chak 088, Bharat Ganganagar Mature Harappan
Chak 088, Pakistan Bahawalpur 4.2 Cemetery H 29 06 53 N71 47 50 E
Chak 097 Bahawalpur 3.8 Mature Harappan 29 06 24 N71 14 34 E
Chak 107 Bahawalpur 0.05 Cemetery H 29 06 24 N71 40 20 E
Chak 112 'P' Rahimyar Khan0.8 Mature Harappan 28 22 08 N70 29 01 E
Chak 113/10R Khanewal 0.6 Mature Harappan 30 03 00 N71 48 00 E
Chak 121 'A' Rahimyar Khan19.3 Mature Harappan 28 24 40 N70 36 10 E
Chak 124 Rahimyar Khan4.9 Mature Harappan 28 25 40 N70 37 45 E
Kot Diji
Chak 133/10R Khanewal Mature Harappan 30 20 00 N71 55 00 E
Chak 271 HR Bahawalpur 1.1 Kot Diji 29 13 10 N72 53 34 E
Chak 280 HR Bahawalpur 0.3 Kot Diji 29 14 19 N72 47 37 E
Chak 315 HR Bahawalpur 5.1 Kot Diji 29 12 07 N72 24 42 E
Chak 337 HR Bahawalpur 4.6 Kot Diji 29 07 40 N72 20 10 E
Chak 341 Bahawalpur 19.9 Kot Diji 29 10 27 N72 17 53 E
Chak 353 West Bahawalpur 1.6 Hakra Wares 29 11 06 N72 16 19 E

Nature of technical collaboration/cultural co-operation between Bharat and Pakistan in carrying


forward further archaeological explorations of this cluster of sites has to discussed further.
near Kurrulwala (290 33’N, 730 52E), south of
Importance of Bhatinda District (River the Abohar town. These Naiwals might have
Sutlej as tributary of River Sarasvati) constituted the palaeo-channels through which
Sutlej joined Hakra.
The number of sites in the district of Punjab is
indicative of the migration of River Sutlej away These naiwals may constitute the remnants of a
from River Sarasvati evidenced by the hundreds migratory path of the Sutlej river westward
of palaeo-channels of what are called, away from the Sarasvati River Basin, and
‘Naiwals’. toward the Sindhu River system. In the 13th
century A.D., Sutlej had flowed into the Beas
valley through two dry beds (one of which was
The western Hakra had three tributaries all of called Dhunda), between the western Naiwal
which were called Naiwal (eastern, middle and and the present Sutlej.
western Naiwal). These three Naiwals joined

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The work done by Central Groundwater Board
Braided palae-channels of the Sutlej lying through a Sarasvati Project in 1999 established
between the present Sutlej and the old Sarasvati the existence of aquifers about 30 to 60 m.
bed. The present Ghaggar can also ben seen in below the ground; 23 of the 24 test tube-well
drillings were successful in yielding
potable waters at the spots indicated by
satellite images of palaeo-channels and
fault-lines. The Regional Remote
Sensing Services Centre, Jodhpur has
come out with a comprehensive
mapping of the palaeo-channels over the
entire stretch from Siwalik ranges to
Rann of Kutch correlated with the
archaeological sites.

As observed by Prof. Yashpal in 1982


using LANDSAT images, River Sutlej
took a 90-degree turn at Ropar and
deflected in a north-westerly direction,
leaving behind signature tunes of
naiwals (river channels) moving away
north-westwards from Shatrana.
Geologists surmise that such deflections
of rivers or migrations are generally
attributed to tectonic events. The
earthquake which shook Bhuj is seen to
be a recurring event (as noted by Prof.
the map (After Yashpal et al, 1980). The Valdiya and Dr. JG Negi, in a 250-year
braided palaeo-channels constitute the recurrence, evidence Allah Bund); such plate
signatures of the Sutlej river as it migrated tectonics (Indian-Eurasian plate clash which is
westward to join the Sindhu, abandoning the dynamic even today since the Indian plate is
Sarasvati River. The ancient bed of the Ghaggar moving northwards, at the rate of 7 cm. per
has an average width of about 6 to 8 kms. from year) which have a wave-form result in land
Shatrana to Marot . uplifts and land submergences, not excluding
sea incursions (witness submergence of
The palaeo-channels (ancient courses) of the Dwaraka). The Aravalli ranges parallel the fault
river system range upto 6 kms. wide and at a line which has structural control over the entire
place called Shatrana (60 kms. south of North-west Bharat terrain; rivers east of the
Patiala), the width of the channel as seen from ranges tend to migrate eastwards, rivers west of
IRS 1-C satellite images is 20 kms. Geo- the ranges tend to migrate westwards, thus
morphological tests report that the Ghaggar resulting in a north-westerly tilt of the entire
river bed at a depth of 30 to 60 m. does contain north-west Bharat terrain.
Himalayan river sediments dated to circa
10,500 - 12,500 Before Present (cf. Singhvi et Northwestern India with its present day river
al). The work of Bhabha Atomic Research system and the major palaeo-channels as
Centre scientists corroborates this evidence by deciphered from the Landsat imagery (After
tritium (an isotope of Hydrogen) tests of water Yashpal, et al 1980, Fig. 49.1 in Lal and Gupta,
samples from 800 deep wells around Pokharan. 1984).

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discoveries by NIOT that the Saurashtra uplift
Yash Pal, Baldev Sahai, R.K.Sood and D.P. might have occurred when the Gulf itself was
Agrawal, Space Applications Centre, and PRL, formed about 10,000 years ago submerging the
Ahmedabad, 1980, Remote sensing of the `lost' ancient channels of Rivers Narmada and Tapati.
Sarasvati river: Proc. Indan Acad. Sci. (Earth If so, River Sarasvati could as well have flowed
and Planetary Sci.), Vol. 89, No. 3, Nov. 1980, through the Nal Sarovar, through Lothal, Padri,
pp. 317-331: `` ... For miles and miles around Rangapura up to Somnath (Prabhas Patan). All
Marot one finds numerous place names with a ancient texts are consistent that the sangamam
suffix toba, which in the local language means of River Sarasvati with the saagara was at
a playa (or rann) ... It is obviously improbable Prabhas Patan. The Great Epic also refers to the
for such a mighty river to vanish into a shallow submergence of Dwaraka by the onrushing
depression (or khadins in the local languages) waves from the ocean in Mausala Parva with
in its heyday. There is, therefore, a good an exhortation from Sri Krishna to the residents
possibility that the Ghaggar flowed into the of the city to move south of Prabhas Patan
Nara and further into the Rann of Kutch (Somnath). This may indeed correlate with a
without joining the Indus ... `` ... If the bore- reference in Sangam literature text
hole samples from these areas are analysed, one (Patirruppattu) that the Chera kings trace their
is sure to come across mineralogical lineage of 42 generations from Dwaraka (i.e.
compositions reflecting the signatures of the from circa 1500 BCE, assuming an average
ancient Sutlej and the Palaeo-Yamuna when period of 25 years per generation). In the
they flowed through the Sarasvati bed ... A context of dating the river courses, in the
multidisciplinary approach employing context of settlements of people on river-banks,
archaeological, mineralogical, chemical and the most accurate dates are obtained from the
thermoluminescence, combined with remote over 2000 archaeological sites ranging between
sensing techniques can provide a clear and 3500 BCE (Dholavira, Kalibangan) to 1500
consistent history of these changes in the BCE (Dwaraka, Kunal). The largest sites of the
palaeochannels of northwestern sub-continent civilization which have not been excavated are
in an absolute time-frame.'' in Bhatinda district (Gurnikalan and Hasni).
Rakhigarhi excavations are ongoing.
These findings establish the ground-truth of Ganweriwala has not been excavated.
River Sarasvati, with a course independent of Gurnikalan, Hasni, Rakhigarhi and
the Sindhu River system, running about 300 Ganweriwala are larger than either Harappa or
kms. east of the Sindhu course. The flow of R. Mohenjodaro in extent.
Sarasvati in Gujarat beyond Rann of Kutch into
Saurashtra is still an open question for further
investigation by ecologists and historians alike.
There are indications from the Gulf of Khambat

Ecology, River Sarasvati and roots of


Civilization of Bharat
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Gemorphology, Late Quaternary Stratigraphy and Palaeoclimatology of the Thar Dune Field

Wasson, R.J., Rajaguru, S.N., Misra, V.N., Agrawal, D.P., Dhir, R.P., Singhvi, A.K., Kameswara Rao,
K.

"Lacustrine history in the Thar

"Singh et al. (1974) carried out a pollen analytical study of Lakes Lunkaransar, Sambhar and Didwana,
providing a Holocene reord of vegetation changes in the northern Thar. The record at each lake was very
similar, indicating that regional climate change was responsible for the vegetation changes recorded.
Singh et al. were able to propose a series of climatic changes: phase 1, active dune development
evidenced by dune sand below the Holocene lacustrine sediments; phases 2 and 3 10,000-6000 B.P.
lacustrine conditions prevailed with rainfall greater than that at present; phase 4, the wettest period 5000-
3000 B.P. with lacustrine conditions and swamp vegetation indicating increased rainfall; phase 5, drying
of the lakes and a lackof pollen, 3000-1100 B.P. and phase 6, 1100-0 B.P., pollen only preserved at
Lunkaransar indicating conditions essentially the same as today, that is, ephemeral playas with very thin
halite crusts.
"Further work has now carried out at Didwana by us, in conjunction with G.Singh, and a longer record
has been obtained from the deepest part of that lake...

"It is noteworthy that groundwater at Palana, 23 km south of Bikaner has been dated at c.5000 B.P. by
the radiocarbon method (Ramaswamy, 1968). This corresponds to part of the high-water stage at
Didwana, at a time when Singh et *al. (1974) postulated greater rainfall. Sonntag et al. (1980) have
demonstrated that groundwater ages closely correlate with those palaeoclimatic periods when
groundwater recharge was most likely in the Sahara. This lends support to the view that groundwater in
the Thar may have been recharged at ca. 5000 B.P...

"The history of lacustrine seeimentation in the Thar shows that hyper-saline conditions prevailed at about
the Last Glacial Maximum, and violent fluctuations of water-level occurred between this maximum or
aridity and the onset of freshwater conditions ca. 6000 B.P. Freshwater, high lake level conditions
prevailed until ca. 4000 B.P. when sediments rather like those of today began to be deposited..."
Ramaswamy, C. (1968). Monsoon over the Indus valley during the Harappan period. Nature. v. 217
(5129), pp. 628-629.Singh G., Joshi, R.D., Chpra, S.K., and Singh, A.B. (1974) Late Quaternary history
of vegetation and climate of the Rajasthan Desert, India. Phil. Trans. Soc. London. B.Biol.Sci. V. 267
(889), p. 467-501.

High-Resolution Holocene Environmental Changes in the Thar Desert, Northwestern India

Y. Enzel, 1L. L. Ely, 2S. Mishra, 3R. Ramesh, 4R. Amit, 5B. Lazar, 1S. N. Rajaguru, 3V. R. Baker, 6A.
Sandler 5

Abstract: Sediments from Lunkaransar dry lake in northwestern India reveal regional water table and
lake level fluctuations over decades to centuries during the Holocene that are attributed to changes in the
southwestern Indian monsoon rains. The lake levels were very shallow and fluctuated often in the early
Holocene and then rose abruptly around 6300 carbon-14 years before the present (14C yr B.P.). The lake
completely desiccated around 4800 14C yr B.P. The end of this 1500-year wet period coincided with a
period of intense dune destabilization. The major Harrapan-Indus civilization began and flourished in
this region 1000 years after desiccation of the lake during arid climate and was not synchronous with the
lacustral phase.
1
Institute of Earth Sciences and Department of Geography, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem,
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Jerusalem 91904, Israel.
2
Department of Geology, Central Washington University, Ellensburg, WA 98926, USA.
3
Deccan College, Deccan College Road, Pune 411006, India.
4
Earth Science Division, Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad 380009, India.
5
Geological Survey of Israel, 30 Malkhei Israel Street, Jerusalem, Israel.
6
Department of Hydrology and Water Resources, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA.

Science, Volume 284, Number 5411 Issue of 2 Apr 1999, pp. 125 - 128
http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/284/5411/125

The two scientific articles (Text boxes) demonstrate the conditions for water-supply in the lakes of
the Thar desert: Didwana, Sambhar and Lunkaransar, in particular. The freshwater in the lakes were
at high levels ca. 10,000 to 6,000 B.P. The desiccation of the lakes occurred ca. 4,800 to 4,000 B.P.
It is hypothesised that these water-level changes are attributable to the changes in the southwestern
Indian monsoon rains.

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Synoptic view provided by the LANDSAT of northwestern India and palaeochannels of
Sarasvati River in relation the present rivers. The present Sutlej is shown taking a sharp
westward turn near Rupar. Shows 6-8 km. wide palaeo-channel of Sarasvati River (from Siwalik
thru Kalibangan and Anupgarh to Marot); present Shatadru (Sutlej) takes a sharp turn at Rupar.
(Yashpal et al., 1984, Fig. 215).

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Present and
ancient
courses of the
Punjab rivers
(After R.D.
Oldham, 1887,
On probable
changes in the
geography of
the Punjab and
its rivers. An
historico-
geographical
study. Journal
of the Asiatic
Society of
Bengal, 55:
322-343).

Why does
Hakra river
bed widen
below Walar:
Oldham's map
of Sarasvati
River?

"The variation
in the number
and location of
sites of
different
protohistoric
cultures
suggests that
different
segments of the river were receiving different volumes of water during different periods. For
example, during the Hakra Ware and Mature Harappan times, the middle reaches of the river,
between longitudes 71 deg. and 72 deg. east were receiving more water, whereas during Early
Harappan times the upper reaches, comprising the area on either side of the Indo-Pakistani border
and the northern part of Haryana, were receiving a higher water supply. Again, during Late
Harappan times there was a decrease or cessation in the supply in western Haryana and Punjab,
Ganganagar and the contiguous Bahawalpur sector though some water was available further down
in western Bahawalpur. Again, the river seems to have remained completely dry for several
centuries after the disintegration and disappearance of the Harappan Civilization sometime in the
second millennium BC. However, it received a limited supply of water again in the first millennium
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BC as indicated by the presence of a few Painted Grey Ware (PGW) sites in the Ganganagar District
and the contiguous Bahwalpur area (Pande 1977; Mughal 1981)... the shifting of the Sutlej and
Yamuna_ courses into and away from the Ghaggar-Hakra (Sarasvati_) was neither a unique nor a
simultaneous event... the Maha_bha_rata period (Sorensen, S., 1904, An Index to the names in the
Mahabharata, London: 622), however, the Sarasvati_ had dried up by getting lost in the sands at
Vinas'ana... However, its reappearance at several places (Sorensen 1904: 622) suggest that it was
still carrying some water intermittently...Sir Aurel Stein (1942: 180) wrote that a careful study of the
large-scale levelling charts prepared by the Survey of India for the Sutlej Project, when this
important canal scheme was being planned by the Punjab Irrigation Department, has shown that the
Hakra Branch canal passes for some 104 miles across levels between the sand ridges of the
Cholistan which unmistakably represent an ancient winding bed of the Sutlej, that once joined the
Hakra between Walar and Binjor. The junction of the Hakra with a branch of the Sutlej must have
meant a great increase in the volume of water, and accounts for the Hakra bed widening below the
junction about Walar. This fact alone can explain the large concentration of protohistoric sites on
the Hakra in the Cholistan Desert." (V.N.Misra, opcit.)

Harappa excavations of five seasons, between 1986 and 1990, have reinforced the basic, distinctive
riverine facet of the civilization in the Sindhu-Sarasvati River Valleys. The reports cover a variety
of topics: fish and fauna resources, organization of ceramic manufacture, and history of research at
Harappa. Ronald Amundson and Elise Pendall discuss in "Pedology and Late Quarternary
Environments Surrounding Harappa: A Review and Synthesis," "pertinent pedalogical, geological,
and paleoenvironmental studies in the vicinity of Harappa". This comprises a study of meandering
of the river Ravi, soils and geomorphology of Harappa site, and stable isotope studies.

Jonathan Mark Kenoyer in "Urban Process in the Indus Tradition: A Preliminary Model from
Harappa," constructs a chronological framework for the civilization into five time periods, using
relative chronology and 33 radiocarbon samples which provide absolute dating. "Biological
Adaptations and Affinities of Bronze Age Harappans," by Brian E. Hemphill, John R. Lukacs, and
K.A.R. Kennedy elaborate on the decline of dental health, increased reliance on agriculture. With
137 illustrations and 37 tables useful reference materials are presented. (Richard H. Meadow, ed.,
Harappa Excavations 1986-1990:A Multidisciplinary Approach to Third Millennium
Urbanism,Prehistory Press, Madison, Wisconsin, 1991.)

After the Aryan Invasion myth has been substantially rejected, the refrain of some indologists has
been: “No Harappan horse, no Vedic pony, no Vedic ocean and now, no Sarasvati.” These
questionable premises fly in the face of new perspectives in history emerging from findings of
scientists from a variety of ecological disciplines ranging from oceanography, seismology,
glaciology and hydrology to archaeo-astronomy, genetics, archaeobotany and anthropology.

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Revival of Legendary Sarasvati Begins
Projects are ongoing which will have a long-term beneficial impact on major parts of North
West India and revive memories of over 5,000 years ago, by reviving the mighty Sarasvati
River. A mighty perennial river which had nurtured an ancient civilization which has given us
the Vedas, had been desiccated due to tectonic causes, river migrations and aeolean activity
(aandhi phenomenon). This is an unparalled event in the history of human civilization. Today
technological means are available to revive this sacred river and to make the legacy of
Sarasvati meaningful not only to entire Bharat but to the whole world. The project to revive
Sarasvati River will be a superb project, of international significance.
Three projects to revive the legendary Sarasvati on the Survey of India topo-sheets. This project
River were inaugurated during the last few is financed by the World Bank as part of the
months. package of $139 million US Dollars for
rejuvenation of the water systems of North
One project is to link re-activate the ancient West India. The re-activation of this section
channels of the river from Adh Badri will keep the river flowing all 365 days of the
(Yamunanagar Dist.) to Pehoa (referred to as year upto Pehoa and beyond. Pehoa has the
Pruthudaka in the Great Indian Epic, ancient Vasishtha ashram where the Sarasvati
Mahaabhaarata) River becomes east-flowing and Sarasvati
Ghats where homage to ancestors (pitru
The second project to provide a piped feeder tarpan.a) is offered by pilgrims. The ghats are
from the Bhakra Main canal to Pehoa, using the more ancient than the pilgrimage ghats in
perennial waters of the Sutlej emanating from Varanasi on the Ganga River. This pilgrimage
the Mansarovar glacier in Mt. Kailash. 50% of site was also visited by Balarama during his
the cost is financed by a private pilgrimage from Dwaraka to Mathura along the
philanthropist.The river channel from Adh course of the Sarasvati River which is described
Badri to Pehoa is mentioned as Sarasvati Nadi in the shalya parvam of the Great Indian Epic

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The third project is to map the ancient drainage Many challenges lie ahead in completing the
system of the Sarasvati River and identify rejuvenation of the Sarasvati River Basin from
groundwater aquifers and sanctuaries, over a Har-ki-dun glacier in W. Garhwal upto
stretch of 1600 kms. from Bandarpunch massif Somnath, Gujarat stretched over four ecological
in Western Garhwal (Har-ki-dun glacier) to the zones: receding Himalayan glaciers, Siwalik
Arabian Sea near Somnath (Prabhas Patan, foothills, semi-arid Marusthali and marshy
Gujarat) using the remote sensing application Rann of Kutch and Saurashtra. The ambitious
centre in Jodhpur, Rajasthan and tritium project profile includes: a comprehensive
analysis by atomic scients in Bhabha Atomic design of the NW India Drainage System and
Research Centre This is a pre-requisite for re- review of land-use patterns and afforestation
designing the drainage system of NW India to programmes (including growing of
benefit over 200 million people of the River halophytes—salt-resistant cash crops such as
Basin. Salicornia brachiata), action to stop the

receding glaciers in Uttar Pradesh (W.


Himalayan glaciers: source of River Garhwal) and Himachal Pradesh, resolving
Sarasvati [After VMK Puri, 1998] water-logging problems in Haryana and Punjab,
recharging of the groundwater resources in
Rajasthan and Kutch by extending the
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Rajasthan Canal beyond Jodhpur, using the waters will be essential to evolve changes in the
waters of the Rajasthan Canal (which draws the land-use patterns in the region and to provide
waters from the perennial source of Sutlej – the basic need of drinking water facilities in the
Manasarovar)—to recharge the groundwater semi-arid and marshy ecological zones of
resources, provision of additional wells in the Bharat..
entire Basin, use of solar and wind-power to
power the pumpsets for tubewells, and, To effectively regulate the implementation, in
improvement of subsurface drainage system in an integrated manner, of the range of projects in
the entire Sarasvati River Basin. Conjunctive complex ecological zones and some zones
development of watershed projects in Rajasthan subject to tectonic disturbances, it is essential to
and Gujarat using the groundwater resources constitute a Sarasvati River Basin Authority.
and recharge facilities using perennial surface

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 and the Sarasvati Project initiated by the Govt. of India, Central Ground
Water Authority.

• The following maps are appended to provide a framework to define the locus of the Sarasvati
River Basin in NW India, stretching from the Ma_nasarovar lake (Mt. Kailas) to Somnath
(Prabhas Patan) in the Arabian Sea—a very vast basin today inhabited by over 200 million
people of Bharat and with the potential to add at least 10% to the granary of Bharat and provide
new livelihood opportunities as the projects progress :

Maps

Hydrogeological framework: the Rann, Nal Sarovar and Streams in Gujarat

Outfall areas of the Sarasvati River in the Rann of Kutch, ca. 1500 BC (After Merh et al., 1999)

Rajasthan Canal and the Sarasvati River Basin in NW India

Extending the Rajasthan Canal (which has already been constructed over a distance of 650 kms.) by
another 350 kms. to reach the outfall palaeo-deltas of the River Sarasvati in the Rann of Kutch, will
bring the perennial waters from the Himalayas to Gujarat. This grand project of revived Sarasvati
will revolutionize the landscape of Bharat.

Aurel Stein’s Tour of Sarasvati

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Aurel Stein’s tour of Sarasvati (After Possehl, G.L., 1999, Indus Age, The Beginnings, Fig.
2.47).

Aurel Stein, 1942, A survey of ancient sites along the `lost' Sarasvati River, Geographical Journal,
99: 173-182:

`` ... the sketch-map based on the latest survey shows how great is the contrast between the very scanty
volume of water brought down by the Ghaggar and the width of its dry bed within Bikaner territory; over
more than 100 miles it is nowhere less than 2 miles and in places 4 miles or more. This bed is lined on
both sides by dunes varying in height ... the Ghaggar bed above Hanumagarh, one notes that the number
of mounds marking ancient sites long abandoned is here distinctly smaller than farther down the old river
bed ... (mounds) known as ther or theri ... Archaeological facts prove cultivation, and with it settled
occupation, to have been abandoned much earlier on the Hakra than on the Ghaggar ... trial excavation at
Sandhanawala Ther, 3
miles to the north-
west of Fort Abbas ...
some sherds with
incised characters
which appear on
many inscribed seals
from Mohenjodaro
and Harappa, chief
sites of the Indus
Valley cultre ... The
great height and size of several others indicate prolonged settlement ... the evidence shows that down to
historical times the Ghaggar carried water for irrigation under existing climatic conditions much farther
than it does now. This makes it intelligible how the Sarasvati has come in hymns of the R.gveda to be
praised as a great river ... upper portion of the ancient bed ... drying up during historical times ... hastened
by diversion of flood water for irrigation brought about by more settled conditions and the resulting
pressure of population. Lower down on the Hakra the main change was due to the Sutlej having in late
prehistoric times abandoned the bed which before had joined the Ghaggar: the result of a law affecting all
rivers whose course lies over alluvial plains ...

The dry bed of the Sarasvati River in Rajasthan is lined with sand dunes. “..that water once flowed well
down to Bahawalpur is attested beyond doubt by numerous settlement-mounds, and it is often held that
the East Nara in Sind is the continuation of the Hakra, beheaded by the Sutlej”. (Spate and Learmonth,
1967: 536). The sand-dunes on the edges of the dry river bed do reprsent river-banks: “That they
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represent river-banks is proved by the existence on them of a large number of shells, kindly identified for
me by the Zoological Survey of India as Zootecus insularis (Ehr.), Indonaia caerula (lea) and Parreysia
sp. Some of these, being fresh-water shells, must have got deposited on the banks of the river when it
was alive. Small dunes, accumulating at the tops of the sand-banks, and consisting of finer sand drifted
from the banks themselves and outside, are of secondary formation.” (Ghosh, A., 1952, The Rajputana
desert: its archaeological aspect. Bulletin of the National Institute of Sciences in India, 1:37-42).

Two rivers met near Wallur or west of Anupgarh; the rivers were called eastern and western Hakra
by C.F. Oldham. Most of the archaeological settlements on the upper reaches of Sutlej are found
along the courses of these eastern and western Hakra river channels.

In middle reaches, Sarasvati (now represented by Ghaggar) was 6 to 8 kms. wide. The
present-day course is also shown, close to Bana_wali, an archaeological site of
Harappan period. [Sood and Sahai, 1983].

Stein (1942), linked all the Harappan sites discovered along the old palaeochannel of Ghaggar to the
ancient Sarasvati; by implication the palaeochannels of Ghaggar and Hakra, according to him,
represented the ancient Sarasvati. (cf. Aloys Arthur Michel, The Indus Rivers: A study of the effects
of partition, 1967, Yale University Press, New Haven.)

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The ancient beds of the Ghaggar has a constant changed its course three times before assuming
width of about 6 to 8 km. from Shatrana in the present one. In the first instance it flowed
Punjab to Marot in Pakistan. The bed stands out through Channel Y1 into the ancient Ghaggar.
having a dark tone (in Landsat images) and in a Later on,l it flowed through Channel Y2, which
reddish colour in false colour composite includes the present Chautang, and met the
satellite images. There is a palaeo-channel seen Ghaggar near Suratgarh. The third time it went
southeast of the river Markanda which joins the southward and passed through the Channel Y3,
ancient bed of the Ghaggar near Shatrana joining the Ganga through the Chambal.”
Channel Y1, through which the presend-day (Yashpal et al., 1980).
Sarasvati channel flows. Another channel, Y2,
which corresponds to the presend-day Chautang
“The ‘Jumna of Delhi’, that is, the present day
seems to join the Ghaggar near Suratgarh. Near
Jumna, has taken over the upper course of the
Anupgarh, the ancient Ghaggar bed bifurcates
old Jumna (or Proto-Jumna)…The Sanskrit
and both the palaeo-channels come to an abrupt
word ‘Jumna’ means ‘one of the twins’. This
end; the upper one terminates near Marot and
probably indicates that the proto-Jumna-Hakra
the lower one near Beriwala.”It would,
course did not dry up immediately when the
therefore, mean that the Palaeo-Yamuna
Delhi Jumna took over the upper course, there
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was probably a bifurcation/forking in the river Manasarovar Glacier lake which is the
and one part probably flowed for some time cultural capital of Bharat.
into the Arabian sea while the other part joined
the Ganges and flowed into the Bay of Bengal. Plate X [c] Lingam in situ in Trench Ai (MS
The new Jumna is 10 m deeper/lower than the Vats, 1940, Excavations at Harappa, Vol. II,
old Jumna. (Ferguson, 1863, On recent changes Calcutta): ‘In the adjoining Trench Ai, 5 ft. 6
in the delta of the Ganges, Quarterly Journal of in. below the surface, was found a stone lingam
Geological Society, v. XIX, London, p. 348). It [Since then I have found two stone lingams of a
is, therefore understandable that finally all the larger size from Trenches III and IV in this
water of the Jumna flowed into the new bed and mound. Both of them are smoothed all over]. It
that the old Hakra course dried up.” (Wilhelmy, measures 11 in. high and 7 3/8 in. diameter at
1969, opcit., p. 108). the base and is rough all over.’ (Vol. I, pp. 51-
52)
S'iva linga is shaped after the summit of
Mt. Kailas on the foothills of which is the

Himalaya are found in two old terraces.


[KS Valdiya, 2002, Fig. 3.3]

Plate tectonics resulted in the desiccation of the


Sarasvati River between 2500 BCE and 1500
BCE. The clash of Indian and Eurasian plates
resulted in the creation of a Yamuna-tear at
Paonta Doon (Himachal Pradesh) and resulted
in the diversion of River Yamuna away from
the Bata River valley eastwards to join the
River Ganga. Thus, Yamuna carried the waters
of River
Sarasvati to
join Ganga
at Prayag to
constitute
the Triveni
San:gamam.
Geological
findings
have thus
validated the
tradition of
Bharat
celebrating

Mahakumbhmela at Prayag every 12 years,


Tamasa (with its Yamuna branch) flowed celebrating the Ganga-Yamuna-Sarasvati
west, in Pa_onta Sa_hab Dun; the west- san:gamam. A second tectonic event resulted
flowing channels, now called Ba_ta and int he diversion of Sutlej River westwards at
Ma_rkanda join Sarsuti (with wide Ropar (90 degree turn) to join the River Sindhu.
channels). Metamorphic rocks from inner
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Thus Sarasvati was abandoned by two glacial based river flowing from Adi Badri (north of
tributary rivers. The River became a monsoon- Bilaspur) at the foothills of the Siwalik ranges.

Satellite image analyses have shown the


occurrence of Yamuna tear (due to tectonic
causes resulting in the lateral shift of the Siwalik
ranges) in Paonta Doon valley which resulted in
the piracy of Sarasvati River waters by Yamuna
river consequent upon the migration of the
Yamuna river channel to join with Ganga river
at Prayag. About 4500 years Before Present,
Yamuna river was tributary of River Sarasvati
flowing northwestwards along the Bata-
Markanda divide between the Himalayan and
Siwalik ranges and joining with Markanda and
Sarasvati Rivers not far from Adi Badri (30-27N; 77-27E), 40 kms. north of Yamunanagar
(Jagadhri) in Haryana. This river migration of Yamuna river was followed (circa 3500 years Before
Present) by the migration of Sutlej river which took a 90-degree turn at Ropar due to tectonic
causes. These two events of migrations of tributaries of River Sarasvati, the river was deprived of
glacial waters and became a seasonal, rain-fed stream. Adi Badri is the place where the stream
surfaces on the foothills of the Siwalik ranges. Cunningham also was of the view that Adi Badri was
the place where the River Sarasvati surfaced on the plains. "Plans have been drawn to build check-
dams for collecting monsoon water in Haryana, drilling of the dry beds of the Sarasvati and linking
of the Sarasvati associated holy sites such as Thanesar, Vasishta Ashram, Pehowa, Kapala-Mochan
and Brahmasarovar near Kurukshetra" (cf. Sarasvati Darshan brochure of Archaeological Survey of
India (ASI), Shimla).

Triveni San:gamam

The Yamuna tear establishes the authenticity of Bharatiya tradition of the confluence of Ganga-
Yamuna and Sarasvati at Prayag. Geologically, this tradition is explained as the capture of the
waters of River Sarasvati by River Yamuna which carried these waters to join the River Ganga. The
tradition is celebrated every 12 years as Mahakumbhamela which attracts over 50 million pilgrims
to take a dip in the sacred san:gamma at Prayag.

The plate tecotonics which explain the Yamuna tear also explain the migration of the major
tributaries of River Sarasvati: River Sutlej migrated westwards at Ropar and River Yamuna
migrated eastwards at Paontasaheb. These geological findings have been extensively studied and
discussed in the Geological Survey of Memoir No. 42 titled Vedic River Sarasvati published in the
year 2000.

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IRS P3 Indian Remote Sensing Satellite Mosaic: Sarasvati/Markanda/Ghaggar rivers; Indus River
System: Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas; Source: WiFS (Wide Field Sensor)data by exposing red (0.62-
0.69 um) through green and near infra red (0.77-0.86 um) through red guns covering the Indus river
system from the Himalayas to the Arabian Sea; in: D.P.Rao, Role of Remote Sensing in
Understanding of Palaeodrainage Evolution, Memoir Geol. Soc. of India. No. 42, 199: 237-244.

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The rebirth of River Sarasvati has begun with a series of hydrological projects, which include water
harvesting, integrated development of ground and surface water resources, and interlinking of
rivers. The greening of the Rajasthan desert (Marusthali) has already begun.

Sarasvati Maha_nadi rupa nahar, Mohangarh, 55 km. West of Jaisalmer, 40 Ft. wide, 12 Ft. deep
(Feb. 2002) This is what the dhvaja stambha at the project site says.

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River Sarasvati:
Archaeology, Tradition and Water
Resources
Sarasvati Dars’an

Dr. S. Kalyanaraman, Director, Sarasvati Nadi Shodh Prakalp (Akhil Bharatiya Itihasa Sankalana
Yojana) in conversation with H.E. the President of Bharat, Bharat Ratna, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam during
the President's visit to Sarasvati Darshan Exhibition organized at Yamunanagar on 20 April 2003.

Seen in the photograph are (from left to right) are: Shri Lakshya, Jagadhri; Shri Darshan Lal
Jain (President, Sarasvati Nadi Shodh Sansthan, Haryana, Jagadhri); Shri I.D. Dwivedi (Dy.
Supt. Archaeologist, the discoverer of an ancient settlement on banks of River Sarasvati at Adi
Badri - partly seen); Dr. Baldev Sahai (ex-Chief, Space Applications Division, ISRO,
Ahmedabad and President, Sarasvati Nadi Shodh Sansthan, Gujarat, Ahmedabad); Dr. Vijay
Mohan Kumar Puri (ex-Director, Geological Survey of India, Dharmashala, discoverer of
glacial sources of Vedic River Sarasvati); Shri Sanjay K. Manjul, Archaeologist; President of
Bharat; Shri Deepak Lal Jain, Industrialists, Jagadhri; Dr. S. Kalyanaraman; Shri Haribhau Vaze
(National Organizing Secy., Akhil Bharateeya Itihasa Sankalana Yojana, Mumbai, partly seen).
In the background may be seen the Sarasvati Darshan Exhibition displays including satellite
images and artefacts discovered at Adi Badri archaeological site.

The delegation briefed the President on the investigations and scientific findings which have
established that River Sarasvati is not a myth but ground-truth. Adi Badri is a sacred place about 30

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kms. north of Jagadhri and is the place where the Sarasvati River emerges out of the Himalayan
glaciers through the foothills of Siwalik ranges.

The River originates from the Himalayan glaciers in Har ki dun in Uttaranchal. Over 5000 years
ago, the river flowed over a distance of over 1600 kms. draining the North west Bharat, through
the states of Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat, to reach the Sindhu
Sagara at Prabhas Patan (Somnath) as described in the Mahabharata and other ancient texts.
Tectonic and river migration causes for the desiccation of the river about 3500 years ago have been
established using satellite image analyses, geomorphological studies, Bhabha Atomic Research
Centre findings based on tritium analysis of abundant ground water resources discovered in the
Sarasvati River Basin in the middle of the Rajasthan Marusthali desert, which will enable the
construction of over 1 million tube wells for potable water, after recharging the groundwater
aquifers using surface channels of the reborn Sarasvati river which is an integral part of the project
to interlink national rivers of Bharat. This project costing about $120 billion will change the face
of Bharat and take the nation to a developed status in 7 years' time. The feasible project can be
expedited using 3 D Radar Topography; the satellite technology will also help monitor
hydrological flows by establishing a National Water Grid comparable to the National Power Grid
for ensuring equitable distribution of water resources of the Himalayas throughout the country
using mostly gravity flows. The project will help control floods and also recurrent water shortage
or drought situations in some parts of the nation. In this context, the President expressed his desire
to visit Adi Badri to see the work in progress to ensure the flow of River Sarasvati all 365 days of
the year for the benefit of pilgrims visiting tirthasthanas and to promote command area of
irrigation in the region for the benefit of millions of farmers.
Oriental Studies, 239-260). There is no genetic
Autochthonous evolution and continuity of trait flow from Bactria into Bharat circa 1800
culture BCE: “Parpola’s suggestion of movement of
Proto-Rigvedic Aryan speakers into the Indus
“There is no archaeological or biological Valley by 1800 is not supported by our data.
evidence for invasions or mass migrations into Gene flow from Bactria occurs much later and
the Indus Valley between the end of the does not impact Indus Valley gene pools until
Harappan phase, about 1900 BC and the the dawn of the Christian Era.” (Hemphill and
beginning of the Early Historic Period around Christensen, “The Oxus Civilization as a Link
600 BC.” (J.M. Kenoyer, 1998, Ancient Cities between East and West: A Non-Metric Analysis
of the Indus Valley Civilization, Karachi, OUP, of Bronze Age Bactrain Biological Affinities”,
p. 174). paper read at the South Asia Conference, 3-5
November 1994, Madison, Wisconsin; p. 13).
Shaffer and Lichtenstein confirm the continuity Kenneth A.R. Kennedy reaches similar
of indigenously evolved civilization. (1999, conclusions from his physical-anthropological
‘Migration, philology & South Asian data. (K..A.R. Kennedy, “Have Aryans been
archaeology,’ in J. Bronkhorst and M. identified in the prehistoric skeletal record from
Deshpande, eds., Aryan and Non-Aryan in South Asia?” in George Erdosy, ed.: The Indo-
South Asia, Cambridge, Mass., Harvard Aryans of Ancient South Asia, p.49).
the Ganga Valley, 1980, Allahabad Univ.). This
Bolan and Son Valleys in the Ganga basin have is confirmed by R.S. Sharma who finds
provided evidence of wild horse circa 18000 evidence for domesticated horse at 5000 BCE
and of domesticated horse between 6570 to and some circa 1000 BCE (Looking for the
5430 BCE. (G.R. Sharma, History to Aryans, 1996, Hyderabad, Orient Longmans, p.
Prehistory: Archaeology of the Vindhyas and 17). The Rigveda (RV 1,62,18) refers to a horse
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with 34 ribs. There is no evidence whatsoever
to assume that the word as’va in the Rigveda East to West movements
connotes only an equus caballus (Arabian
horse) and not a pony native to Siwalik ranges. RV mandala 10, sukta 75 provides a list of river
Sarasvati is compared to a ratha: ratha iva names, starting from east to west. “It is
br.hati_, ‘like a chariot big’ (RV 6,61,13). The certain…that the Rigveda offers no assistance
Rigvedic ratha is made of s’almali (RV in determining the mode in which the Vedic
10,85,20), of khadira and sims’apa (RV Aryans entered India… the bulk at least [of the
3,53,19) and the axle is made of aratu (RV RV] seems to have been compiled rather in the
8,46,27). All these are heavy woods native to country round the Sarasvati river” (Keith, A.B.,
Bharat. 1922, ‘The age of the Rigveda’, The Cambridge
History of India, Vol. 1, 79). Kazanas notes:
There is no reference to any shrinking of the “Several scholars indulge in semantic
river in any of the Rigvedic texts and certainly conjurings saying that various names in the RV
no textual basis to etymologize samudra of refer to places and rivers in Afghanistan,
Rigvedic times, as a reference to lake(s). There Baluchistan, Iran etc., but this is is not a very
could be other valid interpretations: ‘The word honest practice since by such interpreting
saras came to mean ‘pool’ and this may refer to (turning facts into metaphors and symbols, and
the sources of the river being lakes which vice versa) one can prove anything.”
formed as the ice was melting: considering the (‘Indigenous Indo-Aryans and the Rigveda’ in:
name was given when the river was at its The Journal of Indo-European Studies, Vol. 30,
grandest (from the mountains to the ocean), it Number 3 and 4, Fall/Winter 2002, p. 8).
would refer to lakes at the origin and not the Dtailed comments, establishing an east to west
terminal point…The root sr. and all its movement of peoples, are at
derivatives imply ‘motion, extension, running- http://hindunet.org/saraswati/dasyu.htm titled,
on’; saras too originally meant most probably ‘Dasyu were left behind on the left (i.e. south).’
(not ‘pool’ but) ‘whirlpool’ or ‘eddy’ in a
river’s current. Sarasvati was the river with the S’ankha (turbinella pyrum) was an industry
mighty current and strong swirls…Hymn which started earlier than 6500 BCE as attested
10,75…is a list of the rivers from east to west by the find of a wide s’ankha bangle in the
and Sarasvati is in the correct place, after grave of a woman at Mehergarh. This industry
Ganges and Yamuna. More important, hymn continues even today in Gulf of Khambat and
3,33 speaks of the two rivers Vipas’ and Gulf of Mannar.
S’utudri as rising from the mountains (parvata)
and flowing down to the ocean, samudra. Or Similarly, the ability to work with stones (large
should we here also take samudra to be a stones such as polished pillars and ring-stones
‘terminal lake’, as Witzel would have it for for large buildings and small stones for
Sarasvati in RV 7,95,2? In both we have the ornaments) is also a skill which was evident at
rise of the rivers from mountains and their flow Dholavira (rock-cut reservoir, stone monitor
to samudra. But RV 1,71,7 also says samudram lizard) and which continued in the historical
na sravatah sapta yahvi_h ‘(sacrificial periods in man-made caves. Stone-work
offersings turn to Agni) like the 7 mighty rivers required one tool: t.a_n:gi, chisel.
flowing to the samudra’: is this samudra too
Sarasvati’s ‘terminal lake’ into which turn/flow S’ivalinga has been found at Harappa, dated to
all seven rivers?…I find it more reasonable to ca. 3300 BCE. S’ivalinga terracotta images
take samudra as the ‘ocean’ and that Sarasvati have also been found at Kalibangan. The
also flows there.’ (Kazanas, Journal of Indo- worship of S’iva is a cultural identity of Bharat.
European Studies, 2002, p. 40). S’iva shaped like the summit of Mt. Kailas

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River Markanda), are: Adi Badri, Bilaspur,
Sadhaoura, Mustafabad, Bhagawanpura,
Thanesar, Raja-karn-ka Qila, Mirzapur,

exemplifies the water-giving resource of the


Himalayan glaciers. Hence, S’iva is associated
in the tradition with the daughter of the
mountains, Parvati and the river Ganga is
pictured, metaphorically, as emanating from the
locks of S’iva in penance on Mt. Kailas.

In the context of this cultural continuity into the


historical periods, the epigraphs of the Pehowa, Kalayat, Kaithal, in addition to sites
Civilization will be unraveled using the proto-
Indo-Aryan Subtrate languages; these are the
languages which have resulted in the formation
of the languages of Bharat.

The civilization is noted for copper metallurgy,


stone-bead making, and seal carving; some are
also decorated with an early form of writing.
By the middle of the third millennium B.C., a
settled urban culture is evident and extensive
trading contacts with cultures to the west and
north-west. The decline of the Indus Valley
civilization is attributed to the desiccation of
River Sarasvati, which nurtured over 80% of
the settlement sites, and loss of trade contacts.

Notes on Archaeological discoveries on


Sarasvati River basin and contiguous areas such as Banawali, Rakhigarhi and Dholavira
(April 2003) where excavation work is ongoing. Exploration
and excavation work on hundreds of sites (out
Archaeological Survey of India should be of a total of over 2000 archaeological sites on
complimented for the initiative taken, during the river basin) will establish the cultural
2002-2003, to explore and excavate major sites chronology of the Bharatiya civilization.
out of over 2,000 archaeological sites located
on the Sarasvati River basin, following the Intensive exploration work has started in about
scientific investigations which have established 40 ancient sites in the Sarasvati River basin in
the entire 1600 km. course of the river from and around District Yamunanagar (Jagadhri),
Himalayas to Gujarat. Some of these sites, in Haryana. The recent exploratory work (April
the districts of Yamunanagar, and Kurukshetra 2003) has to be viewed in the perspective of
on the banks fo River Sarasvati from Adi Badri other cultural sites on the Sarasvati River Basin,
to Pehowa (at the confluence of the river with since the Sarasvati River constituted the water-

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way which united these cultural settlements into Importance of Adi Badri
an indigenous evolution and continuity of
Bharatiya civilization from over 5000 years Adi Badri: Narayan temple on the left and
Before Present to the historical periods. The Kedarnath temple on the right, on the
heritage of Sarasvati Civilization and pre- foothills of Siwalik ranges
history of Bharat is all around us.
Adi Badri: A panaromic view of Somb-
An impressive find at Adi Badri Somb- Sarasvati confluence on the foothills of
Sarasvati left bank site is a copper/bronze coin the Siwalik ranges with a number of
inscribed on both sides. On one side, what cultural mounds which are being explored
appears to be a tiger or jackal is visible with a and excavated
triangle depicted on the top register. This tiger
image is reminiscent of the glyphs on Sarasvati How to reach Adi Badri
Civilization seals and tablets. The image and
epigraphs on the obverse are not clearly legible
on the tablet or coin. Rebus interpretation: kol
'tiger'; kol 'metal''; kol 'smithy.

The find of a coin or copper tablet at Adi Badri


is comparable to the Kuninda coin kept in the
Himachal State Museum, Shimla, establishing
the characteristic continuity of the Sarasvati
Civilization (of Mature Harappan period) with
the use of glyphs such as: a bull standing in
Adi Badri is located on the foothills of the
front of a person with an upraised hand,
Svastika, tree on hill range, tree on railing. This Siwalik ranges and is a pilgrimage site
renowned for the temples of Adi-Badri
coin has an epigraph in Brahmi script.
Narayana, Adi-Badri Kedarnath and Mantra
Devi. Adi Badri can be reached by road via
Bilaspur and Kapala-Mochan. The closest
village is Kathgarh where a Sarasvati Cultural
Information Centre has been established by ASI
in the precincts of the Gram Panchayat Bhavan.
A Sarasvati Darshan exhibition was held on the
eve of Sarasvati Jayanti Ma_gha S'ukla
Pancami

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Adi Badri has three mounds which are being
excavated. Two mounds (called ABR-I and
ABR-II) are on the right bank of River Somb (a
tributary of River Sarasvati), north of the U-
bend and one mound (called ABR-III) is on the

ABR-I mound is locally called Simhabara.


Excavation has revealed two cultural phases of
bricks and stone respectively. "The exact nature
and extension of these structures are in the
process of being ascertained.The succeeding
phasse of a single course stone wall was found
in a very disturbed condition. The pottery
recovered from the site includes red ware of
medum to coarse fabric, and few sherds of
buffware. The main shapes are bowls, basins,
jars, cooking vessels, pitchers, handles, lids,
knobbed lids, hukkas..."

ABR-II mound, Adi Badri

ABR-II. "It commands a panaromic view of the


surrounding area and is locally known as
Intonwali. The height of the mound is
approximately 200 ft. and is situated on the
left bank. right bank of the Sarasvati-Somb confluence. It
was covered by thorny thickets and bushes.
Excavation released a single cultural phase on
this mound. A huge brick structure was
exposed, which can be dated to about AD 1st c.
to AD 300. Considerable amount of pottery was
found from the area and is confined to red ware
to medium to coarse fabric. The shapes include
bowls, lids, miniature pots, jars,storage jars,
globular pots, spouted and stamped wares etc."
Plan drawing of the excavated structure
ABR-III

"ABR-III is located on the left bank of the


Sarasvati-Somb confluence. Excavations
revealed 2 successive cultural phases.

"Phase-I (AD 1st c. - AD 300). Remains of a


spoked stupa was revealed. It is executed in
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burnt bricks and brickbats have been used as "Phase-IIA. Structures made of undressed stone
packing/filling material. The centre portion of and rubble masonry, with thick clay mortar.
the stupa has a rectangular chamber packed Sometimes bricks have also been used.
with earth and pebbles. The associated findings,
antiquities and pottery all belong to the "Phase-IIB comprises of structures made of
Kushana period." dressed stones. Though mostly clay mortar has
been used, the use of lime mortar has
The stupa with 24 spokes discovered at Adi occasionally been noticed. A huge complex was
Badri is comparabe to the cylindrical stupa of exposed with an enclosure stone wall (approx
48m X 26 m). Within this enclosure
are a number of cells on two sides, at
right angles. In the centre is a
courtyard, paved with stones.

"In the eastern wall are carved niches,


at regular intervals. In one of the
niches was found in situ, the sculpture
of a seated Buddha in the
Dharmachakrapravartana mudra.
Along one of the adjoining walls of
the courtyard remains of an anvil and
what appears to be a round fire-altar
with full of charcoal were found. The
the Kushana period found at Sanghol (Dist. remains all point to some sort of ritualistic
Fatehgarhsahib, Punjab), with three concentric association. Antiquities include a terracotta Bull
rings of rick masonry with intervening space figurine (Nandi), remnants of a plaque, iron
divided by radiating spokes of similar brick
masonry at

regular
nervals. At Sanghol site, the core is made of a
thick circular wall of brick masonry filled with nails, spearheads, copper rings and fish-hooks,
earth. At Sanghol was discovered a carved lid stone chaklas, beads etc. and carved
of the relic casket with an inscription in architectural members in stone."
Kharoshti script dated to circa 1st century BCE;
the epigraph reads: Comment: It is unclear if the seated image is
Upasakasa Ayabhadrasa. that of the Buddha. The bottom register of the
sculpted panel contains a lion clearly visible. It
The discovery of the stupa in Adi Badri clearly is in front of the vedi (fire-altar) with stupa. The
demonstrates the overlap of Buddha and image may as well represent Bhairava. This is
Bhairava traditions of Bharata of the early subject to further intense study by experts in
centuries of the historical periods. iconography.

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Sadhaura found two fragments of Gupta inscriptions
(33-23N, along with some Indo-Sassanian coins and
77-13E). coins of Menander; a murti of Uma-Mahes'vara
"It is about now preserved in the Radha-Krishna temple. A
40 km. Vis.n.u head in relief and a Vaikun.t.ha image
north-west on a slab were also found (both of the late
of Gupta period), and are kept in the Department
of Archaeology and Museums, Chandigarh,
Haryana. The pottery reported from the site are
Yamunanagar and 15 kms. from Bilaspur on the Red Ware and Grey Ware.
Bilaspur-Narayangarh road. The mound is
spread over an area of about 4 acres. Sadhaura Kapala-Mochan Gurudwara and R.n.a-
is situated on the bank of river Nakati or Mochan Kund; Kapala-Mochan Suraj Kund
Saudhorawali. The antiquity of the site goes
back to about 3000 years. The pottery by which
the cultural chronology of the site has been
ascertained are Painted Grey Ware, Black
Slipped Ware, Northern Black Polished Ware,
Kushana Stamped Pottery, Red Polished Ware
of the Gupta period, Red Ware of the Rajpur
period and glazed Ware of the Sultanat and Sandhaya, Tehsil Bilaspur (30-20.5N, 77-
Mughal periods respectively. The structural 20E)
finds from the site include two bastions made of
lakhauri bricks. Sandhaya is located about 6 kms. north of

"During the course of the excavation, a circular


structure made of wedge-shaped bricks of about
35 courses was seen which is still being
exposed. The findings from the site includes
beads of shell, terracotta, turqoise and
fragments of glass bangles."

Kapala-Mochan (Gopal-Mchan), tehsil


Bilaspur (30-1.5N, 77-13E) Bilaspur on Bilaspur-Nahan highway. Two sites
have been located: Jarasandh-ka- tila and
Kapala Mochan is located on the eastern bank Gyarsyan Sati Mata As'ram. Jarasandh-ka-tila is
of River situated 2 kms. west of the village and a large
Sarasvati, cultural mound of 70X70m. oriented north-
about 2.5 km. south. The northern portion of the mound has a
north of large gateway facing north; the walls of the gate
Bilaspur, on rise above 8 m high and made of lakhauri
Bilaspur- bricks. Many edges of walls are visible on the
Nahan road. It surface. Potsherds belong to Kushana and
is a pilgrimage Gupta periods and shapes include: bowls and
tirthasthana with R.n.a-Mochan kund, Suraj vases in Red Ware and Red Slipped Ware. A
Kund, Vyas Kund and Siddhes'vara temple. number of coins, sculptures, beads, terracotta
Archaeological excavations are in progress on a figurines have been reported by villagers and
widely-spread mound. Cunningham had earlier treasure-hunters. Gyarsiyan Sati Mata Ashram
is about 1.5 kms. from the village. The site has
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stone sculptures and architectural members of a Talakaur (Late Medieval); Kulawar (Rajput and
temple, dated to 16th-17th century. Medieval); Hartan (Gupta and Rajput); Ramgarh
(PGW, Kushana and Late Medieval); Chopri
Integrated Development Programme (Kushana and Rajput); Bandhev (Kushana and
Rajput); Chorghat (Kushana); Bagaru (Kushana to
Medieval); Hudia (PGW and historical); Pkoksa
"A multi-point programme for the integrated
(Rajput and Late Medieval); Dhoa (Medieval);
development of the site of Adi Badri has been
Mangalu Rangharan (Late Harappan); Kalwa (Late
proposed. These include plans to construct a
Harappan, Gupta and Rajput); Babain (Late
'Sarasvati-Sapta-Sarita-Abhisheka Kund' at the
Medieval); Bhagawanpura (Late Harappan and
Sarasvati Prakatita Sthal, just ahead of the
PGW); Kasithal (PGW, Historical and Medieval);
confluence of the Sarasvati and the Somb rivers, and
Bir-Dhantori (Late Harappan to Historical); Tatki
a Sarasvati Sarovar which is to be constructed with
(Kushana); Khairi (Late Harappan to early
bricks and RCC in an area covering 150 acres, east
historical); Kulapur (Historical); Daulatpur (Late
of the Sthal. The natural gradient and low-lying area
Harappan to Historical); Kanepla (Early Historical);
is to be used for the purpose. A 10m. high bund is to
Khanpur Majra (Historical); Bahadurpur (Medieval);
be constructed and the water source for this sarovar
Bichganwan (Rajpur); Jogna Khera (Early historical
will be first, the natural stream flowing down the
to Medieval); Bibipur Kalan (Late Harappan to
Sthal and second, a point in the bed of Sarasvati
historical); and Umalcha (Harappan to historical
river which will be drilled to bring to the surface the
periods).
underground streams. To organize an annual festival
'Sarasvati-Mahotsav' on the ocasion of Vasant
[The quotes are from a brochure of ASI, Shimla
Pancami, on the lines of Kuruks.etra-Mahotsav.
released in April 2003. The excavation team is led
by ID Dwivedi, Dy. Supdt. Archaeologist and
Temples of Adi Badri Narayana and Kedarnath are
includes: Jasmer Singh, SK Manjul, Smt. Arvin
to be connected by a hanging bridge
Manjul, Ashok Kumar, RK Dalal, R Bakshi, RK
Provision for ropeway connecting Sarasvati Prakatita
Sapru, Birender Kuar, Shankar Sharma, Sunil Jha,
Sthal to Mantra Devi temple
Mahender Pal, Akshat Kaushik, Smt. Garima
Development of a Sarasvati Cultural Information
Kaushik, Dr. Gautam, Chander B Kumar, RN
Centre and Museum at Kathgarh
Pandey, Dinesh Chander and Anil Kumar.]
Establishment of a Vedanga Research Institute for
classical ancient disciplines like Jyotis.a,
Ayurveda, Chandas and Nirukta
Development of basic facilities in the area including
uninterrupted electric supply, hospitals, potable
water, educational institutions, drainage and
sewage disposal system
Development of amusement places, parks, car
parking, coffee shops, restaurants, handicrafts
centres and other tourism based infrastructure
for tourist attraction Rakhigarhi
Provision for security of tourists and cultural Rakhigarhi is the second largest Harappan site in
property Dist. Hissar, Haryana, Bharat and is located on the
Land use plan of the area in and outside the site banks of River Dr.s.advati
Development of approach facilities to the site."

Ongoing exploration work in 40 sites in Haryana


, a tributary of River Sarasvati (150 kms. northwest
About 40 sites in Haryana, listed for further of Delhi). The early Harappan habitation had
exploration are: Baniyon ki Haveli and Mai Lachha- circular and rectangular structures of mud-bricks,
ka-kila at village Machharauli (Late medieval while making of fired-bricks was also
period); Jamalgarh (OCP); Butgarh (Post-Gupta and known.Coppersmithy, lapidary work, improved
Rajput period); Ramgarh fort (Medieval period); ceramics, art forms and uninscribed seal are typical
Pansal (Post-Gupta period); Chholi (Kushana); artefacts of the site. A citadel with raised brick
platforms was located close to the habitation area.
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The jewellery found at Rakhigarhi is typical Kurukshetra via Kolhapur and Marcheri or via
Harappah style. On top of the brick platform on the Ladwat and Babain. The site was first excavated by
citadel were fire-altars. PIt-chambers were found Jagat Pati Joshi in 1975-76 when two cultural
containing bones, and charcoal. A well was located settlement sequences were revealed within a deposit
adjacent to the platforms. A copper vessel was of 3.2 m and showed Late Harappa interlocking with
discovered with silver bangles and a gold head-band. Painted Grey Ware during the late phases of
A cemetery lying to the north of the citadel had occupation. Sub-period IA (1700 to 1300 BCE) had
graves with inhumation and accompanying goods. a late Harappan settlement on a mud platform (4.25
The early periods of the site are dated to circa 3200 X 10 m) with a landing step. "It appears that late
to 2600 BCE and Mature horizon t 2600-1800 BCE. Harappans first established teselves in the alluvial
(After data contained in ASI brochure, 2002, Recent deposits and then raised solid mud-platforms in two
Archaeological Discoveries). successive phases as a flood prevention measure.
The site was twice damaged by floods, the second
Mandi: Harappan gold one when the Painted
bracelet (Kad.a) Grey Ware people
were living here with
the late Harappans in
Sub-period IB. The
pottery of this Sub-
period generally falls
in six broad groups...The technique in incised red
ware is reminiscent of fabric 'D' of Pre-Harappan
Bhagawanpura (30-4N 76-57E; ASI brochure Kalibangan, Bara and late Harappan ceramic
industries.
From levels
of Sub-period
IA, a red
terracotta
figurie of a
bull with long
horns and pinched up hump and grey to black
terracotta fragment showing leg portion of a human
figure and three terracotta anthropomorphic figures
are remarkable. Terracotta wheels with hubs, copper
rods and pins, beads of faience, semiprecious stones
Chandigarh 2002) and terracotta, bangles of faience and terracotta, pins
of bone are other interesting finds. A humped bull
An artist's imaginary reconstruction of the village of shaped pendant of carnelian, although found from
Bhagawanpura, located on the right bank of River surface is one of the finest specimens and is
Sarasvati 24 km. northeast of Kurukshetra. reminiscent of the Harappan tradition.
Presently, River Sarasvati is about half-a-kilometre
away from the mound. The village is reached from Bhagawanpura. Terracotta toys.

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Bhagawanpura: bangles and beads. rams, birds, dogs, cart wheel with or without hubs,
hopscotches, decorated dishes, ghata-shaped beads,
Bhagawanpura: coloured beads and bull- ear-ornaments, violin-shaped mother Divinity used
figurine pendants. as pendants of grey ware pieces, bone needles, pins
and stylii. The most remarkable finds are the glass
"Sub-period IB (1400 to 1000 BCE) is marked by bangles in sea-blue, white and black colours and
the coming together of late Harappan and the PGW datable to circa 1400 BCE. Also remarkable are the
peoples. The site was once damaged by flood but it bones of equus caballus Linn., cattle, sheep, goat,
was reoccupied by both th people. Three phases of ram, pig and dog."
structural activity have been noticed. First the people
were living in round and semi-circular huts of wattle
and daub. In an area of 4.25 X 6.85 m, twenty three
post-holes in a trench have been found conforming a
round or semi-circular hut. Inside the hut on the
floor, the find of four saddle querns and different
types of pestles, perhaps indicating that the house
belonged to a corn grinder (?). In the second phase, a
13-roomed mud-walled house with a corridor in
between having two sets of rooms 1.6 X 1.6 m to
3.35 X 4.2 m in size and a courtyard in the eastern
side was in existence. One oval shaped structure is
associated with this phase. The structure has burnt
earth and a few pieces of red ware including a dish-
on-stand, uncharred bones besides terracotta
fragments of its domical roof. The finds from these
houses include animal bones, dishes and bowls of
the PGW, terracotta beads, bone stylii and copper
objects, besides a small quantity of late Harappan
pottery. In the final phase, houses are built of burnt
bricks s indicated by scattered bricks, which
surfaced due to ploughing activity...The other finds
of this sub-period include terracotta
anthropomorphic figure, wheeled terracotta incised
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Bharati, Sarasvati
sr?SvtIm! m/étae? A/iñna/pae yi]? de/van! r?Æ/xeya?y/
The story of desiccation of the great river
Sarasvati is preceded by the story of ivña?n! .
unparalleled glory and travails in the making of 7.009.05 Repair, Agni, to the presence of the
a civilization which is the heritage of a billion gods in your office of messenger, (sent) by the
people living today in Bharat. The so-called assembly engaged in prayer; neglect us not;
‘disappearance’ of a mighty river is perhaps offer worship to Sarasvati, the Maruts, the
unique in the entire history of human As'vins, the waters, the universal gods, that
civilization itself. That such a river existed and they may bestow treasures (upon us).
nurtured the culture of Bharat is authenticated
in the Vedas, and the ancient historical accounts z< nae? de/va iv/ñdev
? a -vNtu/ z< sr?SvtI s/h xI/i-rœ

A?Stu , zm! A?i-/;ac>/ zm! %? rait/;ac>/ z< nae?


of Bharat called the Pura_n.as and the great
epics, the Ra_ma_yan.a and the
Maha_bha_rata. The Sarasvati Civilization was id/Vya> paiwRv
? a>/ z< nae/ APya>? .
the substratum which sustained a riverine and
7.035.11 May the divine universal gods be
maritime trade over an extensive region with
(favourable) to our felicity; may Sarasvati_,
the neighbours of Bharat, from Mesopotamia to
with holy rites, be happiness; may those who
Central Asia, and all over Bharat, from
assist at sacrifices, those who are liberal of
Kashmir to Kanyakumari. All along the
gifts. Be (conducive to) our happiness; may
pilgrimage route described in the
celestial, terrestrial and aquatic things be
Maha_bha_rata, Balarama offers homage to the
(subservient to) our happiness.
ancestors and great r.s.is who are the builders of
Bharat. Sarasvati is also called Bharati. The Aa yt! sa/k< y/zsae? vavza/na> sr?SvtI s/ÝwI/

isNxum
? ata ,
following quotes are from the Rigveda:

Aa -ar?tI/ -ar?tIi-> s/jae;a/ #¦a? de/vErœ m?nu/:yei-rœ ya> su/:vy?Nt su/Ê"a>? suxa/ra A/i- Sven/ py?sa/

A/i¶> , pIPya?na> .

sr?SvtI sarSv/tei-?rœ A/vaRkœ it/öae de/vIrœ b/ihRrœ @d< %/t Tye nae? m/étae? mNdsa/na ixy<? tae/k< c? va/ijnae?

s?dNtu . =vNtu ,
7.002.08 May Bharati, associated with the ma n>/ pir? Oy/dœ A]?ra/ cr/NTy! AvI?v&x/n! yuJy</ te
Bharatis; Il.a_ with gods and men; and Agni
and Sarasvati_ with the Sa_rasvatas; may the r/iy< n>? .
three goddesses sit down before us upon this 7.036.06 May the seventh (stream), Sarasvati_,
sacred grass. [Il.a_ with gods and man: il.a_ the mother of the Sindhu and those rivers that
devabhir manus.yebhir agnih; Il.a_ is associated flow copious and fertilizing, bestowing
with men; Agni is associated with the abundance of food, and nourishing (the people)
goddesses. This and the three following verses by their waters come at once together. [The
are repeated from the second as.t.aka]. mother of the Sindhu: sindhu ma_ta_ = apam
A¶e? ya/ih Ë/Tym! ma ir?;{yae de/vaACDa? äü/k«ta? ma_tr.bhu_ta_, being the mother of the waters].
7.036.07 May these joyous and swift-going
g/[en? , Maruts protect our sacrifice and our offspring;
let not the imperishable goddess of speech,
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deserting us, speak (kindly) to our After the rise of the Himalayas, S’atadru
(adversaries); and may both (she and the Marut) became the anchorage river of Sarasvati; what
associated augment our riches. [Let not the is now called Yamuna joined the Sarasvati river
imperishable goddess of speech: ma_ nah at PaontaSaheb. Ganga which had emerged
parikhyad aks.ara_ caranti = aks.ara_ vya_pta_ from Gangotri received Chambal (now
caranti va_gdevata_ asma_n parityaktva_ Yamuna) as its tributary at Prayag, Allahabad.
asma_d vyatirikta_ ma_ dra_ks.i_t, let not the An important glaciological dating tool is the
diffusive deity of speech, having abandoned us, fact that each glacier can supply waters into a
look upon our opponents]. major stream like the Ganga for a period of
10,000 years. The conclusions from these earth
Two events have no parallel in the entire science perspectives are that when the Sarasvati
history of civilization (1) that a river of the river was in its mighy flow, it had carried the
magnitude of Sarasvati River had been glacier waters which are now carried by
desiccated c. 1900-1500 B.C. and (2) that like S’atadru and Yamuna.
the Bhagiratha story of the emergence of the
Ganga, the perennial Sarasvati River will come The desiccation of the river over an extended
alive soon to benefit the present and future period of about 400 years (ca. between 1900 to
generations. Both the discovery and the 1500 B.C.), is the central cause for the
ongoing project should make every Indian feel migration of the peoples eastward, northward
proud of his and her heritage and the and southward from the settlements on the
technological competence we have acquired banks of the Sarasvati river which had
with hard work and diligence. nourished the civilization ca. 3000 to 1700 B.C.
(See website URL:
Natural History of Sarasvati River http://www.probys.com/sarasvati)

The ground-truth of Sarasvati river as a Archaeology has provided C-14 dates for the
perennial Himalayan river, has been found settlements on the banks of the Sarasvati river
using scientific techniques: satellite images, and work in historical metallurgy has
carbon-14 dating, tritium analysis of water established the antiquity of the Ganeshwar
samples from deep-wells all along the paleo- mines in Rajasthan which provided the mineral
channels shown on the satellite images. These sources to sustain the bronze age civilization.
have helped in establishing that the river was a
mighty one prior to 3000 BC and was Tritium (hydrogen isotope) analysis of deep
desiccated around 1500 BC. water samples taken by BARC (Bhabha Atomic
Research Centre) has provided a broad
The Sarasvati river binds the Rigvedic culture spectrum dating for the waters of the Sarasvati
and the Sarasvati-Sindhu civilization since the river now revealead as groundwater sanctuaries
Sarasvati river is the locus of over 1200 ancient and aquifers. The waters range from 2400 to
archaeological settlements and sapta-sindhu is 7400 years Before Present (B.P.).
the Rigvedic domain. (Rigveda refers to
Sarasvati_ as sindhu ma_ta_: the mother of life- Sarasvati_ is the first creation among rivers and
sustaining waters). The movements of the joins the ocean, according to the Great Epic:
people after the desiccation of the river in the
second millennium, also evidence the es.a_ sarasvati_ pun.ya_ nadi_na_muttama_
continuity of the civilization weaving nadi_
seamlessly into the historical periods of Indian prathama_ sarvasarita_m nadi_
cultural development. sa_garaga_mini_ (MBh. Anus’a_sana 134.15)

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Skanda Pura_n.a emphatically adds that the But when the Lesser Himalayas (the
Sarasvati_ river carries the Vad.ava_nala fire to Mahabharat Range in Nepal) were elevated,
the ocean: less than 200,000 years ago, some of these
rivers were ponded back behind them, forming
sama_hu_ya tato devi_m sva_m suta_m huge lakes (Note by Kalyan: Hence,the name
padmasambhavah Sarasvati!!) Eventually, the water rose high
uva_ca putri gaccha tvam gr.hi_tva_gnim enough to find outlets to the south (added, of
mahodadhim (Skanda Pura_n.a, Prabha_sa course, by the work of the truncated rivers
Ka_n.d.a 17.53, Venkateshwar Press edn.) cutting back through the Lesser Himalayas),
and the lakes were drained, leaving the level
Padma Pura_n.a (S’r.s.t.i kha_n.d.a 18.198) basins found today around Kathmandu and
states that the Sarasvati_ river vanished Pokhara in Nepal (Note by Kalyan: note, the
underground because she was made to carry the placid lake in PaontaSaheb where Yamuna
Vad.ava_nala fire. The reference is apparently pirated Sarasvati) South-flowing streams
to some large-scale tectonic disturbance which cutting through the Siwaliks had no difficulty in
resulted in river piracy and river migrations maintaining their courses because that frontal
involving the tributaries of the Sarasvati_ river. range was never high enough to shut off
An intimation of this possible tectonic event is precipitation in their source areas. Yet the uplift
related in a legend in the Great Epic. Devas led of the Himalayas, including the Siwaliks, is
by Brahma brought Ka_rttikeya to the apparently still continuing, offset by rapid
Sarasvati_ river and made him the Commander erosion of course, and earthquakes are by no
of their army. With the s’akti given him by means uncommon as a result... (p.25)... there
Agni, Ka_rttikeya broke asunder the kraun~ca would seem to be little doubt that the present,
mountain which sheltered the daitya Ba_n.a, almost imperceptible watershed between the
son of Bali, who tormented the devas. That the Ganges and Indus drainage is very recent in
kraun~ca mountain near Sarasvati_was rent origin. Here the key seems to lie in the shifting
asunder by fire is a significant reference to the or migration of stream beds across the alluvium
tectonics of the Himalayan ranges and the of the plains, and key role to have been played
foothills of the Siwalik mountain ranges. by the Jumna and a former stream (possibly the
legendary Sarasvati) the course of which is now
A south-flowing branch of the Chambal, (the marked by the bed known as the Ghaggar in the
southwestern tributary of Ganga) cut its channel Indian Punjab and Rajasthan, and as the Hakra
headwards and captured the water of the then in Pakistan Bahawalpur, that parallels the Sutlej
south-west flowing Sarasvati. The new channel, towards the Indus. The enormous amounts of
through which the diverted watger flowed, was detritus brought down by the Punjab rivers and
later named Yamuna. Map shows the drainage the present affluents of the Ganges are more
pattern after this river piracy—after the Sarasvati than sufficient to explain stream blockage and
was robbed of its watger by the Ganga through the shifting without invoking tectonic forces, and
agency of its tributary. (After Valdiya, K.S., 1996,
capture of one stream by another is well-
River Piracy: Sarasvati that Disappeared, in:
attested. The Beas, for example, was captured
Resonance, Vol. 1, No. 5, May, Bangalore, Indian
Academy of Sciences, Fig. 8).
by Sutlej at the end of the eighteenth century.
Its old course near Harike to the Chenab above
"(About 600,000 years ago) the Main Panjnad is well marked in the landscape of the
Himalayas at first replaced the Tibetan southern Pakistan Punjab, with the town of
Marginal Mountains as the recipients of the full Kasur and a series of villages still lining its
force of the monsoon, and the south-flowing 'banks'. The Ghaggar, which is used in part by
streams were able to maintain their courses by modern canals and which has begun to flow
down-cutting as the Siwaliks began to arise. again as water tables have risen, may very well

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represent the former course of such a truncated Haryana Sahitya Akademi, Journal of
river. Spate suggests that it could have been fed Indological Studies, Vol. III, Nos. 1-2, Spring
either by the Sutlej, itself occupying a different 1988, pp. 301-305).
channel, or by the Jumna. If it was the Jumna,
then the Jumna clearly has been captured by the Historic legacy of Sarasvati civilization
Ganges... in the broadest sense the Indus Plains
may be regarded as one vast and fairly Sarasvati River is adored in the Rigveda as:
homogeneous aquifer, a sort of vast sponge, ambitame, nadi_tame, devitame (best of all
capable of absorbing runoff from the foothills mothers, best of all rivers,best of all godesses).
as well as rainfall and seepage from the rivers She is a mother because she nourished a
and canals that cross them, and of transmitting civilization on her banks. She is a river which
this subterranean flow downslope to the had flowed from the Himalayas to the Arabian
Arabian Sea. (Notes: Note the legends Sea carrying the glacier waters which are today
regarding the disappearance of Sarasvati carried by the Sutlej and Yamuna rivers. Over
underground-antah salila_ sarasvati_!) The 2000 of the 2600 archaeological sites of the
water table or top level of this vast reservoir civilization unearthed during the last 70 years
varies with distance from the foothills and from have been found on the Sarasvati River Basin.
the rivers and canal, as well as with local For e.g. sites of Ropar, Rakhigarhi, Kunal,
alterations in the nature of the matrix, and it Banawali, Kalibangan, Ganweriwala, Kotdiji,
varies from season to season and year to year. Chanhudaro, Dholavira (Kotda), Rojdi, Lothal,
Recent investigations in the Pakistan Punjab Bet Dwaraka where the typical civilization
have been sufficiently detailed to allow artefacts such as seals with inscriptions, bronze-
preparation of contour maps showing depth to age metal weapons and tools, beads, jewellery,
water table, and comparisons with older data weights and measures, water-management
from wells indicate its general rise since systems have been found.
irrigation was introduced (cf. Greenman et al,
Maps 11, 12, 16-20). Variations in the salt Sarasvati is a goddess adored ever since the
content of the groundwater have also been Vedic Age, all over India as the goddess of arts
charter over much of Punjab... The groundwater and crafts, as the goddess of learning. The
reservoir apparently represents at least ten times civilization nourished by the Sarasvati had
the annual runoff of the Indus Rivers, and in transformed the chalcolithic (copper and stone)
many areas offers an additional source of age into the bronze (copper-tin, copper-arsenic
irrigation water when tapped by tubewells. The alloys or bronze and brass) age resulting in a
control of the water-table level by means of revolutionary way to relate to the material
pumping from wells or by drains is also phenomena of the world, using hardened metal
essential to the success of the surface-water tools and weapons. She is a goddess of the
irrigation, for in many areas the salt-carrying Saptasindhu region; her va_hana is a peacock
groundwater has risen perilously close to the or a ham.sa. She carries a veena (lute, string-
surface (Aloys Arthur Michel, 1967, The Indus instrument) on her hands. As Mother Goddess,
Rivers: A study of the effects of partition, Yale she is also depicted as Durga who is adored
University Press, New Haven, pp. 27-28) with weapons in her multiple hands, as
(Note: see the situation in Pehoa-Prthu_daka-in Mahis.a_suramardini (the killer of the demon,
Sarasvati Ghat and Brahma yoni near Mahis.a, of the bull form).
Vasis.t.a_s'ramam where the river becomes
pra_ci_va_hini_; sarasvati is so named in the The river was desiccated due to a number of
revenue maps of Haryana and also in Bha_rat geological reasons: Yamuna (called Chambal
Bhu_racana_, Survey of India maps.) [cf. earlier) cut a deeper channel and captured the
Prasher, R.N., The subterranean Sarasvati_, tributary of Sarasvati (Tons River) at Paonta

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Sahib (Himachal Pradesh, a famous Sikh unearthed, it is likely that we will have to revise
pilgrimage centre). Hence, the cherished our understanding of the so-called Harappan
memories of the people of Triven.i San:gamam civilization which is slowly but surely
at Prayag (Allahabad) where Yamuna brought unraveling as the Sarasvati or Ancient Indian or
in the waters of the Sarasvati to join the Ganga Vedic Civilization, with the Sarasvati River
river. Sutlej (which originated from Mansarovar being the principal sustaining base (hence,
lake in Mt. Kailas, Tibet) which was a tributary adored as ambi tame: best of mothers, R.gveda)
of Sarasvati river, joining the latter at Shatrana for the most extensive civilization ca. 5000
(Punjab), took a 90-degree turn at Ropar (due to years ago.
tectonic disturbances) and migrated away from
the Sarasvati and joined the Sindhu (Indus) Glaciological and palaeo-vegetation studies
river. The phenomenon called a_ndhi (sand- have established the fact that about 18,000 and
storms) which is common even today, resulted 8,000 years ago, Northwest India was a moist
in the build-up of sand-dunes on the bed of the region; the region could have supported a
Sarasvati River in the areas close to Jaisalmer developing, maritime, riverine civilization. The
(Thar or Marusthali_ desert, also called pattern of diffusion of black and red-ware of
Cholistan in Pakistan area). Thus Sarasvati chalcolithic culture and of diffusion of rice
River got choked up and lost the perennial cultivation indicates a movement of rice culture
waters coming from the Har-ki-dun glacier from Lothal (2200 BC) to Atranjikera (in the
(Bandarpunch massif, W. Garhwal, Himalayas). Ganga-Yamuna doab 1200 BC) and Rajadhipi
When the river got desiccated, many people (Bengal 1000 BC).
moved towards the Ganga-Yamuna doab and
moved south towards the Godavari River (there Glaciological studies have shown the secular
is an archaeological site called Daimabad, on sequence of desiccation of the Sarasvati river:
Pravara river, a tributary of Godavari, near (1) the streams were flowing through Markanda
Nasik). In the Har-ki-dun valley below the river; (2) the streams migrated towards the
Bandarpunch massif live a group of people Drishadvati river; (3) Drishadvati river
called Parvatis; they celebrate Duryodhana as migrated eastwards, linked up with Chambal
their god and hold an annual festival in his which captured the Tons river stream flowing
honour. This is a remarkable anthropological into Sarasvati river at PaontaSaheb (H.P.); (4)
legacy affirming the historicity of the Great S’atadru river stream which had joined
Epic, the Maha_bha_rata. Sarasvati river at Shatrana migrated westwards
with a 90-degree turn at Rupar and ultimately
The evidence from archaeology has firmly became a tributary of the Sindhu river.
established the continuity and substantially Glaciological studies have also showed the
indigenous evolution of the civilization right existence of quartzite and metamorphic rocks in
from ca. 3300 BC to TODAY. A recent finding Paonta Doon valley and near Ad Badri in
of Prof. Meadow (Feb. 1999, Harappa) Siwalik ranges attesting to the existence of the
indicates the possibility that the script of the mighty Vedic Sarasvati river which had brought
civilization was perhaps the earliest writing in these signature rocks.
system of the world.
Dr. Puri is a glaciologist with Geological
Recently (October 1999) excavations have Survey of India, who has, over 30 years,
started in Rakhigarhi on the banks of Sarasvati inventoried 1500 glaciers in the Himalayas as
River. Rakhigarhi is 150 kms. north of Delhi part of the World Glacier Inventory, Geneva.
and the site measures 220 ha. in extent which is His scientific findings confirm the source of the
almost three times the size of Mohenjodaro! As Sarasvati River from the Himalayan glaciers.
the excavation unravels and artifacts are

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precipitation for its survival. With advent of
'Drainage analysis, basin identification, drought conditions caused by either the
glaciological and terrace studies suggest that emergence of a dry phase in climate or failure
Vedic Sarasvati originated form a group of of monsoons for a number of years rather
glaciers in Tons fifth order basin at Naitwar decades, Vedic Sarasvati got completely
(Netwar) in Garhwal Himalaya. In early stages, disoriented and acquired the status of present
it occupied the present day drainage of Tons day oblivion.' (Puri, VKM, and BC Verma,
river upto Paonta Doon and took a westerly Glaciological and Geological Source of Vedic
swing after receiving nourishment from Aglar, Sarasvati in the Himalayas, New Delhi, Itihaas
Yamuna and Giri. West of Paonta, it followed a Darpan, Vol. IV, No.2, 1998, pp. 19-20).
westerly and southwesterly course along Bata
valley and entered plains at Adh Badri. It “In northwestern part of Jaisalmer district,
continued to follow almost southwesterly inspite of very low rainfall (less than 150 mm)
course and traversed through Haryana, and extreme conditions of the desert,
Rajasthan and Gujarat for nearly 1000 km and groundwater is available at depth of about 50-
joined the Arabian Sea. Mighty Sutlej of today 60m along the course of the defunct (Sarasvati)
was then a tributary of Vedic Sarasvati. It is river and a few dug wells do not dry up
quite likely that Vedic Sarasvati might have throughout the year. It is found that the area
come into existence during Upper Pleistocene through which the river bed is traced supports
period. The most important event that vegetation even during summer. It is thought
contributed to the desiccation of Vedic that these courses of river in the area still
Sarasvati was reactivation of Yamuna tear fault maintain their headwater connection and could
across Siwalik belt between Kalesar and Paonta form potential groundwater sanctuaries for
sometimes around 2450 BC (related to the exploitation. To confirm the scenario, an
earthquake evidenced in an archaeological site environmental isotope study was undertaken in
on the banks of the Sarasvati River: collaboration with the Groundwater
Kalibangan). As a result of this phenomenon, Department, Rajasthan in Jaisalmer
river Dris.advati_ came into existence which district...The groundwater samples exhibit
joined Vedic Sarasvati near Suratgarh in negligible tritium content indicating absence of
Rajasthan. With emergence of Bata-Markanda modern recharge. Radiocarbon data suggest the
divide, complete reversal in the flowof Vedic groundwater is a few thousand years old.
Sarasvati occurred in Bata valley whereby it (uncorrected ages: 4950 to 4400 BP) with a
abandoned its previous course through Adh velocity of about 20 m/a.” (Rao, S.M. and
Badri-Markanda and occupied the conduit Kulkarni, K.M., Isotope hydrology studies on
followed by river Dris.advati_. Meanwhile the water resources in western Rajasthan, Current
Vedic Sarasvati catchment was reduced by Science, vol. 72, no. 1, 10 January 1997, pp. 55-
94.5% and got restricted to that of present day 61). A detailed account of former streams in the
Markand. Subsequent to river Dris.advati_ region is provided by Kar (Kar, A., 1992).
migration from southwest to southeast, Palaeo- Some of the buried stream segments are
yamuna emerged that joined the Chambal river. potential ground water aquifers.. The course of
Later, the Shatudri (Sutlej) also started shifting the Sarasvati to the west of Jaisalmer has an
its course westerwards and consequently got estimated reserve of about 3000 mcm water
completely detached from Vedic Sarasvati. awaiting a judicious exploitation ...

'As a result of the above-mentioned events, Ghantiyal Ji is one of the five locations (around
Vedic Sarasvti got completely deprived of its Jaisalmer) marked along a 60-km strip of land
perennial source of nourishment from that is located above an ancient water channel,
Himalaya. It now depends upon monsoon believed to be an isolated section of the

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Sarasvati around the area where it petered out silts. In the upper part of the deposit, a carbonized
into the desert in the time of its geological wooden log was found and dated to around 9500
death throes. Experimental drillings have years BP by 14-c method. Marine magnetic
yielded sweet water just 30 m below the survey carried out does not indicate the presence
surface. of any major metallic debris/objects. This appears
to be one of the early records of prehistoric human
Tectonic activity in Kutch has led to the activity of early Holocene age in the marine
conjecture that the Ranns were perhaps lower environment of India.
and linked to the Arabian sea in prehistoric
times. (Billimoria, N.M., 1947, The Great
Indian Desert with special reference to the
former existence of the sea in the Indus Valley
(with two maps). Journal of the Sind Historical
Society, 8(2): 85-127).

Riverine, maritime culture

The river and the coast-line along the Gulf of


Khambat, Gulf of Kutch, Makran Coast
(Karachi), Persian Gulf constituted a veritable
water-way for long-distance trade transactions
and cultural exchanges starting from at least the
seventh millennium BCE. The autochthonous
evolution of a riverine, maritime culture is
exemplified by s’ankha (turbinella pyrum,
attested as an industry for making conch
bangles, circa 6500 BCE north of Makran
coast) with a habitat only in these locations,
apart from Gulf of Mannar. (See S.
Kalyanaraman, 2002, Sarasvati, Bangalore,
Babasaheb Apte Smarak Samiti; Book review
by Prof. KV Raman, in THE HINDU of May 1,
2001
http://www.the-
hindu.com/2001/05/01/stories/13010179.htm ).

Gulf of Khambat Cultural Complex

Detailed underwater surveys carried out in the


Gulf of Cambay, about 20 km west of Hazira,
deploying side scan sonar and sub bottom profiler
brought to light, the presence of a submerged
palaeochannel traceable to a length of 9 km.
Associated with this on either side are basement
like features found in a grid pattern at water
depths of 20-40 m. Sub-surface sampling carried
out with dredge and grab sampler revealed stone
artifacts, potsherds, hearth pieces, animal bones
and human teeth embedded in fluvial sands and
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Location map
of archaeological findings at Gulf of Cambay
Sonogram of palaeochannel

Sonogram
of a major structure, 200 m x 45 m with
rectangular platform like features

Sonogram of 40m x 24 m tank like depression with


steps leading into a deeper portion

Sonogram of a structure with wall like


features, 41 m x 20 m with a relief of about
3 m above the seabed

Sonogram of a buried structure 79 m x 50 m

One find is a triangular sandstone tablet, shaped A human jaw-bone


like an equilateral triangle about 6" at the base. At
the apex, the head-dress of a seated person is
faintly visible, since the slab is weathered by the
sea waters; the entire composition is in carved in
bas-relief. The orthography of the weathered slab
is comparable to similar seated persons depicted Chert blade
on some inscribed objects discovered at Harappa
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and Mohenjodaro (m453B).

Gem stones
Finds: Chert blade scraper (76 mm long), broken Area surrounding the Gulf of Cambay had been
barrel shaped bead of chert (13 mm long, dia. of occupied by man since last 200,000 years. This is
hole is 4 mm), broken hearth material (refractory; indicated by the occurrence of late Acheulian
low fired and embedded grass and pottery), rim stone artifacts wihin the milliolite formation
portion of pottery piece (made of well levigated exposed at the site Madhubensite near Gopnath in
clay measuring 3 mm thick), line drawings of the Bhavnagar district of Saurashtra (Deodhar et
chert blade scraper and an artefact with al. 1998). There are a good number of middle and
rectangular hole, line drawings of pottery, upper Palaeolithic sites in the upper reaches of
artifacts with holes and broken chert barrel head, Satranji river in Bhavnagar district (Marathe,
conchoidal shaped irregular depression found on 1997). Mesolithic sites are commonly found on
the inner surface of the hole, 100X optical stable surfaces of sand dunes in the northern part
microscope image, conchoidal shaped irregular of main land of Gujarat and on younger dunes
depression found on the outer surface of the hole, capping the milliolite formations in southern
100x optical microscope image (these tests coastal parts of Saurashtra (Allchin et al.
confirm deliberate boring activity by stone tools 1988)…A good number of Harappan sites like
like point or borer which were common during Lothal, Padri, Malvan etc. are found around Gulf
pre-historic period; these perforations appear to be of Cambay in association with coast-fringing
anthropogenic). alluvial and tidal flat deposits (Rao and
Varaprasad, 1988). The occurrence of such sites
In addition to wood samples, there are samples of indicates both rise and fall of sea level between
coral, pot-sherds, hearth material and shells 600 and 4500 BP. All these archaeological
(marine and fresh water) which are being evidence indicate continuation of human activity
subjected to different dating techniques like in the surrounding area of Gulf of Cambay over a
Thermo-luminiscence, AMS c-14 dating. long period of time. The present findings thus fill
the gap and provide a link between the main land
The area is subjected to frequent earthquakes and Gujarat and Saurashtra coast, of human activity,
tremors and falls in zone IV of the earthquake particularly during the early Holocene period (c.
zonation map of India (Gupta et al. 2001). An 8000 BP).
examination of the various seismic events reveals
that many of the epicenters are located right in This is the first record of possible prehistoric
Surat, Bhavnagar, Bharuch and nearby areas. human discovered on the seabed at a depth of 20-
Cambay region is a well-known macro tidal 40 m. below the present sea level, 20 km.
regime with a maximum tidal range of 12.5 m. in Offshore of Hazira occurring south of Tapi mouth
the Bhavnagar area. It also has strong tidal in the Gulf of Cambay…This prehistoric human
currents which change direction approximately activity of early Holocene age (Approx. 9500
every six hours. Maximum current often exceeds years BP) on the bank of a sandy channel,
six knts. This type of turbulent condition churns probably represents a westward extension of the
the seabed and produces enormous silt, making Tapi during the low sea level phase…The
the seawater turbid and impervious to light. This archaeological site was buried under fluvio-
renders marine archaeological explorations marine deposits around 8000 BP when the sea
extremely difficult and challenging… level started rising in the area, as a result of global
glacio-eustatic changes.
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Indus-Sarasvati civilization, as also the Vedas
(S. Kathiroli, S. Badrinarayanan, D. Venkata seem to recede further and further into the past
Rao, S.N. Rajaguru, K.M. Sivakholundu and B. with each new turn of the archaeologists spade at
Sasisekaran, 2002, “A new archaeological find sites such as Mehrgarh (G.Hancock, 2002,
in the Gulf of Cambay, Gujarat” in: Journal Underworld, Penguin Books, p. 161). A
Geological Society of India, Vol. 60, October hypothesis is projected ‘that the Indus-Sarasvati
2002, pp. 419-428). civilization goes back to 9000 years and that it
had an earlier episode of hidden pre-history. It
was founded by the survivors of a lost Indian
The editorial by Dr. BP Radhakrishna,
coastal civilization destroyed by the great global
President, Geological Society of India (pp. 367
floods at the end of the Ice Age.’ (ibid., p. 205).
to 369) notes: “21,300 years ago (around the time One way to prove the hypothesis was to find ruins
of the Last Glacial Maximum when the world more than 9000 years old underwater on India’s
oceans had sunk to their lowest level), a strip of continental shelf…Evidence on the antiquity of
country at least 100 km wide was exposed all Indian civilization is considerable and can no
along the whole of the west coast of India – a longer be ignored. Archaeologists have no right to
linear distance of 2000 km. The Kathiawar claim any monopoly of interpretation. Findings of
peninsula today surrounded on all sides by sea
other disciplines must also be taken into
was completely land locked at that time. Western
account…Geoarchaeology – an emerging field in
India had lost to the sea a vast coastal domain
earth science has a very important role to play in
nearly the same size and roughly the same shape
unraveling the pre-historical evolution of man and
as modern California and Baja California put
civilization in South Asia. We should build up a
together with an area close to half million square
strong indigenous school of research in this vital
kilometers. If this is true, there is every area, with modern tools of underwater sampling,
probability that this region had supported an videography and mapping. Only then, can we
ancient civilization on land which got submerged come out with bold hypothesis to alter the
11,000 to 8000 years ago at the end of the Ice entrenched ‘semi-colonial’ perspectives of history
Age. Excavation at Mehrgarh in Pakistan have and pre-history that will stand the test of time.”
revealed the existence of a civilization as far back
as 8500 years before present. The origin of the

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Map of Gujarat with the river systems and Nal lakes linking the Little Rann of Kutch with
Lothal, which was linked with Prabhas Patan (Somnath) through Rojdi and Rangapura;
there should have been a course of the Sarasvati River crossing Vallabhipur and Amreli; and
Rangpur and Rojdi. (Map is drawn after R.N. Mehta, 1984, Fig. 26.1).. Nesadi, near Valabhi was
excavated (Bhavnagar district, Gujarat); Valabhi was a capital city of Maitrakas from ca. 5th to 8th
cent. A.D.

Prabhas Patan (Somnath); discovered near a warehouse is a stone


steal with two stags engraved deeply (After M.K. Dhavalikar, 1984,
Pl. 101). Early Prabhas culture was dated to ca. 1990 BC.

Gujarat; Late Harappan settlements, mainly distribution of Mature Harappansettlements;


short-term camps, in the black-cotton soil of Bhagatrav; 2. Desalpur; 3. Jhangar; 4. Kesari;
Saurashtra (152 sites as compared with 20 in 5. Khari ka Khanda; . Kotada Bhadli-II; 7.
the Mature Harappan period). Gujarat; Kotada Bhadli-III; 8. Kotada; 9. Kotadi

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(Dholavira); 10. Kotara (Juni-Kuvan); 11. delta areound Fort Derawar.]" (Gregory L.
Koth; 12. Lakhapur; 13. Lothal (3740 BP); 14. Possehl, April 1999, personal communication).
Nagwada-I (370 BP); 15. Nageswar; 16.
Pabumath; 17. Pirwada (Khetar); 18. Rangpur; Raini and Wahinda provide contrasting
19. Samagogha; 20. Surkotada (3645 BP). features: Raini is a deep water course while
(After G.L. Possehl, 2000, Fig. 3.133, p. 327). Wahinda is wide and flat. Since both Raini and
Eastern Nara, Great Rann, Banni, Little Rann, Wahinda flow in a hollow between the Sindhu
Sarashtra around the Gulf of Kutch and Gulf of and the Thar Deseart, there is reason to surmise
Khambat (Cambay). The area encompassed is that these courses of Raini and Wahinda could
ca. 150,000 sq.km. including the salty marsh of be seen to be extensions of the Sarasvati River
Kutch, sandy alluvium of north Gujarat, forests in Sindh. “The Raini on the whole deserves its
of western ghats, bounded on the south and title ‘Nullah’, for it is a deep water course, not
west by the sea, onj the north by Sindh qand m more than forty yards wide in places, with steep
ountains and on the east by mountains. The banks some fifteen or twenty feet high. The
entire north Gujarat plain, coastal mainland and country on either side—hard alluvium with
the fringes of Saurashtra along the Arabian sea, sand hills—slopes down to it perceptibly from
is covered with alluvium, mostly brought in by either side. The bed of the Wahinda on the
the Sarasvati River. The region has reserves of other hand is wide and flat, and in many places
agates (translucent stones with a very high difficult to recognize among the drift sand. One
silica content), chalcedony which turns red has the impression that great floods
when heated (called carnelian) serving the occasionally rolled down the Wahinda, filling
lapidaries at Khambat (Cambay). Panch Mahals up all the open places between the sand hills for
in the western ghats have placer tin. miles, and not perhaps progressing to a very
great distance southward; but that more often
The mighty River Sarasvati joined the sea the spill water kept to the Raini—far exceeding
its capacity for a while, but flowing down the
Gregory Possehl (1998) raises a question: steeper declivity, and scouring out the central
Did Sarasvati ever flow to the sea? nullah.” (Lambrick, 1964: 31-2).

"There is no river bed connection between the Recent studies in quaternary tectonism and
termination of the Sarasvati in an inland delta geomorphology (1999) have addressed this
near Fort Derawar, and the Eastern Nara. This question posed by Possehl. These are presented
delta documents the petering out of the river. It in the following sections, in the context of
also explains the large number of sites, which many studies reported and hypotheses built
came to the fertile delta to use it as farm land over the last 140 years.
and pasture. There are two palaeochannels to
the north of the Rohri hills (Raini and Wahinda) Lambrick's (1964) observations have been fully
but both are far too small to be the remains of a dealt with by Wilhelmy (1969). Some
Sarasvati channel... See also Lambrick, H. T. additional answers are provided by other
1964 Sind: A general introduction. History of workers, including the findings reported in
Sind Series, Vol.1.Hyderabad (Pakistan):Sindhi 1999 of the Earth Scientists' group discussions
Adabi Board: 274 pp. [Lambrick was an held in University of Baroda (Vedic Sarasvati,
irrigation officer and an archaeologist. He ha published as a Geological Society of India
ssearched on the ground for the connection Monograph No. 42).
between Fort Derawar and the Eastern Nara and
never fhoud it. He also identified the inland

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Apart from the hundreds of sites found in
Bahawalpur province (Cholistan), the sites of Drainage in NW India, circa 5500 years
Naru-waro-Daro, Kotdiji, Nandowari, Before Present; After Wilhelmy, 1969.

"Wilhelmy (1969)
who studied the
palaeodrainage of
Indian subcontinent
mainly concentrated
on the upper reaches
of the various rivers
giving a
chronological
sequence of their
shifts and captures.
He has stated that,
prior to Alexander's
invasion (in 325
B.C.), there
prevailed in this part
two independent
river systems; one
comprised the
frequently changing
Hakra-Nara courses
and the other, Indus
progressively
shifting to the west.

"To avoid all


confusion, and
following a suggestion by Lambrick (1964, p.
Chanhudaro, Gharo Bhiro (Nuhata), Pabumath
229), in the following discussion, we shall refer to
were on the banks of the Sarasvati (Hakra- the upper part of the dry bed up to Derawar as
Nara-Mihran palaeo-channels), i.e. left bank of Hakra and the lower course from the Ghauspur
Sindhu river. Towards the Little Rann of Kutch, depression southeast of Mithankot up to the Rann
the sites on islands in the Greater Rann were: of Kutch as Nara-- although this convention does
Kotada (Dholavira), Surkotada, Desalpur, not quite correspond to the local usages. For
Khirsara (Netra). Down at the Gulf of Khambat example, in the local usage, the lower course is
(beyond the Nal sarovar) were the sites of also given the name Hakra. The local people were
Lothal and Rangpur en route (westwards) to probably aware of the continuity of the entire line
Rojdi, Machiala, Prabhas Patan. of valley and that a single river flowed here once
upon a time...
More issues are also raised including those
which require further research and field work. "Stein (1942, p. 181) drew attention to the region
Several grey areas and gaps in knowledge still around Derawar where the broad Hakra bed
exist and need to be unraveled further. breaks up into an inland delta marked by a
number of dry channels spread out like a fan.
River Sarasvati emerges into land from Near Vinjrot (Wanjh-rut), at about 28 deg. N
Siwalik ranges (latitude), the river bed again assumes a well
defined form (Fig.4) but again near Madagarh, the
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Nara breaks up once again and loses its name at of the perennial flow through the "lost river",
the same tim. The river Wahinda forms the filled up all the basins between the dunes and
eastern arm and the river Raini Nullah forms the seeped down and got lost in sand fields. On the
western arm. The two arms join with each other other hand, the Raini forms a deep channel, only
25 km to the north of Mithran, a village on the old 40 m broad in some places, with steep banks 4-6
caravan route from Rhori-Alor to Jaisalmer. m high. This well marked bed lost its original
function as part of the Hakra-Nara system, but a
"The Wahinda river bed is broad, flat at many part of the Indus flood water flowed down this
places, where it is covered up by sand, and it is bed now and then and made it deeper (Lambrick,
difficult to notice the bed. One gets the impression 1964, p. 31). The Raini is therefore rightly called
that the huge flood tides of the Indus, which swept "Nullah" (= water course). Of course, the flood
occasionally down the river Wahinda after the end waters would have often exceeded the holding
capacity of the "Nullah".

"Some 55 km southeast of
Sukkur, the combined bd of
Raini and Wahinda meets
the part of the "Eastern
Nara" that flows exactly
north-south, at an acute
angle. Over the last 100
years, a stretch of over 300
km of this dry bed is being
used by a large irrigation
canal that branches off from
the Indus near Rohri
opposite Sukkur. This
irrigation has been extended
by the constrution of the
Lloyd Barrage (1932). This
artificial water course still
has all the characteristis of
the erstwhile river that it has
replaced, its meandering
course follows a shallow
valley which is occasionally
3-5 km broad and gets
narrowd now and then due to
dunes. At times of
extraordinary floods, the
river bed gets filled up from
bank to bank, but the high
tides usually flow off very
quickly again (Raverty,
1892). In 1859, when the
eastern Nara Canal was
commissioned, the engineers
made an interesting
observation: some of the
depressions that run parallel
to each other to the East of
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the irrigation canal between the sand dunes of archaeological findings thus corresponds to the
Thar got filled with water. Presumably the traditional beliefs. Stein (1942, p.182) is certain
erstwhile Nara would also have flowed further to that even as late as in the Vedic period (around
the East, if sand dune ranges had not blocked this 1500 BC) a big river flowed through the Hakra-
lower valley line (Lambrick, 1964, p. 32)... The Nara depression...
Kori Creek was once the outlet for the water
masses flowing down the Hakra-Nara depression "When the upper Jumna adopted its present
with a total length of 1300 km. (Fig. 4)... course and finally ceased to supply water to the
Hakra (Fig. 2B), in the Vedic period (around 1500
"Five different hypotheses emerge from the BC), the Sarasvati flowed through the Hakra-Nara
discussion on the "Lost River of Sind" that has depression into a shallow Bay of the Arabian Sea;
been going on over the last 140 years: from the 11th century, the salty swamp of the
Rann of Kutch took the place of the shallow bay
1. Hakra and Nara were once upon a time the (Wilhelmy, 1968a, p. 183)...
course of an ancient Jumna (or Proto-Jumna)
flowing independently (without tributaries) into "Sarasvati...this river must have had, besides its
the Arabian Sea. small Siwalik source river, a major source river in
2. Hakra and Nara were the bed of the mythical the Himalaya and it must have received glacial
Sarasvati which was fed by the Ghaggar and by water. The small Siwalik rivers would not have
the source river of the present Sutlej before the been enough to supply all the water in the
old Sutlej lost its hydrographic independence and Sarasvati. In other words, the Sarasvai must have
became a tributary of the Indus. had a source river in the Himalaya; the Sarasvati
3. Hakra and Nara are an earlier course of the must have lost this source river either due to a
Indus, the Indus has migrated to the west and left diversion or tapping, as indicated by the sharp
this course. bend near Rupar (Fig. 3D). This would justify a
4. In a very distant past, the Hakra and Nara Himalayan source for the river Sarasvati...
courses or different sections of these courses were
used at different times by the Jumna, Sutlej and "Summing up, we may say: right up to the pre-
Indus. Alexandrian period, there were two independent
5. Hakra and Nara never carried water river systems in the Indus plain: the Hakra-Nara
independently; they always served as additional courses subject to several changes over a long
discharge paths of Jumna, Sutlej or Indus during period and the Indus marked by its continuous
floods. westward migration. Jumna and Sutlej determined
the hydrographic evolution in the watershed
"As mentioned earlier, the number and size of the region between Indus and Ganges. After the
ancient setlements are in striking contast with the proto-Jumna (up to about 2000 BC), the mythical
sparse population in this region now. Dozens of Sarasvati flowed around 1500 BC through the
large deserted residential hillocks form a border Hakra-Nara depression towards the Arabian Sea,
along the dry bed of Hakra; Stein studied these the Sarasvati being fed with water mainly by the
chains of former villages over a distace of more proto-Sutlej (Sarasvati-Sutlej). Also a later Sutlej
than 300 km downstream of Bhatnir, Suratgarh, course (Hakra-Sutlej) ensured water flow
Wallhar, Phulra, Mirgarh, Marot, Maugarh, thorughout the year right up to 600 BC through
Dingarh and Derawar. Only Derawar has been the "ancient river valley on the Eastern border of
preserved because of its significance as a fixed the Indus plain". The proto-Jumna and the proto-
place at the beginning of the caravan route along Sutlej used the same Hakra bed one after the
the Hakra course (Stein, 1942, p. 181). other, although they had different upper ocurses.
Excavations in the settlement hillocks show There are no morphological or historical
evidence of a continuous settlement from the evidences for the thesis that besides the Indus,
Harappan period (2500-1500 BC) right up to the once upon a time, Sutlej, Jumna and Ganga
Kushan period (50 BC-229 AD) and in some flowed independently into the Arabian Sea, that is
places right up to the 16th century. The age of the simultaneously four parallel rivers flowed into the
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Arabian Sea (see map of Ahmad and Abbasi, evidence of the degeneratin of the old cultural
1960, p. 45). landscape (Ahmad and Abassi, 1960, p. 45). Also
Alor, once an important town south of Sukkr, not
"The Hakra-Nara system began to degenerate in far from eastern Nara, had to be deserted by all its
the pre-Alexandrian period itself. Due to canals or residents (Cousens, 1929, p.5).
diversion of the upper courses of the Juma and
Sutlej, fed with glacial waters from the "The original hydrographic situation in the Hakra-
Himalayas, the Hakra-Nara system gradually lost Nara depression has been re-established to a
its autonomy. Ganges and Indus widened their certain extent by modern engineering. In 1859, the
catchment areas, and he old river channel at the Nara was converted once again into a perennial
edge of the Thar began to receive only the excess "river" by means of a transverse canal which
flood water from the Sutlej from the 6th century branches off from the Indus near Rohri above the
BC, the flood water discharge (probably) break-through point at Sukkur (Eastern Nara
happened regularly every year. Canal). Around the same period, the old river
courses of the Punjab became well-known
"Canals and diversion of the Himalayan source through surveys extending over the entire region.
river made the Sutlej into a tributary of the Indus, Canals were built at two points on the Sutlej,
the Hakra thus ceased to be a perennial river. The namely, the Hakra channel near Wallhar and
erstwhile Sarasvati valley (= Hakra) merely Kudwala. The dry beds in the watershed region
served as a temporary flood water channel and by between Jumna and Sutlej, which owe their
mid 13th century even this water flow from the evolution to either of these rivers, have likewise
Sutlej became scantier and scantier (C.F. Oldham, become guiding lines for modern irrigation
1893, p. 66), and from the beginning of the 16th channels. It has thus been possible to make the old
century, the flow stopped almost completely river courses, which remained dry for centuries,
(Lambrick, 1964, p. 189). From this time onward, once again useful for the people" (After
any water flow through the Hakra became an Wilhelmy, H., 1969, Das Urstramtal am
extraordinary event... Ostrand der Indus ebene und das Sarasvati
Problem, Zeischrit fur Geomorphologie,
"Sutlej water flowed into the Hakra through the Supplementary Band 8, pp. 76-95; English tr.
dry valleys running from the northeast near extracts in: B.P. Radhakrishna and S.S. Merh,
Bhatnir, Wallhar and Kudwala. The Hariari ("fruit eds., Vedic Sarasvati, 1999, pp. 95-111; Fig. 1).
bringer") which runs parallel to Panjnad below the
confluence of the Sutlej and Chenab served as a Present day and ancient courses of River
smaller flood water outlet (Buckley, 1893, p. Sarasvati in northwestern Bharat [After
157). Finally, the depression of Ghauspur to the Sridhar et al., 1999 (Fig. 4)]
south of the junction of the Punjab rivers was the
gate through which a part of the Indus flood
The shifting courses of the River Sarasvati have
waters occasionally found its way to the Rann of
been established by remote sensing analyses
Kutch right up to recent times. As a result of this,
based on satellite images and by
the Nara channel could even turn temporarily into
geomorphological studies of the Sarasvati Project
a navigable river. It is thus reported that in the
(1998) undertaken by the Central Ground Water
year 1742, it was possible to transport building Authority of the Ministry of Water Resources,
stones by river route from the Rhori hills between Government of India. The entire stretch of the
Sukkur and Alor upto Umarkot (Fife, 1857, p.40). river system including many tributary streams has
But after such isolated years with plenty of water, been mapped over a distance of 1,600 kms. From
there folowed longer and longer periods with no Manasarovar glacier in Himalayas to Somnath
flood water at all. As a consequence, the people
(Prabhas Patan) in Gujarat along the coast of
living in the area of eastern Sind, which was once
Sindhu sa_gara (Arabian Sea). The ground water
well irrigated and thickly populated, lost their
aquifers of the river in Marustali (Thar desert,
basis of life and had to migrate westward. Many
Rajasthan) hold adequate potable resources to
ruins in the Thar "desert" and its border are
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construct one million tube wells in the central south.
river basin alone. By utilising the surface waters
of the reborn Sarasvati (Rajasthan Canal A major Himalayan river system drained north-
extension drawing the waters of Sutlej, Beas and west Bharat, over a distance of 1600 kms., from
S’arada rivers), it would become possible to Manasarovar glacier (Mt. Kailas) to Somnath
recharge these ground water resources to establish (Gujarat), spanning diverse ecological zones –
a sustainable water management system for the and climatic features -- such as glaciers, river-
states of Uttaranchal, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, fed lakes (sarovars), deserts and coastal salty-
Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat, as an integral part
marshes (rann) not excluding the formation of
of the National Water Grid (National River
monsoons after the creation of the Gulf of
Network). Since the Marusthali is filled with
alluvial soil, the availability of water is already
Khambat about 10,000 years ago as a result of
resulting in stemming the march of the desert and incursion of sea into the land submerging
in greening the desert. ancient courses of Rivers Narmada and Tapati.
This was River Sarasvati, mightier than River
The area to the west of the Aravalli ranges is Sindhu or River Ganga since the river was
covered with deep alluvium, barring a few joined by the tributaries such as Sutlej,
outcrops of rocks which date from Precambrian Yamuna, Markanda, Sarsuti, Drishadvati,
to Eocene times.(Roy, B.C., 1959, Geological Tamasa-Giri-Bata rivers (in Uttaranchal,
Map of Rajasthan. Economic Geology and Western Garhwal Himalayas, north of
Mineral Resources of Rajastghan. Memoirs of Paontadoon valley in Himachal Pradesh).
the Geologifcal Survey of India, 86). So much Ecological studies have shown that because of
alluvium should have been brought in by the river migrations caused by plate tectonics (of
Sarasvati River system. The Luni River system the kind which struck Bhuj on 26 January 2001
is not large enough to explain the extent of with the intensity of 8.2 on the Richter scale,
alluvium. On reconstruction of the prehistoric which is said to be equivalent to energy
river systems west of the Aravalli ranges is that released by the explosion of 220 hydrogen
the combined headwaters of the Ghaggar, bombs), River Sarasvati lost the anchorage
Sarasvati and Chautang originally flowed past river tributary River Sutlej and River Yamuna
Nohar and joined the Luni river 450 km to the before 1900 BCE and before 2500 BCE
respectively. The evolutionary history of River
Sarasvati has been explained in succinct
scientific detail by Prof. KS Valdiya in his
book: Sarasvati: The River that Disappeared
(2002, Hyderabad, Universities Press). This is a
follow-up on the scientific symposium held in
Baroda earlier. (See BP Radhakrishna and SS
Merh, eds., Vedic Sarasvati, Memoirs of
Geological Society of India, 2000, Bangalore).

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Sarasvati River: ancient courses joining with ”Archaeological evidences and remote sensing
the Luni river (After Ghose, B., Kar, A., and records indicate that the courses of many of the
Husain, Z., 1980, Comparative role of the rivers of the plains have undergone the periodic

Aravalli and the Himalayan river systems in the alterations in and around the area of
fluvial sedimentation of the Rajasthan desert. Saurashtraand Kutch peninsula. Various
Man and Environment, 4: 8-12; Possehl, G.L., evidences and explanations are advanced about
1999, Fig. 3.138). Two courses are seen to be the migration and extinction of the once
older than the Mature Harapan. One course was mighty river Sarasvati. Similarly the reports are
thru Churu and another was through Suratgarh there to suggest that river Indus once upon a
and Bikaner; the shift in the second course time flowed to the sea through Gulf of Khambat
might have been caused by encroachment of prior to now occupied position via Great Rann
sand. of Kutch. The fluctuations in the course of
these rivers must have left their imprints

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preserved in the oceanic and marine paleochannels observed in the Anupgarh plains
environment in the form of paleochannels. The are the last arm of the Sarasvati river, which has
evidences of such remnants have been been displaced by the present day Ghaggar
encountered in the recently conducted shallow river. The studies of the above workers and the
seismic surveys at the confluence of Kori Creek present detailed study show clearly that the
area of Kutch district of Gujarat State in the Sarasvati river once flowed close to the
form of two ancient channels. These Aravalli hill ranges and met the Arabian Sea in
paleochannels of 4 to 5m topographic the Rann of Kutch, that it has migrated towards
depression which extend about 200m in width the west, the north-west and the north and has
are located at 6m water depth and buried l0m ultimately got lost in the Anupgarh
below the present plain of seafloor. We see that plains...When the Sarasvati flowed in a
the present or in the recent past, drainage southwesterly direction it was flowing against
system of the area is not capable of forming the the northeasterly moving sand advance in the
paleochannel of such magnitude. These Thar desert. It can be concluded, therefore, that
paleochannels are suggestive of some ancient the Sarasvati river could not overcome such a
major river or its branches of drainage system sand advance and hence that it started drifting
flowed to the sea through the present creek towards the north with a rotational migration in
system. In the absence of the precise dating and a clockwise direction until ultimately it was
detailed survey, we are not concluding the buried in the Anupgarh plains.”(After
source river created these paleochannels but Ramaswamy, S.M., Balkiwal, P.C. and Verma,
postulate in the background of the R.P., 1991, Remote Sensing and river migration
archaeological, historical and paleoclimatic in Western India, in: International Journal of
information that these channels were part of Remote Sensing, Vol. 12, No. 12, 2597-2609;
drainage system of Indus/Saraswati.’ (Nigam, Fig. 3; pp. 2600, 2608).
R., Pathak, M.C., Hashimi, N.H., Kotnala, K.L.,
and Chaturvedi, S.K. Search for Evidences of Forced eastwards, the Sarasvati was
Ancient River Channels of Indus/Sarasvati in progressively robbed of its waters: first by the
Shallow Sea, Kutch (Gujarat), Abstract of Yamuna, then by the Sutlej -- both rivers, along
paper presented in Second International with the Tons, were once a part of its massive
Conference on Marine Archaeology, 8 to 10 expanse. A branch of the Chambal cut
January 1999, Institute of Oriental Studies, northwards in a channel deeper than the
Thane; Sarasvati, finally beheading the great river. This
http://www.orientalthane.com/seminars/marine/ new channel became the Yamuna, which
5.htm ) migrated eastwards. Similarly, the Sutlej
migrated westward. A geological paroxysm in
Palaeochannels of the Thar Desert the Aravallis pushed it into a U-turn at Rupar,
(Marubhu_mi) . “The study of remotely sensed Punjab, forcing a complete abandonment of the
data in the desert tract of Rajasthan shows that Sarasvati, sending the Sutlej into the arms of
there are plenty of paleochannels with well the Indus.
sprung-up tentacles throughout the desert. On
the northern edge of the Thar-Great Indian The Sarasvati's demise indicates how dramatic
desert at the Ganganagar-Anupgarh plains a tectonic movements can change the face of a
well-developed set of paleochannels are clearly society. Betrayed by its two snow-fed sources,
discernible in satellite photographs. Bakliwal et the Sarasvati was left with the waters of petty
al (1983) have explained that these well sprung- streams rising in the puny Shivaliks. Its twin
up palaeochannels are traces of the mighty sources survive to this day. The Sarasvati was
Sarasvati river which once ruled the desert. born in the Banderpunch (monkey's tail) massif
Yashpal et al (1980) have argued that the in the Garhwal Himalayas. This is today the

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source of the independent Tons, one of the this day, it is the Ganga that is predominant to
Sarasvati's source streams. Beyond the Indian India's Hindu consciousness. But the Sarasvati,
Himalayas in Tibet near the holy lake as the drilling rigs at Ghantiyal Ji should reveal,
Mansarovar is Kapalshikhar, the other source of has not disappeared altogether.
the Sarasvati. The river is still there, known
locally as the Mang Nang Tsangpo; further The great river will flow again, its spiritual
downstream a Survey of India map actually form will regain its Vedic glory, as the legacies
calls it the Sarasvati. of the river are flooding back all over again.

Without its snow-bound origins, the Sarasvati The collision of the Deccan plate with the
became a shadow of its former self. Its people Tibetan plate accounts for the landmass of
migrated upstream and settled in today's Bharat joining with the rest of Asia along the
Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh. There Burmese border, across the Ganga valley and
seems to be archaeological evidence to this the front of the Himalayas and south along the
movement: The total absence of late Harappan mountains of NW Frontier and Baluchistan.
settlements in the area of the Sarasvati is in The flow of the Ganga is along the deep
sharp contrast to the dramatic increase in syncline which is filled with alluvium. The
habitations in the plains of Haryana and resultant effects have been the pushing back
western Uttar Pradesh. There is also a and thrusting up of the Himalayan ranges.
remarkable scarcity of Harappan sites around Sindhu flows along another syncfline, a down
what are today's Yamuna and Sutlej. This is warp and a tear as the Deccan plate pushes
again in sharp contrast to the archaeological northward. This plate tectonic activity has
gold mines turning up in the dry channels of contributed to the occurrence of earthquake
Punjab, Rajasthan and Sindh in Pakistan. with the Himachal Pradesh on a 0.85 isoline
prone to recurrent earthquakes.
Finally, only flood waters flowed down the
Sarasvati's once vast channel. It remained dry ”The Luni-Sukri lineament is one of the few
for several centuries, though some water again major lineaments extending from the Great
found its way in during the early centuries of Rann of Kutch in the south-west to Dehradun in
the Christian era. The Sarasvati's decline and the north-east, with a general NE-SW trend and
the loss of its civilisation are an indication of it shows characteristic signatures of Pleistocene
how tectonic shifts can combine with localised reactivation, namely: (a) it manifests itself as a
climate change to dramatically transform linear contact between the dunes and the Rann
human settlement. As the shifting Aravallis in the Rann of Kutch region with frequent
chopped off the Sarasvati's waters, the climate seismicities along it; (b) it occurs as two sub-
too was changing. Over the years western parallel lineaments in the Ajmer sectgor along
Rajasthan, once a green, rich expanse with the intersection of which the Aravalli
extensive rainfall, gradually turned into a mountains are dissected, dismembered and
parched, desert land. Where there was once a subdued; and, it finds expression as a tear fault
torrent of water, there remained nothing but in the Siwaliks of the Dehra Dun region thus
tonnes of drying sand, a few lakes that survive displaying significant evidence of Pleistocene
to this day, and of course the veins of reactivation.”(After Ramaswamy, S.M.,
groundwater under the earth. Balkiwal, P.C. and Verma, R.P., 1991, Remote
Sensing and river migration in Western India,
The Sarasvati's desiccation also demonstrates in: International Journal of Remote Sensing,
how central rivers have been to civilisation and Vol. 12, No. 12, 2597-2609; Fig. 8; pp. 2603-
culture. With the Sarasvati gone, its place in 2605).
mythology was taken over by the Ganga. To

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River migrations in Western India . Present day rivers as Sarasvati in the Little
channels, paleocourse and lineaments which Rann of Kutch and in the Pus.kar
were interpreted in different parts of satellite are consistent with the naming of
and aerial photographs were mosaiced, and a tributary of Helmand as
planimetrically controlled maps were Haraquaiti.
generated. (After Ramaswamy, S.M., Balkiwal,
P.C. and Verma, R.P., 1991, Remote Sensing Thus the name of Haraqauti is
and river migration in Western India, in: simply explained as a memory
International Journal of Remote Sensing, Vol. carried by the people as they
12, No. 12, 2597-2609; Fig. 2). a. Sulaiman migrated out of the Sarasvati
hills; b. Aravalli hills; c. Khetri hills; d. River Basin from Northwestern
Siwaliks; 1. Sindhu R.r; 2. Luni-Sukri R.; 3. India as the river started to
West Banas R.; 4. Sabarmati R. 5. Mahi R.; 6. desiccate for the
Narmada R.; 7. Chambal R.; 8. Banas R.; 9. geomorphological and tectonic
Banganga R.; 10. Yamuna R.; 11. Ganga R.; A. reasons explained elsewhere.
Broach; B. Radhanpur; C. Virangam; D.
Ambaji; E. Siwana; F. Agra; G.
Sawaimadhopur; H. Dholpur; I. Sambhar lake;
J. Tosham; K. Anupgarh; L. Dehradun; ---
Lineaments.

The latest satellite colour images clearly show


the marks of a palaeochannel, as wide as 12 km
in places, from the Shivaliks to Bhinmal in
south Rajasthan. From there it breaks into five
parts, heads towards Somnath and finally
disappears near the coast of Saurashtra.

The Croats (of erstwhile Yugoslavia) claim that


they are Sarasvats! The Behistun (Iran)
inscription of Darius does refer to the region
called Hravat (Haraquaiti) which is a phonetic
transform from Sarasvati. Sarasvati—
Haraquaiti—Hravat-Kravat-Croat! They have a
website cross-linked with the sarasvati URL
(http://sarasvati.simplenet.com). The naming of

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Pattan Minara,
Hindu Temple
on the banks
of Sarasvati
River (c. 5th
cent. CE?).
(Brick
decorated).
(After Mughal,
1997, Pl. 22)
Binjadasar. A temple in ruins. On the banks of
the Sarasvati River. (After Bapat, V.D., and
Umapathy, K.R. (tr.), 1994, Lost’ River
Sarasvati, Mysore, Bharatiya Itihasa Sankalana
Samithi (tr. from Vakankar, L.S. and Paracure,
C.N., 1992, Lupta Sarasvati_ Nadi_ s’odh
(Marathi).
The Maha_bha_rata endorses that ti_rtha- extraordinary sanctity venerating the pitr.s and
ya_tra (going on pilgrimages) is superior to rishis of ancient times. It is notable that the first
yajn~as: “O thou best of Bharata race, sojourns ti_rtha is Pus.kara (in Rajasthan), a ti_rtha of
in ti_rthas which are meritorious and which Brahma_ according to the Maha_bha_rata;
constitute one of the high mysteries of the pilgrimage to Pus.kara is considered equal in
Rishis, are even superior to sacrifices.” The merit to the performance of ten as’vamedha
map is based on the Critical Edition of the yajn~as. The epic enumerates other ti_rthas
Maha_bha_rata (Vishnu S. Sukthankar, 1941, related to Brahma: Brahmaks.etra,
Maha_bha_rata, vol. 3, secs. 80-88, Poona; cf. Brahmastha_na, Brahmayoni, Brahmodumvara,
S.M. Bhardwaj, 1983, Hindu Places of Brahma_varta. The pilgrimage ends with
Pilgrimage in India, Berkeley, University of Praya_ga (modern Allahabad) after
California Press, p. 30) and based on the circumambulating the entire Bharat. The Epic
dialogues of sages Pulastya (who mentions also refers to Rudra, the husband of Uma. The
about 270 places and sacred rivers) and sacred ecumene of the Sarasvati River Basin
Dhaumya (who mentions about 60 ti_rthas or get extended to the Gangetic Basin right into
sacred places) described in the the headwater regions in the Himalayas.
A_ran.yakaparvan. The ti_rthas (passage or
ford: RV 10.40.13; 10.114.7) are principally Rigveda refers to the burning of sacrificial fires
associated with water and are close to (yajn~as) on the banks of Sarasvati_ and
riverbanks, confluences and seacoast testifying Dr.s.advati_ Rivers (RV. 3.23.4). The satras
to the importance of purification in water by conduced by r.s.is on the banks of the
bathing or immersion. The association of Sarasvati_ river are mentioned in the Aitareya
sanctity with water is also apparent in the Bra_hman.a (2.18). A Sa_rasvata yajn~a was
remarkable bathing places and drainage organized in Yamuna_ti_rtha of Sarasvati_
systems evolved in the Sarasvati-Sindhu River (MBh. Vana. 128.14); Bakada_lbhya performed
Basins. (cf. the Great Bath in Mohenjodaro and an abhica_ra yajn~a in a jala-kun~ja of
the drainage systems in Dholavira, apart from Sarasvati_ (MBh. S’alya 40.18); Ekata, Dvita
the location of water tanks close to the so-called and Trita came to Sarasvati_ to observe a
‘fire-altars’ in Kalibangan and Banawali). The yajn~a (MBh. S’alya 35.24); the holy places on
clusters of the sites are in the Gan:ga_-Yamuna the banks of Sarasvati_ referred to are:
doa_b and the Sarasvati_ River, a locus of San:khati_rtha (MBh. S’alya 36.20),

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A_dityati_rtha (MBh. S’alya 49.23), others because of their sparkling waters, and
Sarasvatati_rtha (MBh. S’alya 50.2) and others because of the association or habitation
Saptasa_rasvatati_rtha (MBh. S’alya 39.6). of saintly people.” (Anus’a_sana Parvan,
chapter 108, verses 16-18; cf. J.H. Dave, 1959-
The Agni Pura_n.a in Chapter 109, ‘Tirtha 61, Immortal India, Bombay, Bharatiya Vidya
Ma_ha_tmyam’ lists 62 ti_rthas. There are also Bhavan, 4 vols., I, xiv). Every river can be a
separate chapters devoted to Gan:ga_, local Gan:ga_; the transference of sanctity is a
Praya_ga, Va_ran.a_si, Narmada_ and Gaya_ remarkable phenomenon in Bharat.
(Chapters 110 to 114). Maha_bha_rata explains (Aghenananda Bharati, 1963, Pilgrimage in
the reasons why a place becomes sacred: “Just Indian Tradition, History of Religions, Vol. 3,
as certain limbs of the body are purer than no. 1, p. 165).
others, so are certain places on earth more
sacred—some on account of their situation,
Ancient History of Sarasvats and Dravidian groups were: the Sarasvats (from the banks of
culture the Sarasvathi river), Kaanyakubjas (from
Kanauj), Gaudas (from the banks of the South
I will cite from the work by Dr. Suryanath Ganga or Bengal), Utkals (from Orissa) and the
Kamath which is available on the internet and Maithilas (from Mithila in Bihar). The five
which I have cross-linked on the Sarasvati (pancha) Dravida groups were: the
Website to trace the course of events Maharashtras, Andhras, Dravidas (from
subsequent to the desiccation of the Sarasvati Tamilnadu), Karnata (from Karnataka) and the
River and the migration of Sarasvats. The Gurjaras (from Gujarat). As the southern
discovery of the Sarasvati River and the brahmins had domiciled in the South for long
Sarasvati Civilization exemplified by over 1200 the Sarasvats, who came to the South newly
ancient archaeological sites on the banks of the were described by the local brahmins as Gauda
river and in the Sarasvati River Basin reaffirms Brahmins and thus the prefix Gauda was added
the social beliefs of the origin of Sarasvats from to the Sarasvats. They were from the Sarasvat
the banks of the river Sarasvati. Recent region. from the banks of the Sarasvathi
archaeological findings establish a pattern of river…Sarasvats are from the banks of the
movement away from the river following the Sarasvati… This river is found to be more
desiccation of the mighty river. Indeed, this important in vedic period than other *rivers
vinas’ana (referred to in the Great Epic, the including the Ganga. The vedas were composed
Maha_bha_rata) confirms the importance of the mostly on her banks, and it is described as the
Epic as the sheet-anchor to recreate the ancient most mighty river, and the veda describes her
history of Bharat. The following excerpts from as "limitless, undeviating, shining and swift-
History Of the Dakshinatya Sarasvats Sarasvat moving"… The rivers dried, drought followed.
Vol. 1 No. 1 The Origin and Spread of Gauda The Vedic brahmins were forced to emigrate to
Sarasvats are a logical followup of the the West (Sind), North (Kashmir), East (U. P.)
discoveries which date back our bronze age and to the South towards Gujarat and Konkan.
civilization to c. 3500 B.C.: In our own times, Brahmins like Kripalani from
Sind, Dr. Raghunatha Airi from Haryana and
”According to Skandapura_n.a (Sahyadri the Kashmir Pandits are identified as belonging
Khan.d.a, Uttara_rdha 1-3), the brahmins that to the group of Sarasvat brahmins. Somaya
lived in the North of the Vindhyas were called from Cutch and Rawal from Rajasthan are all
Gauda brahmins and those from the South the Sarasvat surnames… Later they were invited to
Dravidas. Each group was divided into five settle down in the agraharas in Konkan and Goa
sections according to the regions of their during the subsequent centuries, from the days
settlement. The five (Pancha) Gauda brahmin of the Shatavahanas (2000 years ago) and

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subsequent rulers like the Mauryas of Konkan, Rashtrakutas, the Yadavas of Devagiri,
Kalachuris of Konkan, the Bhojas, Kadambas Shilaharas of Konkan and Kadambas of Goa…
of Banavasi, Chalukyas of Badami,
a temple for Devi Sarasvati in a place called
According to Skandapurana (Sahyadri Khanda, Basara (Vya_sapura) in Adilabad District of
Uttarardha 1-3), the brahmins that lived in the Andhra Pradesh, located on the banks of the
North of the Vindhyas were called Gauda Godavari River. The sthala pura_n.a states that
brahmins and those from the South the the Devi was installed by Vya_sa by taking
Dravidas. Each group was divided into five three mus.t.is (handfuls) of sand from the river
sections according to the regions of their bed—an extraordinary affirmation indeed of the
settlement. The five (Pancha) Gauda brahmin integrat link of Sarasvati as devi and Sarasvati
groups were: the Sarasvats (from the banks of as river. The appended maps indicate the
the Sarasvathi river), Kaanyakubjas (from patterns of ancient settlements right from the
Kanauj), Gaudas (from the banks of the South foothills of the Himalayas (Ropar) to the Gulf
Ganga or Bengal), Utkals (from Orissa) and the of Khambat (Lothal) and on the Arabian Sea
Maithilas (from Mithila in Bihar). The five Coast (Prabhas Patan or Somnath and
(pancha) Dravida groups were: the Dwa_raka). It is also significant that Sangam
Maharashtras, Andhras, Dravidas (from literature of the Tamils notes the claim of the
Tamilnadu), Karnata (from Karnataka) and the ancient Chera kings that they were the 42nd
Gurjaras (from Gujarat). As the southern generation descendants from the rulers of
brahmins had domiciled in the South for long Dwaraka (Tuvarai) and the sage Agastya is
the Sarasvats, who came to the South newly revered as the ancient Tamil Muni and the
were described by the local brahmins as Gauda author of the earliest grammatical work in
Brahmins and thus the prefix Gauda was added Tamil. Sangam literature is replete with
to the Sarasvats. They were from the Sarasvat references to the support provided to the growth
region. from the banks of the Sarasvathi river… of Vedic Culture in the Tamil-speaking areas.
An important article on the antiquity of relation
The tradition preserved by Sarasvat brahmins between Tamil and Sanskrit is: Sharma, K.V.
from Gujarat, recorded in the Baroda State 1983.
Gazetteer (1923) can be quoted here: "The
Sarasvat is a very ancient Brahman tribe which "Spread of Vedic culture in ancient south
still inhabits a tract in the north-west of India India" Adyar Library Bulletin 47:1-1. “Among
beyond Delhi, once watered by the famous the interesting facts that emerge from a study of
Sarswati river. It is said that they are the progressive spread of vedic culture from the
descendants of Sarasvati Muni. They came North-West to the other parts of India, is its
from Punjab to Gujarat by way of Sindh and infusion, with noticeable intensity, in the
Cutch with their yajamans, patrons, the, extreme south of India where, unlike in other
Luhanas, Bhansalis and Bhatias. In religion parts, a well-developed Dravidian culture was
they are Shaiva and also worship the Goddess already in vogue… Tolka_ppiyam which is the
Sarasvati". earliest available work of the sangam classics,
is a technical text in 1610 aphorisms, divided
It would appear that the migration of the into three sections, dealing respectively, with
Sarasvats, c. in the second half of the second phonetics, grammar and poetics… The other
millennium, was along the Arabian Sea Coast available sangam works are three sets of
towards Goa, just as some outposts of the collected poems, being, pattu-ppa_t.t.u (Ten
Sarasvati Civilization are located on the banks idylls), et.t.u-ttokai (Eight collections) and
of Pravara (Daimabad archaeological site) patineki_r..kan.akku (eighteen secondary texts),
which is a tributary of Godavari River. There is which last appears to pertain to the late period

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of the saµgam age. The ten poems are: Pa_n.d.yan kingdom by Megasthenes, Greek
tirumuruka_r.r.uppat.ai, porun.ara_r.r.u- ambassador to the court of Candragupta
ppat.ai, cir.upa_n.a_r.r.uppat.ai, Maurya (c. 324-300 B.C.?) are also in point. On
perumpa_n.a_r.r.uppat.ai, mullaippa_t.t.u, these and allied grounds, the sangam period of
maturaikka_n~ci, net.unelva_t.ai, Tamil literature might be taken to have
kuriñcippa_t.t.u, pat.t.inappa_lai and extended from about the 5th century B.C. to the
malaipat.ukat.a_m. All the above idylls are 3rd century A.D… It is highly interesting that
compositions of individual poets, and, except sangam literature is replete with references to
for the first, which is devotional and possibly, the vedas and different facets of vedic literature
pertains to late sangam age, are centred round and culture, pointing to considerable
the royal courts of the Cera, Cola and Pa_n.d.ya appreciation, and literary, linguistic and cultural
kings, depicting the contemporary elite fusion of vedic-sanskrit culture of the north
scholarly society and youthful life. The second with the social and religious pattern of life in
category consists of Eight collections: south India when the sangam classics were in
nar.r.in.ai, kur.untokai, ainkur.unu_r.u, the making… The vedas and their preservers,
patir.r.ujppattu, paripa_t.al, kali-ttokai, the bra_hmans, are frequently referred to with
akana_n-u_r.u and pur.ana_n-u_r.u. All these reverence (Pur.ana_n u_r.u 6, 15 and 166;
collections are highly poetic and self-contained Maturaikka_ñci 468; tirukat.ukam 70, na_n-
stray verses of different poets put together in man.ikkat.ikai 89, initu-na_r.patu 8). The vedic
consideration of their contents. The third mantra is stated as the exalted expressions of
category consists of eighteen miscellaneous great sages (Tolka_ppiyam, Porul. 166, 176).
texts, some of them being collections of stray While the great God S’iva is referred as the
verses of different poets and some composed by source of the four vedas (Pur.a. 166), it is
individual authors. They are: tirukkur.al., added that the twice-born (bra_hman) learnt the
na_lat.iya_r, par..amor..i, tirikat.ukam, na_n- four vedas and the six veda_ngas in the course
man.ikkat.ikai, cir.upañcamu_lam, ela_ti, of 48 years (Tiru-muruka_r.r.uppat.ai, 179-82).
a_ca_rako_vai, mutumor..i-kka_ñci, kalavar..i- The vedas were not written down but were
na_r.patu, initu-na_r.patu, handed down by word of mouth from teacher to
tin.aima_lainu_r.r.aimpatu, aintin.ai-y- pupil (Kur-untokai 156), and so was called
er..upatu, kainnilai, aintin.ai-yanpatu, kel.vi (lit. what is heard, šruti)(Patir.r.ippattu
tin.aimor..i-y-aimpatu and ka_r.-na_r.patu. The 64.4-5; 70.18-19; 74, 1-2; Pur.a. 361. 3-4). The
verses in these works also refer to social bra_hmans realized God through the vedas
customs and local sovereigns. The above works (Paripa_t.al 9. 12-13) and recited loftily in
picture a well-knit and well-developed society vedic schools (Maturaikka_ñci 468-76; 656)…
having a distinct identity of its own. The the danger to the world if the bra_hman
frequent mention, in sangam poems, of the discontinued the study of the veda is stressed in
Cera, Cola and Pa_n.d.ya kings as the tirukkur.al. 560. If the sangam classics are any
munificent patrons of the poets… and the criteria, the knowledge and practice of vedic
archaeological evidence provided by 76 rock sacrifices were very much in vogue in early
inscriptions in Tamil-Bra_hmi script which south India. The sacrifices were performed by
corrobate the contents of the sangam works, in bra_hmans strictly according to the injunctions
26 sites in Tamilnadu (Mahadevan, I., Tamil of the vedic mantras (tirumuruka_r.r.uppat.ai
Bra_hmi inscriptions of the Sangam age, Proc. 94-96; kalittokai 36). The three sacred fires
Second International Conference Seminar of (ga_rhapatya, a_havani_ya and daks.ina_gni)
Tamil Studies, I, Madras, 1971, pp. 73-106) were fed at dawn and dusk by bràhmans in
help to fix the date of the classical sangam order to propitiate the gods (Kalittokai 119l
classics in their present form to between 100 Pur.a. 2; 99; 122; Kur.iñcippa_t.t.u 225).
B.C. and 250 A.D… reference to the Paripa_t.al 2. 60-70 stipulates, in line with

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vedic sacrificial texts, that each sacrifice had a Maha_bha_rata (Pur.a. 3; 58; Akana_n-u_r.u
specific presiding deity, that pas’us (sacrificial 70; 342)… God Brahmà is mentioned to have
animals) were required for the sacrifice and that arisen, in the beginning of creation, with four
the sacrificial fire rose to a great height. The faces, from the lotus navel of God Vis.n.u
vedic practice of placing a tortoise at the (Paripa_t.al 8.3; Kalittokai 2;
bottom of the sacrificial pit is referred to in Perumpa_n.a_r.r.uppat.ai 402-04; Tiru muruk
Akana_n-u_r.u 361… Patir.r.uppattu 64 and 70 a_r.r.up pat.ai 164-65; Iniyavai-na_rpatu 1).
glorify the Cera king Celvakkat.unkovar..i It is also stated that Brahma_ had the swan as
ya_tan- who propitiated the gods through a vehicle (Innà-nàrpatu 1). Vis.n.u is profusely
sacrifice performed by learned vedic scholars referred to. He is the lord of the Mullai region
and distributed profuse wealth amongst them. (Tol. Akattin.ai 5) and encompasses all the
Another Cera king, Perum-ceral Irumpor.ai is Trinity (Paripa_t.al 13.37). He is blue-eyed
indicated in Patir.r.uppattu 74 to have (Pur.a. 174), lotus-eyed (Paripa_t.al 15.49),
performed the Putraka_mes.t.hi_ sacrifice for yellow-clothed (Paripa_t.al 13.1-2), holds the
the birth of his son il.amceral irumpor.ai. The conch and the discus in his two hands and bears
Cola ruler Peru-nar.kil.l.i was renowned as goddess Laks.mì on his breast (Mullaippa_t.t.u
Ra_jasu_yam ve_t.t.a co_r..an- for his having 1-3; Perumpa_n. 29-30; Kali. 104; 105; 145),
performed the ra_jasa_ya sacrifice; another was born under the asterism Tiru-o_n.am
Cola ruler Nar.kil.l.i, too, was celebrated as a (Maturai. 591), and Garud.a-bannered (Pur.a.
sacrificer (Pur.a. 363; 400). The Cola kings 56.6; Paripa_t.al 13.4). Of Vis.n.uite episodes
were also considered to have descended from are mentioned his measuring the earth in three
the north Indian king S’ibi the munificent of steps (Kali. 124.1), protecting his devotee
Maha_bha_rata fame (Pur.a. 39; 43). The Prahla_da by killing his father (Pari. 4. 12-21)
patronage accorded to vedic studies and and destroying the demon Kes’in (Kali. 103.53-
sacrifices is illustrated also by the descriptive 55). S’iva has been one of the most popular
mention, in Pur.a. 166, of a great vedic scholar vedic-pura_n.ic gods of the South. According to
Vin.n.anta_yan- of the Kaun.d.inya-gotra who Akana_n-u_r.u 360.6, S’iva and Vis.n.u are the
lived at Pu_ñja_r.r.u_r in the Co_r..a realm greatest gods. He is three-eyed (Pur.a. 6.18;
under royal patronage. It is stated that Kali. 2.4), wears a crescent moon on his
Vin.n.anta_yan- had mastered the four vedas forehead (Pur.a. 91.5; Kali. 103.15), and holds
and six veda_ngas, denounced non-vedic the axe as weapon (Aka. 220.5; Pur.a. 56.2). He
schools, and performed the seven pa_kayajñas, bears river Ganga_ in his locks (Kali. 38.1;
seven Soma-yajñas and seven havir-yajñas as 150.9) and is blue-necked (Pur.a. 91.6; Kali.
prescribed in vedic texts. The Pa_n.d.yan kings 142). He is born under the asterism a_tirai (Skt.
equalled the Colas in the promotion of Vedic àrdra) (Kali. 150.20), has the bull for his
studies and rituals. One of the greatest of vehicle (Paripa_t.al 8.2) and is seated under the
Pa_n.d.ya rulers, Mudukut.umi Peruvar..uti is banyan tree (Aka. 181). Once, while sitting in
described to have carefully collected the Kaila_sa with Uma_ (Pa_rvati), his consort
sacrificial materials prescribed in vedic and (Pari. 5.27-28; Par..amor..i 124), Ra_van.a, the
dharmašàstra texts and performed several ra_ks.asa king shook the Kaila_sa and S’iva
sacrifices and also set up sacrificial posts where pressed the mountain down with his toe,
the sacrifices were performed (Pur.a. 2; 15). crushing Ra_van.a and making him cry for
Maturaikka_ñci (759-63) mentions him with mercy (Kali. 38). When the demon Tripura
the appellation pal-s’a_lai (pal-ya_ga-s’a_lai of infested the gods, S’iva shot through the enemy
later Ve_l.vikkud.i and other inscriptions), ‘one cities with a single arrow and saved the gods
who set up several sacrificial halls’. The (Kali. 2; Pur.a. 55; Paripa_t.al 5. 22-28).
Pa_n.d.ya rulers prided themselves as to have Pur.ana_n –u_r.u (6. 16-17) refers also to S’iva
descended from the Pa_n.d.avas, the heroes of temples in the land and devotees walking round

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the temple in worship. God Skanda finds very those works which dealt with vedic etymology,
prominent mention in saµgam classics, but as without doing the least violence to the genius of
coalesced with the local deity Murukan-, with the Tamil language’. (Sastri, P.S.S., History of
most of the pura_n.ic details of his birth and Grammatical Theories in Tamil and their
exploits against demons incorporated into the relation to the Grammatical literature in
local tradition (Paripa_t.al 5. 26-70; Sanskrit, Madras, 1934, p. 231)… It would be
Tirumuruka_r.r.uppat.ai, the whole work). clear from the foregoing that during the sangam
Mention is also made of Indra. (Balara_ma) is age there had already been intensive infusion of
mentioned as the elder brother of Lord Kr.s.n.a, vedic culture in south India… Both the cultures
as fair in colour, wearing blue clothes, having coexisted, the additions often affecting only the
the palmyra tree as his emblem and holding the upper layers of society… For novel names,
;lough as his weapon, all in line with the concepts and ideas, the Sanskrit names were
pura_n.as (Paripa_t.al 2. 20-23; Pur.a. 56. 3-4; used as such, with minor changes to suit the
58.14; Kali. 104, 7-8). Tolka_ppiyam Tamil alphabet (e.g. akin-i for agni, vaicikan-
(Akattin.ai iyal 5) divides the entire Tamil for vais’ya, veta for veda, or translated (e.g.
country into five, namely, Mullai (jungle) with pa_pa_n- for dars’aka, ke_l.vi for s’ruti). When,
Vis.n.u as its presiding deity, Kur.iñji (hilly) however, the concept already existted, in some
with Murukan- as deity, Marutam (plains: cf. form or other, the same word was used with
marusthali_ Skt.) with Indra as deity, Neytal extended sense (e.g. ve_l.vi for ya_ga; ma_l or
(seashore) with Varun.a as deity and Pa_lai ma_yan- for Vis.n.u). Sometimes both the new
(wasteland) with Kor.r.avai (Durga_) as deity… vedic and extant Tamil words were used (e.g.
The sangam works are replete with references ti_ for agni)… It is, however, important to note
to the four castes into which the society was that the coming together of the two cultures,
divided, namely, bra_hman.a, ks.atriya, vais’ya, vedic and dravidian, was smooth, non-agressive
and su_dra… bra_hman antan.a primarily and appreciative, as vouched for by the
concerned with books (Tol. Mara. 71), the unobtrusive but pervasive presence of vedicism
ks.atriya (a-ras’a, ra_ja) with the in the sangam works. The advent of vedic
administration (Tol. Mara. 78) and s’u_dra with culture into South India was, thus, a case of
cultivation (Tol. Mara. 81)… It is also stated supplementation and not supplantation… it is a
that marriage before the sacred fire was moot question as to when vedic culture first
prescribed only for the first three castes; but the began to have its impact on dravidian culture
author adds that the custom was adopted by the which already existed in south India… the age
fourth caste also in due course (Tol. Kar.piyal of this spread (of vedic culture) has to be much
3)… one cannot fail to identify in sangam earlier than the times of the Ra_ma_yan.a and
poetry the solid substratum of the distinct style, Maha_bha_rata, both of which speak of vedic
vocabulary and versification, on the one hand, sages and vedic practices prevailing in the sub-
and the equally distinct subject-matter, social continent. Literary and other traditions
setting and cultural traits, on the other, both of preserved both in north and south India attest to
the Tamil genius and of vedic poetry. As far as the part played by sage Agastya and
the grammar of Dravidian is concerned, a Paras’ura_ma in carrying vedic culture to the
detailed analytical study of Old Tamil as south. On the basis of analytical studies of these
represented in Tolka_ppiyam, with the vedic traditions the identification of geographical
s’iks.a_s and pra_tis’a_khyas, has shown that, situations and a survey of the large number of
‘Tolka_ppiyan-a_r clearly realized that Tamil Agastya temples in the Tamil country, G.S.
was not related to Sanskrit either Ghurye points to the firm establishment of the
morphologically or genealogically… that he Agastya cult in South India by the early
deftly exploited the ideas contained in the centuries before the Christian era (Ghurye,
earlier grammatical literature, particularly in G.S., Indian acculturation: Agastya and

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Skanda, Bombay, Popular Prakashan, 1977)… caran.a or bheda) in consonance with the
the considerable linguistic assimilation, in development of the Vedic tradition. Eko
dravidian, of material of a pre-classical Sanskrit vedas’catus.pa_dah sam.hr.tya tu punah
nature, it would be necessary to date the north- punah (Matsya 143.10). There are also
south acculturation in India to much earlier anus’a_khas or upas’a_khas which indicate the
times.” further development of the s’a_khas. (ityeta_h
pratis’a_kha_bhyo hyanus’a_kha_
The migrations away from the desiccated dvijottama: Vis.n.u P. III,4.25). The s’a_khas
Sarasvati River, alluded to earlier explain the are books enshrining particular traditions (the
distribution of smaller size settlements, for Sam.hita_, Bra_hman.a and Su_tra traditions)
example, in the Ganga-Yamuna doab (OCP, which have been nurtured as sva_dhya_ya
Black and Red ware and PGW ware) and in the (consisting of mantra and bra_hman.a) and
regions on the right bank of Sindhu in transmitted orally from generation to generation
Baluchistan and Afghanistan. The memory of to regulate the performance of yajn~a. Many
the Sarasvati River was carried by these s’a_khas were locality specific. “That the
migrants; for example, there is a river called Ka_n.va Sam.hita_ was prevalent in Kuru-
Haraquaiti in Afghanistan, and there are the country, is known from the line – es.a vah
rivers called Sarasvati in Pushkar, Rajasthan kuravo ra_ja_. Its equivalent in the Taittiri_ya
and Sarasvati which joins the Little Rann of S’a_kha_ is es.a vo bharato ra_ja_.” (Ganga
Kutch in Gujarat. The local traditions in almost Sagar Rai, 1990, Vedic S’a_khas, Varanasi,
all parts of Bharat is that when two rivers join, Ratna Publications).
the san:gamma is called triven.i san:gamam;
how can this be? Where is the third river? The It will be apposite to recall the balanced views
answer is simple; the third river is the Sarasvati expressed by Maurice Winternitz in the context
river which flows underground! That Sarasvati of Indian literary tradition in his work, A
River did flow underground is now established History of Indian Literature.
as a groundtruth by earth scientists. In
Jaisalmer, the scientists of Bhabha Atomic “…The historical facts and hypotheses, such as
Research Centre found that the deep water mention of Vedic gods in the cuneiform
wells (30 m. deep) in Jaisalmer area contained inscriptions, and the relationship of Vedic
water from the Himalayas flowing through antiquity to the A_ryan (Indo-Iranian) and
underground channels, called aquifers, and Indo-European period, are so uncertain in
dated to over 8000 years Before Present. themselves that the most divergent and
Astonishingly, the water table remains the same contradictory conclusions have been drawn
in deep wells in the Jaisalmer area, even after from them. Nevertheless, we have now such
drawing down the water through the tubewells likely evidence of relations between ancient
and even during summer. India and western Asia penetrating as far west
as Asia Minor in the second millennium B.C.,
Chronology of Vedic Age and Sarasvati that Vedic-culture can be traced back at least to
Sindhu Civilization the second millennium B.C…The linguistic
facts, the near relationship between the
Vedic Age relates to the period when the r.cas language of the Veda and that of the Avesta on
of the R.gveda were composed (as distinct from the one hand, and between the Vedic language
the time when the r.cas were compiled into and classical Sanskrit on the other, do not yield
Sam.hitas). According to Matsya Pura_n.a, any positive results…As all the external
there was only one Veda and later occurred the evidence fails, we are compelled to rely on the
arrangement into four Vedas and the evolution evidence arising out of the history of Indian
of s’a_khas (which are also referred to as literature itself, for the age of the Veda. The

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surest evidence in this respect is still the fact probably the wild region of the Kuru realm that
that Pa_rs’va, Maha_vi_ra and Buddha pre- stretched from the Ka_myaka forest on the
suppose the entire Veda as a literature to all banks of the Sarasvati_ to Kha_n.d.ava near
intents and purposes completed, and this is a (sami_patah) the Jamuna. (MBh. III.5.3)…The
limit which we must not exceed. We cannot, Kurus proper were probably located in the
however, explain the development of the whole district around Hastina_pura (on the Ganges),
of this great literature, if we assume as late a identified with a place near Meerut.
date as round about 1200 BC or 1500 BC as its
starting-point. We shall probably have to date The boundaries of Kurukshetra are given in a
the beginning of this development about 2000 passage of the Taittiri_ya Aran.yaka (Vedic
or 2500 BC, and the end of it between 750 and Index I. Pp. 169-70) as being Kha_n.d.ava on
500 BC. The more prudent course, however, is the south, the Tu_rghna on the north, and the
to steer clear of any fixed dates, and to guard Pari_n.ah on the west (lit. hinder section,
against the extremes of a stupendously ancient jaghana_rdha). The Maha_bha_rata (MBh.
period or a ludicrously modern epoch.” III.83.4) gives the following description of
(Maurice Winternitz, 1907, Geschichte der Kurukshetra: ‘South of the Sarasvati_, and
Indischen Literatur, tr. A History of Indian north of the Drishadvati_, he who lives in
Literature, 1981, Delhi, Motilal Banarsidass, Kurukshetra really dwells in heaven. The
pp. 287-288). region that lies between Taruntuka and
Marantuka or Arantuka, the lakes of Ra_ma and
“Parikshit appears in a famous laud of the Machakruka (Machakruka, Taruntuka and
Twentieth Book of the Atharva Veda Sam.hita_ Marantuka are Yaksha dva_rapa_las guarding
(AV 20.127.7.10) as a king of the Kurus the boundaries of Kurukshetra)—this
(kauravya) whose kingdom (ra_s.t.ra) flowed Kurukshetra which is also called Sa_manta
with milk and honey…in the Aitareya and pan~caka and the northern sacrificial altar
S’atapatha Bra_hman.as the famous king (uttara vedi) of the grandsire (i.e. Brahma_).’
Janamejaya bears the patronymic Pa_rikshita Roughly speaking, the Kuru kingdom
(son of Parikshit). The Aitareya Bra_hman.a corresponded to modern Thanesar, Delhi and
(VIII.21), for example, informs us that the the greater part of the Upper Gangetic Doa_b.
priest Tura Ka_vasheya ‘annointed Janameja Within the kingdom flowed the rivers Arun.a_
Pa_rikshita with the great anointing of Indra.” (which joins the Sarasvati_ near Pehoa),
(etena ha va_ aindren.a maha_bhisheken.a Am.s’umati_, Hiran.vati_, A_paya_ (A_paga_
turah ka_vasheyo janamejayam or Oghavati_, a branch of the Chitang),
pa_rikshitam abhishishecha )…the realm of Kaus’iki_ (a branch of the Rakshi_), as well as
the Kurus over which Parikshit ruled. The the Sarasvati_ and the Drishadvati_ or the
kingdom, according to epic tradition, stretched Rakshi_. (MBh. III.83.95.151; V.151.78). Here,
from the Sarasvati_ to the Ganges. In the too, was situated Saryan.a_vat, which the
Digvijaya-parva it is taken to extend from the authors of the Vedic Index consider to have
border of the land of the Kulindas (near the been a lake, like that known to the S’atapatha
sources of Sutlej, the Jamuna and the Ganges) Bra_hman.a by the name of
to that of the Su_rasenas and the Matsyas (in Anyatahplaksha_…According to the epic
the Mathura_ and Baira_t. regions tradition the kings of Kurukshetra belonged to
respectively), and from the frontier of the Puru-Bharata family. The Paurava
Rohi_taka (Rohtak in the Eastern Punjab) to connection of the Kurus is suggested by the
that of the Pan~cha_las (of Rohilkhand). It was Rigvedic hymn (10.33.4) which refers to ‘kuru-
divided into three parts, Kuruja_n:gala, the s’ravan.a’ (lit. glory of the Kurus) as a
Kurus proper and Kurukshetra (MBh. I. 109.1). descendant of Trasadasyu, a famous king of the
Kuruja_n:gala, as its name implies, was Pu_rus. (RV. 4.38.1; 7.19.3).

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who migrated from Ba_hli in Central Asia to
The connection of the Bharatas with the mid-India. MBh. 3.90-22-25 located the birth
Kuruland is also attested by Vedic evidence. A place of Puru_ravas on a hill near the source of
Rigvedic ode (RV 3.23) speaks of the two the Ganges. The Ba_hli (or ila_vr.tavars.a)
Bha_ratas, Devas’ravas and Devava_ta, as associated with the Ka_rddma kings may relate
sacrificing in the land on the Drishadvati_, the to the areas close to Gan:gotri and may not
A_paya_ and the Sarasvati_. Some famous connote a reference to Bactria in the Oxus
ga_tha_s of the Bra_hman.as and the epic tells valley. “…the Papan~cha su_dani refers to the
us (S’Br. 13.5.4.11; Ait. Br. 8.23; MBh. 7.66.8) Kurus—the most important of the Ailas
that Bharata Dauhshanti made offerings on the according to the Maha_bha_rata and the
Jamuna, the Ganges (Yamuna_m anu Pura_n.as—as colonists from the trans-
Ga_n:ga_ya_m) and the Sarasvati_. [The Dasyu Hima_layan region known as Uttara Kuru.
of the Bra_hman.a period are: Andhras, (Law, Ancient Mid-Indian Ks.atriya Tribes, p.
S’abaras (Savaris of Gwalior and Sauras of 16)…In the Aihole Inscription of Raviki_rti,
Vizagapatam), Pulindas (of Bundelkhand) and panegyrist of Pulakes’in II, dated S’aka 556
Mu_tibas (? Of Musi river near Hyderabad (expired) = AD 634-35, it is stated that at that
Deccan): Aitareya Bra_hman.a 7.18]. The time 3735 years had passed since the Bha_rata
territory indicated in these laudatory verses is war: trim.s’atsu tri-sahasreshu bha_rata_d
exactly the region which is later on so highly a_hava_d itah sapta_bda-s’ata-yukteshu
celebrated as the Kurukshetra…Among theose gateshvabdeshu pan~chasu (Ep. Ind. VI, pp.
kings who are mentioned in the genealogical 11,12). The date of the Bha_rata war which
lists of the Maha_bha_rata as ancestors and almost synchronized with the birth of Parikshit,
predecessors of Parikshit (A_diparva, ch. 94 is, according to this calculation and the
and 95), the names of the following occur in the testimony of A_ryabhat.a (CE. 499), 3102
Vedic literature: Puru_ravas Aila (RV. 10.95), BCE. This is the starting point of the so-called
A_yu (RV 1.53.10; 2.14.7), Yaya_ti Nahushya Kali-yuga era.” (Raychaudhuri, opcit., p. 24).
(RV 1.31.17; 10.63.1), Pu_ru (RV 7.8.4;
18.13), Bharata Dauhshanti Saudyumni (S’Br. ‘Kva pa_rikshita_ abhavan (whither have the
13.5.4; Ait. Br. 8.23), Ajami_d.ha (RV 4.44.6), Pa_rikshitas gone)?’ asks Bhujyu La_hya_yani;
R.iksha (RV 8.68.15), Sam.varan.a (RV Yajn~avalkya responds: ‘Thither where the
8.51.1), Kuru (RV 10.33.4), Uchchaihs’ravas performers of the horse sacrifice abide.’
(Jaimini_ya Upanis.ad Br. 3.29.1-3), Prati_pa (Br.ihad. Upanis.ad, 3.3.1). This is clearly a
Pra_tisatvana or Pra_ti sutvana (AV 20.129.2), reference to the continuing tradition of the
Balhika Pra_tipi_ya (S’Br. 12.9.3.3), S’am.tanu as’vamedha in the Ganga-Yamuna doa_b and
(RV 10.98) and Dhr.itara_s.t.ra Vaichitravi_rya does not seem to refer to the haoma practices of
(Ka_t.haka Sam.hita_ 10.6).” (H.Raychaudhuri, the Avestan group who might have moved
1972, Political History of Ancient India, 7th north-west to eastern Iran and moved to the
edn., Calcutta, University of Calcutta, pp. 11- right-banks of Sindhu river. An extraordinary
22). evidence linking the R.gvedic references to the
fire-workers echoed as fire-worshippers in the
Saryan.a_vat is the source for naming the Zoroastrian faith and the emergence of the
present-day State of Haryana. Sarasvati_ River Bronze Age civilization along the Sarasvati and
was the domain of the Bharatas. Sindhu River Basins is provided by the
thousands of gabarbands constructed on many
Puru_ravas Aila is mentioned only the tenth rivers, most of them perhaps datable to ca. 3500
man.d.ala of the Rigveda and may denote a BC. The importance of the ‘fire-workers’ in the
later-day king. The epic tradition (Ra_m. civilization is enshrined in the term used in
7.103,21-22) notes that Aila is the son of a ruler Sindh: the gabarband. Gabarband means,

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literally, ‘Zoroastrian dam’; gabar =
Zoroastrians or fire-worshippers; band = dam or
an stone enclosure used to contain or redirect
water as an irrigation facility. (For a discussion
on the semantics of ‘gabar’ cf. Balfour, E.,
1885, The Cyclopaedia of India: And of Eastern
and Southern Asia, commercial, industrial and
scientific. 3 Vols., 3rd edn. London: Bernard
Quaritch). Gabarbands, in thousands, are found
in Sindh Kohistan, Kirthar and Baluchistan
(Gedrosia) regions. They dominate the riverine
courses in Sarawan, Jhalawan and along the
Hab River. It is noted that gabarband is an
ancient technology and began in thee first half
ot the third millennium BC. (Louis Flam, 1981,
The Palaeogeography and Prehistoric
Settlement Patterns in Sind, Pakistan (4000-
2000 BC). PhD Dissertation, University of
Pennsylvania.

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Ahmad Gabarband in the Saruna Valley (After Hughes-Buller 903-04, Gabarbands in Baluchistan.
Annual Report of the Archaeological Survey of India,903-04: 94-20: Pl. LXI; and Possehl, G.L.,
999, Fig. 3.27). Parthians and Sassanians were also gabars, or fire-worshippers. The L-shaped
gabarbands are stone dams built not as full-scale dams but to check and (using the wings of the
stone walls to) re-direct the flood waters into the gabarband catchment area, so that alluvium could
be build up behind the bands (or dams) creating fertile agricultural fields of upto about two hectares
in size.Gabarbands aligned to contain water and to create alluvial tracts (After Possehl, G.L., 999,
Fig. 3.28).
often pronounced, Gavr, by a change of letters
“Gabar. Pers. A person not a Mahomedan, in frequent
general, but commonly a Zoroastrian, a Parsee in
or fire-worshipper; an idol-worshipper, an Persian,
infidel; any unbeliever in Mahomedanism in as in
general; but the word is more specially applied other
to a fire-worshipper. Meninski says, ‘’Ignicola,
magus infidelis quivis paganus’. The word is
more familiar to the people of Europe under the
spellings Gaour and Geuebre. A small remnant
of fire-worshippers exists in Persia, chiefly at
Yezd in Khorasan; but most of their
countrymen have emigrated to India, where,
especially at Bombay, they flourish under the
name of Parsee. According to the dictionary,
Burhan-I-Kattea, Gabar is used in the name of
Magi, which signifies a fire-worshipper, Gabar
man-I-Magh bashad, keh atash purust ast, i.e., languages. Gavr, we learn from the dictionary
Gabar means a Magh, which is a fire- Jahangiri, means those fire-worshippers who
worshipper. This is sometimes written, and very observe the religion of Zardusht (or Zoroaster),
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and they are also called Magh. But Origen, in the valley of Jalalabad, and under the Safed
the 3rd century, defending Christianity against Koh, human bones are so abundant on the soil
Celsus, an Epicurean, who had alluded to the that walls are made of them. There is every
mysteries of Mithra, uses Kabar as equivalent reason to suppose it a sepulchral locality of the
to Persians. “Let Celsus know,’ says he, ‘that ancient Gabar; coins are found in some number
our prophets have not borrowed anything from there—Ouseley’s Travels, I, p. 150.” (Balfour,
the Persians or Kabirs’ (Orig. contr. Cels. Lib. E., 1885, The Cyclopaedia of India: And of
vi. p.291, Cantab. 1658). A Jewish writer, Eastern and Southern Asia, commercial,
quoted by Hyde (Hist. Relig. Vet. Pers., cap. industrial and scientific. 3 Vols., 3rd edn.
xxix), declares that the Persians call their London: Bernard Quaritch, p. 1158).
priests (in the plural) Chaberin (or Khaberin),
whilst the singular, Chaber or Khaber The concordant terms, Chaber, Chaver
(occurring in the Talmud), is explained by mentioned in this entry in Balfour’s
Hebrew commentators as signifying Parsai or cyclopaedia provide a lead to the identification
Persians…Dr. Hyde, however, as above cited, of the fire-worshippers. Dr. Rhys Davids
thinks that Chaber or Chaver denoted both a locates Sauvi_ra to the north of Kathiawar and
priest and a layman. There can be no doubt that along the Gulf of Kach (Buddhist India, Map
the usages of a people which regard their dead facing p. 320, and Bha_gavata, V, ch. 10; I, ch.
are important evidences of the faith professed 10, v.36); Alberuni equates Sauvi_ra with
by them, or, if not clearly indicating it, that they Multan and Jahrawar (Alberuni’s India, vol. I,
may show what faith is not professed. pp. 300, 302: Sauvi_ra includes the littoral as
well as the inland portion lying to the east of
The semi-exposure adopted by the Siah-posh the Sindhu as far as Multa_n, with the capital
has contributed probably to their being city called Vitabhaya, according to Jaina
suspected to be a remnant of the Gabar, or Pravachanasa_roddha_ra). Ma_rkan.d.eya
followers of the reformer Zartusht, but no Pura_n.a (ch. 57) notes that Sindhu and
account has been heard of the least mention of Sauvi_ra are in the northern part of India and
fire-worship amongst them. There is the close to Gandha_ra and Madra. Rapson
certainty that within the last three centuries identifies Sauvi_ra with Sindh province
there were people called Gabar in the Ka_bul (Ancient India, p. 168). One conjecture is that
countries, particularly in Lughman and Bajur; Sauvi_ra was the Sophir or Ophir mentioned in
also that in the days of Baber there was a the Bible. “Part of the modern territory of Sind
dialect called Gabari. We are also told that one may have been included in Sauvi_ra whose
of the divisions of Kafiristan was named southern limits undoubtedly reached the sea,
Gabrak, but it does not follow that the people because the Milinda-Pan~ho mentions it in a
called Gabar then professed the worship of fire. list of countries where ‘ships do
That in former times fire-worship existed to a congregate’…In Skandapura_n.a (Prabha_sa-
certain, if limited, extent, in Afghanistan, is kshetra Ma_ha_tmya, Ch. 278), referring to the
evidenced by the pyrethrae, or fire-altars, still famous temple of the Sun at Mu_la-stha_na or
crowning the crests of hills at Gard-dez, at Multajn_n, says that stood on the banks of the
Bamian, at Seghan, and at other places. Near river Devika_…In the Agnipura_n.a (Ch. 200),
Bamian is a cavern, containing enormous the Devika_ is brought into special relations
quantities of human bonesf, apparently a with the realm of Sauvi_ra (sauvi_rara_jasya
common receptacle of the remains of Gabar pura_ maitreyobhu_t purohitah tena
corpses; and to the present day the Parsees ca_yatanam vis.n.oh ka_ritam
expose their dead on tower summits, but devika_tat.e)…Kachcha had come under the
Tibetans, Chinese and Hindus often lay their sway of the Great Satrap (Rudrada_man) as
dead on plains or in rivers. At Murki Khel, in early as 130 A.D…” (Raychaudhuri, H., 1972,

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Political History of Ancient India, 7th edn., religion...Vis’ta_spa put the a_dar-burzenmihr
Calcutta, University Press, pp. 544-547). on its cultic place on mount Revand, which is
also called pus’t-e-Vis’taspa_n that is revant of
The Gabars or fire-worshippers were Sauvi_ras. Yt. 19.6...This Revand—another one lies not
The discovery of ‘fire-altars’ in the far south—is situated northwest of Nishapur,
archaeological sites of regions east and west of not far from Tos, near the turquoise mines
Sindhu River Basin (cf. the fire-pits of (Herzfeld, Ernst, 1947, Zoroaster and His
hundreds of sites in Bahawalpur province), on World, Princeton, I, 81-82). The Revand is a
the banks of the Sarasvati River and in mountain in Khorasan on which the Burzin fire
Kalibangan, Banawali (both located on the is settled. (Avesta, Bund. 12.18; Sirrozah 1.9).
banks of the Sarasvati River) and Lothal
(perhaps an outfall area of the Sarasvati River, Suniti Kumar Chatterji notes that the Latvian
linking with the Nal Sarovar south of the Little writer, Fr. Malbergis, wrote in 1856 that the
Rann of Kutch) dated to the 3rd millennium BC Latvians like the Russians and Germans came
is a clear indication of the dominance of the from the banks of the Ganga. The Latvian
fire-worship in the entire Sarasvati River Basin. tradition is that a wise people, Burtnieks
This is an affirmation of the myth of brought all science and knowledge to Latvia
vad.ava_nala fire carried by the Sarasvati River from India. The tradition further holds that
as people moved eastward and westward with Videvuds was a teacher of this profound
progressive desiccation of the mighty river. wisdom. The Vaidilutes, the old Lithuanian
priestesses tended the sacred fire as part of the
Bhagwan Singh notes (Bhagwan Singh, 1995, Old Indo-European Balt religious rite and a
The Vedic Harappans, New Delhi, Aditya modern Lithuanian poet suggested that this fire
Prakashan, p. 224) that the term revata_ used in arrived in Lithuania from the banks of Ind.
the context of Pan.is may be related to the (Chatterji, S.K., 1968, Balts and Aryans in their
mount Revand mentioned in reference to Indo-European Background, Simla, pp. 23-24).
Vis’ta_spa: “When Zoroaster brought the
Plaks.a

Sarasvati_ River is said to originate from the Plaks.a tree. What is the nature of the Plaks.a? Where
was the tree located?

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Ficus Gibbosa or infectoria or caulocarpa or caulobotrya or urostigma stipulosa (After
Basu, B.D., 1913, Indian Medicinal Plants, Pt. IV, Pl. 892)

Ficus rumphii or cordifolia (After Basu, B.D., sp. shown in Plate 896A is described as ficus
1913, Indian Medicinal Plants, Pt. IV, Pl. religiosa with distribution in sub-Himalayan
896B) This monumental work provides the forests, Bengal, Central India and is referred to
following details about this plant. Distribution: variously as asvattha or papal; Kolqamui: hesar,
Punjab, N. India, Assam, Burma, Central India, hissa, pipar; Konkani: pimpoll; Santal: hesak;
W. Peninsula, S. India, Malay Peninsula, Malay Tulu: attasa; Uriyua: osto, oshwottho, pippolo,
Archipelago. A moderate sized deciduous tree usto.
at first usually epiphytic, all parts itti white fig, ficus infectoria, ficus gibbosa
glabrous…The Santals use the fruit as a drug. prarasitica; tailed oval-leaved fig, ficus talboti;
The juice is used in the Konkan to kill worms icci oval-leaved fig; jointed ovate-leaved fig,
and is given internally with turmeric, pepper ficus tsiela; icciya_l, iccil jointed ovate-leaved
and ghi, in pills, the size of a pea, for the relief fig; iratti jointed ovate-leaved fig; subserrate
of asthma; it causes vomiting. Names: Assam: rhomboid-leaved fig, ficus gibbosa tuberculata;
pakri; Bengal: gaiaswat, galasvattha; Burma: iratakam jointed ovate-leaved fig; ir-ali = white
nyaungbyu; Cachar: satbur; Canarese: fig; ir-r-I tailed oval-leaved fig (Ta.); itti, ittiy-
bettaarali, bettaragi, kadarali; garwal: kabaru; a_l waved leaved fig-tree, ficus venosa; a
garo: prab; Hindi: gagjaira, gajiun, gajna, kabar, parasitical plant, loranthus coriaceus (Ma.); itti
khabar, pakar, pilikhan, papal, pipul; jaunsar: ficus gibbosa (Kod.)(DEDR 460).
pilkhoi; kolami: sumanpipar; Kumaon:
kabaipipal; Lohardugga: ganjar, kabaipipal, cuvalai papal; cuvi white fig, ficus infectoria;
sumanpipar; Marathi: asht, ashta, pair, payar; stone fig, ficus gibbosa parasitica (Ta.);
Mundari: duranggahesa; Nepal: pakar; Punjab: cuvann-a_l ficus infectoria (Ma.); juvvi mara
badha, palak, pilkhan, pulakh, rumbal; wavy-leaved fig tree, ficus infectoria (Ka.);
Rajputana: paraspipal; Santali: sunamjor. The ficus tsiela (Te.); papal, ficus religiosa (Kol.);

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ju_ meri sp. ficus religiosa (Pa.); ju_ ma_r.a
ficus sp. (Go.)(DEDR 2697).

Ficus lacor, Linn. Or ficus infectoria Roxb. (After Basu, B.D., 1913, Indian Medicinal Plants, Pt. IV, Pl.
897). The work describes the medicinal plant as a large spreading deciduous fast-growing tree, all parts
glabrous…Distribution: plains and lower hills of India, Ceylon, Malaya; all parts are acrid, pungent,
cooling; useful in diseases of the blood and the vagina, ulcers, burning sensations, biliousness, kapha,
inflammations, leprosy, hallucinations, loss of consciousness (Ayurveda)…the fruit is sour; the seeds are
useful in bronchitis, biliousness, scabies, boils, inflammation (Yunani). The bark of this, along with the
barks of other four species of Ficus and of Melia azadarichta, pass by the name of Panchavalkala (or the
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five barks); they are used in combination. A decoction is much employed as a gargle in salivation, as a
wash for ulcers, and as an injection in leucorrhoea. Names: Bengal: pakar; Bombay: bassari, pakri, pipli;
Burma: nyaungchin; Canarese: basari, basarigoli, juvvi, kabbasari, karibasri, plaksha, ulabasari; garo:
prab; Gond: serelli; Gujarati: pepri; Hindi: kahimal, khabar, pakar, pilkhan, ramanjir; Kolami: baswesa;
Konkani: killah; Kurku: pepere; Lambadi: katpipri; Malayalam: bakri, chakkila, chuvannal, itti, jati;
Marathi: bassari, dhedumbara, gandhaumbara, lendwa, pakari, pepar; Mundari: basuhesa, dindaputkal,
gusahesa, gusihesa, hesaputukaldaru, jojohesa; Nepal: safedkabra; NW Provinces: pakur; Punjab: bathar,
janglipipli, pakhar, palakh, palkhi, pilkhan, pilkin; Sanskrit: ashvatthi, charudarshani, dridhapraroha,
gardabhanda, jati, kandaralu, karpari, parkati, pimpari, plaksha, plavaka, shringi, suparshva,
varohashakhi, vati; Saora: juvvi; Sinhalese: kalaha, kiripella; Tamil: jovi, kallal, kurugatti, kurugu, suvi;
Telugu: badijuvvi, jati, juvvi; Tulu: basarigoli; Urdu: pakharia; Uriya: pakodo, rushorchona.
It is very complex indeed to precisely identify the ficus species intended by the various lexemes
used in Indian languages. However, considering the consistency with which the word, plaks.a is
used for ficus infectoria, it would appear that the plant referred to is the one shown in Plate 897, i.e.,
the ficus lacor or, Linn. or ficus infectoria, Roxb. This is confirmed by the use of the roots of Ficus
infectoria as poultice on wounds in the Philippines, comparable to the external applications in
Indian Medicine. (Quisumbing, E., 1978, Medicinal Plants of the Philippines, Manila, Katha
Publishing Co., p. 237).

The lexeme plaks.a is explained in Monier Williams’ Sanskrit lexicon in the following terms: the
waved-leaf fig-tree, ficus infectoria (a large and beautiful tree with white fruit), AV.; dvi_pa (Pur.);
(with prasravan.a, Ta_n.d.Br. name of the river Sarasvati, MBh; plaks.aga_ name of a river, VP;
plaks.aja_ta_ rising near the fig-tree, name of the Sarasvati,l MBh; plaks.ati_rtha, plaks.a_vataran.a
name of a place of pilgrimage Hariv.MBh.Ma_rkP.; plaks.atva the state or condition of being a fig-
tree, MaitrS.; plaks.anyagrodha, du. Ficus infectoria and ficus indica, Pa_n. ii,2,29; plaks.asravan.a,
plaks.aprasravan.a, plaks.ara_j, plaks.ara_ja source and king of the fig-tree, name of the place where
the Sarasvati rises; plaks.avat surrounded by fig-trees, name of a river (prob. The Sarasvati);
plaks.as’a_kha_ branch of the fig-tree, MaitrS.; plaks.asamudhbhava_, plaks.aja_ta_, plaks.a
samudra-vacaka_ name of the river Sarasvati_; plaks.o_dumbara a species of tree, Kaus’.; pla_ks.a
being or relating to or coming from the ficus infectoria, TS; AitBr; pl. the school of Pla_ks.i, Pa_n.
iv, 2,112,Sch.; the fruit of the fig-tree, L.; pla_ks.aprasravan.a name of the place where the
Sarasvati_ rises; pla_ks.i, pla_ks.aki, pla_ks.a_yan.a fr. plaks.a TA_r., TBr. Pa_n. iv,1,65,Sch.
Plaks.ara (formed to explain plaks.a) caus. Praks.a_rayati to cause to stream forth, pour out, MaitrS.

Taittiri_ya A_ran.yaka (8.1.1) pinpoints the location of Kuruks.etra:

...tes.a_m kuruks.etram vedira_si_t tasyai kha_n.d.avo daks.ina_rdha a_si_t


tu_rghnamuttara_rdhah parin.ajjaghana_rdhah mara utkarah...

The sacrifice performed by the devas used Kuruks.etra as their altar. The kha_n.d.ava (or region
near kha_n.d.ava prastha or Indra prastha) constituted the southern half of this altar. Tu_rghna (or
Srughna) was its northern half, Parin.at the lower or western half and the Marus or the Marwar
desert was its rubbish pit. Parin.at was perhaps the lower part of the Sarasvati_-Dr.s.advati_ doab.
(Bharadwaj, O.P., 1991, Ancient Kuruks.etra, New Delhi, Harman Publishing House: p. 8).

MBh composed in the cradle of Vedic civilization, refers to the rivers Sarasvati_ and Dr.s.advati_ as
the northern and southern boundaries of the holy Kuruks.etra region; a sacred lake called ma_nus.a
is said to be located at a distance of one kros’a to the west of the river a_paga_. (MBh. 3.83). The

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reference to ma_nus.a may be a reference to the lake Ma_nus.a close to Kuruks.etra,10 kms. west of
Kaithal is a place called Mansa. A_paga_ is the a_paya_ of the R.gveda (3.23.4; the hymn
composed by r.s.is devas’rava_ and deva_ta of the clan of Bharatas): Va_mana Pura_n.a calls
Sarasvati_, kuruks.etra-prada_yini, since she flowed through the region of Kuruks.etra.

The yajn~a for the da_rs.advata session has to start near the confluence of river Dr.s.advati_ at
Parin.ah. There are many references in S’an:kha_yana S’rauta Su_tra (Varadattasuta A_narti_ya and
Govinda, Commentators., Alfred Hillebrandt, ed., 2 vols., Reprint, Delhi, 1981):

sarasvatya_ vinas’ane di_ks.a_ sa_rasvata_na_m (13.29.1)


prati_pam pu_rven.a paks.asa_ yanti (13.29.11)
apyaye dr.s.advatya_h (13.29.14)
samvatsare pari_n.ahyagni_na_dha_ya dr.s.advatya_ daks.in.ena
ti_ren.a_gneyena_s.t.a_kappa_lena s’amya_para_se s’amya_para_se yajama_nja aiti
(13.29.29)
trih plaks.a_m prati yamuna_mavabhr.thamabhyavayanti (13.29.30)

Jaimini_ya Bra_hman.a refers to Parin.ah as the name of a lake in the lower half of Kuruks.etra.

tes.a_m u tes.a_m pari_n.aditi kuruks.etrasya jaghana_rdhe


saraskandantam di_ks.a_yai te pra_n~co yanti samaya_ kuruks.etram (Raghuvira, ed.,
Nagpura, 1954: 2.300).

La_t.ya_yana S’rauta Su_tra (10.19.1) explains Parin.ah as ‘bhu_merunnataprades’ah’ or risen


ground:

samvatsara_du_rdhvam pari_n.am na_ma sthali_ kuruks.etre


tasya_magni_na_dha_ya

This interpretation seems to be confirmed by Ka_tya_yana S’rauta Su_tra (24.6.32):

Kuruks.etre parin.ahi sthalegny a_dheyamanv a_rambhan.i_y a_ntam bhavati

in Tva? dxe/ vr/ Aa p&i? w/Vya #¦a?yas! p/de sui? dn/Tve Aûa?m! ,

†/;Ö?Tya/m! manu;
? Aap/yaya</ sr?SvTya< re/vdœ A?¶e iddIih .
3.023.04 I place you in an excellent spot of earth on an auspicious day of days; do you, Agni, shine
on the frequent (banks) of the Dr.s.advati, A_paya_ and Sarasvati_ rivers. [In an excellent spot of
earth: pr.thivya_ il.a_yaspade, in the footmark of the earth in the form of a cow; i.e. on the
northern altar; frequented banks: ma_nus.e, relating to man or to Manu; implies,
manus.yasam.caran.avis.aye ti_re, on a bank, a place frequented by men; the Dr.s.advati_ and
Sarasvati_ rivers are well known (r.s.ayo vai sarasvatya_m satrama_sata, the seers performed a
sacrificial season on the Sarasvati_; they drove away Kavas.a Ailu_s.a from the soma : Aitareya
Bra_hman.a 2.19)].

Va_k is Sarasvati

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Gopatha Bra_hman.a (2.20) states that worship of Sarasvati_ pleases Va_k, because Va_k is
Sarasvati_: atha yat sarasvati_m yajati, va_g vai sarasvati_ va_cam eva tena pri_n.a_ti. The very
institution of the yajn~a itself which is identified with the gods is also identified with Va_k (TB
1.3.4.5: atho praja_pata_v eva yajn~am pratis.t.ha_payati praja_patir hi va_k; TB 16.5.16: va_g vai
sarasvati_ va_g vairu_pam vairu_pam eva smai taya_ yunakti; Sa_yan.a’s commentary: va_k
s’abda_tmika_ hi sarasvati_ vairu_pan~ ca va_ksamatutam; Sarasvati_ is speech in the form of
sound (s’abda or dhvani); the word ‘ru_pam’ suggests a number of forms of speech; vairu_pam is
the object denoted by speech). S’atapatha Bra_hman.a states that Sarasvati_ is speech and speech
itself is sacrifice. (S’B 3.1.4.9,14). Sarasva_n is identified with mind and Sarasvati_ with Va_k.
(sa_rasvatau tvo tsau pra_vata_m iti mano vai sarasva_n va_k sarasvaty etau: S’B 7.5.1.31;
11.2.4.9, 6.3). Sarasvati_ is pa_viravi_ (RV 2.1.11; AB 3.37); this is interpreted as s’odhayitri_ or as
purifying; or, as sound created by a spear or lance (pavi_ra) or Indra’s thunderbolt. [pa_viravi_ =
a_yudhavati_]. Sarasvati_’s connection with the mind and the cow (beneficial yield) led her giving
full inspiration (dhi_) to compose hymns, and, consequently, she became the goddess of wisdom. (J.
Gonda, Pu_s.an and Sarasvati_, p. 10; Book Review, JRAS, 1986, no. 1, pp. 120-21). In the
Brahma_n.d.a Pura_n.a (4.7.27), Sarasvati_ is described as one of the nine Ma_tr.kas accompanying
Lalita_ in her fight with Bhan.d.a_sura.

Sarasvati_
personified as river
goddess with
apsaras pouring
water from the
heavens; Cave no.
29, Ellora;
Va_ka_t.aka, 5th
cent. A.D. [In Cave
6 (Maharwada) of
Ellora, there is a
female figure with a
peacock on her left,
a male figure is
seen reading; an
apparent
representation of
Sarasvati_ as
goddess of learning;
on the wall at the
south entrance of Cave 8, there is a sculpture of Sarasvati_;
descending to the court of Cave 6 by the south staircase, a cave
about 37X5 feet has trwo square pillars and pilasters in front; on
the backwall, there is a figure of Sarasvati_ holding a rosary].
Bharatiya Civilization dawned on the banks of River Sarasvati. On the banks of this river were
composed the Veda which is a continuing tradition in Bharat. The R.gveda is an allegorical account
spanning many phenomena: yajn~a, vrata and soma. The Vedic people were yajn~ika and vra_tya.
Both processed soma, a process related to a product elaborated in an entire man.d.ala of the
R.gveda. The process relates to the purification of electrum (gold-silver compound) ore. Vra_tya
were yogi-s. They were artisans, they spoke in mleccha dialect and wrote in mlecchita vikalpa.
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The language underlying about 4000 epigraphs of the civilization is mleccha (Meluhha), the
language spoken by Yudhis.t.hira and Vidura in the Mahabharata. The writers of these epigraphs
and the owners of objects containing these epigraphs were yajn~ika and vra_tya. Many epigraphs
relate to furnaces, minerals and metals and metallic products produced and owned by and traded-in
by these people across a vast domain stretching from Har-ki-dun valley in Uttaranchal to Tigris-
Euphrates doab in Mesopotamia.

River Sarasvati is adored in the R.gveda and in the Mahabharata. It is dotted with ti_rthastha_na
and a_s’rama of many r.s.i-s, the Veda dras.t.a_.

Place Name R.s.i


Chandi Cyavana
S’ri Kolayatji Kapila
Pehoa (Pr.thu_daka) Vasis.t.ha
Markanda River Ma_rkan.d.eya
Jageri, Bikaner Ya_jn~avalkya, S’aunaka
Beas River Vis’vamitra

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Vidya_devi Sarasvati
Presiding deity of Vidya_-mandira established by Bhoja, the ruler of
Parama_ra dyanasty of Dha_ra_, Ma_lawa (who reigned from 1018-10060
A.D. The king is said to have founded a Sanskrit College within the temple
dedicated to Sarasvati_.) Now displayed as Stuart Bridge Collection
(No.84); British Museum. Parama_ra, 1034 A.D. with a late na_gari
inscription. She is standing in tribhanga pose, is bejewelled; has four arms; a
garland is held in her left upper hand and a manuscript is held in her left
lower hand. Five ji_nas are carved seated on the upper part of the black slab;
an apparent indication that the image depicts the Jaina goddess of learning.
On the base are two female attendants and a squatting worshipper on either
side; to the right, a male and to the left, a female, perhaps representing the
donors. The base of the image has an inscription in na_gari mentioning that
it was made by the sculptor Manthala in 1034 A.D. She is stgated to be the
protectress of the sixth Ti_rtha_nkara Padmaprabha. The eight anklets worn
on her two ankles are reminiscent of the anklets worn by the bronze image
unearthed in Mohenjo-daro dated ca. 2750 B.C. The inscription is read byh
KN Dikshit (ASI) as follows: “On Sri_mad Bhoja narendra chandra nagari_
vidyadhari (?) romonadhih nama Sa* Sma* khalu Sukham (pra* pya na) ya_ psara_h Va_gdevi_
(m) pratima(m) vidha_ya janani yasya_-rjji (tanam trayi)***phaladhika_m dhara (sarin) murttim
subham nirmmame iti subham//sutrodh ra-sahira-suta mana thalena ghatitam//vi tika sivadevena
likhitam iti san 1091” (Translation: Om the Vidyadhari of the town Bhoja, the moon among kings**
having first made the mother goddess speech*** great in fruit*** created the auspicious image.
This was made by Manathala, the son of the craftsman Sahira. Written by Sivadeva, in the Samvat
year 1091).

The legacy and perpetuated memory of the Sarasvati River across many generations, unites the
peoples of Bharat, right from pre-historic times in an unbroken, continuous sequence as evidenced
by the archaeological finds consistent with the literary, epigraphic and other textual references.

Location of Va_lmi_ki A_s’rama on the banks of River Tamasa

Ra_ma_yan.a 2.65.5 describes Bharata’s route from Kekaya (capital: Rajagriha), after visiting his
uncle Yudhajit, back to Ayodhya. Bharata crossed the confluence of Ganga and Sarasvati and
entered the Bharudna forest. The very next s’loka (Ra_ma_yan.a 2.65.6) describes Yamuna as
surrounded by mountains (’Parvatavrta’’). Thus the references in the Ra_ma_yan.a clearly refer to
the Tamasa-Sarasvati-Yamuna in close proximity in the Himalayan mountains. Kekaya kingdom
may be located in Kashmir, thus making Bharata’s journey returning from Rajagriha to Ayodhya as
from north to south-east crossing the Tamasa-Sarasvati, Yamuna and Ganga rivers. The riverbank
of Tamasa (Tons), is not far-off from River Jahnavi i.e., river Ganga.

Some time after Narada left, Va_lmi_ki went to the river Ganga to bathe. A disciple by name
Bharadwaja was with him carrying his clothes. On the way they came across the Tamasa (Tons)
Stream. The water in it was very clear. Va_lmi_ki said to his disciple, "Look, how clear is this
water, like the mind of a good man ! I will bathe here today." [Va_lmi_ki Ra_ma_yan.a - Bala
Kanda in Prose Sarga 2].
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The A_s’rama should be close to Yamunotri and Naitwar, en route to Har-ki-dun valley where the
river Tamasa (Sarasvati tributary) originated from Rupin-Supin glaciers in Svargarohin.i himalayan
peak (Bandarpunch massif). As the crow flies, the Gangotri glacier, the Yamunotri glacier and the
Rupin-Supin (Sarasvati) glaciers are approximately within a distance of 20 kms. from one another.

Svarga_rohin.i, Bandarpunch Massif, Uttaranchal, Himalayas; Har-ki-dun valley inhabited by


Parvatis (who adore Duryodhana as a god)Har-ki-Doon, where the Tamasa (Tons) River originates
from Rupin glacier, as a tributary of Sarasvati River is 20 kms. from Netwar and 20 kms.
fromYamunotri. In Har-ki-dun valley live a people called Parvati-s who have an annual mela
celebrating Duryodhana! thus attesting the historicity of the Maha_bha_rata.

The origin of the Palaeo-Saraswati lies at 5 km south - west of Naitwar. Situated on the confluence
of the Rupin and the Tamasa (Tons) rivers, the former emerging out of the Rupin Glacier and the
latter emerging out of the Glacier named 'Saraswati Glacier' by Puri. 'The Saraswati Glacier was
58.8 km in length that possessed an average width of 3.5 km, covering an area of 205.8 km.'

From Naitwar the Palaeo-Saraswati, same as modern Tamasa (Tons), flowed for 40 km in
southwesterly direction where it met another
glacier-fed river called 'Pabbar', after the name
of the glacier. From here the Palaeo-Saraswati
took a southerly route and travelled for 100 km
before entering the region of Paonta Doon. It is
here that the Palaeo-Saraswati joined the Algar,
the Yamuna and the Giri rivers coming to Paonta
Doon from northwesterly region. From here 'it
took a course that is aligned along south of
Kalsi, Garibnath, Paonta and Bata valley, i.e,
west to south-westerly direction and flowed over
the raised and filled platform of the Siwaliks.' In
the third and last stage, when the Palaeo-
Saraswati reached the Bata valley, it took the
southwesterly swing and 'entered the plains
through Adh Badri'.

Archaeological evidence of the settlement sites


on the banks of the Sarasvati River indicates the
possibility of migrations away from the banks of
the river between ca. 1900 to 1500 BCE (i.e.
3,900 to 3,500 years B.P.) and seems to correlate
with environmental changes analysed using
lithological data and water levels in different strata in the Lunkaransar and Didwana lakes. The
desiccation of the Sarasvati River and the changes in climatic conditions were perhaps the principal
causes for the abandonment of the ancient settlements of the civilization which had been nourished
by the glacial waters of Sarasvati River and the freshwaters of the lakes between ca. 3500 and 1000
B.C. (i.e. 5,500 to 3,000 B.P.)

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Climate:

7000-10,000 BP Increase in rainfall at 8000 BP. Advent of wet phase. Freshwater conditions begin
at 9500 BP. Lakes start filling up.
Wet phase continues till 4000 BP
Onset of aridity. Lakes start drying up and salinity increases at 3700

Sources: Allchin et al 1978; Bryson and Swain 1981; Kaale and Deotare, 1997; Singh et al 1972,
1974; Swain et al. 1983; Sharma and Chauhan, 1991; Wasson et al. 1983; Ahmad, 1986; Kar, 1988;
Pandya, 1967; Sridhar et al. 1997b, 1999.

The banks of the river are also dotted with over 2,000 archaeological sites of a civilization – the
Sarasvati Civilization, the cultural traditions of which continue even into the present day Bharat.

Manasarovar glacier. The parikrama is 120 kms. The ancient courses of this river have been
fully traced over a course of 1,600 kms. from
Manasarovar in the Himalayas to Somnath (Prabhas
Patan) in Gujarat. The desiccation of this river was a
traumatic event caused by plate tectonics and resultant
migrations of tributary and anchorage rivers. Migration
of S’utudri (Sutlej) westwards and of Yamuna eastwards
resulted in Yamuna carrying the waters of Sarasvati to
join Ganga to constitute the Triven.i san:gamma
cherished as a tradition and celebrated every 12 years as a
Maha_kumbhamel.a. The memories of Sarasvati are so
intense in Bharatiya tradition that 42 rivers are named as
Sarasvati as noted in the topo maps of Survey of India. A tributary river of Kubha (River Kabul)
also gets this name: haraxvaiti, just as a river joining the Little of Rann of Kutch originating from
the mountains of Mt. Abu (Aravalli ranges), not far from Pus.kar in Rajasthan, is also called
Sarasvati. Sarasvati is cherished in the spiritual traditions of Bharat honouring the ancestors, pitr.-s.
Just as Gaya is called pitr.-gaya, Siddhapura in Gujarat and Pehoa (called Pr.thu_daka in
Mahabharata) in Haryana are called ma_tr.-gaya. At these pilgrim centers, s’ra_ddha ceremonies
are performed by pilgrims in memory of the ancestral mothers. River Sarasvati is thus called
ambitame, nadi_tame, devitame (best of mothers, best of rivers and best of divinities) in the
R.gveda. She had attained the stature of a divinity even in R.gvedic times. She is celebrated as the
divinity of water, divinity of arts and crafts, divnity of va_k (speech), divinity of jn~a_na, wisdom
and learning.

The accounts presented relate to the period between 4th and 2nd millennia – a time span of two
millennia from circa 3300 BCE to 1500 BCE. This was the period which witnessed the
Mahabharata war on the banks of River Sarasvati, the dawn and evolution of a civilization phasing
from chalcolithic to the bronze age. Since the civilization was essentially riverine and maritme, the
waterways provided by the Rivers Sarasvati, Sindhu, Tigris, Euphrates, Gulf of Kutch, Persian Gulf,
Gulf of Khambat, provided the resources available: s’ankha (turbinella pyrum), chalcedony, agate
and other colourful stones which could be worked on by lapidaries to make beads and ornaments,
copper of Khetri mines and prospecting for tin and other alloying minerals such as zinc and arsenic
which created bronze, bell-metal and brass as hard metals. The process of alloying constituted a
revolutionary advance in technology. It resulted in the manufacture of hard tools to clear jungles, to
use ploughshares to support organized farming, sickles to harvest crops, axes, saws, adzes and
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chisels to cut and work on wood and stone. S’ankha industry which began circa 6500 BCE as
evidenced by the finds of wide bangles and other shell ornaments in the grave of a woman continues
to the present day in Gulf of Khambat and Gulf of Mannar (ki_r..akkarai, Tiruchendur). S’ankha
becomes a spiritual tradition since a s’ankha trumpet is carried as an a_yudha by Kr.s.n.a and is
called Pa_n~cajanya, lit. of the five peoples. A_yudha_ni (weapons) which adorn the mu_rti-s of
divinities in the a_gama tradition is an adoration of the metallurgical tradition which created
property. The tradition of recording epigraphs on copper plates, which started in Sarasvati
Civilization, continues into the historical periods to record property transactions. The lapidaries and
the smiths (kavi, according to the R.gveda and Avestan tradition) who alone had the competence to
inscribe on weapons themselves, apart from objects such as copper plates become the early vra_tya-
s who could create the epigraphs for recording property items owned and traded – items such as
furnaces, minerals, metals and metal products – tools and weapons. The vra_tya emerge as ra_janya
in the historical periods and constitute the framers of the Bha_rata ra_s.t.ra, referred to as
Bha_ratam Janam by R.s.i Vis’va_mitra in the R.gveda.

The decoding of the epigraphs is presented in this perspective of technological advances made
through the use of fire – of furnaces and kilns to smelt/melt mineral ores and through the use of cire
perdue techniques of sculpting in bronze. The ability to cut into rock to create a water-reservoir of
massive dimensions evidenced in Dholavira explains the creation of man-made caves in many parts
of Bharat during the historical periods, exemplified by the caves of Ellora and Ajanta as
architectural marvels and by the gabarbands on River Sindhu and anicut on River Kaveri.

The underlying language, mleccha resulting in the mlecchita vikalpa, cipher writing (of epigraphs
of the civilization) yields a paradigm-shift in our understanding of the early languages of Bharat.
During the days of the civilization, i.e. between 3300 BCE (emergence of Harappa) and 1500 BCE
(submergence of Dwaraka) within the Sarasvati drainage basin of north-west Bharat, there was a
linguistic area, a dialectical continuum which ranged from Nahali of Tapati River basin to Maithili
of Ganga basin, from Tamil of Tamraparn.i river basin to Santali of Mahanadi basin, from Kashmiri
of Ravi River to Sindhi of River Sindhu basin. The thousands of lexemes of all Bharatiya languages
provide the basis for reconstructing the gloss of this dialectical continuum, this linguistic area,
unraveling the glyphs used on epigraphs as rebus lexemes. The Egyptian hieroglyphs were glyptic
representation of syllables, the Sarasvati hieroglyphs were glyptic representation of both phonetics
and semantics of lexemes.

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Dilmun, Magan, and sea-faring
merchants of Meluhha
= shakes (OMarw.) (CDIAL 14121). Hillo = a
jerk, a shake; a push; a shock; hello = a jolting
of a carriage (G.) helao = to move, drive in
(Santali). The semantics, ‘rocking to and fro’
and ‘wave’ point to sailing on high seas. This is
authenticated by a Tamil lexeme: e_le_lo = a
word that occurs again and again in songs sung
by boatmen or others while pulling or lifting
together; e_le_lan- = name of a Chola king;
e_lappa_t.t.u = boatmen’s song in which the
words e_lo_, e_le_lo occur again and again
(Ta.lex.) This leads to a possible interpretation
of some of the mlecchas, who shout, ‘he ‘lavo,
he ‘lavo’, as ‘sea-farers’ and is consistent with
Dilmun, Magan, Meluhha are three regions
which had traded with Mesopotamia (After
the evidence of economic texts from
PRS Moorey, 1994) Mesopotamia which point to extensive trade
relations with ‘meluhha’, which is generally
Alfred Hillebrandt argues that the degradation equated with the Indic civilization area.
of the term asura- (from its basic meaning
‘lord’ to the meaning of ‘evil spirit’) occurred S.C.Roy notes that Mun.d.as have a tradition
because of the encounters between Indians and that India was previously occupied by a metal-
Iranians after their separation, but before using people called Asuras. One tribe of the
Zarathus’tra’s reform. He adds that the phrase Mun.d.a group are called Asuras today. (Rai
he ‘lavo attributed to the asuras in the Bahadur S.C. Roy, The Asuras—ancient and
S’atapatha Bra_hman.a indicates that Indian modern, The Journal of the Bihar and Orissa
enemies from the east are also included among Research Society, 12, 1926, 147). This analysis
asuras, since this phrase would be a Prakrit is consistent with the characterization of asura-
form from that area. (Alfred Hillebrandt, with creative activity. Considering the sea-
Vedische Mythologie, 3 vols., Breslau, Verlag faring merchants of Indic civilization had
von M. and H. Marcus, 1902, vol 2., p. 440). traded in metals and ores over an extensive area
The following Indic etyma may explain the use and the evolution of the bronze-age, ca. 3500
of the term he ‘layo: halla_ = tumult, noise B.C. in the region with the invention of
(P.Ku.N.B.Or.H.); halphal = shaking, alloying copper with tin to yield bronze and
undulation (A.)(CDIAL 14017). Hallana = manufacture of hardened metallic weapons and
tossing about (Skt.); hallai – moves (Pkt.); alun tools, the dominant ‘lordship’ of the civilization
= to shake (K.) ale, alaku = to shake would have rested with the people with asuric
(Ka.)(CDIAL 14003; 14918). Hillo_la = wave or creative capabilities, who were later
(Skt.); hillo_layati = swings, rocks (Dha_tup.); identified as a group of people called ‘asuras’.
hilorna_ = to swing, rock to and fro (H.); hilolai

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Networks that connected from Meluhha (Bharat) during the Harppan Period (2600-2000
BCE) with their hinterlands – Sarasvati and Sindhu River Basins and distant resource mobilization
and trading areas [After Kenoyer, 1998]
which find many cognates in Marathi, Gujarati
Vedic age was a peaceful age and the devas and Kurukh languages; these verily constitute
respected the asuras as their neighbours; the substram Pra_kr.ts which influenced Vedic
indeed, the devas even worshipped the asuras Sanskrit with words such as khala (threshing
for their superior power: floor), la_n:gala (plough)..

yatha_ deva_ asures.u s’raddha_m H. Skold argued that asura could not have been
ugres.u cakrire (RV 10.151.3) derived from as’s’ur. If the derivation were
“Just as the devas rendered faithful true, the s’ in as’s’ur should appear in Sanskrit
worship to the powerful asuras…” as s’ and in Avestan as s, not as the s and h we
have in asura- and ahura-.(Hannes Skold, Were
Two views of the formation of North the Asuras Assyrians? The Journal of the Royal
Dravidian. are elucidated by Elfenbein, J.H., Asiatic Socierty of Great Britain and Ireland,
1987, A periplous of the ‘Brahui problem’, April 1924, pp. 265-7). Von Bradke suggested
Studia Iranica, 16; pp. 215-33. A pattern of that asura- could derive from as, ‘to be’, or ans,
separation of the Brahuis is suggested ‘to support’, perhaps the latter. (P.von Bradke,
consistent with the suggestion earlier made by Beitrage zur altindischen Religions – und
Jules Block that the Brahuis came to Sprach-geschichte, Zeitschrift der Deutschen
Baluchistan from South or Central India where Morgenlandischen Gesellschaft, 40, 1886, 347-
other cognate languages were spoken. The 8). Polome connects as’s’ura with Hittite
vocabulary of Brahui is strongly influenced by has’s’us, which means king. (E.Polome,
Sindhi and Siraiki with substrate Indic words L’etymologie due terme germanique *ansuz

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‘dieu soverain’, Etude Germanique, 8, 1953, endings and personal endings are more perfecdt
41). Schlerath analyzes asura as as-ura and in the oldest language than in later Sanskrit.”
derives Avestan ahu- and ahura-, Indic asura-, ((Maurice Winternitz, 1907, Geschichte der
Hittite has’s’u and Latin erus from Indischen Literatur, tr. A History of Indian
reconstructed root *axs- meaning ‘beget’. Literature, 1981, Delhi, Motilal Banarsidass,
(Bernfried Schlerath, Altindisch asu-, pp. 35-36). There is undoubtedly close
Awestisch ahu- und a_hnlich klingende Worter, relationship between the language of the Veda
in: Pratida_nam: Indian, Iranian and Indo- and the Indo-Iranian basic language as
European Studies presented to Franciscus evidenced by the earlier texts related to the
Bernardus Jacobus Kuiper on his Sixtieth Avestan language which evolved into the
Birthday, ed., by J.C. Heesterman, G.H. Ancient Persian of cuneiform inscriptions and
Schoker, and V.I. Subramoniam, The Hague, the Ancient Bactrian of the Avesta. The work
Mouton, 1968, p. 146). Hale proposes an of Prof. Witzel is titled “Substrate Languages in
alternative to Schlerath’s etymology by Old Indo-Aryan” and appeared in the
suggesting an Indo-European *Hesu- from Electronic Journal of Vedic Studies, Vol. 5,
which came Avestan ahu- ‘lord’ and Hittite 1999, Issue I (September). The following
has’s’u ‘king’ and an Indo-Iranian derivative of extracts are from the this work taken from the
this word, *asura- from which Avestan ahura- internet web pages:
and Vedic asura- derive.. (Wash Edward Hale,
opcit., p. 36). Hale’s argument is not Language of the Indus People: mleccha
convincing; if *Hesu- could have yielded
Hittite has’s’u, Vedic asura- could also have There is no evidence, whatsoever, that the
yielded the Hittite has’s’u and Assyrian Munda influenced directly the Avestan. On the
as’s’ura. Such a straight-forward Vedic- contrary, there are many words in the R.gveda
Avestan route may also explain the presence of which can be traced to the Munda-Dravidian
Sanskrit lexemes in Kikkuli’s horse training substrate. The Avestan words cognate with the
manual, Indic names among the names of Rigvedic are explainable as derived from the
Mitanni kings and Vedic deities named in the Vedic language which included the Para-
Mitanni treaty. A validation of this hypothesis Munda substrates in the earliest Vedic period in
can be made by tracing the so-called Dravidian the region which came to be called
lexemes in R.gveda and identifying concordant Bharatavars.a.
Avestan glosses.
The pura_n.ic and epic age was an era of
The linguistic arguments favouring the cultural fusion. “Intermarriages between the
hypothesis that Vedic language was an two tribes (devas and asuras) continues
indigenous evolution in India come from a unchecked. Bhi_ma married Hidimba_, the son,
recent (1999) work by Prof. Witzel of Harvard born of their union, Ghat.otkaca fought on
University. Winternitz had noted earlier as behalf of the Pa_n.d.avas in the Kuruks.etra
follows: “The vedic language differs from battle. Aniruddha, the grandson of Va_sudeva
Sanskrit almost not at all in its phonetic content married Us.a_, the daughter of Ba_n.a_sura.
but in its greater antiquity especially by a richer Pururava_’s son A_yu married the daughter of
stock of grammatical forms. Thus for example, Svarbha_nu, an asura. Not only the inter-tribal
Ancient Indian has a subjunctive which is marriages was acceptable, even the earlier
lacking in Sanskrit; it has a dozen different Brahmanical law-givers went to the extent of
infinitive endings of which there is only one including the custom of Asura form of marriage
left behind in Sanskrit. The aorist forms, into their law-books and called Asura marriage.
plentifully represented in the Vedic language In such marriage, the bride was bought from
disappear more and more in Sanskrit. The case- her father by paying bride price (A_s’vala_yana

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Gr. S. 1.6; Baudha_yana Dharma S. 1.35; expansion in India, JBROS, XII.2, June 1926,
Gautama Dharma S. 4.12; Manusmr.ti 3.31). pp. 243-285; II Asura expansion by sea,
The Vasis.t.ha Dharma Su_tra (1.35) JBROS, XII.3, Sept. 1926, pp. 334-360; V
recognizes such marriage belonging to Manus.a Asura Institutions, JBROS, XII.4, December
form. Though other sacred texts look on it with 1926, pp. 503-539). The settlements of Assur or
disfavour, the Arthas’a_stra (3.2.10) allows it Asura in Magadha or South Bihar are noted.
without criticism: pitr.prama_n.a_s’ catva_rah (D.R. Bhandarkar, Aryan Immigrants into
pu_rve dharmya_h ma_tr.pitr.prama_n.a_h Eastern India, ABORI, XII.2, 1931, pp. 103-
s’es.a_h. As for instance the marriage of 116). A comprehensive survey of the texts from
Das’aratha of Ra_ma_yan.a and Pa_n.d.u of the R.gveda and Bra_hman.as is used to analyse
Maha_bha_ratta may be taken. Das’aratha of the meaning of the term ‘asura’ as lord, leader
Ayodhya_ married Kaikeyi_and their son was and as corroborated by Iranian mythology. It is
illustrious Bharata. The sister of S’alya namely noted that the terms asura and deva are both
Ma_dri_ was united with Pa_n.d.u on payment used to qualify the same Vedic deity—for
of heavy bride price (MBh. 1.105.4- example, Indra, Varun.a, Mitra, Agni, while the
5)…Pura_n.as…Yaya_ti married S’armis.t.ha_, Iranian works recognize ‘asura’ as divine and
the daughter of the Asura king Vr.s.aparva_ and ‘daeva’ as demoniac. (Wash E. Hale, Asura in
had three sons namely Druhyu, Anu and Puru. Early Vedic Religion, Ph.D. Dissertation,
Because of his affiliation with the mother’s Harvard University, 1980; Delhi, Motilal
side, Puru was called an Asura…matriarchal Banarsidass, 1986). An anthropological
nature of Asura society…the celebrated perspective identifies the asura as a scheduled
Brahminical myth of the churning of the oceasn tribe of Netarhat plateau of Chotanagpur, Bihar
is a popular ojne, where the Asuras seize the and surveys their customs, rites, economic and
ambrosia, churned out of the ocean before the social conditions. (K.K.Leuva, The Asur—A
gods took possession of it…”. (Upendranath Study of Primitive Iron Smelters, New Delhi,
Dhal, Mahis.a_sura in Art and Thought, 1991, Bharatiya Adimjati Sevak Sangh, 1963). Asuric
Delhi, Eastern Book Linkers, p.27). culture through the ages is attempted, as a
fusion of cultures. (K.P. Chattopadhyaya, The
As’ur (Akkadian) has, by the nineteenth Ancient Indian Culture Contacts and
century BC, been recognized as the national Migrations, 1970, Calcutta, Firma KL
god of Assyria. In political terms, he bestowed Mukhopadhyaya). The dominance, in ancient
the scepter and the crown and blessed the times, of Asuras in extensive areas of Africa
Assyrians. (Tikva Frymerkensky, Ashur, and Eurasia is emphasized. (K.L. Jain Vasasiya,
Encyclopaedia of Religion, Vol. I, Ed. M. Indian Asuras Colonised Europe, 1990, Delhi,
Eliade, pp. 461 ff.) The enmity of Asuras with Itihas Vidya Prakashan). The myths related to
the gods is noted. (Brown, W.Norman, the Asura Bali-Va_mana, as a benevolent king
Proselytizing the Asuras: A noteor R.gveda and as a devotee of S’iva, is presented. (G.C.
10.12, Journal of the American Oriental Tripathi, Der Ursprung und die Entwicklung
Society, 39, Part 2, 1919, pp. 100-103). der Vaman-Legende in der indischen Literatur,
Historicity of the Asuras is evaluated and 1968, Wiesbaden, Otto Harrassowitsz). The
Asuras are described as immigrants from mythology of Bali is also presented. (Clifford
Assyria and were the builders of the Harappan Hospital, The Righteous Demon—A Study of
culture. As’ur the deity was symbolized by a Bali, 1984, Vancouver, University of British
winged diSkanda The As’ur people were Columbia). Mahis.a as a leader of Asuras in the
renowned for magic, medicine, sculpture, context of the mythology of
architecture and military prowess. (A.Banerji Mahis.a_suramardini is presented. In an
Sastri, The Asuras in Indo-Iranian Literature, evaluation of the genesis of the concept of
JBROS, XI.1, March 1926, pp. 110-139; Asura Asura, it is noted the Ashur Marduk, the

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p&/wU rwae/ di]?[aya Ayae/Jy! @en<? de/vasae? A/m&ta?sae
supreme deity of Babylonian pantheon was
adopted as Ahur Mazda by the Persians after
occupying Assyria.. (Upendranath Dhal, ASwu> ,
Mahis.a_sura in Art and Thought, 1991, Delhi,
Eastern Book Linkers). k«/:[adœ %dœ A?Swadœ A/yaR ivha?ya/z! icik?TsNtI/

manu;
? ay/ ]ya?y .
The following Dravidian lexemes are
concordant with the semantics of a_rih, [cf. 1.123.01 The spacious chariot of the graceful
O.Ir. aire = nobleman]. To cite Mayrhofer: “To (dawn) has been harnessed; the immortal gods
trace back the name of Aryans in Indo- have ascended it; the noble and all-pervading
Germanic time is not plausible, as the word Us.a_ has risen up from the darkness, bringing
evidently represents only an inner-aryan health to human habitations. [daks.in.a_ya_h =
evolution which is based in a_rih. O.Ir. aire, of the clever one; she who is skilled in her own
nobleman is to be kept away according to function, svavya_pa_ra-kus'ala; bringing
Thumeysen.” (M.Mayrhofer, Kurzgefasstes health: cikitsanti, healing, remedying the
etymologisches worterbuch des altindischen, malady of darkness].
Heidelberg. 1953-77, Vol. I, p. 52). ar_an_ =
sacrificer; ar_aviya virtuous; ar_aviya_n- = Mayrhofer rejects Wust’s suggestion aht the
virtuous man; ar-avan- one who is virtuous, term a_rih is comparable with Lat. Ara_re,
god, Buddha; ascetic; ar-am = moral or ploughman. (M.Mayrhofer, Kurzgefasstes
religious duty, virtue, dharma, Yama (Ta.); ar- etymologisches worterbuch des altindischen,
a, ar-u virtue, charity, alms, law, dharma, Yama Heidelberg. 1953-77, Vol. I, p. 79). The
(Ka.); ar-am = law, dharma (Ma.)(DEDR 311). Dravidian lexemes which are consistent with
Grassman translates a_rya as: 1. good, kind, the seamntics of ‘plough’ are: araka a plough
gracious, friendly which is said of gods, godly with bullocks etc. complete (Ta.); are a plough
beings, of the singer presenting the offerings; 2. (Ma.)(DEDR 198). A possible link with the
true, produce (yield etc.), stranger (from the semantics of a herdsman are seen in lexemes:
meaning opposed to godly); 3. stranger (of the a.r.yeka.m head cattle-boy (Ko.); a_reku~_d.u a
songs). (H. Grassmann, Worterbuch zum Rig- watchman (Te.); a_raike, a_re_kti care of,
veda, Wiesbaden: O. Harrassowitz, 1955, col. oprotection (Tu.); a_rayu, arayu to think, search
115). Naighan.t.u explains arya as master, lord (Te.); a_ra_y to seek (Ta.)(DEDR 377).
(Pa_n. iii.i.103). Grassman (ibid., p. 183), Mayrhofer, however, while noting the Iranian
connects the root a_r to praise, extol, commend parallel Av. airya_, OP ariya, a_rya, derives the
(Geldner: erkennen; cf. RV. VIII.16.6; RV terms arya (good, true, strange) and a_rya (also,
10.48.3). The Dravidian lexemes cognate with a_ria) from aryah = lord, hospitable lord;
the semantics of a_r: a_r to shout (Ta.); a.r- master of the house. The terms arya and a_rya
(a.t-) to call (Ko.); a_r, a_rcu to cry aloud (Ka.); occur 68 times in the R.gveda. (H. Grassmann,
ara- to moo, make loud hoarse noise (Kod.); Worterbuch zum Rig-veda, Wiesbaden: O.
a_rbat.a a joyful cry, triumph (Tu.); a_rcu to Harrassowitz, 1955, cols. 115-116 and 185-86).
cry aloud, shout (Te.); a_r to sound (as bell
etc.)(Pa.); a_rpa to shout (Kond.a); to call iv/Tv]?[>/ sm&t
? aE c³mas/jae =?suNvtae/ iv;u[
? >
(Kui); a_rh’nai to invite (Kuwi)(DEDR 367).
suNv/tae v&/x> ,

#NÔae/ ivñ?Sy dim/ta iv/-I;?[ae ywav/z< n?yit/ das/m!


In RV 1.123.1, arya_ is explained by Sa_yan.a
as noble; Geldner interprets the term as kind,
favourable. AayR>? .
5.034.06 Thinning (his enemies) in battle, and
accelerating the wheels (of his car), he turns
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away from him who offers no libation, and is translated as the Aryan nations. [J.
augments (the prosperity of) the offerer; Indra, Darmesteter, The Zend Avesta, Part I, Oxford,
the subduer of all, the formidable, the lord, Sacred Books of the East IV, 1880; In Yas’t
conducts the Da_sa at his pleasure. V.69, there is a legend related to Jama_spa who
sees the enemy’s army advancing to battle. He
Powerful in fight, stopping the wheel, the pleads with Ana_hita to guide him to victory as
opponent of non-pressing one, the strengthener also all the other Arians (airya)]. Another
of the pressing one, compeller of everyone, phrase used is airyo s’ayana (Yas’t X.13)
frightening, Indra, the a_rya leads the da_s as (explained as ‘Arian lands or homestead’). In
he wills. (Geldner) Yas’t XIII.87, Ahura Mazda creates ‘the race of
all Arian regions, the seed of all Aryan lands’.
Aa p/Kwasae? -la/nsae? -n/Ntail?nasae iv;a/i[n>?

iz/vas>? , s ih ³tu>/ s myR>/ s sa/xurœ im/Çae n -U/dœ AÑ‚t


? Sy

Aa yae =?nyt! sx/ma AayRS


? y g/Vya t&Tsu_? yae r/wI> ,

Ajgn! yu/xa n¨n! . tm! mex;


e? u àw/m< dev
? /yNtI/rœ ivz/ %p? äuvte d/Smm!

AarI>? .
7.018.07 Those who dress the oblation, those
who pronounce auspicious words, those who
abstain from penance, those who bear horns (in 1.077.03 For he is the performer of rites, he is
their hands), those who bestow happiness (on the destroyer and reviver (of all things), and,
the world by sacrifice), glorify that Indra, who like a friend he is the donor of unattained
recovered the cattle of the Arya from the wealth; all men reverencing the gods, and
plunderers, who slew the enemies in battle. approaching the well-looking Agni, repeat his
[Those who dress: Denominations of the name first in holy rites. [marya and sa_dhu =
persons assisting at religious rites are: 1. destroyer and reviver; or, killer or extirpator of
paktha_sah, havis.am pa_cakah, cooks of the all and the producer]. [vis’a a_ri_h = clans)
butter offered in oblation; 2. bhala_nasah,
bhadra va_cinah, speakers of that which is He is the insight, he is the young man, he is an
lucky; 3. alina_sah, tapobhir apravr.ddhah, not excellent creature, he is the wonderful leader
eminent by austerities; 4. vis.a_n.inah, having (insight?). Him the master, the divinely devoted
black horns in their hands for the purpose of Arya clans, call first the devoted Arya clans in
scratching kan.d.uyana_rtham, the same as the sacrifice. (Geldner).
di_ks.itah, having undergone the preliminary
purification called di_ks.a; 5. s'iva_sah, tm! $?¦t àw/m< y?}/sax</ ivz/ AarI/rœ Aa÷?tm!
ya_ga_dina_ sarvasya lokasya s'ivakarah, the
makers happy of all people by sacrifice and the \Ãsa/nm! ,

^/jR> pu/Çm! -?r/t< s&/àda?nu< de/va A/i¶< xa?ryn!


like].

These people, i.e. Pakthas, Bhala_nasas, Alinas Ôiv[ae/dam!.


and Vis.a_nins named themselves as his good
1.096.03 Approaching him,let all men adore
friends. The feast companion of the A_rya
Agni, the chief (of the gods), the accomplisher
(a_ryah) who led his men in the battle has come
of sacrifices, who is gratified by oblations and
to help out of longing fot the cows of Tr.tsu.
propitiated by praises--the offspring of food,
[Here Indra is the a_rya]. (Geldner).
the sustainer of (all men), the giver of continual
gifts; the gods retain Agni as the giver of
In Avestan, Yas’t, the compound term used is:
(sacrificial) wealth. [prathama = lit. the first;
airya dainha_vo_ (Yas’t VIII.9.56) This phrase
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here, mukhya, chief (of the gods)]. [The term seven rivers; or, on the shores of the seven
used is: vis’a a_ri_h = of the Aryas, Aryas]. seas].

The A_ryan clans (vis’a a_ri_h) called him as The term dasyu is used in RV. 6.18.3, 7.5.6,
the first, sacrificial director, poured in (with 2.11.18, 1.51.8 with the possible connotation of
butter), the prominent one, the sun of power, ‘people in general or inhabitants who are
the Bharata which has got wide gifts. (Geldner). associated together in a place’. Some of the
epithets associated with dasyu are: abrahman
y \]a/dœ A&lth?sae mu/cdœ yae vayaRt
? ! s/Ý isNxu;
? u,
(RV 4.16.9, without prayer), avrata (RV 1.51.8;
175.3; 6.14.3; 9.41.2, without vows), anyavrata
vx?rœ da/sSy? tuivn&M[ nInm> . (RV. 8.70.11, with different vows), apavrata
8.024.27 (He it is) who rescues men from the (RV 5.42.9, with bad vows), ayajvan (RV
wickedness of evil beings, who enriches (the 8.70.11, not sacrificing); ayajyu (RV 7.6.3, not
dwellers) on the seven rivers; now hurl, you sacrificing).
who abound in wealth, your weapon at the
Da_sa. [Dwelleres on the seven rivers: sapta Tve A?su/y¡ vs?vae/ Ny! \{v/n! ³tu</ ih te? imÇmhae
sindhus.u, i.e. the dwellers on the banks of the
seven rivers; or, on the shores of the seven ju/;Nt? ,

Tv< dSyU/Aaeks
? ae A¶ Aaj %/é Jyaeit?rœ j/ny/Ú!
seas].

You who protected us out of the danger from AayaRy


? .
the bear, or you who turned away the weapons 7.005.06 Reverencer of friends, Agni, th Vasus
from the a_ryas in the seven streamed land of have concentrated vigour in you; they have
the da_sas, you courageous one. (Geldner). been propitiated by your acts; generating vast
splendour for the Arya, do you, Agni, expel the
This hymn attests that the da_sa as well as Dasyus from the dwelling.
Indra inhabited the region of the seven rivers
(Sapta Sindhu or Avestan: Hapta Hindu). This Tv< h/ nu Tydœ A?dmayae/ dSyU/@k>? k«/òIrœ A?vnae/rœ

AayaRy
? ,
is the airya dainha_vo_ (Yas’t VIII.9.56) (the
Aryan nations). Avestan dakhyuma,
da_khyuuma was the name of a deity of a land. AiSt? iSv/n! nu vI/y¡ tt! t? #NÔ/ n iSv?dœ AiSt/ tdœ
Cognate lexemes are: dasma, dasra denoting
accomplishment of wonderful deeds. \?tu/wa iv vaec
? > .
(Ch.Bartholomae, Altiranisches Worterbuch, 6.018.03 You are he who has quickly humbled
Berlin, 1925 (?), Col. 706-711; derived from the Dasyus; you are the chief one who has
dan:h; cf. Kanga, An Avesta-English-Gujarati given posterity to the Arya;but, Indra, is not
Dictionary, Bombay). verily your power such? If it be not, then in due
season confess. [Not beholding Indra, the r.s.i
y \]a/dœ A&lth?sae mu/cdœ yae vayaRt
? ! s/Ý isNxu;
? u, began to question his attributes and power; next
verse explains his belief in these attributes and
vx?rœ da/sSy? tuivn&M[ nInm> . power].
8.024.27 (He it is) who rescues men from the
wickedness of evil beings, who enriches (the
dwellers) on the seven rivers; now hurl, you ix/:va zv>? zUr/ yen? v&/Çm! A/vai-?n/dœ danum
? !

AaE[Rva/-m! ,
who abound in wealth, your weapon at the
Da_sa. [Dwelleres on the seven rivers: sapta
sindhus.u, i.e. the dwellers on the banks of the

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Apa?v&[ae/rœ Jyaeit/rœ AayaRy
? / in s?Vy/t> sa?id/ dSyur? œ
perform no religious rites, compel them to
submit to the performer of sacrifices; be you,
#NÔ . who are powerful, the encourager of the
sacrificer; I am desirous of celebrating all your
2.011.18 Indra, hero, keep up the strength deeds in ceremonies that give you satisfaction.
wherewith you have crushed Vr.tra, the spider- [A_ryas are those who practise religious
like son of Da_nu, and let open the light to the rites;Dasyus do not observe religious
A_rya; the Dasyu has been set aside on your ceremonies and inimical to those who do].
left hand. [The spider-like son of Da_nu:
da_num aurn.ava_bham: aurn.ava_bham = There are thousands of microlithic sites in India
aurn.ana_bham; aurn.a = a spider; a_bha = and neighbouring regions and the areas of the
resembling]. substrate languages of Naha_li, Irul.a, Vedda
and Rodiya (After Schwartzberg, Joseph,
iv ja?nI/ý! AayaR/n! ye c/ dSy?vae b/ihR:m?te rNxya/ ed.,1978, A historical atlas of South Asia,
zas?dœ Aì/tan! ,
Chicago; loc. cit., Parpola, 1994, Fig. 8.9) It is
likely that many lexemes of the Pra_kr.ts were
zakI? -v/ yj?manSy caeid/ta ivñet! ta te? derived from the hundreds of such languages
which should have constituted the substratum
sx/made;
? u cakn . of the Linguistic Area in Indic protohistory.
1.051.08 Discriminate between the A_ryas and
they who are Dasyus; restraining those who

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From Sarasvati to Haraquaiti

Haraquaiti near Kandahar and Mundigak, wealth and fertility, it also contains more ruined
joining the Haetumant (Hilmand) river; cities and habitations than are perhaps to be
archaeological sites in Arachosia, Drangiane, found within a similar space of ground
Gandhara, Areia, Baktriane (After Fischer, K., anywhere in the world...An archaeological map
1970, Projecfts of archaeological maps from of Afghanistan shows the major sites of
Afghan-Seistan between 31 20’ to 30 50’N and historical and artistic interest explored so far:
62 00’ to 62 10’E., in Zentralasiatische Studien, the prehistoric mound of Mundigak with
No. 4, Wiesbaden; loc. cit., Fischer, Klaus, pottery ornamented both in ancient Iranian style
1973, Archaeological Field surveys in Afghan and with the Indus valley patterns, the
Seistan 1960-1970, in: Norman Hammond, ed., provincial capital of Kandahar in the vicinity of
South Asian Archaeology, Duckworth, London, which were discovered Greek and Aramaic
Fig. 10.1). “Many explorers, MacMahon and versions of Ashoka inscriptions; Buddhist
Curzon for example, agree that Seistan offers a monasteries, stupas and caves embellished by
special phenomenon which puzzles students of Gandhara-style sculpture and painting, namely
comparative geography and archaeology. The Bamiyan, Fondukistan, Hadda, Qunduz; the
shallow lakes alternately swell, recede and ‘mother of cities’ from Zoroastrian to Islamic
disappear and the rivers are constantly shifting times—Balkh; a dynastic sanctuary of the
their beds. Consequently settlements were Kushans to be connected with the art of
created and abandoned in short periods. While MathuraSurkh Kotal; places with remains of
the country owes to the abundant alluvium its Hindu-Shahi temples and images, for example
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Gardez and Chigha Sarai; centers of Islamic middle country. There at the Arghandab
architecture and decoration—Lashkari Bazar, (Greek: Etymander) in Arachosia,
Ghazni and Heart. Seistan, known to the Greek Vadhryas’va’s son Divoda_sa fought against
and Roman world as Drangiane, is just being the Pan.is, Pa_ra_vatas and Br.saya, and the
explored. The vast desert is covered by mud- river of the country “who consumed the Pan.is”
brick remains. Moving sand dunes encircle old (RV 61.1) stood by his side as a guardian deity.
fortresses, like that of Sangar. Recently we In the same book which thinks of the Pan.is
have located prehistoric and early historic with special hatred we see Pu_s.an “who
tepes, mounds and wall systems deriving from pierces the Pan.is” at the center of the cult, and
the periods of the Parthians, Sakas and he is mentioned once in the Sarasvati_ hymn
Sasanians, and abandoned Islamic cities with also (RV 6.61.6). Pu_s.an and Sarasvati_ occur
soaring mud-brick walls and towers...Seistan side by side elsewhere too. 6.49.7 Sarasvati_; 8
was in prehistoric times a densely populated Pu_s.an; 10.17.3-6 Pu_s.an; 7-9 Sarasvati_;
country...Seistan was crossed by Alexander the 65.1 (Va_yuh) Pu_s.a_ Sarasvati_. Their
Great in the autumn of 330 BC...During the association has been continued especially in
thirteenth and fourteenth centuries the liturgical texts. (cf. TS 1.2.2; 6.1.2.2:
inhabitants opposed the Mongol invasion, were sarasvatyai pu_s.n.e ‘gnaye sva_ha_;
conquered and totally destroyed. The irrigation 5.5.12:…dha_tuh; sarasvatyai s’a_rih s’yeta_
works were wasted, the cities burnt and life purus.ava_k, sarasvate s’ukah s’yetah
seemed to end...The water of the Helmand was purus.ava_g, a_ran.yo ‘jo nakula_ s’aka_ te
again used in canals and carried to distant paus.n.a_ va_ce…; MS 1.10.5 (145.16):
points in the country; new canals were built and sarasvaty eva sr.s.t.a_su va_cam adadha_t
old ones repaired. Natural changes in climate pu_s.an.am pratis.t.ha_m abhy asr.jyanta;
and reduction of water supply seem to have va_vai sarasvati_, pas’avah pu_s.a_; Abr.
restrained people from settling far from the 2.24.5: indrah pu_s.an.va_n, indrah
river. Finally the population was forced to keep sarasvati_va_n)…Goat and sheep-rearing
cattle and fields in the plain near the Helmand.” flourished in the mountains of Afghanistan.
(Fischer, Klaus, opcit., pp. 133-134). Pu_s.an’s chariot is drawn by goats and he
weaves the woolen garment for the sheep. As
It would appear that change of the Old Indic the goat is sacred to Pu_s.an so is the ewe,
names into Iranian forms when they moved into mes.i_, sacred to Sarasvati_ at least in the
the area may explain the following ritual. (TS 2.1.2.6; S’Br 13.2.2.4; a ram in the
concordances: Sarasvati_ as Haraxvaiti, Sarayu Sautra_man.i_; TBr. 2.6.15.1). The R.gvedic
as Haroiiu and Gomati as the Gomal. period is familiar with the sheep-rearing in
Gandha_ra, at the Sindhu and perhaps also at
In this context of faunal remains found in the Parus.n.i_. (Pischel and Geldner, Vedische
mesolithic sites in Rajasthan, it will be apposite Studien, II, p. 210). RV 1.126.7, the only
to review a claim made by Alfred Hillebrandt passage which is more significant speaks of
that the early references to Sarasvati_ in the sheep-rearing, mentions a woman “who is hairy
R.gveda should be traced to Sarasvati_ of like the ewe among the Gandha_ris” (Zimmer,
Arachosia, which according to Hillebrandt is H., Altindisches Leben, pp. 30 ff., 229)…But
the ‘western Sarasvati_’ as distinct from the the Sarasvati_ of Arachosia alone does not hold
‘eastern’ Sarasvati_ in located in Kuruks.etra. good for the entire RV. It is likely that the
“The worshippers of Pu_s.an lived in the memory of this home of the Vedic clans is
vicinity of the Sarasvati_…Book VI takes us to preserved in some single passages of the
the banks of the western Sarasvati_ and book Bra_hman.a literature as well. But already the
VII, on the other hand, to the area of seventh book takes us to other surroundings, to
Kuruks.etra, to the holy Sarasvati_ of the the banks of the holy river in the inner India.

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(RV 7.96.2: ‘When the Pu_rus seize both the frequent occurrence, about 2.48 million years
andhas (on your banks) by force, then, you ago, of stegodon insignis ganesa,
radiant one, be merciful to us as the friend of archidiskodon planifrons, elephas hysudricus,
the Maruts and direct the favour of the mighty equus sivalensis, rhinoceros sivalensis, R.
ones towards us’.(Geiger, Ostiranische Kultur palaeoindicus, Sus spp., camelus sivalensis,
im Altertum, p. 364 ff.) cervus spp., colossochelys atlas, geoclemys
AV 6.30.1: sivalensis, crocodylus spp. and a host of other
new forms (Badam, G.L., Pleistoceene Fauna
deva_ imam madhuna_ samyuitam yavam of India, Pune, Deccan College; S.N.Rajaguru
sarasvatya_m adhi man.a_v acarkr.s.uh and G.L. Badam, Late Quaternary
indra a_si_t si_rapatih s’atakratuh Geomorphology of the Markanda Valley,
kina_s’a_ a_san marutah suda_navah Himachal Pradesh, in: B.P. Radhakrishna and
S.S. Merh, eds., Vedic Sarasvati, 1999,
The gods sowed at the Sarasvati_ barley mixed Bangalore, Geological Society of India, p. 149).
with honey over an amulet. Indra S’atakratu An alternative view is that the word Harakhaiti
was the lord of the plough, the abundantly or harahvaiti itself traveled from India to
bestowing Maruts were the drivers. Afghanistan, with the linguistic change of ‘s’a,
[Hillebrandt notes: “Here the stream is closely sa and s.a’ to ‘ha’, “as we proceed from the
associated with the Maruts, and this is exactly traditional region of Madhya des’a towards the
the case in the R.gvedic verse (RV west. To take only a couple of instances even
7.96.2)…Pu_rus must have extended their now Sa_dhu is pronounced as Hau, S’ivaji as
territories upto the Yamuna_ and Hibji, Sukhdeva as Hukhdeva, Das’a as Daha
Parus.n.i_…The events described in books III and Sa_huka_ra to Hauka_ra in dialects of
and VII which take place mostly farther in the Marwar…The same process operated in the
east on the Parus.n.i_, Yamuna_, Vipa_s and evolution of S’aryqan.a_ in the R.gveda later to
S’utudri_ make it improbable that the Harya_n.a_…The consistent operation of this
Sarasvati_ mentioned in RV 7.95, 96, on the linguistic process of the replacement of
banks of which the Pu_rus dwelt, can still be sibilants by “Ha” thus justifies the conclusion
identical with the Arachotos.”). that the name Sarasvati_ also logically
underwent the same process in its westward
The reference to goats and sheep should not journey and became Harahvaiti or Harkhaiti in
automatically link Sarasvati_ with Arachosia, Arachosia.” (O.P. Bharadwaj, Studies in
Afghanistan, since faunal remains of goats and Historical Geography of Ancient India, Delhi,
sheep have been found in the region close to 1986, pp. 176-191; cf. Vedic Index, II, 364).
Parus.n.i_, in North-West India, Rajasthan. It The place name spelt as Taus.a_yan.a by
may not be necessary to postulate two Pa_n.ini changed to Tohana at some later stage.
Sarasvati_’s to explain the contextual (V.S.Agrawal, 1974, India as known to
references in Book VI and Book VII. The Pa_n.ini, 2nd edn., Varanasi, p. 74). So, too the
rationale for identifying Haraqaiti (arachotos) changes from asura to ahura (Isaac Taylor,
as the earlier, western Sarasvati_ is based on 1980, The Origin of the Aryans, Reprint, Delhil,
very flimsy grounds of rearing of sheep in pp. 184-186). and Sindhu to old Persian Hindu
Afghanistan. It would appear that sheep were (V.S. Agrawal, V.S. 2011, Bharata ki maulika
reared in North West India, Rajasthan as well. ekata_ (Hindi), Allahabad, p. 30f; Tola
Close to Parus.n.i_, in the Markanda valley, a Frernando and Dragonetti Carmen, 1986, India
lot of faunal material, dated as early as to the and Greece before Alexander, ABORI, vol.
Pleistocene period, has been recovered from the LXVII (pts. I-iv), pp. 159-194)..
Upper Siwaliks in general and the neighbouring
areas in particular Mention has been made of

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“The linguistic evidence in the Vedic texts knew the footsteps, found light and stole the
themselves points, of course, to a close cattle), and are said to be conversant with the
relationship with the Iranian speaking tribes. stations, padajn~a_ (RV 9.97.39). They are not
However, it is not entirely clear where the only recalled in the course of overland
combined Indo-Iranians lived together before journeys, but also during sea voyages (RV
they left for Iran and India, when they went on 8.12.2) spreading over ten months (RV
their separate ways, by which routes, and in 5.45.11).” (Bhagwan Singh, 1995, The Vedic
what order. Furthermore, as G. Morgenstienrne Harappans, New Delhi, Aditya Prakasan, p.
(1975) has shown, the Kafirs or Nu_rista_ni_s 198).
constitute a third branch of the Indo-Iranians
who were early on isolated in the impenetrable “There is no river of Afghanistan mentioned in
valleys of the Kunar and its tributaries.” the R.gveda which does not flow into the Indus.
(Witzel, M., 1995, Early Indian history: However, in a wider perspective, we find
Linguistic and textual parameters, in: G. Afghanistan, South Central Asia, West
Erdosy, ed., The Indo-Aryans of Ancient South Turkistan, Kazakistgan, (Azerbaydzhan) Iran
Asia, Delhi, Munshiram Manoharlal, p. 92). (Mandas in western Persis, 2500 BC and
Zarathustrians in central Iran), Turkey (Hittites
The strongest evidence for the migration is the in the second millennium BC), Syria, Palestine
name of the Croatians who are a people (Mitannis, 1400 BC), and Babylonia (Kassites,
mentioned in the Behistun inscription as 1760 BC) related linguistically and
Hravaits, a clear derivative from Sarasvati commercially, directly and immediately to the
River Bank~Haraquaiti region, which link is Vedic Indians as well as the Harappans...No
logical in the context of the evidence of the serious attempt appears to have been made for
earth sciences of the course of the 1600 kms. proper assessment of the relative position of
long Himalayan river called Sarasvati_. In the Harappan traders in the contemporary world
continuing search of the Indo-Europeans, the which, in view of the spread of Indo-Aryan
people of the Sarasvati_ River valley dated ca. languages and vestiges of their colonies in and
3500 BC are likely to be the oldest around the great civilizations of West Asia,
representatives who evolved and sustained a must have been hegemonic. Although linguistic
continuity of culture into the historical periods testimony is meager, the impact on both
and into the present day civilization of India. Babylonian and Assyrian mythology and rituals
as noted by competent authorities on the subject
Both the terms, atharvan and navagva are used (Carnoy, Albert Jr., 1917, Mythology of All
as synonyms in R.gveda. “...they (Atharvans Races, IV, Iranian Mythology,
and Navagvas) are credited with having entered Boston)...Afthanistan has been so thoroughly
a mountain pass (RV 1.112.18; RV 5.29.12), Aryanised that till the Greek times it was called
breaking mountain ranges (RV 1.62.4; 1.71.2; A_rya_na_...Why is there no archaological
4.2.15; 4.3.11), obtaining riches (RV 7.52.3), evidence of the presence of Aryans in India?
breaking mineral rich mountains (RV 4.2.15), And the answer comes with a resounding echo:
winning cows (RV 1.62.2), and possessing Because Harappan archaeology is hardly
miraculous powers (RV 3.53.7). These seers different from the Vedic one. We find almost
called Navagvas and Das’agvas are seven in the same geographical area occupied by the
number (sapta vipra_: RV 4.2.15) and ‘Aryans’ as is covered by the material remains
reminding us of the number of stars in the of the Harappans. Almost the same area is
constellation by their names. They are covered by the Indo-Aryans and Indo-Iranians
remembered as manes or pu_rve pitarah (RV abroad as was being explored and exploited by
3.55.2: fathers of the old times who know the the Harappans for mineral wealth.” (Bhagwan
region; RV 9.97.39: our sires of the old who

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Singh, 1995, The Vedic Harappans, New Delhi, courses from where have been unearthed over
Aditya Prakashan, pp.47-49). 1200 archaeological sites (of the fourth and
third millennium BC) of the bronze age of the
The identification of the Vedic Sarasvati River Indian Civilization, including Rakhigarhi (150
with the Indus or its tributaries on the right miles north of Delhi, on the banks of the
bank such as Argandab or Helmand is Sarasvati River; apart from the clusters of
erroneous because in the Vedic texts, the upper hundreds of sites in Bahawalpur province
course of Sarasvati is detailed as located (north of Sind province), again on the banks of
between S’utudri_ in the West, a tributary of the Sarasvati River) which is about 220 ha., and
Beas (as also attested in a R.gvedic su_kta.) and hence, 3 times the size of Mohenjodaro in
Yamuna in the East, once upon a time; the extent.
Sarasvati river is also associated with the
Maruts and is located close to a desert. The
R.gvedic descriptions fit the Sarasvati_ river

The kingdom of Videha, across the Gandak Darabhanga, with Kosala on the west and
river, (Map after Raychaudhuri, opcit., p. 54). An:ga on the east. On the north it approached
Videha had nine states of importance as noted the hills, and to the south it was bounded by the
in the Bra_hman.as and Upanis.ads: gandha_ra, small kingdom of Vais’a_li’—Pargiter, 1897,
kekaya, madra, us’I_nara, matsya, kuru, JASB, 89). S’atapatha Bra_hman.a seems to
pan~ca_la, ka_s’i and kosala. Videha (of King state that Videgha Mathava who came from the
Janaka) is mentioned in Yajur Veda. (Vedic banks of the Sarasvati_ founded the Videhan
Index, II.298). This corresponds to the modern kingdom. (Vedic Index, I.436): the fire god
Tirhut in North Bihar (‘Videha comprised the went burning along this earth from the
country from Gorakhpur on the Ra_pti to Sarasvati_ towards the east, followed by
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Ma_thava and his priest, Gotama Ra_hu_gan.a
till he came to the river Sada_ni_ra_ (Ra_pti Ancient Daks.ina_patha in the age of the Later
river) which flows from the norther Videhas (After Raychaudhuri, opcit., p. 76).
(Hima_laya) mountain, and which he did not Rigveda refers to daks.in.a_pada_ (RV
burn over. Thinking ‘it has not been burnt over 10.61.8); Pa_n.ini refers to da_ks.ina_tya
by Agni Vais’va_nara (the fire that burns for all (4.2.98): Maha_bha_rata (Nalopa_khya_na)
men)’, Brah_man.as did not go across the refers to daks.in.a_patha as south of Avanti
stream in ancient times. Only Ma_thava’s (Malwa) and the Vindhyas and to the south of
arrival led to the movement of people into this the Vidarbhas and the Southern Kosalas (who
area. lived on the banks of Wardha_ and
Maha_nadi_). The age of the later Videhas had
Kosala [including the cities of Ayodhya_, the names of Nimi and Kara_la as kings who
Sa_keta and Sa_vatthi_ (S’ra_vasti_)] was expanded into the territory extending to the
bounded by the Gomti on the west, Sarpika_ (or Reva_ or the Narmada_ and the Goda_vari_
Syandika_ or Sai) river on the south and rivers. Nimi’s Vidarbha region included the
Sada_ni_ra_ on the east and the Himalayas on modern Berar and also varada_tat.a (region
the north. Buddha notes in Sutta Nipa_ta (SBE, between Wardha_ and Waingan:ga_) and up
X, Part II, 68-69): “Just beside Himavanta there north upto the river Payos.n.i_, a tributary of
lives a people endowed with the power of Ta_pti_ river. Nimi was of Yadu lineage
wealth, the inhabitants of Kosala (kosalaem (Matsya Pura_n.a 44.36; Va_yu Pura_n.a
niketino or having an abode in Kosala). They 95.35-36).
are A_dichchas by family (A_ditya or solar
group), S’a_kiyas by birth; from that family I Br.hada_ran.yaka Upanis.ad refers to a sage
have wandered about, not longing for sensual Vidarbhi_ Kaun.d.inya (an apparent derivation
pleasures.” from the capital city of Vidarbha called
Kun.d.ina, which is associated with a place in
the Ch_n.d.ur ta_luk of Amraoti, on the banks
of Wardha_ river). Sa_tvatas and Bhojas are
also referred to as offshoots of the Yadu on the
banks of the Yamuna_. (Matsya Pura_n.a
44.36; Va_yu Pura_n.a 95.35-36). Bhojas also
seem to have ruled Dan.d.aka (da_n.d.ako
na_ma bhojah ka_ma_t bra_hman.akanya_m
abhimanyama_nas sabandhu ra_s.t.ro
vinana_s’a: a Bhoja king known as
Da_n.d.akya, or king of Dan.d.aka, made an
attempt on a bra_hman.a girl and perished
along with his relations and kingdom:
Kaut.ili_ya Arthas’a_stra).

The finds at Mehrgarh dated to ca. 7000 BC


indicate the early phases of village farming
communities communities. Prof. Possehl
provides a broad spectrum of phases related to
the absolute chronology of the “Indus Age”:

• Beginnings of Village Farming


Communities and Pastoral Camps (Kili

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Ghul Mohammad and Burj Basket-marked well-reasoned arguments were unsuccessful in
phases) 7000-4300 BC rooting out the misinterpretations entrenched in
the popular literature. (Brown, Dale M., ed.,
• Developed village farming communities 1994, Ancient India: Land of Mystery,
and pastoral societies: 4300-3200 BC Alexandria, Va., Time-Life Books)...there is no
archaeological or biological evidence for
• Early Harappan phases (Amri-Nal, Kot invasion of mass migrations into the Indus
Dijian, Sothi-Siswal, Damb Sadaa) 3200- valley between the end of the Harappan Phase,
2500 BC about 1900 BC and the beginning of the Early
Historic Period, around 600 BC. In Central
• Mature Harappan 2500-1900 BC Asia and Afghanistan the Bactria-Margiana
Archaeological Complex (BMAC), dating
• Post-urban Harappan 1900-1000 BC ffrom around 1900 to 1700 BC, represents a
complex mixture of nomadic and settled
• Early Iron Age 1000-600 BC communities, some of these may have spoken
Indo-Aryan dialects and practiced Indo-Aryan
(After Gregory L. Possehl, 1999, Indus Age: religion. These communities and their ritual
The Beginnings, New Delhi, Oxford and IBH objects were distributed from the desert oases
Publishing Co., Table 1.2) in Turkmenistan to southern Baluchistan and
from the edges of the Indus Valley to Iran. As
Evolution of Indian Civilization and Vedic nomadic herders and traders moved from the
Culture highlands to the lowlands in their annual
migration, they would have traded goods and
“The discovery of unburied skeletons among arranged marriages as well as other less formal
the latest levels of the Harappan occupation at associations resulting in the exchange of genes
Mohenjodaro combined with uncritical and between the highland and lowland
inaccurate readings of the Vedic texts led some communities.” (Kenoyer, J.M., 1998, p. 174).
scholars to claim that the decline of the Indus
civilization was the result of ‘invasions’ or Since Wheeler’s hasty generalization, many
‘migratgions’ of Indo-Aryan speaking discoveries have been reported which render it
Vedic/Aryan tribes. (Wheeler, R.E. Mortimer, possible to reconstruct an indigenous and
1968, The Indus Civilization, 3rd edn., continued evolution and development of the
Cambridge History of India, Cambridge, civilization in the Sindhu Sarasvati River
Cambridge University Press). The invasion Basins. Outside these river basins, cultural
and/or migration models assumed that the Indo- complex of Bactgria-Margiana Archaeological
Aryan speaking Vedic communities destroyed Complex (BAMC) has been discovered. There
the Indus cities and replaced the complex is little evidence of cultural materials being
urban civilization with their new rituals, transferred into or from this complex, though
language and culture. Many scholars have tried evidences of trade contacts have been
to correct this absurd theory, by pointing out identified. (Frederik T. Hiebert, 1994,
misinterpreted basic facts, inappropriate models Production evidence for the origins of the Oxus
and an uncritical reading of Vedic texts. civilization, Antiquity 68: 372-87; Victor
(Jarrige, Continuity and Change in the North Sarianidi, 1993, Recent archaeological
Kachi Plain; Shaffer, Reurbanization: The discoveries and the Aryan problem, in: South
Eastern Punjab and Beyond; loc. cit. Kenoyer, Asian Archaeology, 1991, Adalbert J. Gail and
J., 1998, Ancient Cities of the Indus Valley Gerd J.R. Mevissen, eds., Stuttgart, Steiner:
Civilization, Karachi, Oxford University Press). 252-63). The internal migrations to the Ganga-
However, until recentgly, these scientific and Yamuna, caused principally by the desiccation

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of the Sarasvati River, have been well Gregory L., 1992, The Harappan civilization in
documented, with reference to new surveys and Gujarat: the Sorath and Sindh Harappans, in:
excavations of new sites. (Bisht, Ravinder Eastern Anthropologist 45:1-2: 117-54;
Singh, 1987, Further excavations at Banawali, Possehl, Gregory L., 1991, The Harappan
1983-84, in: B.M.Pande and B.D. cultural mosaic: ecology revisited, in: Catherine
Chattopadhyaya, eds., Archaeology and Jarrige, ed., South Asian Archaeology, 1989,
History, Delhi, Agam Kala Prakashan: 135-56; Madison, Wis., Prehistory Press: 237-44). A
Dikshit, K.N., 1991, The legacy of Indus review of these new discoveries and
civilization in North India, in: Puratattva 21: evaluations have led to the presentation of
17-20; Joshi, Jagat Pati, 1978, Interlocking of alternative theories to explain the decline of the
Late Harappan culture and Painted Grey Ware Indus cities and the continuation of the urban
culture in the light of recent excavations, in: Indo-Gangetic tradition. (Kenoyer, J. Mark,
Man and Environment 2: 90-101; Shaffer, Jim 1995, Interaction systems, specialized crafts
G., 1993, Reurbanization: the eastern Puunjab and culture change: the Indus Valley tradition
and beyond, in: Urban Form and Meaning in and the Indo-Gangetic Tradition in South Asia,
South Asia in: Howard Spodek and Doris Meth in: George Erdosy, ed., The Indo-Aryans of
Srinivasan, eds., The Shaping of Cities from Ancient South Asia: Language, Material
Prehistoric to Precolonial Times, Washington Cultgure and Ethnicity, Berlin, de Gruyter,
D.C., National Gallery of Art: 53-67). 213-57; Shaffer Jim. G, and Lichtenstein, Diane
Similarly, the migrations from Sind to Rann of A., 1995, The cultural tradition and
Kutch and beyond, southwards towards the palaeoethnicity in South Asian archaeology, in:
Saurashtra and Kathiawar regions of Gujarat George Erdosy, ed., The Indo-Aryans of
have also been documented based on new Ancient South Asia: Language, Material
surveys and excavations. (Bahn, Kuldeep K., Culture and Ethnicity, Berlin, de Gruyter, 126-
1992, Late Harappan Gujarat, in: Eastern 154).
Anthropologist 45: 1-2: 173-92; Possehl,

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Bharat c. 500 B.C. (Republics at the time of homogeneity of monuments and artifacts; the
coronation of Bimbisa_ra c. 545-44 BC) (After agreement among Harappa, Mohenjodaro,
Raychaudhuri, opcit., p. 174). The most Kalibangan, Dholavira, Banawali, Kunal and
remarkable feature of the civilization during all Lothal is striking indeed, while regional
its phases from 7000 to 1000 BC is the variations are overshadowed by the
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preponderant shared features of life such as essential semantic unity of languages currently
domestication of animals, cultivation of wheat spoken in many parts of India also as a legacy
and barley, canal irrigation and use of wells, of the cultural unity sustained during ancient
house-building, organization of towns, weaving times. On the aspects of cultural unity, Possehl
of textiles, wheel-turned pottery, river notes (1999, p. 157): “From the archaeological
navigation, use of carts, metal-working, record one senses that in spite of this
ornament-making using faience, ivory, bone, differentiation, we are still seeing a single
shell and semi-precious stones and use of ancient culture at some level of abstraction.
inscriptions to facilitate trade. (cf. Marshall, How were the norms of this culture maintained
John, 1931, The age and authors of the Indus over such immense distances? What kept it all
Civilization. in: Marshall, John, ed., together? The answer to these questions is
Mohenjodaro and the Indus Civilization, 3 obviously ‘communication’, either direct, face
vols., Arthur Probsthain, London: 102-12). The to face contact, or a more indirect form.
homogeneous nature of the culture was evolved Without some convention of communication,
and sustained over the largest Bronze Age areas that are geographically removed from one
civilization of the world, covering an estimated another tend to take their own course of cultural
area of 1,310,000 square kilometers. This is in change and gradual differences will emerge.
comparison with the Mesopotamian The two most obvious mechanisms that can be
Civilizzation which covered an estimated area documented that would have sustained the mid-
of 400,000 square kilometers during the range and longer communication networks are
Akkadian Dynasty and with the Egyptian the movements of pastoral nomads, and other
Civilization which covered a small area of ca. itinerants, some of which are tied to seasonal
17,100 square kilometersduring the Old changes, and the internal commerce of the
Kingdom. (Butzer, Karl W., 19776, Early Indus Age.”
Hydraulic Civilization in Egypt: A study in
Cultural Ecology, Chicago, University of
Chicago Press, Prehistoric Archaeology and
Ecology Series: 83). The region covered the
entire drainage system of the Sarasvati River,
the northern Ganga-Yamuna doab in Uttar
Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, western fringe of
southern and central Rajasthan, Gujarat, almost
the whole of Pakistan (excepting for the
northern mountainous areas) and southern
Afghanistan. That homogeneity in culture was
maintained over such vastg distances given the
transport systems of river crafts and bullock-
carts (and perhaps pack-animals) is an era of
peaceful coexistence unparalleled in the history
of human civilization. For example, the mature
Harappan pottery was seen over all parts of the
civilization area and so were the seals, styles of
beads, brick sizes and weights commonly
shared. This lends credence to the possibility
that this entire area was truly a Linguistic Area
and given the legacy which continued in India
into the historical periods, the decipherment of
the inscriptions have to be related to the

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zu/nhaeÇ
? e;u mTSv à/ja< dei? v ididfœiF n> .
Sources of tin: the great enigma of Early
Bronze Age archaeology
#/ma äü? srSvit ju/;Sv? vaijnIvit ,
Network of mineral resource locations: tin,
copper, gold, lead/silver (After J.M. Kenoyer, ya te/ mNm? g&Tsm/da \?tavir ià/ya de/ve;u/ juþi? t .
1998, Fig. 5.20f). “Copper ore was probably 2.041.16 Sarasvati_, best of mothers, best of
smelted near the mining sources and brought rivers, best of goddesses, we are, as it were, of
into the Indus Valley as bun-shaped ingots. no repute; grant us, mother, distinction.
Major copper sources are located to the west of [ambitame, nadi_tame, devitame: the
Baluchistan, the east in Rajasthan and across superlatives of ambika_, a mother, nadi_ , a
the gulf in Oman. Any of these areas could river and devi_, a goddess].
have produced enough
copper to supply the entire
Indus Valley civilization,
but the Indus merchants
were trading with all these
areas. One can imagine
traders shouting out the
benefits of Oman copper.
‘It is a bit more expensive,
but more pure than the
slag from Baluchistan or
Rajasthan.’ A merchant
from Baluchistan would
shout back, ‘Omani copper
is soft like the meat of a
date, while the highland
copper is strong and hard
like the pit.’ Marine shell
was also brought from
three sources. The Gulf of
Kutch and Saurashtra to
the east produced species of shell that were 2.041.17 In you, Sarasvati_, who are divine, all
used to make bangles, ladles and inlay. Similar existences are collected; rejoice, goddess,
species were obtained from the coast west of among the S'unahotras, grant us, goddess,
Karachi, and a third source was the Omani progeny.
coast..At the coastal site of Balakot, a local 2.041.18 Sarasvati_, abounding in food,
species of clam shell was used.” (J.M.Kenoyer, abounding in water, be propitiated by these
1998, p. 94). oblations, which the Gr.tsamadas offer as
acceptable to you, and precious of the gods.
R.s.i Gr.tsamada is ecstatic while adoring
Sarasvati in the Rigveda: Sarasvati_ is among the 27 synonyms for a
river (Hemachandra, Abhida_na cinta_man.i, 4,
AiMb?tme/ ndI?tme/ deiv?tme/ sr?Svit , 145-146: nadi_, hiran.yavarn.a_, rodhovakara_,
taran:gin.i_, saiva_livi, vaha_, hradini_,
A/à/z/Sta #?v Smis/ àz?iStm! AMb ns! k«ix . srotasvini_, nimnaga_, srota, nirjharin.i_, sarit,
tat.ini_, ku_lan:kas.a_, va_hini_, kar.su_,
Tve ivña? srSvit iï/tayUi<? ; de/Vyam! , dvi_pavati_, samudradayita_, dhuni, sravanti_,

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sarasvati_, parvataja_, a_paga_, jaladhiga_, bharan.am pos.an.am vis’ambhalam tatkartum
ku_lya_, jamba_lini_. ks.ama_ vis’ambhalya_ ta_dr.s’i_. Sarasvati_ is
thus vais’ambhalya_ or one who brings up the
An alternative view could be that the Pari_n.ah whole people. This epithet is an apparent
may be a reference to Pa_ripa_tra. “Pa_ripa_tra expansion of Sarasvati_ as a river nourishing
is the western part of the Vindhya range the settlements of people with her waters and
extending from the course of the Chambal to promoting agriculture and other livelihood
the Gulf of Cambay (Asiatic Researches, vol. activities of the people, she was indeed the
VIII, p. 338); according to Dr. Bhandarkar it is giver of food, va_jinni_vati_. Sarasvati_ is
that portion of the Vindhya range from which called satyava_k: pra te mahe sarasvati_
the rivers Chambal and Betwa take their rise subhage va_jinni_vati_ satyava_ce bhare matim
(History of the Dekkan, see.III; Vara_ha idam te havyam ghr.tavat sarasvati satyava_ce
Pura_n.a, ch. 85). It comprised the Aravali prabharema_ havi_m.si: (TB 2.5.4.6; S’ri_
mountains and the hills of Rajputana including Ma_dhava explains the dative form,
the Pathar range which is perhaps a contraction sartyava_ce: anr.tava_kyarahita_yai; thus,
of Pa_ripa_tra. It appears to have included the Sarasvati_ as Va_k is all truth, free from
countries of Apara_nta, Saura_s.t.ra, S’udra, falsehood; in RV 1.3.11, she is codayitri_
Ma_lapa (Ma_lava), Malaka and others su_nr.ta_na_m, the impeller of pleasing and
(Ku_rma Pura_n.a, Pu_rva ch. 47), in short a true speeches). The waters are medicinal for the
great portion of the western coast of India. world (vis’vabhes.aji_h: TB 2.5.8.6). Sarasvati_
According to the Ra_ma_yan.a, Pa_ripa_tra or is sumr.d.i_ka_ (Taittiri_ya A_ran.yaka 1.1.3,
Pa_riya_tra was situated on the western sea 21.3, 31.6, 4.42.1); this is explained as having
(Kishkinda_ Ka_n.d.a, ch. 42, v.20; Pa_riya_tra good soil (sumr.d), that is, land having good
= Pa_ripa_tra: Va_mana Pura_n.a, ch. 13; (fertile) soil. Sarasvati_ is described as both the
Brahma_n.d.a Pu_ra_n.a, pt. II, ch. 16).” (N. land and the water: sarasvati
Dey, 1979, The Geographical Dictionary of saroyuktabhu_miru_pa is.t.ake (TA 1.1.3).
Ancient and Medieval India, Delhi, Cosmo During her flight back from heaven, Ga_yatri_
Publications, p. 149). This equivalence and the encountered the Gandharva Vis’va_vasu who
pattern of movement of the people away from robbed her of the soma. Gods became anxious
the Sarasvati and Dr.s.advati_ towards the as Ga_yatri’s return from heaven with soma
Chambal indicates the possibility that the name was being delayed and realized that the
vais’ambha_lya of Sarasvati_ river may indeed Gandharvas had stolen soma. (S’B 3.2.4.2).
refer to the shortened popular form: Chambal Then, they planned to send Va_k to the
River. Zimmer notes that Kavas.a was the Gandharvas, who were fond of women, to
Purohita of the joint tribes named Vaikarn.a retrieve soma for the gods. (S’B 3.2.4.3). In the
who comprised the Kuru Pa_n~ca_las. (cf. encounter of Va_k with the Gandharvas, the
Vedic Index, Vol. I, p. 143)."…the Sarasvati_ latter demanded that the gods should offer
still has a similar name, Vai'sambhalyA (with Va_k in exchange for soma. The gods agreed to
many variants, always a sign of foreign origin, the demand with the condition that if Va_k
in the Brahmana texts: TB 2.5.8.6, -bhAlyA, - wanted to return the Gandharvas should not
pAlyA, -bAlyA Ap'SS 4.14.4, -bhAlyA force her to remain with them against her will
BhAr'sikSA; cf. also RV vi'spAla?), which is to (S’B 3.2.4.4). Both the gods and gandharvas
be derived from something like began to woo Va_k; gandharvas recited the
*visambAz/*visambAL, ..." (Witzel, M., 1999, Veda (S’B 3.2.4.5); gods played on a lute to
Substrate languages in OIA, EJVS, 1999, p. 11) entice Va_k. Gods won and the gandharvas lost
Taittiri_ya Bra_hman.a’s reference to both the soma and Va_k. (S’B 3.2.4.6-7).
Sarasvati_ as vais’ambhalya_ (2.5.8.6). is Mantraru_pa_ va_k, deified speech becomes, in
elaborated by Sa_yan.a: vis’va_m praja_na_m the Bra_hman.as, the goddess of speech. She is

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associated with Vis.n.u and described as his refgion famed as Madhyades’a. They possessed
tongue or residing in his mouth. (Skanda. P. that Mid-land definitely and made it their own
7.33.96). In Va_yu Pura_n.a (1.23.34), thoroughly, so that it was ‘their true pure
Sarasvati_ is described as one with a loud roar, home’, as Sir G. Grierson describes it
maha_na_da_. linguistically. (ibid., p. 357). They expanded
afterwards into the Panjab and East
The name of one of the two gandharvas, Afghanistan, into West India and the north-west
namely, sva_n, who guarded the stolen soma is Dekhan, into East and South Bihar and into
significant. In Yas’t 10.67, Mitra is stated to Bengal—precisely as he finds the Aryans did
come, driving in a chariot, from the eastern linguistically in those very regions, which he
continent Arezahi_ to the splendid continent of calls the ‘Outer Band’. (ibid., p. 358). Also it
Xvaniratha. The last two lines of the verse are has been pointed out that the Ayodhya_ realm
rendered by Gershevitch as: “(Mitra comes) was non-Aila, was not subdued by the Ailas
equipped with prompt energy, Mazda-created and was only influenced by them. This agrees
fortune, and Ahura-created victoriousness”. (I. exactly with his linguistic inference, that in
Gershevitch, The Avestan Hymn to Mithra, Oudh ‘there is a mixture (of language) of the
Cambridge, 1959). The name of the continent, same nature, although here the Midland
Xvaniratha, seems concordant with Sva_n, the language has not established itself so firmly as
gandharva who guarded the soma. The eastern it has in the west and south.’ (ibid. p. 359).
continent, ‘Arezahi_’ may be a reference to Thus the political account as tradition reveals it
Arachosia < haraquaiti < sarasvati_ region. accords precisely with Sir. G. Grierson’s
Sarasvati_ is called ‘ams’umati_’, full of the linguistic exposition, and explains the linguistic
soma: “…Soma, frightened by Vr.tra, fled to facts simply and fully. Current opinion, in order
the Ams’umati_, flowing in the Kuruks.etra to explain those facts, postulates not only an
region. He settled there and gods, too, settled invasion of Aryans from the north-west, but
there along with him. They used soma, and even a double invasion, and the theory is that
thereby evolved Soma-sacrifices.” ‘the inhabitants of the Midland represent the
(Su_ryakanta, Sa_ras, Soma and Si_ra_, latest stage of Indo-Aryan immigration’, and
ABORI, vol. XXXVIII, Poona, 1958, p. 115). that the latest invaders entered ‘into the heart of
the country already occupied by the first
Migration of Ailas immigrants, forcing the latter outwards in three
directions, to the east, to the south and to the
Yadu are mentioned in the Rigveda; Yadu is west.’ (ibid., p. 358). This theory is improbable
associated with Turvas’a, Druhyu, Anu and in itself, and certainly implies a severe and
Pu_ru: RV 1.108.8; RV 1.36.18; 6.45.1;8.6.46; bitter struggle between the second and the first
about the middle of the second millennium BC, immigrants, of which one would expect to find
epigraphs of the Kassites and Mitanni refer to some echo in tradition, for it concerned the very
Rigvedic gods (Su_rya—shurias; Marut— heart of India, yet there is absolutely none. It is
maruttash; Indra, Mitra, Varun.a, Na_satyas wholly unnecessary according to the
and Daks.a—dakash, star, Cambridge Ancient tradition…These conclusions raise the question,
History. 1.553). Gandha_ra princes are referred what does tradition say about the origin of the
to as descendants of Druhyu in Matsya 48.6 and Ailas or Aryans? It makes the Aila power begin
Va_yu 99.9 Pura_n.as. “According to tradition at Allahabad and yet distinctly suggests that
in chapter XXIV (G. Grierson, 1907, Imperial they came from outside India. The legends and
Gazetteer of India, I, pp. 349 f.) the Ailas or fables about the progenitor Puru_ravas Aila all
Aryans began at Allahabad, conquered and connect him with the middle Himalayan region.
spread out north-west, west and south, and had He was closely associated with the Gandharvas.
by Yaya_ti’s time occupied precisely the His wife Urvas’I_ was a Gandharvi_, as well as

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called an apsaras. The places he frequented beyond the north-west. (Perhaps the arguments
were Manda_kini_, Alaka_, the Caitraratha and used to prove the advance of the Aryans from
Nandana forests, the mountains Afghanistan into the Panjab might simply be
Gandhama_dana and Meru, and the land of reversed)...Suda_s’s battle with the ten
Uttara Kuru—regions to which the Gandharvas kings…(Suda_s) was an Aila king of North
were assigned. (Matsya 114.82; MBh. Pan~ca_la, and the Ailas (or Aryans) had
5.110.3830-1; 6.6.212; Vis.n.u 39 to 41). From entered and dominated North India long before
the Gandharvas he obtained sacrificial fire; his his time. It was part of his conquests westward
sons were known in the Gandharva world into the Panjab…Tradition or myth thus
(Ku_rma 1.23.46); and he ultimately became directly indicates that the Ailas (or Aryans)
united with the Gandharvas. Further, the fables entered India from the mid-Himalayan region,
about his birth point to that region, and two and its attitude towards the NW frontier lends
accounts connect his alleged parent Ila with the no support to any invasion from that quarter.
northern country Ila_vr.ta, which they say was (The only passages which may lend support to
named after him. (Matsya 12.14; Padma the theory of a north-western invasion are the
5.8.119)…that (north) region, the countries in two in the Ra_ma_yan.a, which make Ila king
and beyond the middle of the Himalayas, has of Ba_lhi or Ba_lhi_ka, if these words mean
always been the sacred land of the Indians. Balkh; but they might mean the Va_hli_ka
Indian tradition knows nothing of any Aila or country in the Panjab…)…Indian tradition
Aryan invasion of India from Afghanistan, nor suggests a reverse origin for the Iranians, which
of any gradual advance from thence eastwards. is linguistically tenable, which harmonizes with
On the other hand it distinctly asserts that there the Boghazkai treay, and which can account for
was an Aila outflow of the Druhyus through the their language and religion….Puru_ravas was
north-west into the countries beyond, where succeeded by A_yu at Pratis.t.ha_na (the later
they founded various kingdoms and so Praya_ga or Allahabad), and another son
introduced their own Indian religion among Ama_vasu founded another kingdom, the
those nations. (JRAS, 1919, pp. 358-61). The capital of which was then or afterwards
north-west frontier never had any ancient Ka_nyakubja (Kanauj). A_yu was succeeded
sacred memories, and was never regarded with by Nahus.a, and another son Ks.atravr.ddha
reverence. All ancient Indian belief and established himself at Ka_s’i. Nahus.a was a
veneration were directed to the mid-Himalayan famoud king. His son and successor Yaya_ti
region, the only original sacred outside land was a renowned conqueror, extended his
(See the eulogy of the Northern region: MBh. kingdom widely and was reckoned a samra_j
5.110; 6.12); and it wasd thither that rishis and (MBh. 1.75,3156)…He had five sons, Yadu,
kings turned their steps in devotion, never to Turvasu, Druhyu, Anu and Puru…” (Pargiter,
the north-west. The list of rivers in Rigveda F.E., 1922, Ancient Indian Historical Tradition,
10.75 is in regular order from the east to the Delhi, Motilal Banarsidass, pp. 296-298, p.
north-west (See M.A. Stein, JRAS, 1917, p. 302, p. 259). According to Skanda Pura_n.a,
91)—not the order of entrance from the north- the river A_paga__ (A_paya_ of Kurudes’a)
west but the reverse. If the Aryans entered India had S’ivaks.etras (I.iiiu.3.10); a_paya_ was a
from the north-west, and had advanced tributary of Sarasvati_ and Maha_bha_rata
eastward through the Panjab only as far as the (Karn.a Parvan XLIV.10) locates the river in
Sarasvati_ or Jumna when the Rigvedic hymns Va_hika des’a (that is, Punjab) ruled by S’alya.
were composed, it is very surprising that the
hymn arranges the rivers, not according to their All the four treaty gods are mentioned in one
progress, but reversely from the Ganges which hymn of the R.gveda (RV. 10.125.1). Paul
they had hardly reached. This agrees better with Thieme demonstrated that the gods of the
the course of the Aila expansion and its outflow Mitanni treaties are specifically Vedic gods,

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and that they cannot be Proto-Aryan. Gandharvaku_pa and flows further on a
Macdonnel is more emphatic: "It is a fact, westward course. (7.i.26,27). Traversing
however, that this particular grouping of the through Bhu_ti_s’vara and Rudrakot.i before
gods Varun.a and Mitra, Indra and Na_satyau, reachintg S’rikan.t.ha des’a (7.i.35,29-31; with
with these forms of their names, can be traced its capital Stha_nes’vara or Thanesar near
only in the Veda. For this reason I agree with Kuruks.etra), she reaches Kuruks.etra and flows
Jacobi, Konow and Hillebrandt in considering on through Vira_t.anagara, Gopi_yanagari
these gods to be Indian, Vedic deities and that (near Vira_t.anagara) and Deviks.etra, before
there is no possible justification for any other reaching Pas’cima des’a (7.i.36.52). She then
view. We shall have to assume that, just as traverses the Kharjuri_vana (where she is called
there were Aryan immigrations into India from Nanda_), Ma_rkan.d.a_s’rama, Arbuda_ran.ya,
the west, there must have been isolated Vat.avana, Vam.s’astamba, Ka_kati_rtha,
migrations back to the west." (Macdonnel, Dha_res’vara, Pun.d.ari_ka, Ma_tr.ti_rtha,
opcit, 1927, p. 805). Anaraka, San:games’vara, Kot.i_s’vara and
Siddhes’vara. She joins the Pas’cima Sa_gara.
Skanda Pura_n.a describes the course of the (7.i.35.32-51). She is called Pra_ci_ Sarasvati_
Saravati_ River. Sarasvati_ issues from the (5.i.57.31), Sa_vitri_ and Vedama_ta_
water-pot of Brahma_ (1.ii.56.13; 3.ii.25.1-7, (5.iii.3.10). As Vedama_ta, she is the very
10-16, hence called Brahman.ahsuta_: 3.ii.25.7) personification of the Vedic culture. She is
and flows on a downward course from Plaks.a bra_hmi_ mu_rtih, the incarnation of Brahma_
(7.1.33.40-41) on the Himalayas. At Keda_ra, and hence, sacreed (5.iii.9.47). (loc.cit. A.B.L.
she turns west (pas’cima_bhimukhi_) and Awasthi, 1965, Studies in Skanda Pura_n.a, Pt.
conceals herself underground. (7.i.35.25,26). I, Lucknow, Kailash Prakashan, pp. 153-154).
Beyond Pa_pabhu_mi, she reaches

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s of R.gveda. She is a mother, a divinity. She is
Mleccha, reality, she is nadi_, river of the saptasindhu
or region of seven rivers; she nurtured a
Mlecchita vikalpa: civilzation on her banks. She is Bra_hmi, the
glyptic representation of parole (bha_s.a_). She
is va_k (parole); she is jn~a_na devi (wisdom
Language and divinity).

writing system Metaphor is an exquisite and powerful tool of


general semantics.

Mleccha is the language spoken by Vidura and The central theses presented in the saptathi
Yudhis.t.hira according to the Mahabharata. Sarasvati, are that in comprehending reality,
Mlecchita vikalpa means a ‘cipher writing’ metaphor is a powerful poetic, artistic medium
according to Va_tsya_yana’s Ka_masu_tra which bursts forth in a r.ca or su_kta or a
which describes it as one of the 64 arts. glyptic representation called mlecchita vikalpa
Mleccha was the language of the Sarasvati (cipher writing). R.gveda, which is perhaps the
Civilization as evidenced in about 4,000 objects oldest human document, which has been
with epigraphs. Some epigraphs are on copper handed down as a heritage, with astonishing
plates and some are inscribed on weapons phonetic fidelity, like a tape recorder preserved
themselves. Many are seals and tablets. The and passed on from generation to generation,
tradition of recording property transactions on abounds in metaphors. The task of a seeker is to
copper plates which began in the days of unravel the reality from the web (ni_d.am) of
Sarasvati Civilization (circa 5300 years Before metaphors. The epigraphs of the civilization are
Present) continues into the historical periods of composed of glyphs as metaphors. So are many
Bharat. sculpted mu_rti-s metaphors. Stone s’iva lin:ga
found in Harappa and terracotta representations
Metaphors as semantic indicators: the of lin:ga found in Kalibangan are metaphors,
sacred is the secular representing the shape of the summit of Mt.
Kailas. The a_gama tradition of Bharat
In GK Chesterton’s Father Brown, the cherishes a metaphor of S’iva who sits in
detective makes a perceptive observation: penance on the summit of Mt. Kailas. His
somehow, nobody notices a postman who consort is Pa_rvati, parvata putri_, daughter of
quietly enters into a house, commits a murder the mountain. The mountain, the mighty
and walks away; somehow, nobody notices a Himalayan ranges – devata_tma_ himalaya
postman. This metaphor is apt in describing an according to the poet Ka_l.ida_sa -- is a
attempt to unravel the language(s) of Bharat reservoir, a veritable water tower holding life-
circa 5000 years ago spoken on the banks of sustaining, sacred waters, a_pah. As S’iva sits
Rivers Sarasvati and Sindhu. The postman, the in penance, River Ganga emerges from the
language is mleccha! the lingua franca, the locks of his hair. It is a metaphor representing
parole. Pre-history has not vanished, it is all the flows of waters and alluvium into the plains
around us. Using the epigraphs of Sarasvati of Bharat, sustaining a civilization.
civilization, it is possible to unravel the
attributes of both the message and the In the unique a_gama tradition of Bharat,
messenger and relate them to archaeology and a_yudha_ni carried by mu_rti-s sculpted by
continuing tradition in Bharat. artisans, the vis’vakarma, are metaphors of the
attributes of divinity which permeates every
Sarasvati is a metaphor adored in ecstatic terms
in brahma, the prayer invoked in over 70 r.ca-
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phenomenon. Life itself is a metaphor, a quest for understanding r.ta, the
cosmic order and dharma, which holds this glyph evokes an associated sound; the sound
order together. Everything secular is enveloped evokes a meaning. This can be illustrated by the
in spirituality. There is no reality but the splendid glyph of the Bra_hman.i or Zebu bull.
spiritual metaphor. The R.gvedic yajn~a is a
metaphor. It is a representation of the reality of In Santali, the glyph of the Zebu bull evokes a
unity of cosmic and individual consciousness. sound: adar, adar d.an:gra In Kashmiri
d.an:gur = bullock.
The glyphs of the civilization are abiding
records of such metaphors, glyphs such as the In Sanskrit, a tree evokes a sound: dru Cognate
svastika_, the dotted-circle, the endless knot, words in the linguistic area of Bharat, the
the branches of a tree or twigs from a branch, dialectial continuum are: ad.aru = twig
the horns. The glyphs are an artisan’s way of (Kannada. Tulu). Such a glyph can be ligatured,
representing meaning, representing life- as a headdress, to a glyph of a standing or
activities unraveling the nature of material seated person ligatured to the back of a bull
phenomena – of the minerals which could be (adar), as a phonetic determinant. d.hagara_m
moulded into metals and artifacts of a = n.pl. the buttocks; the hips (G.) Or, as a
civilization. person carrying a club: d.an:gorum, d.an:go,
d.an:goro = a thick club; a cudgel (G.lex.)
This metaphor as the communication medium
is succinctly expressed by a great grammarian,
Tolka_ppiyan in Tamil: ella_ccollum porul.
kur-ittan-ave (all words are semantic
Even a mere splinter can, as a glyph-- “--
represent this sound: at.ar = a splinter (Ma.);
indicators).
ad.aruni = to crack (Tu.) which is rebus
(sounds
Thus over 1,0000 glyphs represented on
epigraphs of the civilization are semantic
indicators. These are hieroglyphs governed by a
concordance: image = sound = meaning. A
like) aduru ‘native metal’ (Ka.)

In Kannada, another language in a dialectical continuum of Bharatiya language spectrum of over


5000 years ago, the sound associated with the Zebu bull glyph evokes a meaning from a cognate
sound: aduru = native metal, i.e. a metal which is not subjected to smelting or melting in fire. In
almost all languages of Bharat, the sound d.han:gar evokes a meaning, d.han:gar ‘blacksmith’
(WPah.); d.a_n:ro = term of contempt for a blacksmith (N.); t.ha_kur ‘blacksmith’ (Mth.)
dha~_gar = a professional group whose business it is to dig wells, tanks etc. (H.)

When a phoneme evokes more than one image, the artist who creates the glyptic representations
uses ligatures. Thus, ko_la = woman (Nahali) kol = tiger (Santali). The representation in glyptic are
yields a ligature of a woman and a tiger. The phonemes and the associated glyph evoke a meaning:
kol ‘metal’ (Ta.)

cu_d.a = tiger’s mane (Pkt.) cu_r.a_ = bracelet (Go.); cu_d.a = bracelet (Skt.Pkt.) These sounds
result in the construction of an image by the artist. He creates a person adorned with bracelets with
the face composed of tiger’s mane. These glyphs and associated phonemes evoke a meaning:
cul.l.ai = potter’s kiln, furnace (Ta.); culli_ = fireplace (Skt.); culli_, ulli_ id. (Pkt.)

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The meaning conveyed by penance itself can be composed as a glyph: a person seated in a yogic
posture. kamad.ha, kamat.ha = a type of penance (Pkt.). This word can also be imaged like a ficus
leaf,: kamat.ha (Skt.) or a bat, kabat.a (Ka.) This sound of this word evokes meanings related to
tools of trade of a professional artisan : kamat.a = a portable furnace for melting precious metals
(Te.) kamat.ha_yo = a learned carpenter or mason, working on scientific principles (G.)

kammat.i_d.u = a goldsmith, a silversmith (Te.)

The Meluhhan being introduced carries an antelope on his arm. Cylinder seal Impression.
Akkadian. Inscription records that it belongs to ‘S’u-ilis’u, Meluhha interpreter’. Musee du Louvre.
Ao 22 310, Collection De Clercq.

Old Indic or Proto-Bharatiya Lingua Franca or parole (spoken tongue)

There are hundreds of lexical isolates attested in ‘Indo-Aryan’ which are not found in other
branches of Indo-European. These are clearly a substratum layer of Old Indic which was spoken by
the people of Bharat on the Sarasvati-Sindhu river basins and on the coastal settlements of Sindhu
sa_gara (Arabian Sea). Some of these people were called Meluhhan in Mesopotamian texts. The
Austroasiatic components of this substratum have to be resolved further in the context of (1)
ancestors of Brahui and Elamite; and (2) other Austroasiatic groups such as those in the
Brahmaputra (Lohitya)-Meghna-Barak river basins and around the Bay of Bengal.

The lingua franca (or parole, spoken tongue) of Bharat circa 5000 years ago is hypothesized as a
continuum of dialects, evolving in tandem with the cultural setting and technological innovations.
Since the civilization which emerged on and was nurtured on the banks of Rivers Sarasvati and
Sindhu continues into the historical periods in Bharat, the language spoken circa 5000 years Before
Present can be reconstructed from the languages of present-day Bharat and based on the lexical
work done by philologists from the days of Yaska (circa 6th century BCE) upto the discovery of
Bangani in the 20th century.

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"...the entire Indo-Aryan realm (except for Sinhalese) constitutes one enormous dialectical
continuum...The speech of each village differs slightly from the next, without loss of mutual
intelligibility, all the way from Assam to Afghanistan....Mitanni kingdom...Indo-Iranians appear in
northern Syria a full half millennium becore their appearance in western Iran. How did they get
there?...To call these Mitanni kings 'Indo-Iranians', however, is to beg an important question...Some have
held that these linguistic fragments are specifically Indo-Aryan. Others including Burrow (1955) held
they represent undifferentiated Indo-Iranian, before the split between Iranian and Indo-Aryan...An Indo-
Aryan identification would demand an earlier dating of the Iranian/Indo-Aryan split; with it have also
been associated speculations regarding the route taken by the Aryans to India (e.g., the Asia Minor
route...), or, possibly a back migration of Aryans from India. (If the latter, the date of the Aryan
settlement of India would have to be moved back far enough to allow not only for them to reach Syria by
1500 BC, but also for their language to have died out by then, leaving only the terminological residue
noted...)...the philological evidence alone does not allow an Indian origin of the Aryans...there is the
matter of the nature of the common vocabulary shared by Sanskrit with the rest of Indo-Europen, which
points to a more northerly ultimate home...The native Dravidian vocabulary has not been reconstructed.
Burrow and Emeneau's Dravidian Etymological Dictionary (1960) only assembles materials for it... The
civilization seems to have continued peacefully in Gujarat until a comparatively late period, i.e. 800 BC
(Fairservis 1975: 307), after which it dissolved into the subsequent culture, which makes that area one of
prime importance in detecting any Harappan influence on Aryan language and culture." (Colin P.
Masica, The Indo-Aryan Languages, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1991).

Language X, Nahali, Vedic

A remarkable clue is provided by the existence of Nahali as an isolate language in the Narmada
Valley, a valley which has assumed prominence as a neolithic precursor (ca. 10000 years Before
Present) of the bronze-age civilization on the Sarasvati Sindhu River valleys. Was Nahali an
Austro-asiatic language; or was it an Indo-European language? The vocabulary of Nahalii contains a
number of words which may be interpreted as the Indo-Aryan substratum. The Gulf of Khambat
Cultural Complex (GKCC) close to the area of the Nahali-speakers is only 300 kms. from Padri,
Dholavira and Surkotada which are replete with stone structures; in Dholavira, ringstones and
polished pillars of stone have been found. A maritime, riverine culture of the GKCC parallels the
land-based, riverine, Mehrgarh neolithic evidence.

Close to the Gulf of Khambat Cultural Complex where two submerged rivers have been discovered
(possible extensions of palaeo-channels of River Tapti) are the speakers of Nahali language which is
described as an Indo-Aryan language.
http://www.hindunet.org/saraswati/khambat/khambat01.htm

Sea-faring early Sarasvati, Meluhhan

Gulf of Khambat: locus of sunken rivers,


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extensions of palaeo-channels of Rivers culture: Amri-Nal sea coast settlements
Narmada and Tapati. (Courtesy: NIOT, “…inhabitants were well acquainted with the sea
Chennai) and its resources” (After Fig. 4.124 in G. Possehl,
1999, p. 618)

Late Harappan settlements, Gujarat.

Neolithic and Harappan period


settlements in the cradle of the Sarasvati
Civilization. The delta area is now called
Rann of Kutch. [After KS Valdiya, 2002, Fig.
1.3]

Piotr Gasiorowski, a linguist active on the cybalist group: “Strictly speaking, Nahali (spoken on the
upper Tapti) is not an isolate, though it's classified as such e.g. on the SIL site. Present-day Nahali is
genetically an Indo-Aryan language whose lexicon shows several layers of absorbed substrates. Though
the exact percentages apparently vary from dialect to dialect (while minor and endangered, Nahali is not
a monolithic languages), according to Kuiper's estimates the largest lexical component (ca. 36%) is
borrowed from Kurku (a.k.a. Korku, a Munda language), about 9% of Nahali words are Dravidian (e.g.
the numerals 2, 3 and 4, whereas 5 and higher are Indo-Aryan), and some 25% are of unknown origin.
Because of the high proportion of Munda loans Nahali has also been erroneously classified as a Munda
language or even a dialect of Kurku. The etymologically obscure part of Nahali vocabulary is thought to
represent an ancient pre-Indo-Aryan substrate of the Madhya Pradesh/Maharashtra border. Although the
figure 25% may be exaggerated, the substrate -- unrelated to any known family -- seems to be real
enough. Kuiper's attempts to establish a distant relationship between Nahali and Ainu ("Isolates of the
world, unite!") should not be taken too seriously. It's quite possible that Central India was once a crazy
quilt of tiny families. Relics of the Nahali substrate and perhaps of other, hitherto unidentified extinct
languages may be lurking in the local varieties of Indo-Aryan, e.g. in the numerous but poorly
investigated languages of the Bhil group.”
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/cybalist/message/13915

Yes, Nahali is spoken on the upper reaches of the Tapati river valley. The Tapati river extensions
have been submerged in the Gulf of Khambat when the gulf was formed ca. 10,000 yrs. Before
Present and resulted in the start of regular monsoons in India. Nahali provides the key to unravel
further the proto-Indo-Aryan using epigraphs of the 4th to 2nd millennia.

Piotr's thoughts jibe with Emeneau's postulate on a linguistic area and Norman Brown's
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observations. Recognizing the structure of a proto-Indo-Aryan linguistic area may help explain the
glyphs on inscribed objects found between ca. 3500 to 1500 BCE in Sarasvati-
Sindhu River basins.

bharukaccha, bharu-rat.t.ha = a kingdom which is said to have been swallowed up by the sea
(Pali.lex.Ja_taka 2.169). Bhr.gu (cognate with bharu-) is va_run.i in R.gveda and is closely
associated with the sea. Bharukaccha (Bharuch) is on the coast of Sindhu sa_gara (Arabian ocean)
close to where the River Narmada joins the ocean.

Was Nahali a language of the Bhils of western Bha_rata?

Nahali was spoken on the River Tapti, NW of Ellichpur in Madhya Pradesh. Of the vocabulary,
36% are of Kurku (Munda) and 9% of Dravidian origin. Kuiper lists 123 items of vocabulary not
reducible to Austro-Asiatic, Dravidian or IE roots, and calculates that “about 24 per cent of the
Nahali vocabulary has no correspondence whatever in India”. (FBJ Kuiper, 1962, Nahali, a
comparative study. Amsterdam: Noord-Hollandse Uitgevers Maatschappij, pp.49-50; 1966, The
sources of Nahali vocabulary, in: H. Zide, Studies in comparative Austroasiatic. Linguistics, ed.
N. H. Zide, The Hague, pp. 96-192). Bernard Sergent thinks that Nahali is an Austro-Asiatic
language (Genèse de l’Inde, p.31.)

About 40% of agricultural terminology in Hindi is derived from Language X (Colin P. Masica).

Nahali language (like Basque or Burushaski) is an isolate language unrelated to the Indo-European
family. http://www.ship.edu/~cgboeree/languagefamilies.html

The genetic affiliation of Nahali is controversial and can be related to the 'linguistic area' of ca.
3500 BCE in the civilization area. About 40% of the lexicon is cognate to Munda languages, and
some linguists therefore put it in that group. Among the numbers, 2-4 are borrowed from Dravidian,
and 5-10 from Indic. Numerals in Nahali: bidum (m.), bidi (f.), 'one'; ir, ira 'two'; motho 'three',
na_lo 'four'; pa~co 'five'; chah 'six'; sato 'seven'; atho 'eight'; nav 'nine'; das 'ten'; ba_ro 'twelve'.
http://euslchan.tripod.com/isolated.htm

Gondi manja 'man, person'; Tamil mântar 'people, men', man 'king, husband'; Old Japanese wo-
mina 'woman' (Modern Japanese onna); Ainu mene-ko 'woman'; Papuan munan, mando, mundu
'man'; Nahali mancho 'man'; Egyptian sn 'smell'; Hausa sansana 'smell'; Georgian sun 'smell';
Tamil, Malayalam cuNTu 'bill, beak, snout'; Basque sunda 'smell'; Tibetan sna 'smell'; Nahali chon
'nose'; Seneca oseno 'smell'; Wintu sono 'nose'

"Nahale north of Amalwadi in Jalgaon District speak a language similar to Ahirani (Indo-European).
Nihali and Nahali may be different languages. Nihal in Chikaldara taluk and Akola District have 25%
lexical similarity with Korku (Munda). Nahal near Toranmal have 51% to 73% lexical similarity with
several Bhil languages (Indo-European). They live in or near Korku villages, and identify closely with
the Korku. Investigation needed: intelligibility with nearby Bhili languages, bilingual proficiency in
Korku (Munda), Hindi, Marathi. Tropical forest. Mountain slope."
http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=NHL

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Panchajanya: language of the five peoples of Bharat

The sound of panchajanya s’ankha is symbolic of


the sounds of the language spoken by the five
peoples of Bharat. This language can be unraveled
using the epigraphs of the Bharatiya civilization.

Bhima killed 'As’vattha_ma', the elephant. Dron.a


was struck with grief. Drona asked Yudhisthira if
that was true. Yudhisthira said, Ashvatthama is
killed; "elephant, not the man" he added in a low
voice and the last phrase was not heard, was lost
in the loud om-ka_ra (sound of om) generated by
the blowing of the conch of Krishna, Panchajanya.

Panchajanya lit. means ‘of the five people’, i.e. of


all the five peoples, all the Bha_ratiya-s who lived
in a civilization area of 1.25 million sq. kms.
covering the regions of present-day Afghanistan,
Pakistan and north-west Bharat. This shows the
importance of s’ankha industry in the Sarasvati
Krishna blowing the Panchajanya Civilization. This also shows that the s’ankha was
s’ankha, Kurukshetra war an industry in which all the peoples of Bharat were
engaged. The five people are referred to as
Bha_ratam Janam by Vis’vamitra Gathina in the Rigveda. The continuity of the culture from the
Sarasvati (Bharatiya) Civilization into the historical periods of Bharat has been attested by
archaeological discoveries.

Study of Archaeology and Language

It is apposite to echo the views of Schrader who attempted a study of languages in the context of
archaeological finds, to serve as an introduction to this analysis on the language of Sarasvati Sindhu
Valley Civilization:

"As the archaeologist armed with pick and shovel, descends into the depths of the earth, in order to
trace the footsteps of the past in bone and stone-remains, so the student of language-- washed on the
shore of history from ages immeasurably remote-- to reconstruct the picture of the primeval age...
(Evolving a new method called the 'Comparative Antiquities')... It is on this triple basis that the
present work is founded, bring designed as a comprehensive account of what we know at present
about the pre-historic period of the Indo-European race." Schrader, O., Pre-historic Antiquities of
the Aryan Peoples, 1890, Translation by Jevons, F.B.,from German Sprachvergleichung und
Urgeschichte, 1890 (From the Author's Preface to the English Translation, p. iii-iv).

Tradition and a dialectical continuum

Such a metaphor of a Zebu bull or other thousand hieroglyphs can be expressed on any medium:
copper plate inscription, glyphs assembled on a sign-board or incised on a weapon itself. The
glyptic tradition of writing endures in Bharatiya tradition. The svastika_, the tree, the range of

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mountains, the dotted circle, the leaf, the tiger looking back, the antelope looking back, hooded
serpent, are all hieroglyphic metaphors representing meaning, the material phenomena which
provide for life-sustaining activities organized in a community which lives together, in an inter-
dependent economy. The glyphs on the epigraphs are semantic indicators of a bharatiya language
substratum called mleccha or bha_s.a_, the parole (va_k) a dialectical continuum traceable in all
languages of Bharat: vedic mantra or Sanskrit lexemes (s’abda or dha_tu) or va_kyapadi_ya (lit.
steps of va_k) elaborated by Bhartr.hari.

The dialectical continuum evidenced by languages of Bharat (of all linguistic families) is matched
by the cultural continuum in all parts of Bharat with the over-5000-year-old roots found on the
banks of River Sarasvati.

Statuette showing a
priest wearing
uttari_yam, upper
garment, leaving the
right-shoulder bare.
The garment has trefoil
motif as on a stone
pedestal used perhaps
to mount a s’iva
lingam.

Seated male figure with head missing (45, 46). On the back of the figure, the
hair style can be partially reconstructed by a wide swath of hair and a
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braided lock of hair or
ribbon hanging along the
right side of the back.

A cloak is draped over


the edge of the left
shoulder and covers the
folded legs and lower
body, leaving the right
shoulder and chest bare.
The left arm is clasping
the left knee and the hand
is visible peeking out
from underneath the
cloak. The right hand is
resting on the right knee
which is folded beneath
the body.

Material: limestone
Dimensions: 28 cm
height, 22 cm width
Mohenjo-daro, L 950
Islamabad Museum
Marshall 1931:358-9, pl.
C,

The texts of contiguous civilizations provide evidences of speakers of Bharatiya languages moving
into new lands west of River Sindhu. The evidences relate to Bogazkoi inscriptions, Mitanni treaties
and the glyphs of Mesopotamia and Elam, apart from Avestan texts which can be demonstrated as a
direct evolution from Vedic. When availability of soma, electrum, diminishes, substitutes – plants --
are used both in the Avestan and the Bra_hman.a periods, succeeding the Vedic periods. Juxtaposed
to this evidence cluster, there is no evidence whatsoever, either textual or archaeological, supporting
movements of people into Bharat during the lithic or chalcolithic or bronze or iron ages.

Sarasvati is not a myth; theories proposing such movements into Bharat are myths created by an
inadequate understanding of the indigenous evolution of cultures and cultural continuity of
Bharatiya civilization. Sarasvati flowed in all majesty, the a_suri_ sarasvati for many millennia
before the 4th millennium BCE and saw the dawn of a civilization, nurtured this civilization and left
a heritage which is cherished even today all over Bharat. As projects get implemented, River
Sarasvati will be re-born to create the impetus for effective water management and to continue to
cherish the traditon of a_pah as sacred waters. The tradition flowing as Dharma, R.ta, Vrata and
R.n.a is enduring: every phenomenon is an expression of the cosmic order, an affirmation of the
consciousness order which is a quest for unifying the a_tman and the parama_tman, emphasizing
responsibility. The very purpose of life is to understand the r.ta, the order, the inexorable rhythm.
Every function governed by individual potential is a discharge of the debt, the r.n.a owed to
ancestors, because the present life itself is a product of history and evey individual is a spark from
the divine anvil. Vrata is a life lived enveloped in spirituality and yoga and with a discipline to

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relate oneself to social responsibility. This is the central message of the metaphor of Sarasvati as
devi, divinity who can be seen as an a_pri_ devata_ and even in ghr.ta (clarified butter) as
ghr.ta_ci_

This work presents two types of epigraphs: one type is the set of celestial epigraphs observed and
recorded by Veda Vya_sa; the other type is the set of terrestrial epigraphs created by artisans, the
vra_tya and yajn~ika of the Sarasvati civilization.. Sarasvati is associated with a writing system:
Bra_hmi is another name for Sarasvati. The is the name of an early script used all over Bharat
including Tamilnadu and S’ri Lanka. In the philological tradition of Bharat, bha_s.a_ is the parole,
the mleccha. Vedic is the mantra. Samskr.tam is the literary, ‘correct’ form, which is a
grammatically, morphologically reconstructed parole, represented by the spoken languages – such
as Prakrit and Pali. All these dialectical variations evidence intense borrowings and constructions
based on the substratum lexemes used by Bha_ratam Janam, the people of the nation of Bharat.
The decoding of the epigraphs results in the reconstruction of the bha_s.a_ in vogue as lingua
franca, circa 5500 years Before Present. The reconstruction covers over 2,000 glosses represented
by over 600 hieroglyphs used on epigraphs of Sarasvati Civilization.

The cumulative evidence, presented by archaeology and texts of contiguous civilization areas,
affirms indigenous dawning and autochthonous evolution of the civilization of Bharat with
intimations recording contacts with neighbouring civilizations in search of resources and exchange
of products.

Sarasvati Civilization was a riverine, maritime civilization; this is the reason why the civilization
spanned an expansive area unparalleled in any civilizational area, during the 4th millennium BCE.
This is also an abiding civilization since the cultural traits which unify the nation of Bharat can be
traced to the roots which formed on the banks of River Sarasvati. The R.gveda adores River
Sarasvati in 72 r.ca-s with just one mention of River Ganga which was later, during historical
periods, to emerge as the river basin which supported the emergence of janapada-s and chakravarti
ks.etra.

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Hieroglyphs of Sarasvati Civilization

Large
updraft kiln,
Harappa (ca.
2400 BCE),
found in
Mound E,
1984. (After
Fig. 8.8,
Kenoyer,
1998).

A full-scale
reconstruction of the ancient Harappan kiln.
Harappa Archaeologcal Research Facility used to fire
large storage jar, pottery and figurine replicas. (After
Fig. 8.9, Kenoyer, 1998)

Furnace for stoneware bangles. Mohenjodaro, DK-B, C dumps. View of the slag with the coated
sub-cylindrical bowl enclosing the stoneware bangles in central position. (After Fig. 1, Massimo Vidale,
1984).

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Some samples of epigraphs presented with lexemes using rebus method

The code of the epigraphs which use over 1000 glyphs has been cracked. The glyphs are
hieroglyphs representing words rebus (sounding like), unlike the hieroglyphs of Egyptian
civilization which are rebus syllables. The epigraphs are property items possessed by the owner
of the object on which epigraphs are inscribed. The items are: minerals, metals, furnaces, tools
and implements made of minerals and metals. The inscriptions occur on copper tablets and also
on weapons themselves, apart from seals, tablets and bangles. Only a metallurgist and lapidary
had the competence to inscribe on metal. The legacy continues into the historical periods in
Bharat when copper plate inscriptions are used to record property transactions.
Rebus: kuduru = goldsmith’s portable furnace (Te.)

h172B The over-arching glyph is that of a lizard. kudur d.okka a kind of lizard
(Pa.); kudur d.okke id. (Go.); kudur d.ekke garden lizard (Go.); kidri d.okke house
lizard (Go.)(DEDR 1712). The glyph is sometimes shown catching the scale of a
fish. a~s = scale of fish (Santali); rebus: ayas ‘metal’ (Skt.) bed.a = either opening of
a hearth (G.); bed.a hako = a type of fish (Santali) cf. assem ‘electrum’ (Old Egyptian) cf. kamsala = of
the goldsmith’s caste; kamsamu = bell-metal; kamsalava_d.u = a goldsmith, a silversmith, a jeweler
working in gold, silver and gems; kamsa_lava_d.u, kamsa_li = kamsa (Te.) ams’u = filament of soma
(S’Br.); amsu thread (Pali); amsu sunbeam (Pkt.)(CDIAL 4) hasli_ = gold or silver collar (P.); hasu =
silver collar (S.)(CDIAL 6).

m0492At m0492Bt Pict-14: Two bisons standing face to face.

samr.obica, stones containing gold (Mundari.lex.) saul., saul = rather brackish (M.); caud.u =
fuller’s earth (Te.)(DEDR 2386)

Depicting gold (metal) and a goldsmith in hieroglyphs of Sarasvati Civilization

It is hypothesized that soma in the R.gveda is derived from the substratum lexemes: samanom
‘gold’ (Santali); hom ‘gold’ (Ka.); somnakay ‘gold’ (Gypsy) cf. assem ‘electrum’ (Old Egyptian)
soma man.al = sand containing silver ore (Winslow Ta. Lexicon) cf. haoma = soma (Avestan) A
number of glyphs depicted on epigraphs may relate to this substantive semant. connoting ‘gold’. A
fine distinction can be drawn between the glosses: hom ‘gold’ and samanom ‘gold’: hom (< soma)
may connote the ore (unpurified); samanom may connote the metal after the mineral ore has been
subjected to fire and purified by oxiding the baser metals in the ore.

Glyph: saman = to offer an offering or sacrifice, to place in front of (Santali) ho_ma = the act of
making an oblation to the gods by casting clarified butter into the fire, accompanied with reciting
mantras; an oblation of clarified butter, an oblation with fire, a burnt-offering; a sacrifice;
ho_ma_gni = sacrificial fire, the fire for an oblation (Ka.) sa_man = song accompanying processing
of soma in sa_maveda (Vedic) The cluster of semant. in this section, points to the processing of
soma as related to electrum.

Rebus substantive: samanom = an obsolete name for gold (Santali) hom = pom, hem = gold;
hombat.t.al = a golden cup; hombara.ni = a gold jar or vase; hombar-e = go gild; hombesavu = gold
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soldering (Ka.) hem = a medicinal garden plant with yellow heads of flowers, spilanthes semella
(Ka.) hon, honnu = gold (Ka.) honnu = gold, an old gold coin; honnittad.i = a kind of brass which
has the appearance of gold (Te.) somn.a = gold (Pkt.); son.n.a = golden (Pali); suvarn.a = of bright
colour, golden (RV); gold (AV); sovnakay, so_nakai, somnakay = gold (Gypsy)(CDIAL 13519)
soni = jeweller (Bi.)(CDIAL 13623).

sa_ma_nu = instruments; apparatus, furniture, goods, chattels (Ka.M.); sama_na (H.) sa_ma_nu =
things, goods, articles, tools, apparatus (Te.)

m1181A 2222 Pict-80: Three-faced, horned person (with a three-


leaved pipal branch on the crown), wearing bangles and armlets and seated, in a
yogic posture, on a hoofed platform Glyph: camman.am, cappan.am = sitting
cross-legged (Ta.); camman.am = id. (Ma.)(DEDR 2350).

Glyph: saman.a = ascetic (Pali.Pkt.); s’raman.a, s.aman.a (KharI.); s’raman.a =


ascetic, religious mendicant (S’Br.)(CDIAL 12683). Root: s’ram = weary (Skt.); s’rama = labour
(RV)(CDIAL 12682). Thus, s’raman.a can be semant. interpreted as a worker, a labourer. In the
context of samanom ‘gold’ (Santali), s’raman.a may be elaborated as a goldsmith. Such an artisan
can be represented glyptically by an ascetic, or a yogi in penance (as a horned person seated on a
platform).

Glyph: sama_n.o = a goldsmith’s pincers (G.); cimat.ige, cimat.a = a pair of tweezers, pincers,
nippers (Ka.M.); cimat.a_, cimit.a_, cimmat.i (Te.); cavan.e, cavin.e (Ma.); ca_man.a, ca_van.a,
s’ravan.a (Ta.)(Ka.lex.) cimt.a_ to pinch (B.); cimat.n.e~ id. (M.)(CDIAL 4822). cimut.u = to
squeeze, pinch (Ka.)(DEDR 2540).

Glyph: homa = bison (Pe.); hama id. (Mand.); soma = a wild buffalo (= bison)(Kui); homma bison
(Kuwi); ho_ma sambar (Kuwi)(DEDR 2849).

koma, komo = horn (Pe.); kumu id. (Mand.); komma, ko_ma, komma = branch (Kuwi); kommu =
horn (Kuwi)(DEDR 2115).

Glyph: som = both (of parts of the body)(Kho.); som pa_zo = on your two breasts (Kho.); sama =
every, pl. all (RV); all (Pkt.)(CDIAL 13174).

Glyph: saman = front, to front or face; samna samni = in front, face to face, confronting; samne =
facing, face to face; in the presence of (Santali) cf. sama_na = equal, like (G.) sama_na = same,
alike ($RV); an equal (VS); like, equal (Pali); sama_n.a (Pkt.); sama_n = like, equal, average (K.);
sama_n.u~ = like, equal (G.)(CDIAL 13211). sama = equal, alike, level (RV); sama id. (Pali.Pkt.);
somo = friend of the same age (Sh.); somu, sombu = level (K.); so~a_ (B.)(CDIAL 13173).

cimmar.na_ = to copulate (P.); cimat.na_ = to embrace closely (H.)(CDIAL 4822).

sa_mu = fencing, athletics, gymnastics, calisthenics (Te.)

Yogi with bangles, headdress and seated on a hoofed platform: silver smithy,
metal kiln

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m1181A 2222 Pict-80: Three-faced, horned person (with a three-leaved pipal branch on
the crown), wearing bangles and armlets and seated, in a yogic posture, on a hoofed platform.

There are other objects with epigraphs with a comparable motif of a yogi.

Unprovenanced Harappan-style cylinder seal impression;


Musee du Louvre; cf. Corbiau, 1936, An Indo-Sumerian
cylinder, Iraq 3, 100-3, p. 101, Fig.1; De Clercq Coll.;
burnt white agate; De Clercq and Menant, 1888, No. 26;
Collon, 1987, Fig. 614. A hero grasping two tigers and a
buffalo-and-leaf-horned person, seated on a stool with
hoofed legs, surrounded by a snake and a fish on either
side, a pair of water buffaloes. Another person stands and fights two tigers and is surrounded by
trees, a markhor goat and a vulture above a rhinoceros. Text: 9905 Prob. West Asian find
Pict-117: two bisons facing each other.
Mohenjo-daro. Sealing. Surrounded by fishes, gharials? (monitor lizards) and
snakes, a horned person sits in 'yoga' on a throne with hoofed legs. One side of a
triangular terracotta amulet (Md 013); surface find at Mohenjo-daro in 1936.
Dept. of Eastern Art, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.

The yogi is in penance.

Glyph: kamad.ha, kamat.ha, kamad.haka, kamad.haga, kamad.haya = a type of penance


(Pkt.lex.)

kabat.a, kapat.e, kappat.e, kappad.i, kappad.e, kabat.e, kabbat.e, gabbila_yi = a bat (Ka.); kapt. =
butterfly, moth (Ko.)(DEDR 1216).

Rebus: kamat.amu, kammat.amu = a portable furnace for melting precious metals; kammat.i_d.u
= a goldsmith, a silversmith (Te.lex.)

Glyph: ko_t.u = horns (Ta.)

Rebus: kod. = artisan’s workshop (Kuwi)

The glyph of seated person may be analysed with reference to the orthographic details depicted in
two parts: one above the waist and the other below the waist.

Glyphs above the waist seem to depict the semant. of kiln, furnace. Glyphs below the waist seem to
depict the semant. of workshop.

The substantive property item conveyed by the message is a kiln or furnace (cul.l.ai) for native
metal (aduru).

Rebus: cul.l.ai = potter’s kiln, furnace (Ta.); cu_l.ai furnace, kiln, funeral pile (Ta.); cul.l.a potter’s
furnace; cu_l.a brick kiln (Ma.); culli_ fireplace (Skt.); culli_, ulli_ id. (Pkt.)(CDIAL 4879; DEDR
2709).

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Rebus: aduru ‘native metal’ (Ka.)

1. The face is depicted with bristles of hair, representing a tiger’s mane.

cu_d.a_, cu_la_, cu_liya_ tiger’s mane, topknot, peacock;’s crest (Pkt.); cula_ hair of head, lock,
headdress (B.); cu_r. topknot, ceremony of tonsure (H.)(CDIAL 4883).

The person wears bangles on his arms, from wrist to fore-arm.

Glyph: cu_d.a = bracelet (Skt.); cu_d.a, cu_laa bracelet (Pkt.);. cu_r.o (S.); cu_r., cu_r.a_ (L.P.);
cur.o (Ku.); curo, curi (N.); suri_ a kind of ornament (A.); cu_r., cur.a_ bracelet (B.); cu_r.i_
(Or.Mth.); cu_ra_ anklet, bracelet (OAw.); cu_r.a_ ring on elephant’s tusk, bracelet; cu_r.i_ bangle
(H.); cu_r., cu_r.i_, cu_r.o (G.); cud.a_ (M.)(CDIAL 4883). chur. bangle, bracelet (P.) chhura_ (P.)
tsud.o, tsude.a_ (Kon.); suri, surye (Kon:kan.i) [Note the glyph of a horned, seated person wearing
bracelets from wrist to forearm]

Alternative rebus of glyphs of person seated on a platform: hasani ‘furnace’; asani ‘seated’; pin.d.i
‘platform’; Rebus: bhin.d.ia ‘a lump, applied especially to the mass of iron taken from the smelting
furnace’.

2. The person wears a headdress with twigs; the glyph can be represented by two lexical clusters.

cul.li = dry twigs, small stick, branch (Ta.); a dry spray, sprig, brushwood (Ma.); cul.l.ai a chip, fuel
stick; nul.l.i small sticks for firewood (Ma.); cul.k long pliable stick, stalk of plant (Ko.)(DEDR
2706).

ad.aru twig; ad.iri small and thin branch of a tree; ad.ari small branches (Ka.); ad.aru twig
(Tu.)(DEDR 67). Cf. at.artti = thickly grown as with bushes and branches (Ta.) d.ar a branch; dare
a tree; a plant; to grow well; ban: darelena it did not grow well; toa dare mother, the support of life
(Santali)

The glyphs below the waist (waist-band, hoofed platform) may be related to silver (khura)
workshop (man.d.a_)

He wears a waist-band.

Rebus: karma_ras’a_la = workshop of blacksmith (Skt.)

Glyph: kamarsa_la = waistband (Te.)

Rebus: khura silver (Nk.); kuruku ‘whiteness’; kuru brilliancy (Ta.); kuro silver
(Kol.Nk.Go.)(DEDR 1782). koru = bar of metal (Ta.) khura = razor (Pali); ks.ura (RV.), sharp barb
of arrow (R.); khura_ iron nail to fix ploughshare (H.) khuro (N.) head of a spear

That silver metal is conveyed by the glyph is reinforced on other epigraphs where a seated person is
shown with hooked snakes rearing on either side of the platform. Since silver ore occurs with lead,
the snake glyph may be read as: na_ga ‘snake’ (Skt.) Rebus: na_ga = lead (Skt.) cf. anakku = lead,
tin (Akkadian). On glyphs of composite animals, a hooked snake is depicted as a tail of the animal

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composite. xola_ = tail (Kur.) Rebus: kol ‘metal’ (Ta.) Thus conveying lead-metal: na_ga kol cf.
tuttuna_kam = zinc (Te.); tuttuna_gamu = zinc, pewter (Te.)

man.d.ana an ornament, a decoration; jewels; trinkets; adorning (G.) fr. man.d. (Skt.)

m0453At m453BC 1629 Pict-82 Person seated


on a pedestal flanked on either side by a kneeling adorant and a hooded serpent rearing up.

Glyph: khura = hoof (Santali) Thigh = khura (Ka_tyS'r.), kuracu , kuraccai = horse's hoof
(Ta.), kul.ampu = hoof (Ta.) kur_aku (Ma.) ku_t.a = hip (Tu.) kurki = thigh (Go.)

Rebus: man.d.a_ = warehouse, workshop (Kon.lex.) man.n.u to do, perform, adorn, decorate, polish
(Ta.); man.ai to create, fashion (Ta.); manayuka, maniyuka to fashion, form earthenware, make as a
potter (Ma.)(DEDR 4685). man.i jewel of office (Skt.); man.iyam office of the village headman
(Ta.); superintendence of temples, palaces, villages (Ma.); man.e.v, man.ye.v the office of monegar
(Ko.); man.iya, man.iha, man.eya, man.e superintendence of temples, maths, palaces, custom-
houses (Ka.); man.iga_re revenue inspector (Tu.); man.iyamu office or duties of the manager of a
temple (Te.)(DEDR 4674).

Glyph: seated: asan man.d.ao ‘to sit tailor-wise for a long time, to sit about with nothing to do; lazy;
to lie down, as an animal in its lair’; asan man.d.ao akanae, hokrho kan leka ‘he has taken up his
position as if he were a watchman’ (Santali) mat.ku squat, squab, fat and short (Santali) asan
man.d.ao, pat.gan.d.o to squat, to sit tailorwise (Santali) man.t.i kneeling on one knee as an archer
(Ta.); man.tuka to be seated on the heels (Ma.); man.d.i what is bent, the knee (Ka.); knee (Tu.);
kneeling on one knee (Te.); men.d.a_, mind.a knee (Go.); med.a, men.d.a id. (Kond.a); mend.a id.
(Pe.KuiKuwi); mand.u_ki part of elephant’s hind leg; met. knee-joint (M.)(DEDR 4677). man.d.i =
kneeling position (Te.lex.) mandil, mandir = temple (Santali) ma_d.a = shrine of a demon (Tu.);
ma_d.ia = house (Pkt.); ma_l.a a sort of pavilion (Pali); ma_l.ikai = temple (Ta.)(DEDR 4796).

Glyph: platform: man.d.hwa, man.d.ua, man.d.wa ‘a temporary shed or booth erected on the
occasion of a marriage’; man.d.om ‘a raised platform or scaffold’; ma~r.om ‘a platform, used to
keep straw on, or from which to watch crops’ (Santali) man.ai low wooden seat, low earthen dais,
wooden base of cutting instyruments, footstool (Ta.); man.i, man.e stool, low bench, seat (Ka.);
man.e low stool to sit upon (Tu.)(DEDR 4675).

Duplicated and paired glyphs

A characteristic feature of use of glyphs to compose epigraphs is the


duplication of glyphs or pairing of the same glyph. Some examples are:

• Duplicated and paired one-horned heifer


• Duplicated and paired shor-horned bull
• Duplicated and paired antelope looking back
• Duplicated and paired scorpions
• Duplicated and paired fishes
• Duplicated and paired bangles (or millstone)

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m0296 Two heads of one-horned bulls with neck-rings, joined end to end (to a standard device with
two rings coming out of the top part?), under a stylized tree with nine leaves. 1387

kamat.ha ‘ficus religiosa’; rebus: kampat.amu ‘furnace’.

Substantive: lo ‘iron’ (Assamese, Bengali); loa ‘iron’ (Gypsy) Glyph: lo = nine (Santali); no = nine
(B.) [Note the count of nine ‘ficus’ leaves depicted on the epigraph.]

damad.i, dammad.i = a ka_su, the fourth part of a dud.d.u or paisa (Ka.M.); damad.i_ (H.) damr.i,
dambr.i = one eighth of a pice (Santali) dammid.i = pice (Te.)

Grapheme: damad.i, dammad.i = a small tambourine with gejjes (Ka.)


Grapheme: damr.a m. a steer; a heifer; damkom = a bull calf (Santali)

Rebus: damha = a fireplace; dumhe = to heap, to collect together (Santali)

m440AC Two short-horned bulls facing each other on the top register.
Rebus: aduru = native metal (Ka.)
Glyph: ad.ar = bull (Santali)

Lothal123A Lothal123B

er-r-a = an earthworm; era a bait, food (Te.lex.) [Note. The earthwork flanked by two antelopes
on a Lothal Persian Gulf seal].

Rebus: ere ‘a dark-red or dark brown colour, copper’ (Ka.); eruvai copper (Ta.)(DEDR 817).
mlekh = antelope; melukka = copper. What is depicted is Meluhha copper.
Rahman-dheri01A and B Rhd1: Two scorpions flanking a
‘frog?’ [?kamat.ha] and a sign T with two holes on the top,
possibly to be tied on a string [Together with bica_, sand
ore, the sign, ‘T’ may connote another ore, perhaps tin].
Glyph: kaca kupi = scorpion (Kuwi)
Rebus: kanca_ = a marble (made of stone or lac)(Ka.) Stone
beads! ka_ca_ = glass (Santali) kan~cu = bronze (Te.)

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Sa_n~ci
stu_pa with
a glyph of
two fishes
ligatured.
S’ri_vatsa
symbol seems to have evolved from a stylized glyph showing ‘two fishes’. In
the sa_n~ci stu_pa, the fish-tails of two fishes are combined to flank the
‘sri_vatsa’ glyph. In a Jaina a_ya_gapat.a, a fish is ligatured within the
s’ri_vatsa glyph, emphasizing the association of the ‘fish’ glyph with
s’ri_vatsa glyph.

bed.a = either of the sides of a hearth; be = two (G.) be_d.a = one-eighth part; two-anna piece
(Te.) Glyph: bed.a hako = fish (Santali) hako = axe (Santali) be_d.isa = a sort of carp, the
silver-fish, cyprinus chrysoparius (Te.)

Grapheme: be_d.i = a chain, a fetter (Ka.Te.)

Glyph: cur.i a bracelet, a bangle (Santali)


Glyph: millstone: san:ghat.i = a millstone, that crushes (Ka.)
Grapheme: cur.a a pinnacle, spire, crest (Santali) cu_d.a_ = topknot on head; cu_lika_
cockscomb (Skt.)
Rebus: cu_l.ai, ‘kiln’ (Ta.) culli = a fireplace (Ka.)

The pairing can be explained by a lexeme: san:gad.a = two; san:gad.am double-canoe (Ta.);
jan:gala (Tu.); san:gala pair; han:gula, an:gula double canoe, raft (Si.)(CDIAL 12859).

Rebus: san:gha_d.o, saghad.i_ (G.) = firepan; saghad.i_, s'aghad.i = a pot for holding fire
(G.)[cula_ sagad.i_ portable hearth (G.)]

Thus, the pairing or duplicating a glyph is a way of connoting a saghad.i_ ‘a portable hearth’ (G.)

Each of the paired glyphs can be explained as a hearth, saghad.i for (1) copper; (2) native metal; (3)
tin alloy; (4) axe; and (5) bangle:

• Rebus: damr.i = copper; tamb(r)a = copper (Skt.); tamba = copper (Santali) Glyph: one-
horned bull damr.a ‘steer, heifer’
• Rebus: aduru = native metal (Ka.) Glyph: ad.ar = bull (Santali)
• Rebus: t.agromi = tin metal alloy (Kuwi) Glyph: tagara = antelope, ram (Skt.) [Looking
back: krammarincu (Te.) Rebus: kamar = blacksmith (Santali)]
• Rebus: kanca, kancu = bell metal (Ka.); kan~ca = id. (Ta.); kamsa = id. (Ka.) kanca_ = a
marble (made of stone or lac)(Ka.) Glyph: kaca kupi = scorpion (Kuwi) kaccu = biting, a
bite (Ka.)
• Rebus hako = axe (Santali); bed.a = hearth (G.) Glyph: bed.a hako = fish (Santali)
• Rebus culli = furnace, kiln (Ka.) Glyph: cur.i = bangle (Santali)

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Recurrent pairs of signs and paired lexemes

These high frequency pairs of glyphs can be explained by many indic lexemes using the rebus
method to identify each glyph and corresponding substantive message sought to be conveyed on
epigraphs.

Sign342 (1395)
kanka = rim of pot (Santali) Rebus: kan:ka = a metal (Pali); kan- = copper (Ta.) kanaka = gold;
kanaka_dhyaks.a = superintendent of gold, treasurer (Skt.) kan-n-a_r, blacksmiths, coppersmiths (Ta.)

kan.d.a = a pot of certain shape and size (Santali) Rebus: kan.d. = altar, furnace (Santali) khan.d.a
= instrument, implement, weapon; khan.d.a puruskedae, he stretched his arm grasping the sword as
high as he could; khan.d.a bhan.d.a = implements of all kinds, arms of all sorts (Santali.lex.)
khan.d.a puruskedae, he stretched his arm grasping the sword as high as he could (Santali.lex.)

Sign 17 (91) The glyph is a ligature of a ‘guard’ + ficus glomerata: ban:ku + loa (Te.Santali)
Rebus: ban:gala = goldsmith’s portable furnace (Te.) + loh ‘iron, metal’ (Santali)
kambiga = a mace bearer, a doorkeeper (Ka.) Rebus: kambi = wire (Ka.Ta.Te.Ma.Tu.); kammi id.
(Te.); kambi = an iron band; a bar of iron, a rail; a bar (Ka.); kambi = a club, a mace (Ka.); kambu
id. (Ma.)
Rebus: kambu = s’ambu = a conch, a shell; a bracelet (Ka.)

Sign 18 (27) Copper tablets (15)

(25) Sign 25 (53) Copper tablets (12)

Pairing glyph: nine divisions; lo ‘nine’ (Santali) rebus: loh ‘iron, metal’ (Skt.); khan.d.a ‘division’
(Skt.); kan.d. = furnace, altar (Santali) lokhan.d. ‘iron, ironware, tools’ (G.) lo + khan.d. = rebus: loh
‘iron’ + kan.d. ‘furnace, altar’ (Santali)

Glyph: t.ha_t.hum = a frame-work, the body; t.ha_t.ha = state, dignity, pomp (G.) Hem. Des.
t.ha_n.a = Skt. ma_nah pride, fr. Skt. stha_nam manner of standing, fr. stha_ ‘to stand’ (G.)

Rebus: t.hat.era = a brazier, a caste who manufacture and sell brass ware; t.hat.ori = a worker in
brass, a goldsmith (Santali)

(14) Sign 1 (134)

t.ha_t.hum = a frame-work, the body; t.ha_t.ha = state, dignity, pomp (G.) Hem. Des.
t.ha_n.a = Skt. ma_nah pride, fr. Skt. stha_nam manner of standing, fr. stha_ ‘to stand’
(G.)
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t.a_t.um = a bamboo-frame which serves as a seat (G.) t.hat.ra = a kind of bamboo mat
(Santali)

Rebus: t.hat.era = a brazier, a caste who manufacture and sell brass ware; t.hat.ori = a
worker in brass, a goldsmith (Santali)

t.ha_n:kum = a skelton (G.) ten:goc = to stand upright (Santali) ten:go, ‘to stand’; ten:go, ‘to
assume responsibility (Santali) te_jate_ = is sharp, sharpens (RV); te_jati = is sharp, shapens, incites
(Pali); te_ai sharpens (Pkt.); tevn.e~ = to shine, burn (M.)(CDIAL 5945). Te_jas = sharp edge of a
knife, glow (RV); fiery energy (AV); te_h = fire, arrogance (K.)(CDIAL 5946) tega = a sword;
tega_ = a scimitar (G.Persian) tega_r = property, substance (G.Persian)

t.a_n:kan.um = a chisel (G.); t.an:ka_ = an instrument for digging, khanitram


(Hem.Des. G.)

(93) Sign 8 (105)


A variant of Sign 8 is a horned, standing person ligatured to the buttocks of a bull.
d.hagara_m = pl. the buttocks, hip (G.) Rebus: d.han:gar =
blacksmith

ban:ku = guard (Te.) Rebus: ban:gala = kumpat.i, an:ga_ra


s’akat.a ‘chafing dish, portable stove, goldsmith’s portable
furnace’ (Te.)

Sign 12 (80) kut.i ‘water carrier’; rebus: kut.hi ‘furnace’

Graphemes, i.e. glyphs which could be rebus for kol ‘metal’:


kol.i_ = water carrier (M.) xola_ = tail (Kur.); qoli = id.
(Malt.)(DEDR 2135). kolli = a fish (Ma.); koleji id.
(Tu.)(DEDR 2139). ko_la_ flying fish, exocaetus, garfish,
belone (Ta.) ko_la_n, ko_li needle-fish (Ma.)(DEDR 2241).
ko_li = a stubble of jo_l.a (Ka.) ko_le a stub or stumpof corn
(Te.)(DEDR 2242). Ko_l.i = banyan, fig (Ta.Ma.); go_l.i fig
(Ka.); banyan (Tu.)(DEDR 2254). ko_l raft, float (Ta.Ka.); kola
boat, raft (Skt.BHSkt.); kulla (Palli)(DEDR 2238) ko_la
decoration (Ka.); ko_lam = form (Ta.Ma.)(DEDR 2240).

Rebus: kol = metal (Ta.)

(26) Sign 15 (126)

Sign 15: Ligature: kut.i ‘water-carrier’ + kanka ‘rim of pot’; rebus: kut.hi ‘furnace’ + kan-
‘copper
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Pairing glyph: kan:kata = comb (Te.) Rebus: kan:gar = portable furnace (K.)

1.Finely burnished gold fillet (headband) with holes at both ends to hold a cord. Each
end is decorated with a punctuated design of standard device. 42 x 1.4 cm. Mohenjodaro
Museum, MM 1366; Marshall 1931: 220.527. Pl. CXVIII, 14 (for punctuated design)
2. Detail of gold fillet with punctuated design of standard device at both ends of the gold
fillet. (After Fig. 7.32, Kenoyer, 1998)The standard device is a ligature of a lathe and a portable
furnace. It is san:gad.a

Standard device. Centre: carved in ivory (HR


93-2092) flanked by device depicted on
faience tablets (HR 90-1687, H93-2051),

Harappa

Processional scene from a terracotta tablet. After Marshall 1931, Pl. CXVIII,9

(10) Sign 28 (50)

Ligature on sign 28: dhanus ‘bow’ (Skt.) dhan.i_ = the owner, the possessor (G.)

Glyph: kama_t.hiyo = archer; ka_mat.hum = a bow; ka_mad.i_, ka_mad.um = a chip of bamboo


(G.) ka_mat.hiyo a bowman; an archer (Skt.lex.)
Rebus: kamat.ha_yo ‘a learned carpenter or mason, working on scientific principles’ (Santali)
kammat.a = mint, gold furnace (Te.)

Pairing sign: t.agara = taberna mntana (Skt.) t.agromi = tin metal alloy (Kuwi)

(114) Sign 48 (168) Copper tablets (13) h172B Field Symbol


36 (10)

Sign 48: barad.o = spine, the backbone, back (G.)

Rebus: bharatiyo = a caster of metals, a brazier; bharatar, bharatal, bharatal. = moulded; an


article made in a mould (G.)

Glyph: t.hat.ra = m. emaciated (Santali)

Rebus: t.hat.era = a brazier, a caste who manufacture and sell brass ware; t.hat.ori = a
worker in brass, a goldsmith (Santali)
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(16) (40) Sign 53 (130)

era_ = claws of an animal that can do no harm (G.) era, eraka = copper (Ka.)
Substantive: dha_tu ‘mineral’ (Vedic); a mineral, metal (Santali); dha_ta id. (G.) tan.t.ava_l.am =
cast iron, iron rail, girder (Ta.); tan.d.ava_l.a cast iron (Ka.)(DEDR 3050).
d.ato ‘claws or pincers (chelae) of crabs’; d.at.om to seize with the claws or pincers, as crabs,
scorpions (Santali)

Pairing sign: a~s = scale of fish (Santali) Rebus: ayas = metal (Skt.)

The three signs together: Middle sign: kan.d. kanka ‘rim of pot’; rebus: kan.d. ‘furnace’ + kanka
‘copper metal’ Flanking this sign are d.ato ‘claws’; rebus: dhatu ‘mineral’; a~s ‘scales of fish’;
rebus: ayas ‘metal’. Thus furnace for metal and mineral.

(10) Sign 155 (49)

(55) (44) Sign 59 (381) Copper tablets (14) h172B Field


Symbol 36 (17)

Sign 59 : bed.a hako = a fish (Santali)


Rebus: bed.a = hearth; hako = axe (Santali)

Sign 155: kan.d.a, ka_n.d.a, ka_d.e = an arrow (Ka.) ka_n.d., ka_n., ko_n., ko~_,
ka~_r. arrow (Pas'.); ka~_d.i_ arrow (G.)
Rebus: kan.d. = altar, furnace (Santali)

Glyph: kan. = arrow, wooden handle of a hoe, pickaxe or other tool (Ta.)(DEDR 1166).
Rebus: kan- = copper (Ta.)

s'ili_ dart, arrow (Skt.)


s’ila = rocks (Skt.)

(44) (24)

(18) (20) Sign 65 (216) Copper tablets (16)

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Sign 65 is a ligatured glyph: bed.a hako = a fish. Rebus: bed.a = hearth (G.) ligatured with a ‘lid’
glyph. d.aren-mund.i lid of pot; d.aren, ad.aren to cover up pot with lid (Bond.a); d.arai to cover
(Bond.a.Hindi) Rebus: aduru ‘native metal’ (Ka.), i.e. hearth for native metal.

Pairing sign Liquid measure: ran:ku; rebus: ran:ku = tin (Santali)

Pairing sign savat.u, savut.u, saut.u, so_t.u = ladle, spoon (Ka.) Rebus: caval.ai =
lead, silver (Ta.)

(28) (26)

(32) (21) Sign 67 (279) Copper tablets (8)


Sign 67: a~s ‘scales of fish’; rebus: ayas ‘metal’ (RV) bed.a hako = a fish; rebus: bed.a =
hearth. Thus, a~s bed.a = metal hearth.

(10) Sign 70 (73) Copper tablets (5)


A spot or mark is ligatured to ‘fish’ glyph: dag = to mark, stain, brand, cauterize; a
blemish, a spot, stigma, mark (Santali)
Rebus: dagad.a, dagad.o = a large stone; a large lump of earth (G.)
bed.a hako = a fish; rebus: bed.a = hearth. Thus, Sign 70 denotes a hearth for stone or lump
of earth.

(10) (24)

(21) Sign 72 (188) Copper tablets (20)


Glyph is a slanting stroke ligatured to ‘fish’ glyph: d.ha_l.iyum = adj. sloping, incliding;
d.ha_l. = a slope; the inclination of a plane (G.)
Rebus: : d.ha_l.ako = a large metal ingot; d.ha_l.aki_ = a metal heated and poured into a
mould; a solid piece of metal; an ingot (G.)

bed.a hako = a fish; rebus: bed.a = hearth. Thus, Sign 72 denotes a hearth for metal ingot.

(12) (10) Sign 86 (149)


Glyph: a long linear stroke; kod.a = in arithmetic, one (Santali) Rebus: kod.a, kor.a = shell
(Santali)

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Together with pairing sign Sign 99 : at.ar a splinter; at.aruka to burst, crack, slit off, fly open;
at.arcca splitting, a crack; at.arttuka to split, tear off, open (an oyster)(Ma.); ad.aruni to crack
(Tu.)(DEDR 66) the epigraph of Signs 86 and 99 may be read as: shell, native metal (kod.a aduru).

is a ligature of kan.d.a kanka ‘rim of pot’ + kut.i ‘water carrier’. Rebus: kan.d.a kanka ‘altar for
copper’ + kut.hi ‘metal furnace’.

(9) Sign 127 (50)

(58) Sign 51 (105)

(39) Sign 130 (63) h172B Field Symbol 36 (10)


Sign 51 kaca kupi ‘scorpion’ (Santali) Rebus: kan~cu = bronze (Te.)

Pairing sign Sign 127 Sign 130 : t.un.d.a = to prod, to poke at as with a stick (Santali)
du~_t.u = butt, push (Te.)(DEDR 3380. to_r.o~_ = a pole with an iron hook or branch curved at one
extremity (Kur.)

Rebus: tun.d.u – fragment, piece (Ka.); tun.d.u piece, slice (Te.)(DEDR 3310).

(44) Sign 150 (63)


Sign 149: glyph: kod.a, kor.a = in arithmetic one;

kod.a, kor.a = a shell, a mite (Santali)

Rebus: kod., ‘artisan’s workshop’

Sign 150 glyph: tat.am = road, path, route, gate, footstep (Ta.); dad.d.a road (Ir.); dar.v path, way
(Ko)(DEDR 3024).

tot.xin, tot.xn goldsmith (To.); tat.t.a_n- gold or silver smith (Ta.); goldsmith (Ma.); tat.t.e =
goldsmith (Kod.); tat.rava_~d.u = goldsmith or silversmith (Te.); *t.hat.t.haka_ra brassworker
(Skt.)(CDIAL 5493).

tat.t.ai = mechanism made of split bamboo for scaring away parrots from grain fields
(Ta.); tat.t.e = a thick bamboo or an areca-palm stem, split in two (Ka.)(DEDR 3042).

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Pairing sign, Sign 99 : at.ar a splinter; at.aruka to burst, crack, slit off, fly open;
at.arcca splitting, a crack; at.arttuka to split, tear off, open (an oyster)(Ma.); ad.aruni to
crack (Tu.)(DEDR 66).

Rebus: aduru ‘native metal’ (Ka.)

(11) (11)

(30) Sign 123 (193)


Pairing glyphs: a~s ‘scales of fish’; rebus: ayas ‘metal’ (RV)
Ligature on fish: ‘lid’ : d.aren-mund.i lid of pot; d.aren, ad.aren to cover up pot with lid (Bond.a);
d.arai to cover (Bond.a.Hindi) cf. at.al = a kind of fish (Ta.); at.ava = a marine fish (Ma.);
ad.ami_nu = a fish; ad.a_vu id. (Tu.)(DEDR 68). Rebus: aduru ‘native metal’ + bed.a hako = fish;
rebus: bed.a ‘hearth’ + hako ‘axe’. Cf. ha_t.aka = gold; ha_t.aka-giri = Meru mountain;
ha_t.akes’vara = name of lin:ga in pa_ta_laloka (Ka.)

Pairing sign: kan.d.a kanka ‘rim of pot’. Rebus: kan.d. kanka ‘furnace for copper, kan-‘

(17) (16)

(16) (40)

(65) (43)

(24) (17)

(29) (19) Sign 99 (649)

The ligature is made up of two glyphs: ( ) together with tagara = taberna montana (Skt.)
Rebus: t.agromi = tin metal alloy (Kuwi) kut.ila = bent, crooked (Skt.) kut.ila (Skt. Rasaratna
samuccaya, 5.205) Humpbacked kud.illa (Pkt.)
Rebus: kut.ila, katthi_l = bronze (8 parts copper and 2 parts tin) [cf. a_ra-ku_t.a, ‘brass’ (Skt.)]

Sign 99 : at.ar a splinter; at.aruka to burst, crack, slit off, fly open; at.arcca splitting, a crack;
at.arttuka to split, tear off, open (an oyster)(Ma.); ad.aruni to crack (Tu.)(DEDR 66).

Rebus: aduru ‘native metal’ (Ka.)

era_ = claws of an animal that can do no harm (G.) era, eraka = copper (Ka.)

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Substantive: dha_tu ‘mineral’ (Vedic); a mineral, metal (Santali); dha_ta id. (G.) tan.t.ava_l.am =
cast iron, iron rail, girder (Ta.); tan.d.ava_l.a cast iron (Ka.)(DEDR 3050).
d.ato ‘claws or pincers (chelae) of crabs’; d.at.om to seize with the claws or pincers, as crabs,
scorpions (Santali)

Sign 48 : barad.o = spine, the backbone, back (G.)

Rebus: bharatiyo = a caster of metals, a brazier; bharatar, bharatal, bharatal. = moulded; an


article made in a mould (G.)

Glyph: t.hat.ra = m. emaciated (Santali)

Rebus: t.hat.era = a brazier, a caste who manufacture and sell brass ware; t.hat.ori = a
worker in brass, a goldsmith (Santali)

Sign 98 (88) Is this a variant of Sign 97 ?

(67) (78)

(42) Sign 87 (365) Copper tablets (21)


bar, barea ‘two’ (Santali); rebus: ba~r.ia~ = shopkeeper, pedlar (Santali)

mer.go = rimless vessels (Santali)


Rebus: med. iron, iron implements (Ho.) me~rhe~t ‘iron’; me~rhe~t icena ‘the iron is
rusty’; ispat me~rhe~t ‘steel’, dul me~rhe~t ‘cast iron’; me~rhe~t khan.d.a ‘iron
implements’ (Santali) (Santali.lex.Bodding)

Alternative: luiha = an iron vessel or pot used for cooking and other purposes
(Santali) Rebus: luhui = iron-stone sand; iron obtained by washing the sand of
river beds and nallahs (Santali)

bed.a hako = a fish (Santali) Rebus: bed.a ‘hearth’ (G.) hako ‘axe’ (Santali)

Pairing sign : kan.d.a kanka ‘rim of pot’. Rebus: kan.d. kanka ‘furnace for copper,
kan-‘

(10) Sign 328 (323)

(44) (124) Sign 89 (314)

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Copper tablets (29)

Sign 89 tebr.a = three (Santali)

ta_mbum = copper (G.); ta_mra (Skt.); ta_mba_ na_n.um = copper coin; ta_mba_
va_d.ako = a porringer made of copper; ta_mba_ kun.d.i_ a copper trough in which water
for bathing is kept; ta_mbad.i_ = a copper pot (G.)

mer.go = rimless vessels (Santali)


Rebus: med. iron, iron implements (Ho.) me~rhe~t ‘iron’; me~rhe~t icena ‘the iron is
rusty’; ispat me~rhe~t ‘steel’, dul me~rhe~t ‘cast iron’; me~rhe~t khan.d.a ‘iron
implements’ (Santali) (Santali.lex.Bodding)

Alternative: luiha = an iron vessel or pot used for cooking and other purposes
(Santali)
Rebus: luhui = iron-stone sand; iron obtained by washing the sand of river beds
and nallahs (Santali)

(58) Sign 95 (64)

(21) (24) Sign 104 (70)


pon, ponea, ponon = four (Santali)
Rebus: pon, hon = a gold coin, the half of a varaha (Ka.); honnu = gold (Ka.); ponnu (Te.);
pon-, por- = metal, gold, luster, beauty (Ta.); pol = gold (Ma.)

Pairing signs could be graphemes or variants of the same glyph, i.e., glyphs connoting the
same lexeme. tagara = taberna montana (Skt.)

Rebus: t.agromi = tin metal alloy (Kuwi)

(27) Sign 194 (58)

(14) Sign 197 (60)

(27) (11) Sign 112 (70) Copper tablets (10)

Sign 112 is composed of four and three: pon, ponea, ponon = four (Santali)

Rebus: pon- = metal (Ta.)


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tebr.a = three (Santali)

ta_mbum = copper (G.); ta_mra (Skt.); ta_mba_ na_n.um = copper coin; ta_mba_
va_d.ako = a porringer made of copper; ta_mba_ kun.d.i_ a copper trough in which water
for bathing is kept; ta_mbad.i_ = a copper pot (G.)

Pairing signs: kan.d.a kanka ‘rim of pot’; rebus: kan.d. kan- = copper furnace.

gat.a = a small stream or water course (Santali) gat.t.u = a shore, a bank; a dam,
embankment, dike (Te.) kat.t.a_ platform (Kol.); kat.t.a bund of field, dam, dike
(Nk.)(DEDR 1147).

Rebus: Ingot: gat.t.i ban:ga_ru = gold in ingots or bars (Te.) kat.t.i = clod, lump (Ta.);
solid, ingot (Ma.); kat.y solid lump (Ko.); gad.d.a = lump, mass, clod (Te.)(DEDR 1148).
kad.rna_ to congteal (Kur.); kat.hina hard, firm (Skt.)(CDIAL 2650). kat.hara, kat.hura,
kat.hora hard (CDIAL 2651) kad.d. to be hard, severe (DhP.)(CDIAL 2657). gat.i = nodular
limestone; gat.i cun = lime made from nodular limestone (Santali)

Thus pairing with Sign 112, the pair of signs can be read as: gold (pon) or metal (tebr,a) ingot
(gat.t.i).

(14) Sign 121 (70)


Glyph: twelve fingers' measure = s'an:ku (IL 2878), co~ga_ = two hand-breadths (IL
3121)

Rebus: s’ankha = turbinella pyrum, conch shell (Skt.)

Pairing sign : kan.d.a kanka ‘rim of pot’; rebus: kan.d. kan- ‘copper furnace’ (Santali.Ta.)

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Continuing tradition of s’ankha industry from 8500 years Before Present

Turbinella pyrum: s’ankha kr.s’ana (conch-pearl) Burial From Gulf of Kutch and Saurashtra:
ornaments made of shell and stone disc beads, and Spiney murex, chicoreus ramosus (a),
turbinella pyrum (sacred conch, s’an:kha) bangle, knobbed whelk, fasciolaria trapezium
Tomb MR3T.21, Mehrgarh, Period 1A, ca. 6500 BCE. (b), and sawn fragments of the sacred
The nearest source for this shell is Makran coast near conch (s’an:kha), turbinella pyrum
Karachi, 500 km. South. [After Fig. 2.10 in Kenoyer, [After Fig. 5.21 in Kenoyer, 1998].
1998].
Parvati, wore conch shell bangles – s’an:khaka -- created by Sage Agastya Muni and Divine
architect Vis’vakarma. S’an:kha is a Kubera’s treasure – one of the nine or nava-nidhi-s.

Turbinella Pyrum is a species which is native to the coastline of Bharat. The tradition continues
even today in Gulf of Khambat (near Surat) and in Gulf of Mannar (near Tiruchendur). West Bengal
Handicrafts Development Corporation has an office in Tiruchendur to acquire s’ankha to make
them into bangles. The annual turn-over of s’ankha products in Tiruchendur is Rs. 25 crores. Every
Bengali marriage has to provide for s’ankha bangles to the bride.

The importance of s’ankha in the mature periods of Sarasvati civilization may be seen from the
following archaeological artifacts:

Mohenjodaro: libation vessel made from Turbinella pyrum conch shell trumpet. Hole at
turbinella pyrum. Spiralling lines were incised apex is roughly chipped. Used to call people for
and filled with red pigment. The vessel is used battle or ritually throughout South and Southeast
to anoint kings and to dispense sacred water or Asia. Essential component of Hindu and
milk. Used even today for ritual oblations and to Buddhist traditions, one of 8 auspicious

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dispense medicinal symbo
preparations.[After Fig. ls.
6.38 in Kenoyer, 1998; 9.66 X
J. M. Kenoyer, 1983, 5.1
Shell working industries cm.
of the Indus Harap
Civilization: an pa;
archaeological and Lahore
ethnographic Museu
perspective, PhD diss., m, P501
UCAL, Berkeley]. 11.4
X 5.4 cm

Wide bangle Seven shell bangles from


made from a burial of an elderly woman,
single conch Harappa; worn on the left
shell and carved arm; three on the upper arm
with a chevron and four on the forearm; 6.3
motif, Harappa; X 5.7 cm to 8x9 cm marine
marine shell, shell, Turbinella pyrum (After
Turbinella Fig. 7.43, Kenoyer, 1998)
pyrum (After Harappa museum. H87-635 to
Fig. 7.44, 637; 676 to 679.
Kenoyer, 1998) National Museum, Karachi.
54.3554. HM 13828.

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A skilled sawyer and shells ready for sawing, Calcutta.

Turbinella pyrum shell bangle manufacturing process. [a to f]:


preliminar
y chipping
and
removal of
internal
columella;
[g to k]:
sawing
shell
circlets; [l to n]: finishing the shell
blank; [o]: final incising [After Fig.
5.23 in Kenoyer, 1998].
yai->? k«/zanu/m! As?ne Êv/Sywae? j/ve

yai-/rœ yUnae/ AvRN? t/m! Aav?tm!,

mxu? ià/ym! -?rwae/ yt! s/rfœ_y/s! tai-?rœ ^/ ;u ^/iti-?rœ Aiñ/na g?tm! .


RV 1.112.21 With those aids by which you defended Kr.s'a_nu in battle, with which you
succoured the horse of the young Purukutsa in speed, and by which you deliver the
pleasant honey to the bees; with them, As'vins, come
willingly hither. [Kr.s'a_nu are somapa_las, vendors or
providers of Soma; hasta-suhasta-kr.s'a_navah, te vah
somakrayan.ah (Taittiri_ya Sam.hita_1.2.7); kr.s'a_nu =
agni; purukutsa was the son of
Mandha_ta_ and husband of
Narmada_, the river; the text has only
'of the young', Purukutsa.is added].
S’an:khah kr.s’anah = pearl-shell won
from the ocean and worn as an amulet
(AV 4.10.1). S’ankhah kr.s’a_na
mentioned in the R.gveda is a shell-
cutting bowman.

Sandstone sculpture of S’iva


Bhairava, holding a conch in his left
hand, 11th cent. S’ivapuram, South Arcot Dist., Bha_rata (Dept. of
Archaeology and Ancient History, MS Univ., Vadodara).

Tradition of sindhur adornmentSindhur worn in the parting of


the hair. Nausharo: female figurine. Period 1B, 2800 – 2600
BCE. 11.6 x 30.9 cm.[After Fig. 2.19, Kenoyer, 1998].Hair is painted
black and parted in the middle of the forehead, with traces of red
pigment in the part.This form of ornamentation may be the origin of the later Hindu tradition where a
married woman wears a streak of vermilion or powdered cinnabar (sindur) in the part of her hair. Choker
and pendant necklace are also painted with red pigment, posssibly to represent carnelian beads.

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Sindur on the parting of the hair in unique Bharatiya tradition, circa 4800 years Before
Present The hair is painted black and parted in the middle of the forehead, with traces of
redpigment in the parting. This form of ornamentation may be the origin of the later Hindu tradition
where a married woman wears a streak of vermilion or powdered cinnabar (sindur) in the parting of her
hair. The choker and pendant necklace are also painted with red pigmen, possibly representing carnelian
beads. Other figurines of similar design have yellow pigment on the disc-shaped ornamens at the
shoulde, possibly representing gold or polished bronze brooches. The eyes are puctated and the
ornaments and hair are all appliqué. This figurine comes from Nausharo, Period IB, but is identical to
many figurines from Mehergarh Period VII, datin between 2800 and 2600 BCE. Material: terracotta;
11.6 cm. high, 30.9 cm. wide. Nausharo NS 91.01.32.01. Dept. of Arch., Karachi. Jarrige 1988: 87, fig.
41 (After fig. 2.19, Kenoyer, 2000).

The inset shows a lady from Bengal wearing sindhur on the parting of her hair; the tradition lives on.

(12) Sign 97 (91)

(30) (16)

(13) Sign 124 (78) Copper tablets (17)

(44) Sign 149 (92) h172B Field Symbol 36


(10)

(40) Sign 162 (212) h352C Dotted circles.


Field symbol 83 (10)

(48) Sign 169 (240) Copper tablets (60) Hare. Field symbol 16 (19)

Glyph: field symbol: kulai = hare (Santali)


Rebus: kol = metal (Ta.); kola = blacksmith (Ma.); kol, kollan- (Ta.); kolime, kulime, kolume = a
fire-pit or furnace (Ka.); kolime id., a pit (Te.); kulume kanda_ya = a tax on blacksmiths (Ka.)
kolimi titti = bellows used for a furnace (Te.)

Graphemes: kolike, kun.ike, kulike, kol.ike = a clasp, a hook (Ka.Te.); kol.uvu = to connect, join,
tie together, hook (Ta.)

Grapheme: tamar = hole in a plank, commonly bored or cut; gimlet, spring awl,
boring instrument; tavar = to bore, a hole; hole in a board (Ta.); tamar = hole made by a gimlet; a
borer, gimlet, drill (Ma.); tamire, tagire = the pin in the middle of a yoke (Te.); tamiru = gimlet
(Tu.)(DEDR 3078).

tavaru, tavara, trapu, tavarinadu, tagara, tamara = tin, tra_pus.a (Ka.); tavaramu, tamaramu (Te.);
tamara = tagara = tin, lead; trapu = id. (Ka.) trapulamu, trapuvu = tin; lead (Te.)

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Graphemes: ko_li = a stubble of jo_l.a (Ka.); ko_le a stub or stump of corn (Te.) cf.
tagara = taberna montana (Skt.) Rebus: tagromi tin metal alloy (Kuwi) Sign 169 thus connotes a
specific metal (kol): tin; lexemes: t.agromi + ko_li; glyphs: stubble, taberna montana: tagara ko_li

Grapheme: ko_lemu = the backbone (Te.)

Pairing sign : kan.d.a kanka ‘rim of pot’; rebus: kan.d. kan- ‘copper furnace’ (Santali.Ta.)

(40) (76) Sign 171 (132)

(7) Sign 173 (38)

Glyph: ad.ar ‘harrow’ (Santali); Rebus: aduru ‘native metal’(Ka.)

(30) Sign 182 (43) h172B Field Symbol


36 (11)

Sign 183 (11) Copper tablets (10) Hare. Field symbol 16 (9)

(12) (31)Sign 204 (76) Copper tablets (22) Field Symbol 14 (19)

(11) Sign 211 (227) m1148 Field Symbol 7


(9)

(23) (29) Sign 216 (90) Ivory or bone rod (3)

(34) Sign 244 (89)

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(70) (21) Sign 245 (207) Copper tablets (48) Field Symbol

14 (20) Field Symbol 29 (10)

(54) (47) Sign 249 (170)

Sign 258 (20) h172B Field Symbol 36 (8)

Sign 254 (73)

(291) (32) Sign 267 (376)

(9) Sign 284 (41)

(37) Sign 287 (88)

Copper tablets (15) Field Symbol 52 (6)


Glyph: kama_t.hiyo = archer; ka_mat.hum = a bow; ka_mad.i_, ka_mad.um = a chip of
bamboo (G.) ka_mat.hiyo a bowman; an archer (Skt.lex.)
Rebus: kamat.ha_yo ‘a learned carpenter or mason, working on scientific principles’
(Santali)

Sign 287: kut.ila = bent, crooked (Skt.) kut.ila (Skt. Rasaratna samuccaya,
5.205) Humpbacked kud.illa (Pkt.)
Rebus: kut.ila, katthi_l = bronze (8 parts copper and 2 parts tin) [cf. a_ra-ku_t.a, ‘brass’
(Skt.)]

(54) Sign 293 (136) h172B Field Symbol 36 (12)


Hare. Field symbol 16 (10)
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(28) Sign 294 (53)

(32) Sign 296 (35)

(8) Sign 307 (69)


Glyph: ka_mat.hum = a bow; ka_mad.i_, ka_mad.um = a chip of bamboo (G.)
Rebus: kammat.amu = gold furnace (Te.)

(18) Sign 326 (35) Copper tablets (6)

(16) Sign 327 (42)


loa = ficus glomerata (Santali) Rebus: loha = iron, metal (Santali)
kamar.kom = fig leaf (Santali.lex.) kamarmar.a_ (Has.), kamar.kom (Nag.); the petiole
or stalk of a leaf (Mundari.lex.)
kamat.amu, kammat.amu = a portable furnace for melting precious metals; kammat.i_d.u
= a goldsmith, a silversmith (Te.lex.) Substantive: kamat.ha_yo ‘a learned carpenter or
mason, working on scientific principles’ (Santali)

Pairing sign: kan.d. kanka ‘rim of pot’; rebus: kan.d. ‘furnace’ + kan-ka ‘copper metal’

(126) (12)

(13) Sign 336 (236) Copper tablets (27) m1148 Field Symbol 7
(10)

(16) Sign 341 (59)

(87) (17)

(184) Sign 342 (1395) Copper tablets (82) h172B


Field Symbol 36 (38) h352C Field symbol 83 (33)

(12) Sign 343 (177)

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Sign 345 (51)

(110) Sign 347 (118) Ivory or bone rods (5)

(31) Sign 358 (32) Copper tablets (20) Field Symbol 14


(19)

(17) Sign 373 (61) Copper tablets (14)

(10) Sign 375 (57)

(12) (16) Sign 387 (102)

(28) (15) (15)

(15) (11) Sign 389 (134) Copper tablets (25)

(16)

Sign 402 (99)

ko_d.i = a kind of flag, an image of garud.a, basava, or other demi-god set upon a
long post before a temple; cf. gud.i, temple (Ka.lex.)
Rebus: kod. = place where artisans work (G.lex.)

(34) (21)

Sign 403 (93)

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(10) (17) (26)

Sign 407 (48)


Copper tablets (34)

Glyph: cur.i a bracelet, a bangle (Santali)


Grapheme: cur.a a pinnacle, spire, crest (Santali) cu_d.a_ = topknot on head; cu_lika_
cockscomb (Skt.)
Rebus: cu_l.ai, ‘kiln’ (Ta.) culli = a fireplace (Ka.)

Glyph: san:gad.a = two; san:gad.am double-canoe (Ta.); jan:gala (Tu.); san:gala


pair; han:gula, an:gula double canoe, raft (Si.)(CDIAL 12859).
Glyph: san:ghat.i = a millstone, that crushes (Ka.)
Rebus: san:gha_d.o, saghad.i_ (G.) = firepan; saghad.i_, s'aghad.i = a pot for holding
fire (G.)[cula_ sagad.i_ portable hearth (G.)]

(17)

Sign 409 (26)

Rebus: mo~r.e~ = five (Santali)


Grapheme: mon.d. the tail of a serpent (Santali)

Sign 409: glyph: cart: gad.i ‘cart’ (Santali)


gat.t.i = ingot, as in: gat.t.i-ban:ga_ramu = gold ingot (Te.)
Paired with the glyph denoting ‘five’, the epigraph may read: five metals (alloy)

(83) (24) Sign 391 (195)

era, er-a = eraka = ?nave; erako_lu = the iron axle of a carriage (Ka.M.); cf. irasu
(Ka.lex.)
Metal: akka, aka (Tadbhava of arka) metal; akka metal (Te.) arka = copper (Skt.) erka =
ekke (Tbh. of arka) aka (Tbh. of arka) copper (metal); crystal (Ka.lex.) araka =
sublimation, sublimate (Ka.); arka id. (M.) erako molten cast (Tu.lex.) agasa_le, agasa_li,
agasa_lava_d.u = a goldsmith (Te.lex.)

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Sign 99 : at.ar a splinter; at.aruka to burst, crack, slit off, fly open; at.arcca splitting, a
crack; at.arttuka to split, tear off, open (an oyster)(Ma.); ad.aruni to crack (Tu.)(DEDR
66).

Rebus: aduru ‘native metal’ (Ka.) aduru = gan.iyinda tegadu karagade iruva aduru =
ore taken from the mine and not subjected to melting in a furnace (Ka. Siddha_nti
Subrahman.ya’ S’astri’s new interpretation of the Amarakos’a, Bangalore, Vicaradarpana
Press, 1872, p. 330); adar = fine sand (Ta.); adaru = a sparkle (Te.); ayir – iron dust, any
ore (Ma.)

tot.xin, tot.xn goldsmith (To.); tat.t.a_n- gold or silver smith (Ta.); goldsmith (Ma.); tat.t.e
= goldsmith (Kod.); tat.rava_~d.u = goldsmith or silversmith (Te.); *t.hat.t.haka_ra
brassworker (Skt.)(CDIAL 5493).

tat.t.ai = mechanism made of split bamboo for scaring away parrots from grain fields
(Ta.); tat.t.e = a thick bamboo or an areca-palm stem, split in two (Ka.)(DEDR 3042).

When reduplicated, this may be read as: erako ‘nave’ san:gala ‘pair’; rebus:
erako ‘molten cast’ san:gad.a ‘furnace’. As distinct from non-melted native metal, aduru.

erako ‘molten cast (copper)’; erako san:gala = furnace for metal.

This may explain the multiple use of the glyph on Dholavira signboard.

Glyph : erako ‘nave’; san:gala ‘pair’ Rebus: erako san:gad.a


= furnace for metal.

Glyphs: erako (nave); rebus: erako ‘molten cast’.

Glyph: kod.a, ‘one’; rebus: kod., ‘artisan’s workshop’. Glyph: khu~t.,


‘corner’; rebus: kun.d.amu = a pit for receiving and preserving consecrated fire; a hole in
the ground (Te.)
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Glyph: ad.aren, d.aren ‘lid’; rebus: aduru ‘native metal’

Glyphs: erako (nave) + khut.i (pin) + lo kamat.ha (ficus leaf) = Rebus:


erako ‘molten cast’ + khut.i ‘furnace’ + lo kamat.ha ‘metal mint: kammat.a’ [khut.i Nag.
(Or. khut.i_) diminutive of khun.t.a, a peg driven into the ground, as for tying a goat
(Mundari.lex.) khu~t.i_ wooden pin (M.)(CDIAL 3893)]

Alternative: tamire = the pin in the middle of a yoke (Te.)


Rebus: tavara = tin (Te.Ka.)

Molded terracotta tablet showing a tree with branches; the stem emanates from a platform
(ingot?). Harappa. (After JM Kenoyer/Courtesy Dept. of Archaeology and
Museums, Govt. of Pakistan).

kut.i, kut.am = tree; rebus: kut.hi = furnace

(9) (10) Sign 176 (355) Ivory or bone rods (12)

‘Tree’Field symbol 44 (12) h352C Dotted circles. Field symbol 83 (23)

h172B Field Symbol 36 (17)


Glyph: comb kangha (IL 1333) ka~ghera_ comb-maker (H.)

Rebus: kan:g = brazier, fireplace (K.)(IL 1332) Portable brazier ka~_guru, ka~_gar (Ka.)
whence, large brazier = kan:gar (K.)

Pairing sign: kan.d. kanka ‘rim of pot’; rebus: kan.d. ‘furnace’ + kan-ka ‘copper metal’

(29) Sign 178 (35) ‘Tree’ Field


symbol 44 (6)

The ligature is made up of two glyphs: ( ) together with tagara = taberna montana
(Skt.) Rebus: t.agromi = tin metal alloy (Kuwi) kut.ila = bent, crooked (Skt.)
kut.ila (Skt. Rasaratna samuccaya, 5.205) Humpbacked kud.illa (Pkt.)
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Rebus: kut.ila, katthi_l = bronze (8 parts copper and 2 parts tin) [cf. a_ra-ku_t.a, ‘brass’
(Skt.)]

va_holo = adze; vahola_ = mattock; bahola_ = a kind of adze (P.lex.)


Rebus: ban:gala = kumpat.i = an:ga_ra s’akat.i_ = a chafing dish, a portable stove, a
goldsmith’s portable furnace (Te.lex.) cf. ban:garu, ban:garamu = gold (Te.lex.)

(13) Sign 252 (51) Copper tablet (11); bronze


implements (2) ‘Tree’ Field symbol 44 (7)

may be a grapheme, a synonym of sign 99 : at.ar a splinter; at.aruka to burst, crack,


slit off, fly open; at.arcca splitting, a crack; at.arttuka to split, tear off, open (an
oyster)(Ma.); ad.aruni to crack (Tu.)(DEDR 66).

Rebus: aduru ‘native metal’ (Ka.) aduru = gan.iyinda tegadu karagade iruva aduru =
ore taken from the mine and not subjected to melting in a furnace (Ka. Siddha_nti
Subrahman.ya’ S’astri’s new interpretation of the Amarakos’a, Bangalore, Vicaradarpana
Press, 1872, p. 330); adar = fine sand (Ta.); adaru = a sparkle (Te.); ayir – iron dust, any
ore (Ma.)

Liquid measure: ran:ku; rebus: ran:ku = tin (Santali)

(11) (16) Sign 175 (54)

(18) Sign 180 (44)

(14) (13) Sign 230 (54)


‘Tree’ Field symbol 44 (5)

ku_t.amu = summit of a mountain (Te.lex.) Rebus: ku_t.akamu = mixture (Te.lex.)


ku_t.am = workshop (Ta.)

era_ = claws of an animal that can do no harm (G.) Rebus: era, eraka = copper (Ka.)
Substantive: dha_tu ‘mineral’ (Vedic); a mineral, metal (Santali); dha_ta id. (G.)
tan.t.ava_l.am = cast iron, iron rail, girder (Ta.); tan.d.ava_l.a cast iron (Ka.)(DEDR 3050).
d.ato ‘claws or pincers (chelae) of crabs’; d.at.om to seize with the claws or pincers, as
crabs, scorpions (Santali)
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Pairing sign: kan.d. kanka ‘rim of pot’; rebus: kan.d. ‘furnace’ + kan-ka ‘copper
metal’

The Sign 230 thus connotes an alloyed metal, ku_t.a [e.g. copper + dha_tu ‘mineral (ore)’ as in:
a_raku_t.a = brass (Skt.)]

Glyphs: tiger, antelope looking back, waist-zone (pannier): smith, smithy

m0488ct 2554

Glyph: krem = the back (Kho.)(CDIAL 2776). krammar-a = to turn, return (Te.); krammar-ilu,
krammar-illu, krammar-abad.u = to turn, return, to go back; krammar-u = again; krammar-incu =
to turn or send back (Te)

kamar ‘looking back’; thus, an antelope looking backwards is: melh ‘goat’ (Br.); mr..e_ka goat
(Te.) kamar (melukka kamar ‘copper-smith’); a tiger looking backwards is: kol ’tiger’ kamar (kolhe
‘smelters of iron’ + smith)

On a terracotta image, a tiger is ligatured to a woman. In Nahali, kola means ‘woman,


wife’.

On m0488 tablet, the tiger stands beneath a tree; on the branch of a tree, a spy is seated.
The word for spy is: heraka (Pkt.); rebus: eraka = copper (Ka.). The tree is kut.i; rebus:
kut.hi ‘furnace’ (Santali); the branch of a tree is ad.aren (Santali);
rebus: aduru ‘native metal’ (Ka.).

Elephant trunk ‘ibha sun.d.’


Rebus: ib ‘iron’; sund ‘pit, furnace’
Seal. Elephant. Elephant is covered with a saddle cloth. (After
Scala/Art Resource)

The depiction of a saddle cloth on the elephant may also be related to


the orthographic significance of depicting a pannier on a one-horned
bull. It may connote a waist-zone, belt, kamarasa_la (Te.); rebus: kamma_rasa_le = workshop of
a blacksmith (Ka.) When an elephant is shown on epigraphs with such a saddle cloth, the depiction
may be of a kamma_ra ‘smith’ involved in ironsmithy: ib ‘iron’; rebus: ibha ‘elephant’.

The most frequently occurring glyph is that of a one-horned bull with a pannier; it occurs on 1159
epigraphs (according to Mahadevan corpus). The orthographic accent is on the waist-zone, the
pannier.

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Glyph: kamarasa_la = waist-zone, belt (Te.) kammaru = the loins, the waist (Ka.Te.M.); kamara
(H.); kammarubanda = a leather waist band, belt (Ka.H.) kammaru = a waistband, belt (Te.)
kammarincu = to cover (Te.) kamari = a woman’s girdle (Te.) komor = the loins; komor kat.hi = an
ornament made of shells, resembling the tail of a tortoise, tied round the waist and sticking out
behind worn by men sometimes when dancing (Santali) kambra = a blanket (Santali)

m1656 On this petoral, the pannier is vividly displayed. This is an orthographic


feature unique to the one-horned heifer. It is a phonetic rebus determinative of
the artisan’s workhop. kamma_r-asa_le = the workshop of a blacksmith (Ka.);
kamasa_lava_d.u = a blacksmith (Te.) kamba_r-ike = a blacksmith’s business
(Ka.) kamarsa_ri_ smithy (Mth.)

kamba = a post, pillar (Ka.Te.Tu.Ta.Ma.); sthambha (Skt.)

kamat.amu = a portable furnace for melting precious metals (Te.)

Rebus: kamar = blacksmith (Santali) ka_rma_ra = metalsmith who makes arrows etc. of metal
(RV. 9.112.2: jarati_bhih os.adhi_bhih parn.ebhih s'akuna_na_m ka_rma_ro as'mabhih
dyubhih hiran.yavantam icchati_) kammar-a, kamma_r-a, kammaga_r-a, karma_ra,
karmaka_ra, kammaga_r-a, kamba_r-a = one who does any business; an artisan, a mechanic; a
blacksmith (Ka.) kamma_l.a = an artisan, an artificer: a blacksmith, a goldsmith (Ta.Ka.); a
goldsmith (Ka.) kammara = the blacksmith or ironsmith caste; kammaramu = the blacksmith’ss
work, working in iron, smithery; kammarava_d.u, kammari, kammari_d.u = a blacksmith,
ironsmith; kammarikamu = a collective name for the people of the kamma caste (Te.) kabbin.a,
kabban.a, kabbuna, karbuna = Te. inumu, Ta. irumbu; the dark-coloured, black metal: iron (Ka.)

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The stone sculpture of "Priest" from the Civilization may have originally had a horned head-dress
affixed to the back of its head. Graphic reconstruction of the "Priest" [courtesy of Professor Michael
Jansen (RWTH, Aachen University)] After http://bosei.cc.u-tokai.ac.jp/~indus/english/2_3_02.html

The zebu is: ad.ar d.an:gra (Santali); rebus: aduru ‘native metal’ (Ka.) d.han:gar
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‘blacksmith’ (WPah.) The bull is tied to a post. tambu = pillar (G.); stambha id. (Skt.)
Rebus: tamba = copper (Santali) tamire = the pin in the middle of a yoke (Te.) Rebus:
ta_marasamu = copper, gold (Te.)

Woman with horns and two stars: ko_la = woman (Nahali); rebus: kol ‘metal’ ko_d.u
‘horns’ (Ta.); kod. artisan’s workshop (Kuwi) ko_l. = planet (Ta.); kol ‘metal’; a pair
(planets): sagal.a = pair (Ka.); saghad.i_ = furnace (G.)

Ficus glomerata: loa, kamat.ha = ficus glomerata (Santali); rebus: loha = iron, metal (Skt.)
kamat.amu, kammat.amu = portable furnace for melting precious metals (Te.)
kampat.t.am = mint (Ta.) kammat.i_d.u = a goldsmith, a silversmith (Te.)

Seated person adorned with horns: kamad.ha = a person in penance (G.) Rebus:
kamat.amu, kammat.amu = portable furnace for melting precious metals (Te.)
kampat.t.am = mint (Ta.) kammat.i_d.u = a goldsmith, a silversmith (Te.) cu_r.i = bangles
(H.); rebus: culli = fireplace, kiln (Ka.) The seated person’s face is like a tiger’s mane:
cu_r.i

Priest: tammad.a, tammad.i = an attendant on an idol (Ka.); tammal.ava_d.u, tammal.i,


tammad.i, tammali, tambal.ava_d.u (Te.) Rebus: tamba = copper (Santali) tamire = hole;
t.ebra = three (cf. glyph of trefoil inlaid on the uttari_yam – upper garment); Rebus:
tamara = tin (Ka.) tibira = merchant (Akkadian)

The seven volumes on Sarasvati (in press) by Dr. S. Kalyanaraman elaborate on this methodology
and explore the possibility of decoding other glyphs on epigraphs.

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S’ankha, Bhairava, Man.d.ala
The s’ankha industry in Bharat is based on an
8500-year maritime tradition.

Burial ornaments made of shell and stone


disc beads, and turbinella pyrum (sacred
conch, s’an:kha) bangle, Tomb MR3T.21,
Mehrgarh, Period 1A, ca. 6500 BCE. The
nearest source
for this shell is
Makran coast
near Karachi,
500 km. South.
[After Fig. 2.10 in Kenoyer, 1998].

Parvati, wore conch shell bangles – s’an:khaka -- created by Sage


Agastya Muni and Divine architect Vis’vakarma. S’an:kha is a
Kubera’s treasure – one of the nine or nava-nidhi-s.

Kanjari : a long blouse embroidered and with mirror work.


Shell bangles are worn by a Kutchi woman, from wrist to shoulder
-- a cultural heritage from the Sarasvati-Sindhu civilization as
evidenced by the bronze statue found at Mohenjodaro wearing
bangles in similar style.

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Shell ladle perhaps used to pour librations. A hole in the shell has been plugged with
lead to make it watertight. Harappa. Made from a spiny murex shell. Found in a burial.
(After JM Kenoyer/Courtesy Dept. of Archaeology and Museums, Govt. of Pakistan).

This shell lade provides a remarkable evidence for the innovativeness in using lead on shell as an
early cementation process.

Libation vessels made of s’ankha (turbinella pyrum) with incised


lines and perhaps red paint inlaid. (After JM Kenoyer/Courtesy Dept. of
Archaeology and Museums, Govt. of Pakistan).

USES OF TURBINELLA PYRUM (s’an:kha, conch-


shell) for libation, trumpet, seal

Mohenjodaro: libation vessel made from turbinella pyrum. Spiralling lines


were incised and filled with red pigment. The vessel is used to anoint kings

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and to dispense sacred water or milk. Used even today for ritual oblations and to dispense medicinal
preparations.[After Fig. 6.38 in Kenoyer, 1998; J. M. Kenoyer, 1983, Shell working industries of
the Indus Civilization: an archaeological and ethnographic perspective, PhD diss., UCAL,
Berkeley]. 11.4 X 5.4 cmBet Dwaraka...A small rectangular seal (20 x 18 mm) of conch
shell with a perforated button at the back was found in trench UW6 of Bet Dwarka. A composite
animal moif representing the short horned bull, unicorn and goat are engraved in an anticlockwise
direction.

Turbinella pyrum shell bangle manufacturing


process. [a to f]: preliminary chipping and
removal of internal columella; [g to k]: sawing
shell circlets; [l to n]: finishing the shell blank;
[o]: final incising [After Fig. 5.23 in Kenoyer,
1998]

Bet Dwarka. Inscription on a jar [After Pl. XLIX in


SR Rao]

Turbinella pyrum conch shell trumpet.


Hole at apex is
roughly chipped.
Used to call people
for battle or
ritually throughout
South and
Southeast Asia.
Essential component of Hindu and
Buddhist traditions, one of 8 auspicious
symbols. 9.66 X 5.1 cm. Harappa; Lahore Museum.
A skilled sawyer and shells ready for sawing, Calcutta.

Kr.s’a_nu, a bowman; shell-cutter with a bow saw

With those aids by which you defended Kr.s'a_nu in battle, with which
you succoured the horse of the young Purukutsa in speed, and by which
you deliver the pleasant honey to the bees; with them, As'vins, come
willingly hither. [Kr.s'a_nu are somapa_las, vendors or providers of
Soma; hasta-suhasta-kr.s'a_navah, te vah somakrayan.ah (Taittiri_ya
Sam.hita_1.2.7); kr.s'a_nu = agni; purukutsa was the son of Mandha_ta_
and husband of Narmada_, the river; the text has only 'of the young',
Purukutsa is added] (RV 1.112.21). s’ankhah kr.s’anah = pearl shell won
from the ocean and worn as an amulet. (AV 4.10.1)

Rigveda: 1.112.21
yai->? k«/zanu/m! As?ne Êv/Sywae? j/ve yai-/rœ yUnae/ AvRN? t/m! Aav?tm!,

mxu? ià/ym! -?rwae/ yt! s/rfœ_y/s! tai-?rœ ^/ ;u ^/iti-?rœ Aiñ/na g?tm! .

Cakra samvara, man.ibhadra: protector of lapidary crafts


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Sandstone sculpture of S’iva Bhairava, holding a conch in
his left hand, 11th cent. S’ivapuram, South Arcot Dist., Bha_rata
(Dept. of Archaeology and Ancient History,
MS Univ., Vadodara). “…Sontheimer has shown, Mârtanda
Bhairava is identified with the folk-deities Mhasobâ, Birobâ and
especially Khanobâ in the Deccan, where he often resides as a
snake within the termite mound, which is itself identified as his
mother Gangâ-Sûryavantî, the womb of the hidden sun. The anthill
is believed to contain treasure in the form of golden turmeric
powder: the resonances with the Vedic Agni and Soma are
unmistakeable.” Elizabeth Chalier-Visuvalingam, 2002, Shiva and
his Manifestations (Different Forms of Bhairava, Vîrabhadra, etc.,
as Folk Deities). Cf, Chalier-Visuvalingam, E., (1986). Bhairava:
Kotwal of Varanasi, in T. P. Verma, D. P. Singh, and J. S. Mishra
(eds.), Varanasi Through The Ages. Bharatiya Itihas Sankalan
Samiti. Varanasi, pp. 231-260.
In Vajraya_na Buddhism, Cakra Samvara is compared with Bhairava who is worshipped in the
circular Yogini_ temples of Orissa. (Vidya Deheja, 1986, Yogini_ cult and temples: A tantric
tradition, New Delhi). It is unclear if Samvara is cognate with S’abara (cf. Sra <S’abara in Orissa)
and with S’ambara as an enemy of Indra (Maha_bha_rata). (cf. Asko Parpola, 1993, Bronze age
Bactria and Indian Religion, Studia Orientalia, 70: 81-87).
Groundplan of the temple-fort in
Dashly-3, Bactria, ca. 2000 BCE (After
Sarianidi, Viktor I., Die Kunst des alten
Afghanistan. Leipzig. 1986: 59). Inside the
square walls (150 m. wide) around the fort
are buildings; three are circular buildings
with concentric walls. Asko Parpola’s
surmise is that this so-called ‘temple’
corresponds to the Vedic description of the
Da_sa or Asura forts (tripura). This surmise
is not based on any textual evidence linking
Asura to such circular structures.
The evidence of the man.d.ala-s in BMAC
archaeological sites (forts of Kutlug-Tepe
and At-Tchapar ca. 500 BCE of the
Achaemenid period) and the man.d.ala
created in a stu_pa with 24 spokes found at
Sanghol, Punjab (Kushana period) point to
the migrations of people away from the Sarasvati River basin during 2nd millennium BCE and
during the historical periods. There is no archaeological evidence to assume that the man.d.ala of
Gonur Tepe and other sites points to migrations of people from BMAC area into Bharat. The
comparative analyses of Vedic and Avestan tradition clearly establishes the chronology: Vedic texts
> Bra_hman.a-s > Avestan.

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Cylindrical stupa of the Kushana period found at Sanghol (Dist. Fatehgarhsahib
Punjab) with three concentric
rings of rick masonry with
intervening space divided by
radiating spokes of similar brick
masonry at regular nervals. At
Sanghol site the core is made of
a thick circular wall of brick
masonry filled with earth. At
Sanghol was discovered a carved
lid of the relic casket with an
inscription in Kharoshti script
dated to circa 1st century BCE;
the epigraph reads: Upasakasa
Ayabhadrasa.

He is man.ibhadra, the protector of the beads and gems, exemplified by the cut s’ankha which
adorns his left hand in the S’ivapuram sandstone sculpture. Agni Purâna (51, 17) describes S’iva as
a Kshetrapâla. Bhairava is located in the northeast of the Hindu mandiram, the protector of the
settlement, the ks.etrapa_la. He is the kotwal (guardian-magistrate) of Vis’vana_tha of Varan.a_si.
Adored in 64 forms, in a manifestation of the formless divine parama_tman, in the Hindu (Kashmir
S’aivism), Buddha and Jaina traditions, the central form is ma_rta_n.d.a-bhairava. Man.d.ala
geometrical patterns of settlements are preserved in Newar, Nepal, as evidenced by Bhaktapur in
Nepal. Consistent with Agni Purâna (52) Bhairava is presented in the center of a circle of Yogins
has 12 arms corresponding to 12 Âdityas who preside over the twelve months of a year. In the
Buddha tradition, Maha_ka_la is the ka_la bhairava; other forms are Samvara and Heruka (cf.
the image of Ka_rttikeya in Swa_mimalai is called E_raka Subrahman.ya). In Nepal, he is also
celebrated as La_t. Bhairava, connoting the la_t. or yu_pa, on the twelfth day of the kr.s.n.a paks.a
in Bha_dra month, the same date on which Indra dvaja or Indra Maha_ is celebrated. Another
substitute form is Vi_rabadra. S’iva Pura_n.a describes Bhairava as transcendent (pu_rnaru_pa)
complete form. He is called Bhairava because he protects (bharati), because he is effulgent
terrifying (bha_). He is ka_la bhairava (the divinity of time). In the southern parts of Bharat, he is
Khan.d.oba or Ma_rta_n.d.a Bhairava married to representatives of the settled agricultural-trading
as well as vanava_si. Rudra of R.gveda is the predecessor form of Bhairava. He is presented in
images of: brahmas’iras’chedaka (kapa_lin), kan:ka_lamu_rti and bhiks.a_t.anamu_rti. Stella
Kramrisch notes eloquently, "No contradictions were adequate and no single iconographic likeness
sufficed to render the total, tremendous mystery of Bhairava. The furthest outreach of contradictory
qualities was gathered in the intensity of myth, and split in the variety of images in bronze and
stone."
Kubera

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Just as Bhairava is a ks.etrapa_la, Yaksha is a guardian deity of the earth and wealth of the earth; a
guardian of treasures and waterholes or lakes, just as na_ga is a guardian of the underworld.
Yaksha-s live in alaka_puri.
Pandava-s came upon a lake
that was
guarded by a
Yaksha.
Yaksha,
Parkham, 200
B.C.

Kubera is the
keeper of the
chief treasures
of the earth.
Pushpaka is his
vima_na used
by Ra_ma.

Ambika Mata temple, Jagat


One of the dikpalas, Kubera is lord of the yakshas and guardian of the north direction. In his left
hand, Kubera holds a pomegranate. Beneath his left hand is a personified water jar. Beneath his
right hand, a personified mongoose dangles a snake, in a pose echoed by Krishna in the Delhi
National Museum.

Kubera

Yaksha, from the Bha-rhut Stu-pa, early 1st century BCE. S’unga period. After Heinrich
Zimmer, The Art of Indian Asia, Princeton, 1955, Bollingen Series, Plate 34a (India Office,
courtesy Mrs. A.Coomaraswamy)

Kubera is one of the Regents (lokapalas) of the Four Quarters in Pali Buddhism who are attended by
numerous yakshas, including Manibhadra (Maniyakkhasenapati in Pali). (This rarely depicted group
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is found among glazed plaques at the twelfth century Ananda temple in Pagan, Burma.) By the
Gupta period, Manibhadra was substituted for Kubera in Sanskrit texts such as the Mahavastu and
Lalitavistara, perhaps explaining his importance at Mathura.

Vais’ravan.a, guardian of the North (Kubera)


Tibet 1600 – 1699 Uncertain Lineage
95.25x59.69cm (37.50x23.50in)
Ground Mineral Pigment on Cotton Collection of Shelley & Donald
Rubin
Vais’ravana (Tibetan: nam to se. English: the Son of Namto), Guardian
of the Northern Direction, King of the Yakshas and Leader of the
Worldly Dharma Protectors.
Tibetan: Nam to
se
Barhut, Chandra
Yakshi

Sanchi, yaksha;
stupa 1, east
toran.a, s’unga
period.

In the appearance of
a warrior god, he
has a round full face
with eyebrows,
moustache and a
beard - brown in colour. Large round eyes gaze to the side. The right
hand at the chest holds a tall victory banner topped with flowing silks of various colour. The left
holds in the lap a brown mongoose expelling jewels from the mouth, like a rain shower, creating a
pile of precious wishing gems on the ground below. Adorned with an ornate five-pointed crown of
gold and jewels, earrings and tassels, he is richly garbed in the raiment of a king, opulent with silk
brocades and elaborate designs in varieties of colour. Seated on a purple mat above a rocky bench,
in a relaxed posture and wearing boots, the right leg is supported by an ugly yaksha daemon in an
acquiescent kneeling posture. The left foot presses down on the prone form of another yaksha
serving as a footstool. The head is encircled by a green areola edged with flames. The background is
entirely filled with swirling purple smoke and the foreground sparse and green.

"With vajra armour, a garland of jewel ornaments and the beautiful heavenly banner - fluttering,
illuminated in the middle of a hundred thousand Wealth Bestowers; homage to Vaishravana, chief
among the protectors of the Teaching." (Nyingma liturgical verse).

Vais’ravana, leader of the yaksha race, is a worldly guardian worshipped as both a protector and
benefactor (wealth deity). He lives on the north side of the lower slopes of mount Meru in the
Heaven of the Four Great Kings. As the leader of the Four Direction Guardians, he like the others,
swore an oath of protection before the buddha Shakyamuni. The stories and iconography of the Four
Guardian Kings arise originally with the early Buddhist sutras and become fully developed in the
later Mahayana sutras. They are common to all schools of Tibetan Buddhism. Paintings of the

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Kings are generally found in association with a larger thematic set featuring the buddha
Shakyamuni and the 16 Great Arhats.

Lord Parshva Yaksha is the divine guardian associated with the Twenty-Third Tirhankara,
Parshvanath. His complexion is dark, he has an elephant-like face, and his head is sheltered by the
hood of a cobra. He has four arms. His carrier is a tortoise. On is right side he holds a snake and a
special fruit known as Bujjpurak. In his left hands he holds a snake and a mongoose. He is
considered very influential; he can be compared with Ganesh, who is a Hindu God.

Yeak (Sanskrit: Yaksha) in Khmer Legends


are ogre demons (often female). Yeak are
depicted as a ferocious figure in armour, with
a pointed helmet on his head, a wide mouth,
long canines, swollen eyes and slanting
eyebrows, holding a long stick in his hand.
But Yeak can change shape to a human figure.

Vis.n.u blowing s’ankha trumpet.


Vishnu’s fight with the Rakshasas led by
Malyava_n, Ma_li and Suma_li as
narrated in the Uttarka_n.d.a of the
Ra_ma_yan.a (Cantoes VI-VIII). [A
Terracotta Panel from Bhitargaon Showing a
Ramayana Scene By P. Banerjee
http://ignca.nic.in/pb0020.htm]"valampuri
por-itta ma_ ta_n:ku tat.akk kai" (mullaippa_t.t.u: 2) "the long arms with finger prints of
valampuri [conch with clockwise turns] and embracing Tirumakal. (or Laks.mi)" The terracotta
plaque is at the Brooklyn Museum, U.S.A. On stylistic grounds it can be ascribed to the fifth
century and and also be presumed to have originally belonged to the brick temple of Bhitargaon,
Kanpur District, Uttar Pradesh. The plaque has been described by Dr. Army Poster (Figures in
Clays from Ancient India, No. 52, Brooklyn, 1973) and by Dr. Pratapaditya Pal (The Ideal Image:
The Gupta Sculptural Tradition and Its Influence, Fig. 28, p.81, the Asiatic Society, Inc. 1978).

The glyphs of s’ankha and cakra not only adorn the hands of mu_rti-s of Vishnu in many temples all
over Bharat but also have been inscribed on coins of kings of historical periods, attesting to a
continuing historical tradition for over 8 millennia.

Coin issued by King Mahinda V of Sinhala, CE 956-972


Obverse: in bead circe, Elephant standing left, trunk pendent.
Before legs, a symbol; over back a conch.
Reverse: In similar circle, horse prancing left, before it a
brazier or a lamp, ligatured to a corn-stalk and over back, a
cakra. Thus, the coin depicts two sacred symbols: s’ankha
and cakra.

Among the finds of Mesopotamian civilization were shells used for decorative purposes. Harappa
excavations have yielded shell ilays, beads, bangles, ladles, game-pieces, and shell necklaces. At
Mohenjodaro was found s'ankha workers' quarters and heaps of oyster shells, pointing to possible
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use of pearls for ornaments and for long-distance trade. At Lothal were found complete shells, and a
shell-working center (Rao, S.R., 1962: 22-3).

S'ankha is clearly an indigenously evolved industry and tradition and coast-based. S'ankha
(turbinella pyrum) is found abundant along Gulf of Mannar, Gulf of Khambat, Gulf of Kutch and
Makran coast and only in this coastline of Bharat, at 16 to 20 m. depths close to the coastline. The
northern limits of the occurrence of the species is the mouth of River Godavari. It also occurs in
Andaman islands (Nayar and Mahadevan 1974: 122-124). During low tide, the coral reef of Gulf of
Kutch between Sacchna and Okha (a distance of 200 kms.) gets exposed and s'ankha is found close
to coral reef patches. The s'ankha occurs at a depth of 4 to 6 m. in this gulf. (Pota and Patel 1991:
446). This zoological species is not found anywhere else in the world and thus constitutes a marker
to identify products made and traded from Sarasvati Civilization, from the coastline of Bharat
stretching from Makran coast in the west to the mouth of Godavari river on the east, along the long
coastline.

Ancient chank bangle fragments from Gujarat and Kathiawar


with one from Bellary (1516). (Foot-collection, Madras
Museum) After Pl. IV in Hornell, opcit.

Sectioning chank
shells in a Dacca
workshop. After Fig. 2
in Hornell, opcit.
S'ankha is certainly not a
product brought in by
the mythical invading or
migrating Aryans – a
myth created by some
indologists without any
archaeological evidence
to support it. Vis.n.u is mentioned in the R.gveda but without the
s'ankha adorning one of his hands. So, clearly, the s'ankha
iconographic tradition is post-vedic, and attested archaeologically in
Sarasvati Civilization, in 6500 BCE at Mehergarh, 300 kms. north of
Makran Coast, north-west of Gulf of Kutch, close to the Amri-Nal
cultural coastline.

"…Vishnu is almost certainly one of the gods borrowed from the indigenous people as his complexion is
characteristically represented as dark-hued whenever his image is shown in colour…first notices occur in
the two great Indian epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. In these we get frequent reference to the
employment of the chank as a martial trumpet by the great warriors whose more or less mythical exploits
are recounted. Particularly is this the case in the Mahabharata, where in the Bhagavat-Gita we find the
heroes heartening their forces to the fight with loud blasts on their battle-conches. Each hero has his
famous conch distinguished…we read in the Bhagavat-Gita (verses 11 to 19) how the prelude to battle
was the deafening clamour sounded by the leaders on their great conchs. 'The ancient of the Kurus, the
Grandsire (Bhisma), the glorious, sounded on high his conch. 'The Lion's Roar'. Then conchs and
kettledrums, tabors and drums and cowhorns, suddenly blared forth with tumultuous clamour. Stationed
in their great war-chariot yoked to white horses, Ma_dhava (Krishna) and the son of Pa_n.du (Arjuna)
blew their divine conchs. Panchajanya was blown by Hrishikes'a (Krishna) and Devadatta by Dhananjaya

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(Arjuna). Vrikodara (Bhim) of terrible deeds blew his mighty conch, Paundra. The king Yudhishthira,
the son of Kunti, blew Anantavijaya; Nakula and Sahadeva blew their cochs Sughosha and
Manipushpaka. And Ka_shya of the great bow and Shikhan.d.i, the mighty car-warrior, Drisht.adyumna
and Vira_t.a and Sa_tyaki, the unconquered. Drupada and the Draupadeyas, O Lord of Earth, and
Saubhadra, the might-armed, on all sides their several conchs blew. That tumultuous uproar rent the
hearts of the sons of Dhritara_s.t.ra, filling the earth and sky with sound.' From the earliest times the
conch has also been used in India to call the people to their sacrifices and other religious rites and as an
instrument of invocation to call the attention of the gods to their ceremonies to be performed. With this
intimate association with the chief religious rites, the people gradually came to reverence the instrument
itself, and to adore and invoke it…In the ceremonies attending the coronation of great kings the chank
naturally played a great part. (During coronation of Yudhishthira)…the king was to touch such
auspicious articles as corn, white flowers, svastika, gold, silver and jewels…Krishna took in his hand the
sacred conch-shell, which was filled with holy water, sprinkled the water over the heads of the king and
queen…" (p. 117-126).

Together with the cakra, the discus wielded by Krishna, the s'ankha is an artefact associated with war;
one is a weapon, the other is a trumpet calling the troops to arms and signaling the beginning of combat.
Bhairava, a form of S'iva is also depicted carrying a sawn s'anka, a representation of the s'ankha industry,
practiced by the vra_tya, the precursors of the ks.atriya-s and early worshippers of ekavra_tya Rudra,
mentioned in the Atharva Veda. Kathiawar is the sacred land associated with the life of Krishna who is
adorned with the Panchajanya s'ankha.

"…the S'anku Ta_li Vel.l.a_l.an-s, a section of the great Vellalar caste, who wear, according to Winslow,
a representation of the chank on either side of a central symbol…Two other castes with the same
marriage badge occur on the West Coast…This is an immigrant branch of Idaiyans known locally as
Puvandans, settled in Travancore…Their tali is known as sankhu tali and a small ornament in the form of
a chank is its most conspicuous feature. The other West Coast caste using a sankhu tali is that of the
Thandan Pulayan, a small division of the Pulayan, who dwell in South Malabar and Cochin…Sixty years
ago chanks constituted the currency of the Naga tribes…a cow was valued at ten chank-shells, a pig at
two shells…on some coins issued by the ancient Pandiyan and Chalukyan dynasties of southern India a
chank-shell appears as the principal symbol (Thurston, I, 328)…" (p. 146, p. 162, p. 166).

"…in ancient days the cusom of wearing these pecular ornaments (of chank) was widely spread
throughout the greater part of India and that bangle-workshops, equally widely scattered, stretched from
Tinnevelly in the extreme south to Kathiawar and Gujarat in the north-west, through a long chain of
factories located in the Deccan. Reference to ancient Tamil classics furnishes evidence scanty but
conclusive of the existence of an import chank-cutting industry in the ancient Pandyan kingdom in the
early centuries of the Christian era. Similar evidence is also extant of a widespread use of carved and
ornamented chank bangles in former days by the women of the Pandyan country which may considered
roughly co-extensive with the modern districts of Tinnevelly, Madura, and Ramnad, forming the eastern
section of the extreme south of the Madras Presidency…Maduraikkanchi, a Tamil poem which
incidentally describes the ancient city of Korkai (sea-port at the mouth of Tambraparni), once the sub-
capital of the Pandyan kingdom and the great emporium familiar to Greek and Egyptian sailors and
traders and described by the geographers of the 1st and 2nd centuries AD under the name of Kolkhoi. In
one passage (LL. 140-144) the Parawas are described as men who dived for pearl oysters and for chank
shells and knew charms to keep sharks away from that part of the sea where diving was being carried
on…" (p. 42)

Dharmi, the Brahmin questions Nakki_rar:

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An:kan:kulayariva_l.i neyppu_cip pan:kampat.a viran.t.u ka_lparappic cankatan-ai ki_rki_renavar-
ukkun: ki_ran-o_ ven-kaviyai ya_ra_yumul.l.attavan-

Trans. Is Ki_ran fit to critize my poem? Spreading his knees wide, his joints loosened (by the
labour), does he not saw chanks into sections, his ghee-smeared saw murmuring the while kir-kir?

The poem is rendered in the presence of the Pandyan king, Neduncer..iyan- II, contesting the
competence of Nakki_rar, a Parawa, the poet-president of Tamil sangam in Madura. Nakki_rar
responds:

can:kar-uppa ten:gal. kulan can:karan-a_rk ke_tu kulam pan:kamar-ac con-n-a_l


par..uta_me can:kai yarintun.t.u va_r..vo_ maran-e_ nin-po_la virantun.t.u va_r..vatillai

Trans. Chank-cutting is indeed the calling of my caste; of that I am not ashamed. But of what caste
is S'ankara? We earn our livelihood by cutting chanks, we do not live by begging as he did.

This is textual evidence for chank-cutting in Korkai, the principal settlement of the Parawa-s. This is how
Hornell describes the finds of chank workshop at Korkai: "I unearthed a fine series of chank workshop
waste -- seventeen fragments in all. The whole number were found lying on the surface of the ground in
a place where old Pandyan coins have from time to time been discovered according to information
gathered in the village. The fragments unearthed all bear distinct evidence of having been sawn by the
same form of instrument, a thin-bladed iron saw, and in the same manner as that employed in Bengal in
the present day. Eight fragments represent the obliquely cut 'shoulder-piece', six consist of the columella
and part of the oral extremity of the shell and the remaining three are fragments of the lips -- all show a
sawn surface, the positive sign of treatment by skilled artisans…It is also noteworthy that the huge
funeral urns found in tumuli of the Tambraparni valley (at Adichanallur) have yielded a few fragments of
working sections cut from chank shells, associated in the urns with beautifully formed bronze utensils,
iron weapons and implements and gold fillets. So old are these tumuli that they are classed as prehistoric
though it is obvious that the people of these days were skilful artisans in gold, bronze, iron and must
have been contemporaries of historic periods in the story of Egypt and Mesopotamia. Ovari is the name
of a small fishing village not far distant on the adjacent coast and may possibly be the Ophir of Solomon
and the port whereto the fleets of Tarshish sailed to fright home the treasures of India…The localities in
Gujarat and Kathiawar form a second well-marked geographical area, being situated around the Gulf of
Cambay adjacent to where chanks are fished in the present day…Damnagar, Amreli Prant…a great
number of chank bangles in a fragmentary condition were found…Babapur…situated 13 mile westward
of Amreli…13 fragments of finished chank bangles…Ambavalli. Seventy-one fragments of broken
bangles from an old site…numerous portions of sawn sections of chank shells…Va_la_bhipur (modern
Walah)…chank bangle fragments…sawn working sections…Kamrej, 12 miles north-east of Surat. The
summit of a small islet in the Tapti river at this place yielded three sawn shoulder slices (workshop
waste) of chank sells and a single fragment of finished bangle…a broad and closely worked zig-zag
groove…two fragments of sandstone hammers…Eight sites can clearly be indicated as probable centers
of the chank-bangle industry in Gujarat and Kathiawar, namely -- (a)Sigam, Hiran valley, Baroda Prant,
(b) Kamrej, on the Tapti, (c) Mahuri, on the left bank of the Sabarmati, Baroda State, with (d) Ambavalli,
(e) Damnagar, (f) Kodinar, and (g) in and on the alluvium of the Shitranj river above Babapur, all four in
Amreli Prant, Kathiawar, also (h) Va_la_bhipur in Vala State, Kathiawar…at the Ambavalli site, an iron
knife with a tang was discovered…a chank-saw as is to-day in common use in Bengal chank factories for
cutting patterns upon the bangles….In several other cases (Srinivasapur in Mysore, Havaligi Hill in
Anantapur, and Bastipad in Kurnul) pieces of iron slag were found in association." (pp. 45-61).

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Details of bangle manufacture. "The tool employed for breaking away the columella is a hammer
fashioned on the principle of the well-known geologist's hammer, sharp-edged on the one side and square
on the other. The shell is now ready for the sawyer, who sits on the earthen floor tightly wedged between
two short stakes of unequal length driven into the ground. Against the longer, measuring some 15 inches
above the ground, the worker's back is supported, while against the shorter, only 4 to 5 inches high, his
toes are pressed. The space between the two stakes measures no more than 18 inches, hence the
workman although he sits with his knees widely separate -- is very tightly jammed between the rests.
This is found essential as it is necessary that the limbs should be rigid during his work, as his feet have to
function as a vice during the sawing of the sections, the shell to be cut being placed between the right
heel and the toes of the left foot. After the columella and lip of the shell are removed, a disc of hard
wood is placed over the moth aperture of the shell to provide a firm purchase for the foot pressed against
the side of the shell. The worker is now ready to begin sawing the shell into sections. For this purpose he
is provided with a heavy hand-saw of great apparent clumsiness. The iron blade…is of a deep crescentic
form ending in an attenuate horn at each end. A little way from each of these tapered extremities the end
of a long iron tang is riveted to the back of the saw; the further ends of the two tangs are connected by a
thin cane cross bar or handle lashed by twine to the tangs, which are covered with a serving of the same
twine. IT is noteworthy that the tangs are not straight but have a hook-like bend near the attachment to
the blade. The latter is a stout forged iron plate, 2 mm. Thick except for a distance of one inch from the
cutting edge where it is worked down to a thickness of 0.6 mm. Between the tangs the back of the saw if
protected by a piping of iron. A saw of this description costs Rs. 12, each workman providing his own.
After sharpening, a new ssaw is adorned on each side of the blade with a number of red spots as
auspicious marks. In beginning work, the shell is placed somewhat obliquely between the feet, the apex
directed to the right and away from the worker, who places his left hand on one twine-covered tang of
the saw and the other on the horn of the blade at the opposite extremity. Balancing the saw carefully in
his hands, and at right angles to his body, he applies the edge to the shell and begins a vigorous to and fro
movement of the saw from side to side, the course of the hands being through a short arc of a circle at
each swing. Several times he pauses momentarily to adjust the shell anew as the work progresses. On an
average it takes 4 1/2 minutes to saw once through a shell…The rubbing down of the inner surface of the
working circlet is accomplished in an ingenious manner by means of a wooden spindle 18 to 20 inches
long, covered with an abrasive coating of fine river sand embedded in a rough lac basis…In Bengal and
wherever in the adjoining provinces of Assam, Behar and Orissa…every married woman of all castes
which are thoroughly Hinduised is bound to possess a pair of chank bangles laquered in vermilion as one
of the visible tokens of her married state; the red sankha or shakha as it is called in Dacca is indeed as
necessary of assumption during the marriage ceremonies as is the performance of that other Hindu
custom of smearing a streak of vermilion on the forhead or down the parting of the bride's hair…bala and
churi. The former are broad bangles worn on each wrist. The churi on the contrary is always quite
narrow, generally 1/6 to 1/5 inch in widh, and usually of conventional scroll design worn in a set of three
on each wrist…The section of the Kurmi caste found in Chota Nagpore and Orissa also wear chank
bangles…in the hill tracts of Chittagong, we find the women of the Maghs, a race of Indo-Mongolian
extraction and Buddhists by religion, using very broad unornamented sections of chank shells as
bracelets…considerable demand for chank bracelets comes from Thibet and Bhutan…" (p. 91-107)

{James Hornell, 1914, The sacred chank of India: a monograph of the Indian conch, turbinella pyrum,
Madras, Madras Fisheris Breau, Bulletin No. 7}.

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Sculptural tradition
The tradition of sculptural art in Bha_rata is a legacy of the Sarasvati Sindhu Valley Civilization.

Recumbent mouflon, Mature Harappan period, ca. 2600–1900 B.C. Indus


Valley Marble; L. 11 in. (28 cm) “This powerful sculpture represents a mouflon,
a type of wild sheep native to the highland regions of the Near East. The
animal's head, now partially broken away, is held upward and is twisted to the
right, creating an impression of alertness. The artist has achieved a realistic
rendering of an animal at rest, its weight thrown fully onto its left haunch, and its
left hind leg tucked under its body. The bottom of the statue has been worn away, but it is likely that
the hidden leg was originally indicated there. The entire body is contained within a single unbroken
outline. The horns, ears, tail, and muscles were modeled in relief, although time and secondary use
have flattened the contours on the right side. This combination of closed outline with broadly
modeled masses and a minimum of incised detail is characteristic of animal sculpture from the
Harappan-period levels at the site of Mohenjo Daro in the lower reaches of the Indus River. The
function of these animal sculptures is unknown.”
http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/ho/02/ssa/hod_1978.58.htm

Sarasvati Cultural Style. (ca. 3300 to 1300 BCE). The so-called Harappan conventions of
building, art style, and technology were remarkably uniform in hundreds of sites. The evidence of
writing was only on seals and tablets and inscriptions on copper plates and weapons. Technology
had advanced in the areas of weights and measures, brickmaking, in gold, silver, bronze and copper
work and in beads of varieties of stones. The underlying basis of the economy was agriculture and
animal husbandry; sites are located close to sources of water, preferably in the flood plains of the
major rivers, Sindhu and Sarasvati. Only very few large sites, perhaps only four or five, which may
be called cities are found.

There is no archaeological or linguistic evidence to assume a dichotomy between the Vedic society
and the Harappan cultural style.

Art of making seals

Stone seals or steatite seals and bosses on them were first cut into shape by a saw, whose thickness
was 0.025 in. (Faience was used for amulets, animal figurines, balls and marbles, beads, button,
finger rings, bracelets, head ornaments, seals, studs, vessels and weights.) The rounding off of the
boss was perhaps done with a knife and finished off with an abrasive. A hole was bored through the
boss from opposite sides. (MIC, II, 377). The Harappan seals found at Kish, Mesopotamia had traes
of oroginal blue or green colouring, indicating the use of glazing techniques. Herbert Beck
concluded that the surface of the seal was painted with some alkali and then subjected to heat (FEM,
346). Marshall felt that the vitreous paste on faience objects was an Indian invention and was
applied to faience. Glaze as mixed with a siliceous powder and manganiferous haematite or red
ochre as pigments, and fired at high temperature; the paste resembled glass in some respects.

The system of writing epigraphs on copper plates continued, which started in the Sarasvati
civilizationperiod, into the historical periods in Bharat to record property transactions and donations
to temples.
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Bronze standard 10th - 7th century BCE. A figure, in the centre fights with two
one-horned bulls (?).Bronze horse-bit of Luristan type,
with cheek-pieces showing a sculpturalal ligaturewith an animal's body, wings, and a
horned human head.10th - 7th century BCE.

http://www.artarena.force9.co.uk/luristan.html

Bronze axe-head of Luristan type.


It's socket is shaped in the form of a stylized lion's
head,with it's mane ending in four animal heads.10th - 7th
century BCE.

Worker in ivory, sculptor on in stone

A magnificent example of the artistry of an ivory worker. Orissa, 13th cent. CE From Left: 1.
One of the four legs of a throne made of ivory. Hunting-and-battle scenes are *carved out. A
caparisoned horse; a hunter shoots at a deer with his bow. 2. Back view of the throne shown in 1. A
bow is hung around the left hand of the horse-soldier and a quiver filled with arrows is tied on his
back. A circular shield is shown. 3. Side-view of the throne leg shown in1. 4. Another side-view of
the throne leg shown in 1. Lower portion shows a hunter shooting at a deer with his bow. A quiver,
filled with arrows, is tied to the waist of the hunter. [After Pl. IL to LII, GN Pant, 1978, Indian
Archery, Delhi, Agam Kala Prakashan].

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The multi-headed sculpture of S'iva is a remarkable evidence of the
continuity of the 'ligaturing' traditon evident in the inscriptions of the
civilization (with three-headed animals, 'fabulous' animal and so on). In
this sculpture of S'iva, the head is ligatured with: a human face, a lion's
head and an antelope's head. Cf. Doris Meth Srinivasan, 1997, Many heads,
arms and eyes: origin, meaning and form of multiplicity in Indian art,
Leiden, Brill.

If the ligatured heads and conical cap are hieroglyphic, they may connote
aru 'lion' (Akkadian); rebus: ara = copper; mr..eka 'goat' (Te.); rebus:
mleccha mukha = ingot of copper (Skt.); mu~ha = quantity of iron
produced at one time in a native smelting furnace (Santali) cu_d.e = face
(Ka.); s'u_la = trident (Skt.); culha = furnace, fireplace (Santali.) kulla =
cap (Ta.) kol = alloy of five metals (Ta.)

Three-headed S'iva. Gandhara. 2nd cent. Grey schist 18.6 X 10.5


cm. (MIK I 5888).

"Originally the figure had four arms; now only two remain. He holds the trident (tris'u_la) in the right
hand, and a small receptacle (kaman.d.alu) containing the elixir of life (amr.ta) or holy water in his left.
The long hair is piled high on the top of the head in the ascetic style with the help of a hair-band
(kes'abandha) and is stylized in the shape of flames. In the centre of the forehead, is a horizontal third
eye...The figure wears no ornaments apart from the sacred threwad (upavi_ta) which passes from the left
shoulder across the naked torso, and a piece of cloth draped over the left upper arm. The figure is clothed
only in a striped (tiger-skin) loin-cloth out of which protrudes an erect phallus... The very complex
iconography of S'iva, which is difficult to interpret, is further complicated by two animal heads emerging
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literally from behind his human head. The head on the right is that of a lion while the other seems to be
of an antelope. According to Lobo, the heads of animals are meant to portray S'iva as the lord of animals,
Pas'upati (Palast der Goetter 1992: 176), whether, this is indeed so remains an open question..." (Raffael
Dedo Gadebuch, Exhibit 19 in: Saryu Doshi, ed., 1998, Treasures of Indian Art: Germany's tribute to
India's cultural heritage, Delhi, National Museum, p.29).

Ligaturing as an artistic style continues into the


historical periods as evidenced by the sculpture on a
capping stone of a stupa of the Buddha tradition. It
depicts an elephant ligatured to a kalpa-ratha (sacred vine) and a metaphor for support to the
universe with rain clouds. The yaks.i sculpture on a railing pillar of a stupa evokes the female
figurines of Sarasvati Civilization. A part of the door jamb shows the figures of Yamuna and
Sarasvati rivers personified, together with Kubera and other yaks.a. The R.gvedic adoration of River
Sarasvati as divinity (devitame) continues as a strong cultural tradition in Bharat even to the present
day. Photos courtesy:
http://bosei.cc.u-tokai.ac.jp/~indus/english/3_2_01.html

Artistic tradition of ligatured forms

One characteristic feature of depiction of forms


of divinities is to endow them with a
multiplicity of forms, some are multi-headed
and some have multiple arms each arm
carrying a particular weapon or presenting a
particular abhaya mudra_, a symbolic
representation of the aspect of protection
conveyed by the sculptor through the unique art
form.

There are many inscribed objects with multiple


heads ligatured to the body of an animal. There
are also objects in the round with multiple heads. Animals are depicted with human features such as
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horns and human faces. Buffalo horns become humanized with a ligature to a human face. This is
the incipient idea of imbuing divinity in animate beings and also in objects.

Ligatured sculpture: tiger, bull (or buffalo) and elephant. Nausharo. NS 92.02.70.04. 6.76
cm. High. Dept. of Archaeology, Karachi. EBK 7712. C. Jarrige, 1982: 132-5. “Hollow three-
headed animal figurine. This complex figurine depicts a tiger with bared teeth, a bull or buffalo
head with punctuated hair spots on the forehead, and
possibly an elephant with multiple lines outlining
the eyes. The tiger’s face is finely modeled, but the
other animals’ features are less refined. This is the
second such object found at Nausharo, and although
comparable figurines have not been reported from
other sites, multiple-headed animals are depicted on
seals. Nausharo. Period III, Harappan 2300-2200
BCE.” [JM Kenoyer, 1998, p. 219].

Ligatured statuette:
elephant, buffalo
and feline. Nausharo.
NS
91.02.32.01.LXXXII.
C. Jarrige, 1992: 132-5. “Hollow three-headed animal figurine. The
most complete figure is of an elephant with a hollow trunk. Two
horns of a water buffalo curve along the cheeks of the elephant, and
the bottom jaw of a feline with bared teeth appears at the back of the
elephant’s head. This complex figure is finely modeled and incised with delicate strokes to portray
the character of the elephant. Such multiple-headed animals are depicted on seals and must
represent important myths. This object may have been used as a puppet or sacred figure in a cult
ritual. Ca. 2300-2200 BCE.” (JM Kenoyer, 1998, p. 219).

Maha_vi_ra (Lit. Great Warrior)


pot. Anthropomorphic. The hero or
warrior carries a dagger on his right
hand. Ca. Mauryan period. Indian
Museum, Calcutta (Acc. No.
A11221).

Maha_vi_ra
Pot. A.
Anthropomorphic pot. Sonkh. Ca.
Mauryan period. Museum fur
Indische Kunst, Berlin (Acc. No. So
64(51). B. A conjectural drawing
[After JAB van Buitenen, 1968, The
Pravargya, Poona].

The following r.ca-s explain the function performed by the pravargya pot which is the soul of the
yajn~a. The pot is to hold ghr.ta or dadhi used in the metallurgical process of reduction by oxidising
the baser elements..
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Tvm! m/oSy/ daext
? >/ izrae =?v Tv/cae -?r> ,

Ag?CD> sae/imnae? g&/hm! .

[r.s.i: it.a bha_rgava] 10.171.02 You have carried off the head of the trembling yajn~a from his
skin; come to the dwelling of the presenter of the Soma. [Legend: Yajn~a attempted to escape from
the divinities. Yajn~a assumed a human form, that of a warrior. Indra took the form of an ant and
gnawed at the bowstring and then cut off the head of yajn~a. The head of yajn~a is the pravargya or
preliminary stage of pouring fresh milk into boiling ghi_ (clarified butter)].
c/Tvair/ z&¼a/ Çyae? ASy/ pada/ Öe zI/;ˆR s/Ý hSta?sae ASy ,

iÇxa? b/Ïae v&;


? -
/ ae raer? vIit m/hae de/vae mTyaR/Aa iv?vez .
[r.s.i: va_madeva gautama]4.058.03 Four are his horns; three are his feet; his heads are two, his
hands are seven; the triple-bound showerer (of benefits) roars aloud; the mighty deity has entered
among men. [This verse is preferentially applied to Agni, identified either with yajn~a or with
A_ditya; the four horns of the yajn~a are the four vedas; of A_ditya, the four cardinal points of the
horizon; the three feet of yajn~a are the three daily sacrifices; of A_ditya, morning, noon, evening;
the two heads of yajn~a are two particular ceremonies termed brahmaudanam and pravargya; of
A_ditya, day and night; the seven hands of yajn~a are the seven metres; of A_ditya, the seven rays,
or the six seasons and their aggregate, or the year, the seventh; the term vr.s.abha phala_na_m
var.sita_, the rainer of rewards, applies to yajn~a and A_ditya; so does roraite, he roars, implying
the noise made by the repetition of the mantras of the vedas; the three bonds of yajn~a are: mantra,
kalpa and bra_hman.a, the prayer, the ceremonial; the rationale of A_ditya, the three regions, earth,
mid-air and heaven; another view is to limit vr.s.abha ka_ma_nam vars.ita_ to yajn~a; the four
horns are the priests: the hota_, udga_ta_, adhvaryu and brahma_; the three feet are the three vedas;
the two heads the havirdha_na and pravargya rites; the hands are the seven priests, or seven metres;
the three bonds the three daily sacrifices; Nirukta 13.7 applies the verse to yajn~a].
ià/y< Ê/Gx< n kaMy/m! Aja?im ja/Myae> sca? ,

"/maˆR n vaj?jQ/rae =?dBx>/ zñ?tae/ d->?/.


[r.s.i: vavri a_treya]5.019.04 May (Agni) with his two relatives, (heaven and earth), hear this
faultless (praise), acceptable as milk; he who, like the mixed oblation, is filled with food, and
unsubsdued, is ever the subduer of his foes. [He who, like the mixed oblations, is filled with food:
gharmo na va_jajat.harah, he in whose belly is food like the gharmah; the ordinary sense is warm,
hot and day; it is further identified with the ceremony called pravargya: pravargya iva gharmo
yatha_ havyena_jyenapayasa_ sikta_, like the pravargya the gharma, sprinkled with the oblation
butter and milk; gharma = a vessel, a pitcher].
tdœ va<? nra s/nye/ d&lts? %/¢m! Aa/iv;! k«[
? aeim tNy/turœ n v&/iòm! ,

d/Xy'œ h/ yn! mXv! Aa?wvR/[ae va/m! Añ?Sy zI/:[aR à ydœ $?m! %/vac? .
[r.s.i: kaks.i_va_n dairghatamasa (aus'ija)]1.116.12 I proclaim, leadeers (of sacriifce), for the skae
of acquiring wealth, that inimitable deed which you performed, as the thunder (announces) rain,
when provided by you with the head of a horse. Dadhyan~c, the son of Atharvan, taught you the
mystic science. [Legend: Vana Parva, Maha_bha_rata: gods, being oppressed by the Ka_lakeya
asuras, solicited from the sage Dadhica his bones, which he gave them, and from which Tvas.t.a_
fabricated the thunderbolt with which Indra slew Vr.tra and routed the asuras. The text: Indra,
having taught the science called pravargya vidya_ and madhu-vidya_ to Dadhyan~c, threatened that
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he would cut off his head if ever he taught them to any one else; the As'vins prevailed upon him,
nevertheless, to teach them the prohibited knowledge, and, to evade Indra's threat, took off the head
of the sage, replacing it by that of a horse; Indr, apprised of Dadhyan~c's breach of faith, sturck off
his equine head with the thunderbolt; on which, the As'vins restored to him his own. The pravargya
vidya_ is said to imply certain verses of the r.k, yajur and sa_ma vedas, and the madhu-vidya_ the
Bra_hman.a].
A/y< va<? "/maˆR A?iñna/ Staemn
e? / pir? i;Cyte ,

A/y< saemae/ mxum


? an! vaijnIvsU/ yen? v&/Ç< icket
? w>.
[r.s.i: s'as'akarn;a ka_n.va]8.009.04 This oblation is poured out, As'vin, to you with praise; this
sweet-savoured Soma is offered to you, who are alluent with food, (animated) by which you
meditate (the destruction) of the foe. [Oblation: gharma = pravargyam, a ceremony so-called; also
the name of a sacrificial vessel, as well as of the oblation it contains: gharmasya havis.a
a_dha_rabhu_to maha_vi_ro gharmah].

R.gveda also uses two technical terms: avame_hanti, nime_ghama_na:


6029.Damp: mehra_rna_ to get damp (from air moisture); mehrta'a_na_ to damp (Kur.); mehare to
be damp (as rain)(Malt.)(DEDR 5085). avame_hanti, nime_ghama_na is wet (RV.); me_gha_yate_
becomes cloudy (= me_gham. karo_ti)(Pa_n..)(TS.); meha_b to get wet (Aw.); miha_na_ to become
damp (H.)(CDIAL 10338a). me_hati pisses (RV.); mik to piss (Kho.)(CDIAL 10338). cf. me_ha
urine (Mn.); ame_ha retention of urine (TS.); mi_ze urine (Pr.); mi~_n (Tir.); mo~ (Sh.); mi_ke pl.
urine; mi_k pissing (Sh.)(CDIAL 10337).

The semantics are explained by the shape of the maha_vi_ra pots:

Buxar. A male pot figure. Ca. 1st cent CE. Allahabad Museum
(Acc. No. 5433).

Pot-hero (with horns, seated on a stool and a necklace). Two


views Mathura. Ca. Mauryan period. Russek collection (5751(SU1)
[After Pl. 14.16 in DM Srinivasan].

Kalibangan.
Harappan period.
Double-head. [After Illustrated
London News, March 24, 1962].

Mohenjo-daro. Mask with horns


showing a humanized bovine.
Harappan period. [After E. Mackay,
Further Excavations at Mohenjo-
daro, New Delhi, 1938].

Terracotta double-faced head. Kus’a_n.a period. Lucknow.


State Museum (Acc. No. 6.15/14); b. Terracotta double-head. Side view of a; c. Isimu.
Mesopotamia. Post-Akkadian period. Staatliche Museum zu Berlin (Ac. No. AN 20500). [After
Doris Seth Srinivasan, Pl. 13.12 to 14].

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Bharhut. Double-faced head. Ca. 2nd century BCE.
Muse+um fur Indische Kunst, Berlin (acc. No. 1.10.126).

A Vais.n.ava divinity. Malha_r, Madhya Pradesh. 1st


Cent. BCE. The divinity carries a large pat.a, sword [After
Donald M. Stadner].

Vis.n.u carrying a gada_ and a


cakra. Sulta_npur, Uttar Pradesh.
10th cent. CE. Lucknow, State Museum
(Acc. No. 0.199).

Kot Diji. Bovine


(buffalo) depicted
with long horns has a human face. Harappan period.
Islamabad Museum. [Photo and drawing after Dept. of
Archaeology and Museums, Govt. of Pakistan]. ko_la =
woman (Nahali); ko_l. = planet (Ta.) Rebus: kol ‘metal’
(Ta.) kod.u = horn. Rebus: kod. = artisan’s workshop
(Kuwi)

Vis.n.u.
Deogarh,
Gupta
period. C.
500 CE. ASI. Asleep in the Cosmic
Ocean, resting upon A_dis’es.a, the
Cosmic serpent and is attended by
deva-s and asura-s carrying weapons.
Lower panel depicts six warriors
*carrying different weapons: quiver,
spear, sword, cakra (discus), s’anku
(spear), and gada_ (personified as
gada_ devi).

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Narasim.ha with Vr.s.n.i vi_ra. The heroes carry a variety of weapons analogous to
the Aanantas’ayana Vis.n.u panel at Deogarh, Madhya Pradesh. Kondamotu, Andhra
Pradesh. Early 4th cent. CE. State Museum, ASI, Hyderabad.

Coin of Va_sudeva I. Oe_so on reverse. A trident and a bow are held by Oe_so. No.
526 in Robert Gobl.,System and Chronologie der Muntzpra_gung des
Kus’a_nreiches, 1984.

Neminatha flanked by Samkars.an.a/Balara_ma and Vasudeva-


Kr.s.n.a. Balara_ma carries a mace on his right hand. Mathura.
Late Kus.a_n.a period. [Govt. Museum, Mathura. Acc No. 342488].

Vis.n.u’s continued association with the Cosmic Waters is depicted in the


Ra_ji_m sculpture symbolised by the Na_ga ra_ja who worships Vis.n.u as he takes the Third
Stride.

Vis.n.u as Trivikrama. Rock-cut sculpture. Cave 3,


Ba_da_mi,
Mysore. 6th
cent. DCE.
ASI.
Trivikrama
carries a
number of
weapons:
gada_, cakra,
s’ankha (homonym: s’an:ku, spear), sword, bow. Trivikrama spans
Varun.a of asura-s of the Nether World, Br.haspati of the deva-s of
the upper world and Vis.n.u for the totality of the universe. In this
Ba_da_mi sculpture, Vis.n.u comes as a tiny brahmaca_rin to confront
King Bali and challenges him as to who could take the longer ‘stride’.
The dignity of the sculpture and the depiction of weapons as powerful
protective symbols of Mankind’s Saviour is breath-taking as it
unravels a profound conception of the totality of opposed moieties.
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Vis.n.u Trivikrama and Na_ga. Ra_ji_va Locana temple. Ra_jim, Raipur Dist., M.P. Early 8th cent.
CE.

Vis.n.u Trivikrama. One one hand a dagger is held. Mathura. Kus.a_n.a period. Govt. Museum,
Mathura Acc. No. 50.3550 [After Pl. 18.14 in DM Srinivasan].

Vis.n.u with eight arms. A vajra, a dagger and a flat sword (pat.a)
are held. Mathura. 4th cent. CE. [Sothby’s Inc., New York].

Harappa. Lin:gam in
situ in Trench Ai,
Mound F [After Pl. X
© in MS Vats,
Excavations at
Harappa]

Kalibangan:
Terracotta lin:ga-
cum-yoni. Mature
Harappan (Courtesy ASI)

S’iva lin:ga were found at Mohenjo-daro


and Harappa. The religious tradition of
S’iva worship is a continuing tradition in
Bha_rata. [After Mackay, FEM, Pl. CIV,
#27 and
28 and
bases to
hold the
lin:ga,
#24. and
25. The
base #25
is engraved with tre-foil pictorial motifs, an
apparent depiction of divinity associated with the
lin:ga the base holds. Note the two matching
holes on the base #25 and #28 to hold the lin:ga
in position, using rivets.
nd
S’iva. Bhita, Uttar Pradesh. Pan~camukha lin:ga. 2 cent. BCE. Lucknow,
State Museum (Acc. No. H4). Another view [After photograph by DM
Srinivasan, Pl. 14.4].

Shell bangles from burial of an elderly woman at Harappa, c. 2600 BCE; Wide
bangle made from a single conch shell and carved with a chevron motif. Harappa,
c. 2400 BCE. [After Figs. 7.43 and 7.44 in JM Kenoyer, 1998]. Bangles are the
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traditional ornaments worn by women of Bha_rata to the
present day. There is an example of a middle-aged adult male
with a broken shell bangle that appears to have been worn on
the left wrist. [JM Kenoyer, 1998, p. 144].

A sinuous tree with short leaves.


Terracotta tablet. Harappa H95-2523 (After
Fig. 6.3 in JM Kenoyer, 1998]. Nausharo. Jar
with three papal leaves. Period 1D, 2600 –
2550 BCE [After Samzun, 1992, Fig. 29.4,
no.2; cf. Fig. 6.4 in JM Kenoyer, 1998]

Harappa. Mount ET Square molded


tablet. A. one-horned bull sealing and script
on one side; and B. deity under papal arch with 13 leaves, and a stylized branch with three ‘leaves’
projecting from the centre of the head and a long braid hanging at the back. Both arms covered with
bangles and held at each side in a formal pose. On other
tablet has an arch of 13 leaves; three tablets have seven-
and
eight-

leaved arches.on the


reverse. [After Fig. 6.5 in:
JM Kenoyer, 1998].

Many triangular
terracotta cakes were found inside hearths and
kilns indicating their use to retain heat during firing of pottery or metals and as packing material to
keep the heated objects in place without dislocation during intense heat. Similar might have been
the use of terracotta cones. It is possible that some of them
were used as weights for threads during weaving.

Moulds were used to make intricate designs on figures as


seen from the mould used to make the head of a bull.
(After photo in: http://bosei.cc.u-
tokai.ac.jp/~indus/english/2_2_03.html)

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Terracotta cones found at Harappa and Mohenjodaro. Could have been used as packing

material while firing terracotta objects such as pottery. (After JM Kenoyer/Courtesy Dept. of
Archaeology and Museums, Govt. of Pakistan).

Pottery heads, Kish. [After Pl. IX, 8 and 9 in Gregory L. Possehl, ed., 1979, Ancient Cities of the
Indus, Delhi, Vikas Publishing House Pvt. Ltd.]

Bangles. Blue glass paste. 3.5 in. dia. Harappa.


[After Pl.II in: Gregory L. Possehl, ed., 1979, Ancient
Cities of the Indus, Delhi, Vikas Publishing House Pvt.
Ltd.] The pattern is reproduced on the pannier of a one-horned bull which is a frequently occurring
pictograph on inscribed objects of the civilization.

Three standing figurines attest to the sartorial styles of the


civilization. The left showsa female wearing necklaces and
headdress. The center figurine is a male. Mohenjodaro. (After photo
in:
http://bosei.cc.u-tokai.ac.jp/~indus/english/2_2_02.html)

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Statue of a man with a double-bun hair-dress. A fillet around the head. Mohenjodaro.
(After JM Kenoyer/Courtesy Dept. of Archaeology and Museums, Govt. of Pakistan).

Fillet on the head: a symbol of a warrior

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Male torso. Harappa, 8.5 cm. high Finely braided or wavy
combed hair tied into a double bun on the back of the head and a
plain fillet or headband with two hanging ribbons falling down the
back. The upper lip is shaved, and a closely cropped and combed
beard lines the pronounced lower jaw. The stylized almond-shaped
eyes are framed b long eyebrows. The wide mouth is similar to that
of the ‘priest-king’ statuette. Stylized ears are made of a double curve
with a central knob. Mohenjodaro Museum. Dales 1985: pl. IIb;
Ardeleanu-Jansen 1984: 139-157.

Male head probably broken from a seated sculpture. Carved


sand-stone head. Mohenjodaro. 13.5 cm. high

Depiction of an Elamite cutting his bow in an Assyrian relief


[After E. Strommenger, 1994, Elamier, Perser und
Babylonier, in: Dietrich, M. and Loretz, O., eds.,
Beschreiben und Deuten in der Archaologie des
Alten Orients: Festschrift fur Ruth Mayer-
Optificius, Munster: Ugarit-Verlag, 312-25: Taf.
1d]. The style of wearing a fillet on his head is

paralled on some
figurines found in SSVC. Limestone. 33.5 cm.
High. Mohenjodaro Museum, MM 432. “Seated
male sculpture with shell inlay still remaining in
one eye. The braided or combed hair lies back
straight, and a plain fillet or ribbon encircles the
head and falls down the back of the neck. Two
strands of a ribbon or braided hair hang over the
shoulder. The stylized ear is a simple cup shape
with a hole in the center. The upper lip is shaved
and a short, combed beard covers the lower jaw.
The forward projecting head and large lips may
reflet a specific personality or may be due to the
particular style of carving. Slight traces of what
may have been a cloak are visible on the back, but
the legs are clearly visible and not totally covered
with a garment as in other sculptures. The left arm
rests on top of the lowered left knee, while the
right hand rests on the upraised right leg. This
sitting pattern is opposite of that seen on most
other sculptures. Other sculptures show the left knee raised and the right knee lowered.” [After JM
Kenoyer, 1998, p.215]

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Twisting figure of a male dancer, gray sandstone. Harappa, 8.5 cm. high; conjectural
sketch of dancer from Harappa, after Marshall 1931, fig. 1

Mohenjo-daro. Terracotta figurine. Hair-do (turban?).


[After Marshall, MIC, Pl. XCV, 30]. Perhaps this may
represent ka_kapaks.a described of S’ri Ra_ma in the
Ra_ma_yan.a by Va_lmi_ki.

Three views of the


bronze cast statue
with exquisite hair-
knot tied into a bun
at the back and
wearing a three-
beaded pendant,
bracelets from wrist
to shoulder on one
hand and on the
wrist and elbow on
the right hand
[Marshall, MIC, Pl. XCIV, 6 to 8].

This is distinctly different from the bearded figures shown wearing shawls, with fillets on their
foreheads, clean-shaven beards, almost all bald-headed and some wearing a long pig-tail flowing
down at the back. Priests: statuary [Marshall, MIC, Pl. XCVIII; four views 1 to 4; Pl. C, 1 to 6].

There are statuary showing bearded persons with hair-knots tied into a bun at the back. [Marshall,
MIC, Pl. XCIX, 4 to 9].

Yogin. Seated limestone sculpture. Mohenjodaro.

On the back of the figure, the


hair style can be
reconstructed as composed of
a wide-swath of hair and a
braided lock of hair or ribbon hanging along the right side
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of the back. A cloak draped over the edge of the left-shoulder covers the folded legs and lower
body, leaving the right shoulder and chest bare. This style of leaving the right-shoulder bare is also
seen in the statuette of the so-called ‘priest-king’. This style of wearing the uttari_yam continues in
the Bharatiya cultural tradition among yogins, sadhus and sants. The left arm clasps the left knee
and the hand shows underneath the cloak. The right hand rests on the right knee, which is folded
beneath the body. Islamabad Museum. Marshall 1931: 358-9, pl. C. 1-3. After Figure 5.31,
Kenoyer, 1999

The statue of a priest king (National Museum, Karachi), about 2300


BC. Three views of the bronze cast statue with exquisite hair-knot tied into a
bun at the back and wearing a three-beaded pendant, bracelets from wrist to
shoulder on one hand and on the wrist and elbow on the right hand
[Marshall, MIC, Pl. XCIV, 6 to 8].

Mohenjo-daro. Terracotta figurine. Hair-do (turban?). [After Marshall,


MIC, Pl. XCV, 30]. Perhaps this may represent ka_kapaks.a described of
S’ri Ra_ma in the Ra_ma_yan.a by Va_lmi_ki.

This is distinctly different from the bearded figures shown wearing shawls,
with fillets on their foreheads, clean-shaven beards, almost all bald-headed
and some wearing a long pig-tail flowing down at the back. Priests: statuary [Marshall, MIC, Pl.
XCVIII; four views 1 to 4; Pl. C, 1 to 6].

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Cotton textile, weaving, and carpet making crafts

A toy bed at Harappa bore this textile impression showing a piece


of tightly woven cloth using uniformly spun thread. (After Harappa
Archaeological Research Project/Courtesy Dept. of Archaeology and
Museums, Govt. of Pakistan).The find relates to the Harappan Phase (c.
2600-1900 BCE). This example shows a fairly tightly woven normal weave.
. [Color representation of the photograph after slide 115 from the Harappa
excavations after 1996.]

Fibers to wrap copper razor

A copper razor (H2000/2164-01) was found in the debris layers at the edge of the
kiln dump in Trench 54. Wrapped with fibers, pseudomorphs and impressions of
which are preserved in the in the corroded copper, this type of curved razor may
have been used in the making of textiles such as carpets. [After slide 196 from the
Harappa excavations after 1996.]

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Cotton, Gossypium arboreum, was found at Mohenjodaro. Fibres of cotton were discovered
adhering to a silver vase at Mohenjo-Daro (Turner and Gulati, 1928), and several faiences and
vessels from Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa had impressions of woven fabric made of finely spun
thread (Marshall, 1931).

While the production of cotton, embroidery and woolen fabrics may be surmised as crafts of the
civilization, direct archaeological evidence is lacking. However, the figurines of male and female
show wearing skirts and cloaks. Cotton was said to have been imported from Meluhha according to
Mesopotamian texts. Recent excavations at Harappa have produced evidence of many plain-weave
fabric impressions on the interior of faience vessels. “The uniform thickness of threads in a single
piece of fabric and the tight weave reflected by these impressions indicate the use of spinning
wheels… Traces of cotton fabric were identified at Mohenjo-daro where they were preserved by
contact with a corroding silver jar. Many examples of cotton thread and fabric were identified on
copper tools. At Harappa possible cotton threads were foud wrapped around the handle of a small
copper mirror from a female burial and also around the handle of a curved copper razor…Indirect
evidence for the production of carpets has been found in the Indus cavities in distinctive curved
copper/bronze kinives that are functionally very similar to the curved blades used today for cutting
the knotted threads of pile carpets…Weaving and carpetmaking were undoubtedly important
household or cottage industries throughout the Indus Valley and may have contributed to the
exports traded to Mesopotamia and neighbouring regions.” (Marshall, Mohenjo-daro and the Indus
Civilization. AN Gulati and AJ Turner. A Note on the Early History of Cotton. Bulletin 17.
Technological Series 12, Bombay, Indian Central Cotton Committee, 1928; Ernest JH Mackay,
Further Excavations at Mohenjodaro, New Delhi, Government of India, 1938, p. 440; JM Kenoyer,
1998, Ancient Cities of the Indus Valley Civilization, OUP, p. 159).

One use of circular platforms inside smaller buildings may be surmised in the context of dyeing
textiles. “Even though these circular platforms were found near the granary, it is important to note
that they were constructed inside smaller buildings and that they belong to many different building
phases. In other words, there is little to suggest a connection between the circular platforms and the
so-called granary…In the VS area of Mohenjo-daro, a room with specially prepared brick basins, a
water-tight floor and corner drain may have been a workshop for starching or dyeing cloth. A brick
dust bin for garbage and a square sump pit connected to a drain are visible across the street.” (JM
Kenoyer, 2000, Ancient Cities of the Indus Valley Civilization, OUP, p. 65, p. 128.)

Gundestrup cauldron and Sarasvati Civilization glyphs

Artistic motifs and cultural icons do travel


far and wide – and, over time: see glyphs
on the Gundestrup cauldron and parallels
with inscribed objects of Sarasvati Sindhu
Civilization. The parallels are too vivid
and emphatic to be brushed aside as mere
chance coincidences. A note on the
Gundestrup cauldron is appended. A
lizard appears on the Gundestrup cauldron. It is celebrated in Sarasvati sculpture at Dholavira.

Dholavira. Stone sculpture of monitor lizard.

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This is comparable to the glyphs of the lizard which appear on many seals and tablets containing
epigraphs of the civilization.

Sculpting in stone is a tradition traceable to exquisite


miniature figurines of faience made
in Mohenjodaro, circa 4500 years
before present.

Mohenjodaro. Faience squirrel.

Mohenjodaro. Faience monkey.

Stone sculptural tradition. Sanchi stupa stone panel, 1st century


BCE Warriors are shown riding horned lions.

Dhameka Stupa in Sarnath, 500 CE

The architectural excellence finds an early, utilitarian


expression in the rock-cut reservoirs of Dholavira and the
tradition continues in the building of step-walls in many
parts of the country. “Water. It is revered whenever it's
hard to find, in places where the dry and draining heat
burns for months on end, where monsoon rains visit only in
summer, then vanish. To cope with this parched life, the
people of western India more than a 1000 years ago built
wells. But not the holes in the ground we know as wells,
these were ornate, magnificent, maze-like structures made of stone, some 90 feet deep.

Stepwells; respite from the heat and hallowed receptacle for that essential water. A place to bathe, to
drink, and to pray.” [cf. Morna Livingstone, Milo Beach, 2002, Steps to Water; The Ancient
Stepwells of India."]

Nalanda. Stupa.

Nalanda
University.
Sculpture in
stone depicting
a person seated
and holding a
round stone in
his right hand

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Pattadakkal. Stone sculpture of Bhairava on a panel. Bhairava is depicted as wearing a long
necklace of stone beads.

Badami, Karnataka. Stone panel depicting S’iva dancing with


12 hands and Ganes’a standing nearby.

Pattadakkal. Temple s’ikhara.

Ellora caves created between


th th
4 and 10 centuries CE are magnificent examples of rock-cut
architecture [over 200,000 tons of
rock to a depth of 100 ft were
removed], a tradition which can be traced to the rock-cut
reservoirs of Dholavira.

This tradition of scooping out rocks to create caves and of sculpting


in stone as an artistic medium has to be viewed in the context of the
tradition evolved in sites like Dholavira in creating rock-cut
reservoirs, ring-stones (as structural support) and even a monitor
lizard sculpted in the round. The tradition of scooping out stone also
finds its architectural echoes in the caves of central Bharat and
western
Maharashtra.

Ring-stones constituted a structural support


and in layers, constituted a pillar to create
multi-storeyed structures. http://bosei.cc.u-
tokai.ac.jp/~indus/english/2_4_02.html

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Sarasvati_. The legend shown on Bhita sealing, together with a ghat.a. Indian Museum,
Calcutta No. A. 11254-NS. 1958 The association of Sarasvati_ with a ghat.a,
water-pot is significant and relates to River Sarasvati_.

Many pictorial motifs which recur on inscribed objects of Sarasvati Civilization


are seen on ancient seals of the historical period of Bha_rata. It is notable that
most of the later-day seals using the motifs of Sarasvati Sindhu Valley Civilization
(SSVC) are relatable to royalty or military offices, to crafts and trade: nigama,
kulika, ta_mboli_, ca_turvidya (learning of the four Veda). The devices such as the jar, cakra, zebu,
persons seated in yogic posture, dotted circle, tree, svastik_, water-carrier, three-hills seem to have
attained auspicious connotations, since the devices are apparently unrelated to the inscriptions
mostly in Bra_hmi script (as also evidenced in the as.t.aman:galaka ha_ra on
Bharhut sculptures of Yaks.i].

Copper signet, Kaus’a_mbi, Allahabad Museum, no.


100: seal impression [After Pl. 1,1b in: Kiran Kumar
Thaplyal, 1972, Studies in Ancient Indian Seals, Lucknow,
Akhila Bharatiya Sanskrit Parishad] The device is a pair of
antelopes with their hands turned back. There are many epigraphs of
the civilization with such glyphs of
antelopes with their heads turned backwards.

Sealing of king Abhaya (legend: Ra_jn~(o)


Abhaya(sya), Rajghat, Bharat Kala Bhavan, no.
6049. Device: humped bull (Zebu?)[After Pl.
II,4 in: Thaplyal, 1972]

Sealing of the pradha_na in Kr.mila_ vis.aya, Nalanda, Indian Museum,


Calcutta. Device: tree. [After Pl. XII,4 in: Thaplyal, 1972]

Clay lump bearing impression of the


seal of the offices of (a)
kuma_ra_ma_tya and (b) bala,
Ahichchatra_, Antiquity section of the
ASI, New Delhi, No. AC II 4448. 2.
Sealing of the military office attached
to the Yuvara_ja-bhat.t.a_raka,
Basarh, Indian Museum, Calcutta, No. A 11315—NS 6159.
Sealing of Kulika S’a_libhadra, Basarh, Indian Museum, Calcutta, No. A 18499-NS 6195. 2.
Sealing of S’resht.hi-sa_rtthava_ha-kulika-nigama, Basarh, Indian Museum, Calcutta, No. A 18459-
NBS 6205. 3. Clay lump bearing impressions of the seals of (a) Prathaka-
kulika Ugrasim.ha and (b) Gomisva_mi, Basarh, Indian Museum, Calcutta,
No. A 18600-NS 6205. 4. Sealing of a ta_mboli_, Kumrahar, KP Jayaswal
Res. Instt., Patna. 5. Sealing of S’res.t.hi-sa_rthava_ha-prathama-kulika-
nigama, Basarh (vais’a_li), Directorate of Arch. And Mus., Bihar Govt.,
Patna, No. 273 G. 6. Clay lump bearing two impressions – (i) cakra and the
legend namastasmai and (ii) of Kulika Hari, Basarh, Indian Museum,
Calcutta, No. A 18684. 7. Sealing of a Nigama, Rajghat, Bharat Kala

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Bhavan, No. 6376. [After Pl. XXV in: Thaplyal, 1972]

Sealing of the Ca_turvidya of Ra_jagr.ha, Nalanda, Indian Museum, Calcutta. The device includes
two persons seated in yogic posture paralleling similar postures on SSVC inscribed objects. [After
Pl.XXVII, 5 in: Thaplyal, 1972]

Sealing with the device of six nandipada-s around a circle enclosing a dot, Sankisa, Dept.
of AIH and Arch., Lucknow University. Device: dotted circle. [After Pl.
XXXII,10 in Thaplyal, 1972]

Sealing, device of a tree on a platform, Kaus’a_mbi_,


Allahabad Museum, No. 259. [After Pl. XXXII, 3 in:
Thaplyal, 1972]

Sealing showing the


device of ‘Ujjain’ symbol and a yu_pa in railing,
Rajghat, Bharat Kala Bhavan, No. 6459. [After
Pl. XXXIV, 3 in: Thaplyal, 1972].

Sealing, yu_pa in railing and man with a bahangi (water-carrier


paralleling the SSVC pictorial motif) and a hollow cross, Sonpur,
Directorate of Mus. And Arch., Bihar Govt., Patna.

Sealing with the device of a svastika_ within a circular


border, Sonpur, Directorate of Mus. And Arch., Bihar Govt., Patna.

Sealing with two impressions: a. crescent over a three-


arched hill, a taurine and a human figure; b. tree (?) in
railing and crescent over a three-arched ‘hill’, Rajghat,
Bharat Kala Bhavan, No. 6456.

Divinity

Double-spiral on a copper
pin at Manda, Himachal
Pradesh (c. 3rd millennium BCE)

This double-spiral motif occurs both at Harappa


and Ur in the context of depicting a godess.

Head-dress of a terra-cotta godess


figurine.(Left) Harappa. Right: Double-spiral, a
symbol of a Babylonian godess. [After Pl.IV, 7
and 8 in: Gregory L. Possehl, ed., 1979, Ancient
Cities of the Indus, Delhi, Vikas Publishing
House Pvt. Ltd.]

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Vis’varu_pa. S’a_mala_ji, Vis’ra_magha_t. sixth century CE. [After Pl. 11.1 in: Doris Meth
Srinivasan, Many heads, arms and eyess: origin, meaning and form of multiplicity of Indian art, in:
Jan Fontein, ed., Studies in Asian Art and Archaeology]. This extraordinary sculpture is a veritable
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museum in itself of all the arms and armour of the warriors of Bha_rata. Almost all the weapons and
armour of the times are seen on the many forms of S’a_mala_ji depicted like branches of a tree
above the triple-headed divinity. The armourer, ivory-carver and the sculptor are products of the
tradition of valour, the heritage of the establishment of the Bha_rata ra_s.t.ra.

Like the as.t.aman:galaka ha_ra worn by the


Yaks.i in Bharhut sculpture, S’iva
As.t.amu_rti panel in Can.d.ika_devi temple,
6th century CE is also a depiction of the
weapons carried by different forms of the
divinity and the postures of abhaya connoted
by the mudra_ of the hands. The two forms
flanking S’iva in the lower register are seen
each carrying a tris’u_la and a dhanus. [After
photography by Michael W. Meister]

Pa_vai vil.akku: the


bowl on the right hand of the statue may have been used as a lamp. Two
views.
Bronze/copper. Mohenjo-daro. 13.cm. high; 4.7 cm. NMK
50.883; DK 12 728; Mackay, 1938: 274, pl. LXXIII.9-11.
Cire perdue technique.

Mohenjo-daro. Bronze figure wearing bangles, holding a small bowl in


her right hand. Hair is tied in a horizontal bun hanging low on the back of the
neck. Traces of long-almond-shaped eyes are visible. Bangles adorn the upper
left arm and a few bangles are indicated above the right elbow. Bronze sculpture
shows a high level of skill in modeling and lost-wax casting, a technology which
continues to the present day throughout Bha_rata. [After Fig. 7.24 in JM
Kenoyer, 1998].

Mehrgarh. Terracotta figure, with elaborate coiffure and ornaments from Period

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VI at Mehrgarh (ca. 3000 BCE)

Terracotta figurine, Mohenjodaro.

Terracotta female figurines,


Mohenjodaro, wearing jewellery
(cf. Allchin, 1982, Fig.
8.14) Harappa. Female terracotta
figure with four flowers
arranged on the front part of a
fan-shaped headdress. Two cups are on either side
which might have been used as lamps.

Mohenjo-daro. Terracotta. 188.7 cm. High. Marshall


1931: 338, pl. XCIV,14. ‘Female figurine heavily
adorned with six graduated strands of chokers and
pendant bead necklaces. A triple-strand belt
supporting a short skirt is closed with a triple-component clasp possibly
like the bronze terminals on the massive carnelian bead belts. The head
has a fan-shaped headdress with braided hair along the edges of what
were once cup-shaped side pieces. The head and body may actually
belong to different figurines.” [JM Kenoyer, 1998, p. 221].

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Durga_, the warrior-godess. Mathura. She has a lion as her va_hana, carries a tris’u_la and a
dagger in her hands. circa. 2nd cent. CE. Museum fur Indische Kunst, Berlin (Acc. No. MIK I 5894).

Durga_,
warrior-
godess. The
lion, her
va_hana is
seated to her left
as she grapples
with the buffalo-
headed asura;
she carries a
tris’u_la on her
left hand.
Mathura.
Kus.a_n.a
period. Mathura,
Govt. Museum
(Acc. No. 2317)
[After Pl. 20.2
in DM
Srinivasan].

Durga_ (Skt.)
means a fort.
Durga, and
Sarasvati_ are
divinities who
protect and
nurture a
civilization. This is Bharatiya tradition with roots found in Sarasvati Civilization. The analyses of
settlements reveals a remarkable penchant for building fortifications.

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Carving of capital in Mallikarjuna temple, Kuruvatti, 10th century CE

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Bead-making tradition
Lapidary arts and crafts, in particular techniques for etching carnelian and agate beads, which
evolved, perhaps in the region of the Gulf of Khambat, about 5,000 years before present continued
into the historical periods all over Bharat.

Tradition of dice and gaming board

The game of dice is the critical wager which decides


the between the Pa_n.d.ava and the Kaurava,
elaborated in the Great Epic, the Mahabharata. This
game of dice traces the tradition to the archaeologically
attested artifacts of the Sarasvati Civilization.

Gaming board designs : Lothal (After Rao 1985, Fig.


104; Harappa (H94/5340-1).
Harappa. Cubical dice made of clay and stone. [After Fig.
6.40 in JM Kenoyer, 1998].

Incised ivory counter with 4 double circle-and-dot


motifs on each side. Nausharo. Possibly used with other
counters as gaming dice. Period III. Harappan 2300-2200
BCE. 6.81 cm. Long. Dept. of Archaeology, Karachi EBK 5656 [After JM Kenoyer, 1998, p. 214].

Carved ivory counters; a. duck ornament; b. stylized


figurine with triple-circle motifs; c. double duck-
head ornament. Mohenjo-daro. Mackay 1938, pl.
CXXV.8[After Fig. 6.41 in JM Kenoyer, 1998].

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Cubical weights in a binary sequence. Harappa. (After JM Kenoyer/Courtesy Dept. of
Archaeology and Museums, Govt. of Pakistan). The metrology system indicated by these weights in
binary sequence was used in the Persian Gulf contact areas and continued into the historical periods.
The weights were perhaps used by lapidaries and metalsmiths of the civilization.

A woman in Channapattinam, India makes wooden


beads with a bow drill used as a lathe.

Bead materials and bead-making

Beads are a treasure which come in variegated colours and


shapes. Heating deepens the colour of the beads and hence
the finds of ‘fire-altars’ and ‘fire-pits’ can be explained in
the context of bead-makers’ or lapidaries’ apparatus. Some
beads are made of naturally-occurring seeds.

Bharat was the land of gem cutters and jewelry makers who integrated beads in a remarkable system
of measurement involving weights.

According to Manu, eight of the motes seen in a sunbeam are supposed to weigh the same
as a small poppy seed. Three small poppy seeds equal the weight of one black mustard
seed. Three black mustard seeds equal the weight of a white mustard seed. Six white
mustard seeds are equal to one medium barley grain. Three barleygrains equal one rati. So,
one rati weighs 1296 motes in a sunbeam.

The rati weight was eventually fixed at 1.75 grains. (There are 480 grains in one Troy
ounce). Most dealers in precious metals and stones used a "double rati" of 3.5 grains as a
unit of weight of precious metals such as gold.

The builders of Sarasvati Civilization had exquisite tools to work with both (1) miniature stone
beads and (2) large stones used in archicture such as polished pillars and ring-stones.

The following conclusions can be drawn about the technological competence of the vis’vakarma’s
of the civilization, from the cumulative evidence gathered from hundreds of civilization sites:

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• They had used a cutting rock harder than quartz. They
had used lathes to create the epigraphs on seals and
tablets, many of which were incised with a very fine
cutting point, as a sharp pointed graver. They had tube
drills - drill bits and the machinery to hold them steady
and apply rotational torque.
• They had saws that would cut limestone with ease and
precision.
• They had the ability to sculpt hard rocks.
• They were accomplished at finishing stone in situ
• They had the ability to cut, level and polish stone to a
sophisticated degree of flatness.
• They had lathes that would turn and polish stones (in
ways we have not duplicated).
• They had the means to cut extremely accurate parallel
limestone joints with remarkable flatness over large
surface areas - 35 sq.ft.or more.
• They had the knowledge and technology to consistently
lift, exactly maneuver and delicately place enormous
weights of stone.

Archaeological finds reinforce the importance of beads in
ancient societies. This adult woman from ancient
Harappa was buried with two shell bangles on her left
arm and five carnelian beads at her waist. Harrappa
Museum Pakistan. Courtesy of the Harrappa Archaeological
Research Project.

Skeleton of an adult woman


at Harappa was buried with
shell bangles on her left arm
Harrappa Museum Pakistan.
Courtesy of the Harrappa
Archaeological Research
Project.

"In burial sites in


Harappa," Kenoyer notes, "we found one woman with five carnelian beads worn at her waist -
no gold, no silver, just five beads. We don't know what those five beads meant, but they clearly
were an amulet for protection against a health problem. She wore them in life, and when she
died, they buried her with them because amulets are associated with an individual and cannot be
passed on."

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Using fire to colour and to add designs to beads

A terracotta figurine shows how beads were worn. Mohenjodaro.


Terracotta female adorned with six graduated strands of chokers
and pendant-head necklaces. A triple-strand belt supports a short skirt.
A fan-shaped headdress adorns the braided hair, along with edges of what
were once cup-shaped side-pieces (lamps to hold oil and cotton wicks).
Karachi, National Museum NMP 50.509 Marshall 1931: 338, pl. XCIV.14

Mohenjodaro. Beads of different


shapes. Small short bicone is a
composite bead made of laminated
shell and stone to imitate natural
banded agate. Material: agate, jasper,
green-serpentine. Museum MM 1119;
Marshall 1931: pl. CL

“Some of the soft steatite beads were


unfired, leaving the natural tan or grey-black color. Other
beads were bleached and fired to a white color. Finally
some beads were glazed with a blue green glaze that was
applied to a roughened exterior. In addition to the steatite
beads, they produced short and long biconical beads of
harder stones, such as carnelian, banded agate,
multicolored jaspers, lapis lazuli, and amazonite. The
color combinations resulting from these beads would
have been quite striking. Terracotta was also used to
produce beads in many of the same shapes as the stone beads as well as unique forms that were
only possible with clay. For example some of the small terracotta lenticular beads were
impressed with fabric on both sides to create a patterned surface. Other terracotta beads were
pinched with the fingers or palms of the hands, leaving the patterned lines of the maker's hands
on the surface of the bead. Since many of the beads were also carefully smoothed to remove
fingerprints, we can assume that the patterned surfaces were left intentionally. During the Kot
Diji phase there is evidence for
faience bead production to
create microbeads as well as
larger lenticular and biconical
shapes. The faience beads in
the later part of the Kot Diji
phase are made from finely
ground and refired frit that
appears to be similar to the
compact faience documented
from the following Harappan
Phase (Kenoyer 1994). This form of high quality faience is
found only in the Indus Valley and not in other
contemporaneous cultures, such as Mesopotamia or Egypt.“
(Kenoyer, 1999)

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Elegant necklace made of grossular garnet beads (green) with gold bicone beads and
pendant beads of orbicular jaspers . Mohenjo-daro, Pakistan. Courtesy of the Department of
Archaeology and Museums, Government of Pakistan.

1996 excavations at Harappa found a small pot with a collection of 133 beads and
amulets. These beads were made from a variety of natural rocks; some were
synthesized to imitate the colours of lapis lazuli, turquoise, and banded jasper. Harrappa
Museum, Pakistan. Courtesy of the Harrappa Archaeological Research Project.

Harappa. Carnelian bead


decorated with white,
bleached elliptical design on
both faces. H89-1484
Kenoyer observes: "In Harappa,
they started out with the simplest
technique - just pecking at it and
popping a hole through. Then we
have drilling with tapered stone
drills that were just a bit harder
than the bead stone. Later, they
developed exquisite drills that
were especially designed to
perforate long stones."

Carnelian is a red stone made by heating an


agate stone. Heating the stone brings out a
deeper colour in the stone. Smelting was a
process of preparing raw materials to be
fabricated into beads. Stone tools were initially
chipped; technology which was developed to
grind stone beads led to the preparation of
ground stone tools. From roughcuts of carnelian or agate stones, the first step is to chip them into a
crude shape from the raw stone. The second step is to ground the blanks to shape. The third step is
is to polish the beads.

Chalcedony (Agate, quartz family of


minerals) blanks from the medieval
beadmaking site of Limudra, India.

The bow-drill constituted a significant invention,


perhaps during the Neolithic period, to improve
the efficiency of drilling beads. The drill was
apparently made of a special rock as yet
unknown. The drill is made with a piece of
copper and grooving the tip, twisting it around to
hold the special rock which constitutes the
gimlet.

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Balakot. The original white bleached design on the carnelian bead has weathered away,
leaving behind the appearance of an etched design. (Afgter Fig. 7.41, Kenoyer, 1999).

Mehrgarh, is a major site recording the Neolithic developments, characterized


by simple mud walled buildings with four internal subdivisions and numerous
burials with often quite elaborate burials offerings (Jarrige et al. 1995). The
offerings included baskets, stone and bone tools, and a range of ornaments
such as beads and bangles (Barthélémy de Saizieu 1990). The bangle types
were: wide shell bangles, bracelets and anklets made from tabular beads of
white shell or white limestone (Kenoyer 1995b). Also used were beads of
blue-green turquoise, deep blue lapis lazuli, banded sandstone and polished
copper, natural shell beads from brown and white striped Engina mendicaria,
purple Spondylus shell disc beads and large disc pendants made from the flat spire of the cone shell
(Conus sp.) The finds of shell ornaments in Mehrgarh 300 kms. north of the Makran coast show the
early exploitation of marine-based resources. At Mehergarh, the Chalcolithic period (Periods II and
III, from around 5500 to 3300 BCE), records an increased use of seatite bead necklaces and
bracelets, along with pendants of lapis lazuli, carnelian and other semiprecious stones. At Mehrgarh
and Nausharo production began of blue-green glazed faience beads which required fairly high firing
temperatures as well as a specialized technology of frit and glaze preparation (Barthélémy de
Saizieu and Bouquillon 1997).

Etched carnelian bead, 'Royal Tombs of Ur'.

This etched carnelian bead was likely to have been obtained through trade, from Gujarat.

Evidence of trading links between the


Sarasvati-Sindhu civilization and Mesopotamia
exists from circa 2600 BCE. The craftsman
painted designs onto beads with a white paste,
then heated the beads. The heating of the beads
fused the design into the stone and resulting in a
red-coloured stone with a white design. Many
beads of this type have been found in many
civilization sites. They have also been found in
far-away places such as the Sumerian city of
Ur, in southern Mesopotamia.

Continuity of carnelian-agate etching


techniques all over Bharat

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Etched beads of carnelian and agate are of frequent occurrence from many sites of Bharat. Some
specimens have also been found in Mesopotamia at sites far removed from the Sarasvati River
Basin and the coastal regions of Gujarat.

Unpolished carnelian

Semi-precious stones and other raw materials such as tin were brought into Sindhu River Valley
sites from areas to the east of the Indus Valley, i.e. from the Sarasvati River Basin. For example,
mines have been found in the Aravalli Hills which would have supplied many craftsmen in the
Indus Valley with the uncut stone needed to make carnelian beads.

Sources for other types of materials used in the civilization sites have been found as far away as
Afghanistan.

Red carnelian beads. Bead-making skills are evident from many different shapes and sizes of
beads found at all the major sites. The beads were worked on with bow-drill and chert drill. Chert
from Rohri hills was also used to make scrapers and blades.

At Sehwan in upper Sind, the technique of etching which is dated to circa 5500 years before
present, continued even upto 1929. (Bellasis, 1857, Further observations on the ruined city of
Brahmanabad, JBBRAS, 5.471; Cousens, H., Antiquities of Sind, Archaeological Survey of India,
New Imperial Series, No. XLVI, 1929). Potash, white lead and wild-grown kirar (capparis aphylla)
bush are used for the decoration. The ingredients were made into a thick liquid, applied with pen on
the carnelian or agate and exposed to a red heat in charcoal to achieve the indelible decorations.
After decoration, the drilling of the beads would be taken up. To achieve black lines, mineral salts
of copper and manganese are used to produce a purplish tinge as seen from the beads found at
Chanhu-daro.

Remarkably, the patterns and technology of etching are evidenced in sites of Ganga valley and
megalithic sites of southern Bharat. Mackay demonstrated that etched beads were traded between
Sumer and Meluhha (Sarasvati-Sindhu valley sites)(Mackay, E., 1925, Etched Carnelian Beads,
Antiquaries Journal, XIII, 334-98). Horace C. Beck elucidated a typologial analysis of decorative
patterns; he also demonstrated that black lines which appeared on etched beads of Type II were
produced by mineral salts of copper and managanese. (Beck, H.C., 1927, Classification and
nomenclature of beads and pendants, Archaeologia, 77; Etched Carnelian Beads, Antiquaries
Journal, XIII, 1933; Sundry Asiatic Beads, MAN, 1930 Art. 150; Beads from Taxila, MASI, 65,
New Delhi, 1941). Type II beads have been traced as far back as 2300 BCE and are found at many
sites in Bharat; one has been found at Mohenjodaro and four at Chanhudaro. Similar specimens
have been found at Tell Asmar, Ur and Kish in Mesopotamia. The patterns continue at a later period
outside Bharat in the beads found n Persian Baluchistan and Damascus. Beads from Sirkap, Taxila
are dated to First Century CE; those found from ganga valley (at CHirayya Kot, Kosam, Masaon
and Rajghat) indicate that the process continued in these areas until the 15th Century CE. A
specimen from Patna is believed to have come from Mauryan levels. Kolhapur beads point to the
2nd Century BCE; one was found in Bahmani layers (16th century CE). At Kondapur, Hyderabad
State, a Satavahana date is assigned to a bead.

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"If the commerce with the various countries was by sea in the historical period, the place of Cambay as a
great trading port deserves to be mentioned (Arkell, Cambay and the bead trade, Antiquity, 10.292-305).
Agate and carnelian mines in its neighbourhood were being worked from a remote antiquity. Beads and
other manufactured articles were being exported in large quantitie to different parts of the globe,
particularly Persia, African coasts, Egypt, Asia Minor and even Rome. Literary data is replete with
references on this oint Although no etched beads from the immediate vicinity of Cambay are at present
known, it is possible that with the extensive bead trade was also carried the technique of etching. With
the expansion of Roman commerce at various trading points, particularly in South India, the possibilities
of such a procedure were immense...The possibilities of the land route from the Northwest Frontier are
again not altogether barred, since many
objects Mediterranean type have been
found in the region around Taxila and
Peshawar. Trade in precious is said to
have stopped with the downfall of
Perseus and Mithrades in Rome where
oriental stones were brought after the
conquest of Alexander." of the (MG
Dixit, opcit, pp. 37-38).

The main sites where etched


beads were found: Northern Bharat:
Sind: Brahmanabad, Chanhu-daro,
Hisbani, Mohenjo-daro, Sirwahi;
Punjab and NWF Province: Akra,
Harappa, Sar Dheri, Taxila; United
Provinces: Ahicchatra, Azamgarh,
Behat, Bairant, Bhita, Chirayya Kot,
Chosi, Indo Khera, Kosam, Kanauj,
Madhuri, Masaon, Mathura, Rajghat,
Rahtoyya, Serai Aghat and Benares
district sites; Jaipur State: Rairh,
Sambhar; Bihar: Basarh, Lauriya
Nandangarh, Patna, Sabaur;
Bengal:Bangad; Central India:
Maheshwar, Ujjain; Southern Bharat:
Mumbai Presidency: Kolhapur
(Brahmapuri); Hyderabad State:
Kadkal, Kallur, Kondapur, Maski,
paithan, Raigir; Madras Presidency:
Kupgal, Manjan-Karnai, Palghat,
Paravai, Peyal, Sangakallu (Bellary),
Shevroy Hills, Sulur, Vellalur, Mondapalle (Arikamedu), Billikambe Perunganad (Nilgiri hills),
Chandravalli, Coorg, Moory Betta Hill (Coorg). Based on the methods of manufacture, principal
types categorized by MG Dixit are: Type I – White patterns on red background; Type II – Black
patterns on whitened surface of stone; Type III – Black patterns etched directly on the stone.

[After Pl. X, MG Dixit, 1949, Etched Beads in India, Poona, Deccan College Monograph Series 4]
Etched beads of Type I; 1-23 Brahmanabad, Sind, Unstratified. The Plate is adopted from Cousens,
Antiquities of Sind, Pl. XIII; and ASI, AR, 1903-1904, Plate XLIX. The material is probably
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carnelian. There are six beads similar to Fig. 7 in the collection and six resembling Fig. 8. Figs. 6
and 8 are also represented in the Prince of Wales Museum, Mumbai; the rest are probably in the
British Museum, London.

Etched Beads of Type I; 1-5 Mohenjo-daro; 6-13 Chanhu-daro; 14-16 Harappa


• Car. Rect. Dbl. Convex. Ptn. 1. M-d, Pl. CXLVI,43
• Car. Rect. Dbl. Convex. Ptn. 1. FEM, CXXV, 5.
• Car. Cir. Dbl. Convex. Ptn. Ring. M-d, Pl. CXLVI
• Car. Sph. Dbl. Convex. Ptn.2
• Car. Ovl. Tabl. ZDbl. Convex. Ptn. 3. M-d, P. CXLVI, 44
• Car. Hexa. DBl. Convex. Ptn. Var. 1. Ch-d, Pl. LXXIX, 13
• Car. Ovl. Dbl. Convex. Ptn. with double quadrant arcs and a circle in the centre. Ch-d, Pl.
LXXIX,15
• Car. Bar. Dbl. Convex. V-shaped lines. Ch-d, Pl. LXXIX, 16
• Car. Sph. Trun. Ch-d, Pl. LXXIX, 11. Ptn. Var.2
• Car. Cyl. Ptn. Var. 2, Ch-d, Pl. LXXIX, 9
• Car. Ovl. or Cir. Dbl. Convex. Ptn. 3, Ch-d, Pl. LXXIX, 1-3
• Car. Ovl. Dbl. Convex. Ptn. 4, Ch-d, Pl. LXXIX, 4-7
• Car. Ovl. Dbl. Convex. Ptn. 5, Ch-d, Pl.LXXIX, 9
• Car. Bar. Ptn. 2, Vats, Pl. CXXXI, 4a
• Car. Ovl. Tbl. Ptn. 3, Vats, Pl. CXXXI, 4b-c
• Car. Bar. Ptn. Horizontal Lines. Ancient India, No. 3, Pl. LI, 14 and Fig. 26: 11
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[After Pl. VII, MG Dixit, 1949, Etched Beads in India, Poona, Deccan College Monograph
Series 4]

Etched Beads of Type I; 1-10 Taxila, Taxila Museum; 11. Hisbani, Sind, PW Museum, Mumba;
12. Sirwahi, Sind; 13-17 Akra, bannu, NWFP, Indian Museum, Kolkata (Nos. 3610-3615(.
• Car. Cube. Crosses and lines at facets, BT. Pl. I, 4; First Century CE
• Bl. Agt. Sph. Ptn. 18. BT. Pl. I, 6; First Century BCE
• Bl. Agt. Bar. Ptn. 14. BT. Pl. II, 17; First Century CE
• Car. Bar. Ptn. 28. BT. Pl. II, 25, First Century CE?
• Agt. Bar. Zonal Bands, BT. Pl. II, 22, First Century CE
• Car. Bar. Zonal bands, spots and waves. BT. Pl. II, 28; First Century CE or later
• Car. Sph. Ptn. . Bt. Pl. II, 24; First Century CE
• Car. Sph. Waves, BT. Pl. II, 23; First Century CE
• Bl. Agt. Ptn. 8. BT. Pl. II, 19; First Century CE
• Bl. Agt. Sph. Zonal stripes, BT. Pl. II, 21; First Century CE?

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• Car. Rect. Tbl. Crosses lines. JUB. 4-2, 18. PWM, Mumbai
• Car. Ovl. Tbl. Ptn. on both sides, IA, II, p. 5, Fig. 21
• Car. Sph. Swastika Ptn. Unpublished
• Car. Sq. Tbl. Cross. Unpublished. Indian Museum, No. 3614
• Car. Sph. Ptn. 7. Unpublished. Indian Museum, No. 3615
• Car. Sq. Dbl. Convex. Ptn. 7. Unpublished. Indian Museum, No. 3613
• Car. Hex. Tbl. Marginal bands. Unpublished. Indian Museum, No. 3611.
[After Pl. IX, MG Dixit, 1949, Etched Beads in India, Poona, Deccan College Monograph
Series 4]

Principal
Decoration
Patterns.
Each
illustration is
accompanied
by a cross-
section of the
bead at right-
hand corner
of each bead.
Beads are
arranged with perforation axes horizontal to the eye.

Distribution patterns 6,10,14 and 24, 26


in Northern and Southern Groups
respectively. Only one specimen of
Pattern 23-24 occurs at Kosam; Pattern 26
occurs at Brahmanabad in Sind. Both
these patterns are frequent in the Southern
Group. Similarly, Pattern ;6a occurs at
Kondapur (Spherical with Pentagons).
[After Pl. VI, MG Dixit, 1949, Etched
Beads in India, Poona, Deccan College
Monograph Series 4]

[After Pl. IV, MG Dixit, 1949, Etched


Beads in India, Poona, Deccan College
Monograph Series 4] Etched beads of Type III and Varieties A-B; 1-4 Beads of Type III; 5-6
Beads of Variety A; 7 Bead of Variety B
• Car. Ovl. Tbl. Frag. Ptn. 3, Harappa, 2300 BCE cf. Vats, Excavations at Harappa,
Pl. CXXXI, Fig. 4d
• Car. Sph. Zonal band. Sirkap, Taxila, First Century CE Beck, Beads from Taxila,
Pl. I, Fig. 1
• Car. Bar Ptn. Var. 6a. Kosam, Vyas Collection. Ahd. Unpublished
• Car. Bar. Ptn. 15. Kosam, Vyas Collection, Alhd. Unpublished

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• Car. Sph. Ptn. 10 Kosam (Alhdb.Lck.); Patna (Patna Museum No. 1005); Rajghat
(BKB); Chirayya Kot (Shah Coll.)
• Car. Cyl. Ptn. 26. Maski. Hyderabad Museum
• Car. Cyl. Zonal bands. Bhita. Lucknow Museum No. 48: 112

Etched beads of Type II: 1. Mohenjo-daro; 2-5


Chanhu-daro; 6-7 Taxila, Sirkap; 8-9 Patna; 10-11
Brahmanabad, Sind; 12 Ujjain, British Museum; 13-
14 Kanauj. Rivett Carnac Collection, British Museum;
15 Masaon, Bharat Kala Bhavan, Benares
1. Car. Tbl. Circles and areas. FEM, Pl. CXI, 4
2. 2a. Car. Bar. Dbl. Convex Ptn. 2. Ch-d, Pl.
LXXIX, 14
3. Car. Rect. Dbl. Convex. Ptn. 4. Ch-d, Pl.
LXXIX, 12
4. Car. Ovl. Dbl. Convex. Ptn. Ch-d, Pl.
LXXIX,6
5. Car. Trun. Sph. Ptnl. 2. Ch-d, Pl. LXXIX,
10
6. Car. Sph. Lines. BT. Pl. I, 2. Taxila
Museum, First Century CE
7. Car. Sph. Ptn. 10. BT. Pl. II, 27. Taxila
Museum. First Century CE or later
8. Car. Bar. Zonal bands and spots, Patna
Museum
9. Car. Sph. Ptn. 10. Patna Museum
10. Car. Sph.l Ptn. Var. 7. Brahmanabad
11. Car. Bar. Zonal Bands and scroll, Brahmanabad
12. Car. Sph. Hexagonal pattern, British Museum
13. Car. Sph. Ptn. 8. British Museum
14. Car. Sph. Ptn. Var. 7. British Museum
15. Car. Cyl. Zonal Bands, BKB
[After Pl. II, MG Dixit, 1949, Etched Beads in
India, Poona, Deccan College Monograph Series
4]

Roman trade contacts during historical


periods

Northwest Coast of Bharat; Ozene regia


(Ujjain, the capital), upper right; Namadus
flu (Narmada River), lower center; Barigaza
emporium (Broach), lower left; the dotted boundary line includes the whole Narmada
Valley and the principal port of Malwa stateat Broach. [Ptolemy’s map]

Sardonyx Mountains in which (are) sardonyx stones, upper right ; Ozene regia (Ujjain,
the capital), lower center [Ptolemy’s map]

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The sardonyx (a form of onyx) stones were, in fact, not mined from the mountains but the ancient
courses of River Narmada, in areas around Ratanpur
(lit. "Village of Gems"). The best known rock crystal
deposits are found in the Rajpipla hills at Ratanpur,
on the lower Narmada River. Carura regia (Karur,
the capital), upper right; Muziris emporium
(modern Cragnore?), lower left [Ptolemy’s map,
southeast coast of Bharat]

Deposits of carnelian were mined and processed


near the Mahi River, north of Baroda. Mines and
workings of the stones were found at Ratanpur,
(J.M. Campbell, 1878,Bombay Gazetteer, Vol. VI,
p. 205). Ratanpur has been the international trade
centre for articles made of agate and carnelian for
over 2,000 years.

Diamond-washing has been traditionally done by


the tribes of Savara of Sambalpur area, Kols of
Chota Nagpur, Gonds of Madhya Pradesh.
[Biswas, Arun Kumar. 2001. Minerals and Metals in Pre-Modern India. New Delhi: D.K
Printworld (P) Ltd.]

Ptolemy shows the coastline as running


east-west, instead of north-south.
Ptolemy connects Muziris by
Psuedostomus (lit. ‘false mouth or
inlet’) River to the Chera capital of
Karur. It was a false inlet because no
sailing was possible between Muziris
and Karur. Actually, Western Ghats
intervene between Muziris and Karur.
Thus, there were two rivers, a short one
running coastward toward Muziris and a
longer one running to the interior
toward Karur. Muziris was close to a
gap in the Ghats. Noyil River flowed
past Karur. Just on the other side of the
Palghat gap on this river was
Kodumanal, which was a town just past Muziris and was famous for its goldsmiths. It was also very
near the important beryl deposits [emerals is a deeply coloured beryl] and well as rock crystal,
sapphire and probably amethyst sources. It was a key beadmaking center.

Punnata (?) in which is beryl, upper center; Carura regia Cerotothri (Karur, capital of the
Chera), left center [Ptolemy’s map]

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Poduca emporium (Pondicherry: Arikamedu-
Virampattinam), right center; Cape Comorin and the
Jaffna Peninsula, lower left [Ptolemy’s map]

Arikamedu (the archaeological name) and


Virampattinum (the village) were known as Poduca. It
was a major beadmaking center for millennia, using
both glass and stones as raw materials. The glass
beads and agate cameo blanks are found in the
principal Roman Red Sea Port of Berenicé, Egypt.

Ganges River (Upper Right); Muziris (Lower Right); Scythia (Lower Left); Taprobane (Sri
Lanka) Island at Bottom [Image taken from De Tabula Peutingeriana de kaart, Museumstukken II
(edited by A.M. Gerhartl-Witteveen and P. Stuart) 1993 Museum Kam, Nijmegan, the Netherlands.]
Produced around AD 300, this map situates Muziris in the center, marked with a big red
circle. To the left of Muziris is an "Augustinian temple." which could mean a temple of
Agasitya. [Ptolemy maps after: Asiae X Tab: -- Ptolmey's Map of India. Government
Photozincographic Office, Poona, India1880.]

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Map of Southern Bharat indicating bead-making sites.

Raw materials for stone and glass beadmakers came from an area just off the northwest corner of
the map and from around Kodumanal (on the Noyil River) to Arikamedu and to Kodumanal. Their
beads passed through the Palghat Gap and down river to Muziris for export to the Roman West. A
maritime route, through Mantai, Sri Lanka, may also have been used for the export.
http://www.thebeadsite.com/UNIMPG-2.html

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Archery tradition
Method of using the bow and arrow: practices in ancient Bha_rata (Dhanurveda)

Use of bow and arrow is as old as the emergence of human civilization from the early palaeolithic
stages of living. The method of using the bow and arrow is a unique Bharatiya tradition and has no
parallel in the European methods of archery. This is a conclusive evidence for the autochthonous
evolution of traditions of dhanurveda in Bharat. Dhanus means a bow and Dhanurveda deals not
only with the use of bow and arrow as a weapon but the entire spectrum of arms and armour,
warfare and military strategies.

Composite bow. Gilt, overpainted with clear red varnish (lac?)


and gold flower-heads. l. 72.5 Signed 'Hasan' and dated 1203
AH/2 October 1788 - 21 Sept. 1789 AD). Quiver, arrows and
thumb-ring. Quiver: l.73; Arrows: l. 75. India (Oudh?), late 18th
cent. The cylinder shape of the red leather quiver is
unusual...The shape of the bone thumb-ring on the Powis
qwuiver is also represented among the other items of jewellery.
The identical arrows have pointed steel heads, and shafts
painted gold, black and red. (After Figs. 63,64 in: Mildred Archer, Christopher Rowell and Robert
Skelton, 1987, Treasures from India: the Clive Collection at Powis Castle, Herbert Press, London)

Projectile (mukta) weapon types. In the centre is the composite bow or Kaman, with three different
styles of arrow.. The strength of the Indian bow
comes from composition rather than length; this
is an 18th cent. CE example from Lucknow and
is built up of horn, whalebone and cane
lacquered red. The circle objects are cakram
with sharpened outer edge. (Wallace Collection,
London). [After Fig. In: Stephen Bull, 1991, An
historical guide to Arms and Armor (ed. By
Tony North), New York, Facts on File, p. 176].

The normal European method of archery is to


use a number of fingers to release the arrow from the bow. A typical device used in ancient
Bha_rata was a thumb-ring (made of agate, stag-horn, metal, wood, ivory, bone). A Bha_rati_ya
archer's thumb was normally hooked around the bowstring. Since this technique brought
tremendous presssure to bear on the thumb, the thumb-ring was a protection to relieve the pressure.
The thumb-ring had one side much wider than the other. This was typically associated with Turkey,
Persia and Bha_rata. It should be noted that the Chinese type was either cylindrical or D-shaped.

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Archer’s rings. 1. Turkey, Gray jade; 2. Turkey, light
jade; 3. Turkey. Large ring of bone inlaid with brass; 4.
Turkey. Bone with a leather guard; 5. Turkey. Red and
white agate; 6. Turkey. Tortoise shell with a leather
guard; 7. Turkey. Ivory with a leather guard; 8.
Turkey. Bone with a flat end; 9. Persia. Carved grey-
green jade; 10. Persia. Carved unite jade; 11. Persia.
Carved dark green jade; 12. Persia. Carved Carved
white jade; 13. Indo-Persia. Gray jade; 14. Indo-Persia.
Jade; 15. Indo-Persia. White jade; 16. Indo-Persia. Jade
inlaid with gold; 17. Indo-Persia. Yellow and white
agate; 19. India, side and back. Light jade inlaid with
jwels set in gold; 20. India. Light jade with dark veins;
very high arch, upward end and large ridge at the back;
21. India. Light jade similar to the preceding; 22. India.
Rock crystal; set with jewels which have been picked
out; 23. India. Side and back. Ivory with a heart-chapel
ornament on the back; 24. India, turned up end. Gray
agate with curved white lines; 25. India. Gray agate
with straight white lines; 26. India, end and side. White jade, flat inlay of gold, three jewels on the
back; 27. India. Mattled green jade; 28,29,30. Korea. Black and white cow’s horn; 31. Probably
Chinese, ivory; 32. Probably Chinese, ivory with incised rings at the back; 33. Ivory with a very
high arch; 34. Probably Chinese. Gray jade; 35. Probably Chinese. Black and white stone. [After
Fig. 22 in: George Cameron Stone, 1934, A glossary of the construction, decoration and use of arms
and armour in all countries and in all times, New York, Jack Brussel].

Archer’s thumb-ring of jade. Archer’s thumb was normally


hooked around the bowstring rather than using a number of fingers
as in the normal European method.

Methods of releasing the bow. Unique oriental method as opposed to


the European method

“There are several forms of arrow release. In the simplest the arrow is
held between the thumb and first finger which surrounds the string, and
the latter is pulled by the pressure of the arrow, 1, fig. 173. This is only
possible with a very light bow and is
only used by a few savage races.
Professor Morse calls this the
primary release (Bull. Essex Inst.
1885, 1922). In the secondary release
the arrow is held as before but the
string is pulled mainly by the tips of
the second and third fingers which
are placed against it, 2, fig. 173. The
tertiary release is much like the
secondary, the only difference being
that the first finger is nearly straight
and its tip also bears on the string and
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helps pull it, 3, fig. 173. These two forms of release are used by the greater part of the North American
Indians, by the Siamese and Andaman Islanders among others. The next Professore Morse calls the
Mediterranean release, because he says,’It has been in vogue among the northern Mediterranean nations
for centuries, and among the southern Mediterranean nations for tens of centuries.’ In this the string is
drawn by the tips of the first two or three fingers, the arrow being held between the first two, 4, fig. 173.
This is the method used in Europe throughout the middle ages, two fingers only being used. ‘Modern
English bowmen generally use three fingers. The Flemish the first and second only – a method adopted
by some of our bowmen also.’ (Hansard 820). The Eskimo also uses this form of release. The Mongolian
release is used in Turkey and through Asia. In it a ring is worn on the thumb which is passed around the
string and under the forefinger, the base of the finger pressing against the arrow, 5, fig. 173. When using
this release the arrow is placed to the right of the bow, with the secondary and Mediterrnean to the left.
Some Japanese bowmen use a combination of the secondary and Mediterranean releases.” [GC Stone,
Fig. 173, pp. 134-135].

The su_kta RV 6.75 is addressed to parts of battle by r.s.i pa_yu bha_radva_ja; (devata_: parts of
battle):: 1. varma; 2. dhanu; 3.jya_; 4. a_rtni_; 5. is.udhi; 6. pu_rva_, sa_rathi_, utta, rays; 7. many
horses; 8. ratha; 9. ratha gopa; 10. bra_hman.a, pitr., soma, dya_va_ pr.thivi_, pu_s.a_; 11-12, 15-
16. is.u samu_ha; 13. pratoda; 14. hastaghna; 17. yuddhabhu_mi, Brahman.aspati, and aditi; 18.
varma-soma-varun.a; 19. devabrahma

Hastaghna is lit. protection for the hand or a wrist-guard (RV 6.75.14; Nirukta 9.14). It is called
talatra in MBh. (Vanaparva 37.19; Dron.aparva 125.16: kavaci_ satalatra_n.i_ baddha
gotha_n:gulivava_nuh) In the medieval period, the leather sleeve worn on the left arm was called
godha or godhu (Egerton, p. 114).

arhiriva bhogaih pryeti ba_hum jya_ya_m hetim pariva_dhama_nah


hastaghno vis'va_ vayuna_ni vidva_npuma_npumam.sam parim pa_tu vis'vatah
6.075.14 The ward of the fore-arm protecting it from the abrasion of the bow-string, surrounds the arm
like a snake with its convulutions; may the brave man, experienced in the arts of war, defend a combatant
on every side. [hastaghna = a shield, as well as the guard of the fore-arm; with its convolutions: ahiriva
bhogaih = s'ari_rena, with the body].

It is likely that hastaghna also connoted the thumb-ring used on the thumb to protect the palm of the hand
and arm from the impact of the bowstring.

\/tJyen
? i]/àe[/ äü?[/s! pit/rœ yÇ/ viò/ à tdœ A?îaeit/ xNv?na ,

tSy? sa/XvIrœ #;?vae/ yai-/rœ ASy?it n&/c]?sae †/zye/ k[Ry


? aeny> .
The r.s.i who adores Rudra in RV 2.30.10 exhorts in RV 2.24.8 that the country should abound in
brave warriors well-versed in the science of archery to maintain peace and order. Yajurveda (16.29:
namah kapardine ca vyuprakes’a_ya ca namah sahasra_ks.a_ya ca s’atadhanvane ca namo
giris’aya_ya s’ipivis.t.a_ya ca namo modus.t.ama_ya ces.ukate ca; the verse is clear that the science
of archery is an essential qualification of a king who is referred to as s’atdhanva (i.e. the holder of
hundred kinds of bows). Terms such as is.u-dhanva (Bow and arrow), is.u-dhanvina (holder of bow
and arrow), adhijya-dhanva (bow fitted with string) occur in Vedic texts (Taittiri_ya Sam.hita_ 5.2;
Aitareya Bra_hman.a 7.19; 1.25; S.Br. 9.1; 1.6).

The archer wore a mudrika (lit. finger protector: MBh. Bhi_s.maparva 106.24; Dron.aparva 35.23,
40.16, 43.14). The ring was made of metal, horn, bone, ivory, tortoise shell and stones such as jade,
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agate, carnelian, crystal. “The (oriental) bowman, contrary to the English or Flemish custom, draws
altogether with his thumb, the forefinger bent in its first and second joint being merely pressed on one
side of the arrow nock to secure it from falling. In order to prevent the flesh being torn by the bowstring,
he wears a broad ring. Upon the inside of this ring, which projects half an inch, the string rests when the
bow is drawn, on the outside it is only half that breadth and in loosing the arrow, the archer straightens
his thumb which sets the arrow free.” (Hansard, Manufacture of Bows, p. 133). G.C. Stones notes:
“Throughout the greater part of the East the method of drawing and loosing the bow differs radically
from those used in Europe. In it the thumb is put around the string and a ring is worn on it to protect it
from the pressure and friction of the string, when it is drawn and released. It also allows of bringing the
pressure at a single point, close to the nock, which makes the bow much more effective than the
European method where three or four fingers are used to pull the bow.” (G.C. Stone,1961, A Glossary of
the construction, decoration and use of arms and armour, Repr. New York, p. 14, figs. 22 and 23).

Lady archer stretching a composite bow and carrying on her back, a


quiver filled with arrows. Reproduced from a terracotta panel from
Ahicchacchatra (UP) [After V.S. Agrawal, The terracottas of
Ahichchachhatra, Ancient India, No. 4 (July, 1947-January, 1948), p.
171, Pl. LXVI]. Sanchi stu_pa (south gateway) depicts a battle-scne with
warriors carrying bows, arrows and pellets. [John Marshall, A Guide to
Sanchi, Pl. IV, V, XXVI, XXVII]. Bharhut stu_pa depicts warriors carrying bows and arrows. [A.
Cunningham, The Stupa of Bharhut, Pl. XXXII]. “In one of the bas-relief (Sanchi, 2nd –1st century
BCE), there is the representation of a siege, probably undertaken to recover possession of some holy
relic. The soldiers wore a tight fitting dress and kilt; the arms are a sword and bows and
arrows…the infantry usually carried a bow of the same length with the bearer.” (A. Cunningham,
The Bhilsa Topes, p. 216). Bhilsa Topes also depict daggers, swords, spears with triangular heads,
axes, battle-axes, tridents and shields used by infantry and cavalry.

Gold coin of Kumaragupta I. C. 416-450 AD. National Museum, New Delhi. Obvese: The king
as an archer is standing left in ‘visamapada’ pose wearing waist-cloth, jewellery and head-dress,
shooting with fully strung bow drawn up to the chin. The
stave is on the right hand and the string is drawn by the
left. The king is trampling on a beast. The legend:
S’riman vyaghrabalapara_kramah (the glorious (king)
whose strength and valour is like that of a tiger).
Reverse: goddess standing to left on crocodile, holding a

lotus of long stalk behind her in her left hand and feeding a peacock with fruits by her right hand.
The legend: Kumaragupta_dhira_ja (His majesty Kumaragupta).[After Plate VI, GN Pant, 1978]

Stone frieze shows ‘Joy after victory’ (vijayolla_sa). The warriors are both male and female;
they carry an array of various types of weapons. One lady archer is drawing an arrow from a quiver
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tied on her back. Chauhan art, 10th cent. AD, Sikar, Rajasthan. National Museum, New Delhi. [After
Pl. XVI, GN Pant, 1978].

Tripura_ntaka S’iva standing in a_li_d.ha pose on a chariot, holding his


Pina_ka bow in adhasamdhana pose in his left hand. The stone panel is
mutilated and hence the string and a part of the bow are not visible. The ratha shows
a spoked wheel drawn by two horses. Western Ca_lukya art, 7th cent. CE, Aihole,
Karnataka. National Museum, New Delhi. [After Pl. XI, GN Pant, 1978]

A stone sculptural panel showing animals (many of which are field symbols of
inscriptions of the civilization of Bha_rata), in association with weapons and soldiers
in a procession. The lead archer carries a composite bow and is led by a cow and

another bovine (one-horned bull?) , followed by a person with a mace, a person holding a bow
leads an antelope, a person carrying a bow (?) leads an onager and the last person carries a round
shield (shown with a dotted circle in the centre). Facing this procession is a ram
with curved horns. In the upper register (perhaps with a joined head of a tiger or
fod?) and another animal (rhinoceros?) in the lower register. This is a cattle-
caravan with protective military or armed guards. [After Pl. CV, GN Pant, 1978,
Indian Archery, Delhi, Agam Kala Prakashan).

Harappa. After EJH Mackay. Thin, flat pieces of arrowheads made of copper
having long barbs and without tangs. Wooden shafts over-lapped these arrow-heads, thus making a
medial rib. Mackay notes that the tie-holes were to facilitate the
insertion of wooden shafts. These arrowheads are identical to
those from Zafer Papoura, Crete. Av. length: 1.19 inches, breadth
0.64 inches and thicknes 0.07 inches.

Rama holds a kamatha_ bow. Ahilya_. Deogarh, 5th cent.


AD. Gupta. Stone panel.

Ra_ma holds a bow. A quiver is on his right shoulder. Laks.man.a is disfugiring


S'u_rpanakha_ with a sword. Delhi. National Museum. Deogarh. Gupta. 6th cent. AD.

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Mahabharata as the sheet-anchor of
Bharatiya Itihasa
Mahabharata as history of Bharat

The historicity of the events described in the Mahabharata is validated by two evidences: one is
based on tradition and the other is based on jyotis.a, i.e. astronomy of observed celestial events
which may be called sky epigraphs. The dates of the events described in the Mahabharata are about
3000 BCE. This just pre-dates the mature phases of Sarasvati Civilization. The chronology of pre-
history and ancient history of Bharat can thus be related as a sequence: Veda (pre-4th millennium
BCE) – Mahabharata (4th millennium BCE)– Sarasvati Civilization (3rd and 2nd millennia BCE) –
Maurya (1st millennium BCE).

The evidence based on tradition is provided by the settlement in Har-ki-dun valley (i.e. lit. valley of
the Divinities). The villagers who are called parvati-s, at Har-ki-dun village celebrate an annual
festival; the divinity honoured in this festival is Duryodhana! Har-ki-dun is at the foothills of
Bandarpunch massif (close to Svarga_rohin.i mountain), Western Garhwal, Uttaranchal, in the
Himalayan ranges. This is the place of origin of Tamasa and Giri rivers which are tributaries of
River Sarasvati and used to flow through the Bata divide between the Himalayan ranges and
Siwalik hills to join the Markanda River, a trunk river joining with River Sarasvati at Pehoa
(referred to as Pr.thu_daka in the Mahabharata, where Balarama offers homage to pitr.-s and where
pilgrims perform s’ra_ddha ceremonies for ma_tr.-s), not far from Brahmasarovar, Kuruks.etra.

The evidence based on jyotis.a is the set of astronomical observations recorded by Veda Vya_sa in
relation to terrestrial events related to the Mahabharata episodes.

Mahabharata is the sheet-anchor of Bharatiya Itihasa. This was established using planetarium
software to validate the celestial epigraphs observed and recorded by Veda Vya_sa in the Great
Epic.

The colloquium was made possible by the critical edition of the text of the Mahabharata compiled
by scholars of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute headed by the late Dr. Sukthankar.

Dr. Raja Ramanna, a noted nuclear scientist inaugurated the colloquium. The colloquium included
lectures on many facets of the use of jyotisha and bharatiya scientific tradition by Dr. KP
Pandurangi, Dr. Suryanath Kamath, Prof. MKLN Shastri, Dr. SR Rao, Dr. BV Subbarayappa, Dr.
A. Sundara, Dr. Nagaraju, Dr. M.A. Narasimhan, Dr. K.I. Vasu, Dr. Ramasubramanian. Key papers
were presented by Dr. Narahari Achar, Dr. Balakrishna, Dr. Mohan Gupta, and Shri Holay.

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The consensus reached in the colloquium was that there were over 150 astronomical references
in the critical edition of Mahabharata (compiled by Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute)
which could be classified by types of celestial events observed and recorded. The sky
inscriptions or celestial epigraphs included: planetary/constellation positions on dates of
specific events related to the war and starting nakshatra and ending nakshatra of the pilgrimage
of Balarama along the River Sarasvati (described in the shalya parva), the injury to Bhishma
and his passing away on the winter solstice day on shukla ashtami tithi in Rohini, position of
S'ani in Rohini, occurrence of a solar eclipse on jyeshtha and an eclipse season of three eclipses
in one month with a solar eclipse occurring between two lunar eclipses and the latter sequence
of solar eclipse penumbral lunar eclipse occurring within 13 tithis (a rare celestial event
indeed), recorded events of meteor showers and occurrence of comets (possibly including the
Haley's comet mahaaghoraa) during the war which lasted 18 days.

Mahabharata is a historical document

It was also noted that the celestial inscriptions or sky epigraphs were observed events, observed by
Veda Vyasa from the banks of River Sarasvati in the Kurukshetra region.

This has been validated by the references to the mighty river in the Mahabharata. Recent scientific
researches have established that the River Sarasvati of Vedic times and of the days of the epic was
not a myth but a geo-physical reality as mentioned in the texts and has been established as ground-
truth. [ http://www.hindunet.org/saraswati ] Thus, the Mahabharata constitutes a historical
document with a wealth of geographical, geophysical information and vivid pictures of the society
and political institutions of the times (such as janapadas involved in nation-building), in
continuation of the Vedic traditions which refer to Bha_ratam Janam. The consensus was that the
determination of the dates of the war should be based on establishing the consistency of ALL the
astronomical references contained in the text to make it a useful reference date for chronologies in
ancient bharatiya itihaasa.

•R.gveda (r.ca 3.53.12) uses the term, 'bha_ratam janam', which can be interpreted as 'bha_rata
folk'. The r.s.i of the su_kta is vis'va_mitra ga_thina. India was called Bha_ratavars.a after the
king Bharata. (Va_yu 33, 51-2; Bd. 2,14,60-2; Lin:ga 1,47,20,24; Vis.n.u 2,1,28,32).
•y #/me raeds
? I %/-e A/hm! #NÔ/m! Atuò
? vm! ,

iv/ñaim?ÇSy r]it/ äüe/dm! -ar?t</ jn?m! . •3.053.12 I have made Indra glorified by these two,
heaven and earth, and this prayer of Vis'va_mitra protects the race of Bharata. [Made Indra
glorified: indram atus.t.avam-- the verb is the third preterite of the casual, I have caused to be
praised; it may mean: I praise Indra, abiding between heaven and earth, i.e. in the firmament].

Mahabharata is sheet anchor of modern Itihaasa

Against this backdrop of consensus, scholars reached further consensus that the Mahabharata was a
sheet anchor of the modern history of Bharat. Areas for further were identified as:

• the concept of yuga and mahayuga


• knowledge of comets among ancient Bharatiya scientists

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• the need for compiling a critical edition of the Mahabharata astronomical references based
on all variant readings and excluded verses listed as annexes in the Critical Edition and
including the commentaries of Vadiraja and Nilakhantha and Madhvacharya's
Mahabharata Tatparya Nirnaya
• further investigation of the reference to the occurrence of the war during night also on the
14th day of the war
• compilation and research on astronomical references in the Vedas, Puranas and other
astronomical texts.

Thus, the use of modern tools of planetaria software and satellite image analyses will help in re-
writing of bharatiya itihaasa and reinforce the historicity of the great epics as basic reference
documents for itihaasa, in terms of both kaalaganana and geography.

Sarasvati is ground-truth. On the banks of this river, a war was fought; a detailed account of the war
is presented in the Mahabharata. So is the account presented in S’alya Parvan in over 200 s’lokas of
a journey undertaken by Balarama from Dwaraka through Somnath to Mathura along the River
Sarasvati paying homage to the ancestors and visiting a_s’rama-s of r.s.i-s on the banks of this
sacred river. So is Mahabharata an account of the ancient history of Bharat. The dating of this epic
is fundamental in establishing the historical chronology of ancient Bharatiya Itihaas.

Veda Vyasa who wrote the Mahabharata observed the sky inscriptions from the banks of River
Sarasvati. The epic describes a pilgrimage of Balarama (elder brother of Krishna) from Dwaraka-
Somnath(Prabhas Patan) to Mathura along the banks of River Sarasvati in 200 shlokas in the S'alya
Parvan.

This date of Mahabharata War is crucial in determing the chronologies in the ancient history of
Bharat since many epigraphs and inscriptions with a historical import, refer to time-reckoning based
on the starting date of Kaliyuga which is close to the date of the Mahabharata War.

Dating Mahabharata events using astronomical references

Using a set of modern technology tools such as Planetarium Software (Sky Map Pro 5, Red Shift),
Panchanga Software compiled by a Japanese professor to produce the equivalence between
Kaliyuga dates and dates of the Christian era, Dr. Narahari Achar has tried to authenticate the
accuracy of observations made by Veda Vyasa in the Mahabharata.

In the epic, Veda Vyasa himself says that day in and day out he is watching the planetary positions
on the skies. His recording of over 70 such planetary events are almost like a record of celestial
inscriptions within the text. These celestial events are used to date the events which occurred on the
banks of River Sarasvati -- events which are described in the epic poem. Since the planets on the
sky and the celestial events are remarkably accurate and follow a precise pattern of cyclical
movements, to a rhythm of time, the determination of planetary positions as observed by Veda
Vyasa will help determine the date of events described in detail in the shlokas of Mahabharata.

In the past, many scholars have attempted to arrive at the date of the war based on one or two
celestial events mentioned in the text. But, the contribution made by Dr. Narahari Achar is unique in
that he tries to find a series of dates which is consistent with almost ALL the 150 plus
astronomical references contained in the text.
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Akhila Bharateeya Itihaasa Sankalana Yojana has published a reference work by Shriram Sathe as a
compendium of astronomical references in the Mahabharata. This work has provided the basis for
this International Colloquium.

In a paper presented at the international colloquium held in Bangalore on Jan. 5 and 6, 2003 and
organized by Akhila Bharatiya Itihasa Sankalana Yojana, Mythic Society and Indira Gandhi
National Centre for Arts Southern Chapter, Dr. Achar conclusively proves that the observed
celestial events on the sky, observed by Veda Vyasa were based on a variety of observations:

1. Lunar-solar-lunar eclipse sequence occurring within a period of one month and one
lunar-solar eclipse sequence occurring within just 13 tithi-s;
2. A comet (Haley's comet) is observed on the sky;
3. Bhishma waits for the uttarayana punya kaala (winter solstice) and ashtami tithi to arrive
before his soul departs from the mortal body;
4. Karna describes to Krishna the observatin of unusual planetary conjunctions -- almost all
the seven planets coming together;
5. Balarama's pilgrimage starts on a particular tithi and nakshatra and ends after 42 days on
a particular tithi and nakshatra. All such observations are found by Dr. Narahari Achar to
be consistent with only one date: about 3000 BCE, i.e. about 5000 years ago. No other date
matches so consistenly with all the astronomical observations or, what may be called,
celestial inscriptions.

This finding is path-breaking and constitutes a watershed in our understanding of chronology


in ancient itihasa of Bharat.

Firstly, it establishes the historic authenticity of Mahabharata as a sheet anchor of Bharatiya Itihas.

Secondly, Veda Vyasa should have recorded only observed celestial events when he provides
precise astronomical details in the text. The observations should have been made from the banks of
River Sarasvati close to Kurukshetra. Dr. Narahari Achar reconstructs the skies as seen by Veda
Vyasa from this location close to Kurukshetra.

Thirdly, together with the scientific discovery of the River Sarasvati in north-west Bharat as
ground-truth and not a myth, it is possible to state with authenticity that the modern history of
Bharat begins with the historic document, the Mahabharata and the War which occurred on the
banks of River Sarasvati.

Fourthly, Balarama's pilgrimage along the banks of River Sarasvati as described in 200 shlokas of
Salya Parva of the Mahabharata was a historic event and provides a geographical account of
northern Bharat.

Fifthly, the history of modern Bharat begins from about 3000 BCE, that is, from the Kaliyuga which
is reckoned from this date, according to Bharatiya Kala Ganana.

Sixthly, there is no historic document in human history which records historical events with such
astonishing accuracy, to the last tithi and nakshatra.

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Seventhly, this demonstrates the remarkable astronomical knowledge possessed by the rishis of
Bharata, exemplified by Veda Vyasa as early as 5000 years ago and establishes Jyotisha which was
evolved in Bharata, as an early astronomical scientific discipline.

Thus, using modern astronomy computer-based software tools, it is now possible to state that
Mahabharata of Veda Vyasa is the earliest recorded history of Bharat and the modern history spans
from over 5000 years of continuous, indigenous civilization. The chronology of Bharatiya Itihas
should be reconstructed from this date and based on this historical document, and need not be based
on foreign travellers' accounts or theories propounded by western indologists.

Next steps. It is proposed to transport this presentation onto Planetaria in many cities of the country
and abroad; the presentation will show Veda Vyasa's text juxtaposed to the celestial inscriptions.
This will be an effective means of popularising jyotisha and itihas, i.e. by reaching the research
findings in Bharatiya Itihas to a large number of school children and scholars all over the world and
promoting further studies in Mahabharata as a sheet-anchor of Bharatiya Itihas. Hopefully, the
findings will also be recorded on CD's and distributed to all schools as part of the value-based
revised curricula.

Dr. S. Kalyanaraman’s presentation covered the following reports: The rebirth of River Sarasvati by
using the waters of River Sutlej, River Beas and River Sharada (called Mahakali-Karnali in Nepal)
is ongoing together with the development of the river basin as a world heritage basin. This has been
the catalyst for the project to network Himalayan and Peninsular rivers of the country to solve the
twin problems of frequent floods in some parts of the country and recurrent drought situations in
other parts of the country. The work of the National Water Development Agency, Min. of Water
Resources with 200 engineers who have worked for the last 20 years to prove the feasibility of these
links almost entirely by gravity flows is a magnificent engineering project linking Brahmaputra-
Ganga- Subarnarekha- Mahanadi-Godavari-Krishna-Pennar-Palar-Cauvery-Vaigai-Vaippar-
Gundar-Tamraparni to ensure equitable distribution of water resources in the country mainly fed
from the glacier sources.

Over 2,000 settlements which were nurtured on the banks of the river constituted the substratum of
the Sarasvati Civilization dated to between circa 5500 to 3500 years Before Present. With the
desiccation of the river, there were migrations eastward towards the Ganga-Yamuna doab,
southwards towards the Godavari and western coastline, westwards towards Gandhara in the
present-day Afghanistan. The neolithic cultures which are evidenced by the recent finds of the Gulf
of Khambat Cultural Complex blossomed from a maritime culture into a riverine culture and
emerged from chalcolithic to bronze age and the consolidation of the cultural traditions which are
present in almost every facet of the heritage cherished all over Bharat and exemplify the cultural
unity of the country from Mt. Kailas to Kanyakumari, from Somnath to Gawuhati. The civilization
was most extensive and extended from Ropar in Punjab to the Tigris-Euphrates valley
(Mesopotamian civilization area), from Caucus mountains to Daimabad on the banks of Godavari.

The discovery of the courses of Vedic River Sarasvati traversing a distance of 1,600 kms. from
Manasarovar (Mt. Kailas) to Gujarat is an unparalleled discovery in the history of human
civilization. Carrying the waters of River Sutlej and River Yamuna, the mighty river had drained
most of North-west Bharat for thousands of years prior to 3500 year Before Present (i.e. prior to
1500 BCE). The causes for the desiccation of the river have been established: tectonic events of the
type which hit Bhuj in Gujarat on 26 Jan. 2000 which are plate tectonics (clash of Deccan Plate with

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the Eurasian Plate) resulted in river migrations and disappearance of the river into underground
channels in many stretches. River Yamuna migrated eastward circa 4500 years Before Present (i.e.
2500 BCE) and River Sutlej migrated westward circa 3500 years Before Present (i.e. 1500 BCE)
leaving the River Sarasvati entirely dependent upon monsoon waters of the Siwalik ranges,
depriving her of the glacier waters of the Himalayas. River Yamuna captured the waters of River
Sarasvati at Paonta Saheb (Himachal Pradesh), near a yamuna tear in the Himalayas, and carried
them to join with Ganga at Prayag (Allahabad) thus establishing the ground-truth of what is referred
to in Bharatiya tradition as Triveni Sangamam where a kumbhamela is held every 12 years. The
discovery of the ancient channels which were as wide as 6 kms. over the entire distance has been
substantiated by analyses of satellite imagery and by studies done by atomic scientists of Bhabha
Atomic Research Centre, Mumbai (tritium analysis). The tritium analysis was done in the wake of
the Pokaran hydrogen-bomb blasts which occurred on 11 May 1998 to ensure that there has been no
nuclear contamination of the ground-water aquifers. The most emphatic evidence that Sarasvati is
not a myth but ground-truth came from archaeology of the last 50 years. Out of over 2,600
archaeological sites of the so-called Indus Valley Civilization, as many as 2,000 (i.e 80%) of the site
are found on the banks of the River Sarasvati which flowed 300 kms. east of the River Sindhu.
There are very large sites on this River banks: Rakhigarhi, Lakhmirwala, Bhatinda, Ganweriwala,
each of which is larger than either Harappa or Mohenjodaro. There are also culturally vibrant sites
such as Ropar, Kunal, Kalibangan, Kotdiji, Dholavira, Surkotada, Lothal, Rangapura, Rojdi, Padri,
Dwaraka attesting to the maritime-riverine nature of the indigenous origins and evolution of the
civilization. The cultural traits found in this civilization continue into the historic periods of Bharat
and are present even today in the cultural mosaic of the nation. Some examples are: finds of shiva
linga at Harappa (dated to 4,500 years BP), finds of 50 seals and copper plate inscriptions carrying
the swastika glyph, find of a burial site of a woman at Mehergarh dated to 6500 BCE (i.e. 8500 BP)
with a wide bangle and ornaments made of s'ankha (turbinella pyrum); this s'ankha is a Rs.5 crore
industry even today in the coastline of Bharat particularly in Gulf of Mannar and Gulf of Khambat;
find of a terracotta image of a woman wearing red sindhu on the parting of her hair; find of a
statuette of a priest wearing angavastram as it is worn even today by priests in Bharat; find of
polished stone pillars at Dholavira like the stone pillars found in many architectural monuments all
over Bharat; find of a rock-cut reservoir and a pushkarini at Dholavira and Mohenjodaro, like the
pushkara-s which are present in many tirthasthana-s of the country; find of boat and cart similar to
those used even today in the region. The use of copper plate inscriptions continued into the
historicla periods within the country. Such is the uniqueness of the River Sarasvati that there are 72
r.ca-s in the R.gveda adoring the river; one Rishi Grtsamada calls her ambitame, naditame, devitame
sarasvati: i.e. best of mothers, best of rivers and best of godesses. There is only one reference to
River Ganga in this document attesting to the fact that the oldest human document, the R.gveda was
composed on the banks of the River Sarasvati. The vedic dharma and vrata traditions and the agama
traditions which have their roots in the river basin, continue in the cultural mosaic of the nation.

Such a great river got desiccated which led to migrations of people eastwards towards the ganga-
yamuna doab, westwards towards Gandhara, southwards hugging the coastline. Thus, it is
conclusively established that the roots of bharatiya civilization were indigenously evolved and there
were only contacts with neighbouring civilizations such as Mesopotamia and Caucasus for trade.
This is attested by the finds of decimal series of weights used in the civilization also used in the
Persian Gulf sites. A cuneiform cylinder seal found in Mesopotamia depicts a Meluhha merchant
visiting a royal personage in Mesopotamia accompanied by his wife carrying a kamandalu. It is
generally accepted that Meluhha referred to the Sarasvati-Riverine-Maritime civilization area. The

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maritime nature of the civilization and the search for mineral resources from the bowels of the earth
is exemplified by the powerful metaphor of churning the ocean, as a co-operative endeavour.

Samudra or ks.i_rasa_gara manthanam, 'Churning of Ocean of Milk' Deva and Da_nava churn
the ocean, using Va_suki, the serpent as the rope and Mandara, the mountain as the churning rod. Ganesh
Lena, Ellora, ca. 11th cent. CE.

The projects for reviving this river using check-dams and watershed management techniques to
harvest the monsoon waters of Shivalik ranges, have started to ensure the availability of water in
River Sarasvati from Adh Badri to Sirsa all the year round. With the dams on Sutlej (Bhakra and
Nangal) and on Beas (Pong) providing the waters at the Harike reservoir, a Rajasthan Canal (also
called Sarasvati Mahanadi Roopa Nahar) has transformed the desert areas into fertile lands over a
stretch of 650 kms. Projects are ongoing to extend the Sarasvati Canal beyond Gedra Road (Barmer
Dist.) upto Rann of Kutch. By augmenting this canal with the glacier waters of Mahakali-Karnali
(Nepal) - Sharada (Bharat) which will be transferred across Yamuna, the Reborn Sarasvati will flow
upto River Sabarmati.
The discovery of Vedic River Sarasvati is a historic event unparalleled in the history of human
civilization. The river is not a myth but is ground-truth and had drained in North-west Bharat over a
distance of 1,600 kms. from Manasarovar, Mt. Kailas to Gujarat (Somnath, Prabhas Patan). The
discovery has been made through analyses of satellite images, archaeological discoveries of over
2,000 archaeological sites on the banks of the river, tritium analysis by atomic scientists and
geomorphological/ glaciological studies. The causes for the desiccation of this great river have also
been established as due to plate tectonics and consequent river migrations over a period of 1000
years between 4500 to 3500 years Before Present. Projects have been started to make this river flow
again. The river nurtured the civilization of Bharat on its banks and in the coastal areas surrounding
Gujarat with emphatic evidences of indigenous evolution and continuity of culture in the historic
periods of Bharat thus constituting the roots of Bharatiya Civilization.

The following key dates are found to be consistent with the sky inscriptions observed by Veda
Vyasa:

• Krishna's departure on Revati Sept. 26, 3067 BCE


• Krishna's arrival in Hastinapura on Bharani Sept. 28, 3067 BCE
• Solar eclipse on Jyeshtha amavasya Oct. 14, 3067 BCE
• Krittika full moon (lunar eclipse) September 29, 3067 BCE
• War starts on November 22, 3067 BCE (Saturn in Rohini, Jupiter in Revati)
• Winter solstice, January 13, 3066 BCE
• Bhishma's expiry, January 17, 3066 BCE Magha shukla ashtami
• A fierce comet at Pushya October 3067 BCE
• Balarama sets off on pilgrimage on Sarasvati on Pushya day Nov. 1, 3067 BCE
• Balarama returns from pilgrimage on Sravana day Dec. 12, 3067 BCE

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• On the day Ghatotkaca was killed moon rose at 2 a.m., Dec. 8, 3067 BCE

These dates, in particular the occurrence of Winter solstice which is a critical celestial event, gets
corroborated by the chronology of Kaus'i_taki Brahmana which should not be far-removed from the
date of S'atapatha Brahman.a (2927 BCE) which has been established by Dr. BN Narahari Achar
based on the Brahmana observations that the Kritthika (Pleiades group) rose exactly at the east point
(eta_ ha vai pra_cyai dis'e na cyavante: S'Br. II Kanda, Ch. 1, Br. 2,3).
http://www1.shore.net/~india/ejvs/ejvs0502/ejvs0502.txt
http://www1.shore.net/~india/ejvs/issues.html

In Kaus'i_taki Brahmana there are two statements:

sa vai ma_ghasya_ma_vasya_ya_mupas'asatyadangabha_vai sannupeme (KBr. XIX,3)


mukham va_ etat samvatr.sarasva yatr. pha_lguni_ paurn.ama_si_ mukhamuttare
puccham pu_rve (KBr., V,1)
[cf. S'Br. VI.2.2.18; Taittiriya Br. 1.1.2.8].

These observations indicate that

• the sun reached the winter solstice at the full moon Ma_gha
• the year was considered to be at its end at the full-moon at the star group Purva Phalguni_.

Dr. Phanindralal Gangooly notes: "From all of which we gather that the summer solstitial colure of
the earliest Brahmana period when this was the case was 3100 BCE (PC Sengupta, Age of the
Brahmana, in Indian Historical Quarterly, Vol. X, No.3, 1934). The vernal equinoctial colure
passed through the star Rohini or Aldebaran. In the later Vedic times the sun's turning north very
probably took place a fortnight earlier. The S'atapatha Brahmana says that 'some want to have a few
nights more; if they want some more then they should begin the sacrifices on the night on which the
moon becomes first visible before the full moon at the Phalgunis.' (S'Br. II,6.4 Br. 11). These
sacrifices were begun as soon as the sun turned north. It shows that the solstices had precessed by
about 15 degrees and that the date when this took place was 2000 BCE. The earliest Brahmana
period may be called the Rohini-Phalguni_ period. Even at this time the five early luni-solar cycle
was known. (pancas'a_radauyo va_ eva yajn~a iti: TBr. 2.7.11). The calendar was luni-solar in
characte. The chief signals for the beginning and the end of the year were the full-moon at the U.
Phalguni_ and that at the Purva Phalguni_ respectively; from which the intercalary month were
detected." (Phanindralal Gangolly, ed., The Surya SIddhanta, a text-book of Hindu Astronomy,
Delhi, Motilal Banarsidass, first edn. 1860, repr. Delhi 1989, Introduction, pp. xxxv-xxxvi).

Date of Mahabharata War using Planetarium Software

(based on a paper presented by Prof. B. N. Narahari Achar, The University of Memphis, Memphis
TN 38152 at the International Colloquium held in Bangalore on 5 and 6 January 2003. Over 200
scholars and scientists participated in the deliberations which included presentation of well-
documented and well-researched papers/power-point presentations with sky maps, by scholars from
Bharat and from USA.)

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Dr. Narahari Achar has conclusively demonstrated that the astronomical events described in
the Mah˜bh˜rata show a remarkable consistency and they could have occurred at about 3000
BCE. These events must have been observed and could not have been back calculated by a
clever astronomer to be interpolated into the text. The simulations of events then point to
3067 BCE as the date of the Mah˜bh˜rata war. This date is identical to the one given by
Raghavan and appears to be the best in accounting for practically all of the astronomical
references in the epic. More work is needed to establish the beginning date of kaliyuga.
Further research is indicated in establishing the knowledge of the comets possessed by the
ancient Indian astronomers.

List of Figures

Figure 1. Distribution of the Date attributed to the Mah˜bh˜rata War and the
number of authors proclaiming it. (General)
Figure 1a. Methodologies used in the Dating of the War
Figure 2. Distribution of the Date attributed to the Mah˜bh˜rata War and the
number of authors proclaiming it. (Astronomical)
Figure 3. Distribution of þlokas referring to astronomical events among the
parvas of the epic.
Figure 4. View of the sky in Delhi in July 857 BCE.
Figure 5. View of the sky in Delhi in October 955 BCE.
Figure 6. Winter Solstice in 955 BCE.
Figure 7. View of the sky in june 1311 BCE
Figure 8. New Moon in Jyeÿ÷ha in October 2449 BCE
Figure 9. Winter Solstice in 2449 BCE
Figure 10. K®ÿõa's Departure on revati Day
Figure 11. K®ÿõa's Arrival in Hastin˜pura on Bharaõi day
Figure 12. K®ÿõa Rides with Karõa on uttraph˜lguõŸ day
Figure 13. Jyÿ÷ha am˜v˜sy˜, October 14, 3067 BCE
Figure 14. K˜rtika Full Moon, (lunar eclipse) September 29, 3067
Figure 15. Retrograde Motion of Mars
Figure 16. War starts, November 22, 3067
Figure 17. Winter Solstice 3066 BCE
Figure 18. BhŸÿma's Expiry January 17, 3066 BCE
Figure 19. Prograde and retrograde motion of Budha
Figure 20. Sky Diary for October 3067 BCE
Figure 21. A fierce comet at puÿya

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Figure 22. The planets Saturn and Jupiter stay for a year
Figure 23. magh˜su aðg˜rako vakra×
Figure 24. þravaõeca b®haspati×
Figure 25. viÿ˜khayo× samŸpasthau
Figure 26. Sky Diary for November 3031 BCE
Figure 26a A penumbral lunar eclipse
Figure 27. Balar˜ma sets off on puÿya Day
Figure 28. Balar˜ma returns on þravaõa Day
Figure 29. Moon rising in the early morning hours

Methodologies Used in the Dating of the War

• Linuistics
• Textual Evidence from Vedic Texts
• Geneological Lists from the Puranas
• Archeological Evidence
• Astronomical References

Figure 1a. Methodologies used in the Dating of the War

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Figure 2. Distribution of the Date
attributed to the Mah˜bh˜rata War and
Figure 1. Distribution of the Date the number of authors proclaiming it.
attributed to the Mah˜bh˜rata War and the (Astronomical)
number of authors proclaiming it. (General)

Figure 3. Distribution of þlokas referring


to astronomical events among the parvas of the Figure 4. View of the sky in
epic. Delhi in July 857 BCE.

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Figure 6. Winter Solstice in 955
BCE.
Figure 5. View of the sky in Delhi in
October 955 BCE.

Figure 8. New Moon in Jyeÿ÷ha


Figure 7. View of the sky in june 1311
in October 2449 BCE
BCE

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Figure 9. Winter Solstice in 2449 BCE

Figure 11. K®ÿõa's Arrival in


Figure 10. K®ÿõa's Departure on revati Hastin˜pura on Bharaõi day
Day

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Figure 12. K®ÿõa Rides with Karõa on
Figure 13. Jyÿ÷ha am˜v˜sy˜, October 14,
uttraph˜lguõŸ day
3067 BCE

Figure 14. K˜rtika Full Moon, (lunar


eclipse) September 29, 3067

Figure 15. Retrograde Motion of Mars

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Figure 16. War starts, November 22, Figure 17. Winter Solstice 3066 BCE
3067

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Figure 19. Prograde and retrograde
Figure 18. BhŸÿma's Expiry January 17, motion of Budha
3066 BCE

Figure 20. Sky Diary for October 3067 Figure 21. A fierce comet at puÿya
BCE

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Figure 22. The planets Saturn and Figure 23. magh˜su aðg˜rako vakra×
Jupiter stay for a year

Figure 24. þravaõeca b®haspati× Figure 25. viÿ˜khayo× samŸpasthau

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Figure 26a A penumbral lunar eclipse

Figure 26. Sky Diary for November


3031 BCE

Figure 28. Balar˜ma returns on þravaõa


Figure 27. Balar˜ma sets off on puÿya
Day
Day

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Figure 29. Moon rising in the early morning hours

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Sarasvati Civilization
An overview

A historical project in search of River Sarasvati to discover our roots, has become a magnificent
opportunity for national resurgence and to make Bharat a developed nation.

This is presented in three sections: observations, conclusions and areas for further research.

Observations

Many sparks have emerged from the anvils of scholars and researches of a variety of disciplines –
all focused on the roots of civilization of Bharat.

Collated together, these sparks have become a floodlight which throws new light on the civilization
of Bharat.

It is a new light on the civilization because of the following reasons:

• A mighty river, a river mightier than Brahmaputra had drained in North-west Bharat for
thousands of years prior to 1500 BCE (Before Common Era).

• The collective memory of a billion people, carried through traditions built up, generation
after generation, recalls a river called Sarasvati; this memory is enshrined in the celebration
of a Mahakumbha Mela celebrated every 12 years at a place called Prayag where the River
Ganga joins with River Yamuna. River Sarasvati is also shown as a small monsoon-fed
stream in the topo-maps of Survey of India and in village revenue records in Punjab and
Haryana.

Yet, the tradition holds that there is a triven.i san:gamma (confluence of three rivers). The third
river is River Sarasvati. This tradition has now been established as a scientific fact – ground
truth -- thanks to the researches carried out using satellite imageries, geo-morphological
studies, glaciological and seismic studies and even the use of tritium analysis (of traces of
tritium present in the bodies of water found in the middle of the Marusthali desert) by atomic
scientists. The desiccation of the river was caused by plate tectonics and river migrations,
between 2500 and 1500 BCE.

These studies have established beyond any doubt that River Sarasvati was a mighty river
because it was a confluence of rivers emanating from Himalayan glaciers; the River Sutlej and
River Yamna were anchorage, tributary rivers of River Sarasvati. The river had drained over a
distance of over 1,600 kms. from Manasarovar glacier (W. Tibet) to Somnath (Gujarat) with an
average width of 6-8 kms. At Shatrana (south of Patiala), satellite image shows a 20 km. wide
palaeo-channel (ancient course), at the confluence of five streams – Sutlej, Yamuna,
Markanda, Aruna, Somb – referred to as Pan~ca Pra_ci_ Sarasvati in Bharatiya tradition. This
becomes Saptatha Dha_ra Sarasvati when two other streams – Dr.s.advati and Ghaggar – join
the River Sarasvati at Sirsa

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• A civilization was nurtured on the banks of this River Sarasvati as recognized through
the work of archaeologists and the geographical/historical facts contained in ancient
texts of Bharat, such as the Mahabharata and Pura_n.a. This civilization was an
indigenous evolution from earlier than 10000 BCE and can be said to be one of the
oldest civilizations in the world, heralding the Vedic heritage.
Over 2,000 archaeological sites have been discovered in the Sarasvati River Basin. There is
a description, in 200 s’lokas, in the S’alya Parva of Mahabharata of a pilgrimage
undertaken by Balarama, elder brother of Kr.s.n.a, along the River Sarasvati from Dwaraka
to Yamunotri.
• The oldest extant human document is the R.gveda which is a compilation of 11,000
r.ca-s perceived by hundreds of seers. An understanding of this document is
fundamental to an understanding of the cultural ethos of Bharat.
• R.gveda presents a world-view in allegorical and metaphorical terms perceiving an
essential unity in cosmic phenomena and r.ta (a rhythm which modulates the terrestrial
and celestial events alike). While the document presents the early philosophical
thought related to dharma, it also describes the lives and activities of people – the
Bharatiya. R.gveda thus presents a variegated picture covering a variety of facets of a
maritime-riverine civilization, such as transport systems, agriculture, use of fire,
minerals and metals to produce household utensils, ornaments, tools and weapons.
Archaeologists have unearthed many examples of technology used in the days of the
Sarasvati Civilization (from circa 3500 BCE to 1500 BCE). These provide evidence for
the evolution of s’ankha industry in 6500 BCE, preparation of alloys such as
pan~caloha, bronze, brass, pewter and bell-metal.
• A dialectical continuum has existed in Bharat from the days of R.gveda and Sarasvati
Civilization. The civilization constituted a linguistic area, as it is even today in Bharat.
Mleccha was a language spoken by Vidura and Yudhis.t.hira as evidenced by
Mahabharata. Mleccha were vra_tya-s who worked with minerals and metals. The
semantic structures (words and meanings) of all languages of Bharat – Munda,
Dravidian or Indo-Aryan categories – present an essential unity among the speakers of
various dialects of Bharat. The seven volume work on Sarasvati substantially draws
upon the Indian Lexicon, which is a comparative dictionary of over 25 ancient
languages of Bharat.
• Using this lexical repertoire of the linguistic area called Bharat, it has been possible to
crack the code of the epigraphs of the civilization inscribed on over 4,000 objects
including seals, tablets, weapons and copper plates. The epigraphs are composed of
hieroglyphs (referred to as Mlecchita Vikalpa – picture writing --, one of the 64 arts
listed by Va_tsya_yana).

The code of hieroglyphs is based on rebus (use of similar sounding words and
depicted through pictures) and represent the property possessions of braziers –
possessions such as furnaces, minerals, metals, tools and weapons. These were also
traded over an extensive area upto Tigris-Euphrates river valley in Mesopotamia
and the Caspian Sea in Europe.

• The tradition of epigraphy evidenced in punch-marked coins and copper plate


inscriptions in the context of Sarasvati Epigraphs points to millions of manuscripts and
documents remaining unexplored all over Bharat.

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• Ongoing projects for the rebirth of River Sarasvati has opened a new vista in water
management in Bharat, which has an ancient tradition of water management
exemplified by the rock-cut reservoir in Dholavira, the grand anicut on Kaveri, the step
wells and pus.karin.is in all parts of Bharat.
• Desiccation of River Sarasvati is a warning to us about the unpredictability of the
impact of tectonics on hydrological systems sourced from the Himalayas, for e.g. the
Rivers Ganga and Brahmaputra.

Conclusions

• River Sarasvati is neither a legend, nor a myth, but ground-truth, a river which was flowing
for thousands of years prior to Vedic times.
• Bharatiya Civilization is an indigenous evolution and cultural continuity is established from
the Vedic times to the present day.
• For thousands of years before the days of Mahabharata War (ca. 3000 BCE), the Bharatiya
had contacts with neighbouring civilizations.
• The historicity of Mahabharata has been established making it a sheet anchoe of
Bharatiya Itiha_sa.
• After the desiccation of River Sarasvati (finally by about 3000 years ago), Bharatiya-s
moved to other parts of the world.
• The metaphor of Samudra manthanam (celebrated in the Bha_vata Pura_n.a) is a
depiction of the reality of a cooperating society which had united all the people of Bharat into
life-activities including the environmentally sustainable use of natural resource offered by
Mother Earth (Bhu_devi).
• Sarasvati is adored in Bharatiya tradition as a river, as a mother and as a divinity –
ambitame, nadi_tame, devitame sarasvati. This is an abiding spiritual foundation which resides
in the heart of every Bharatiya.
• The epigraphs evidence one of the early writing systems of the world.
• The search and discovery of River Sarasvati has revealed a thread of essential unity – a
bond among the people of Bharat. This has emerged from Vedic times and continues even
today. This is the unity of an integral society, a resurgent nation and a unified culture which
can be found in all parts of Bharat, from the Himalayas to the Indian Ocean.
• Research Institutions have to be established in different disciplines of historical studies
to study the manuscripts and documents in the archival collections in all parts of the country.
• The initiation of a project for interlinking of rivers is a laudable, first step in creating a
National Water Grid which has the potential to ensure equitable distribution of water
resources to all parts of the country and to make Bharat a developed nation in 15 years’
time.

The establishment of the Water Grid is a national imperative and should be an


unmotivated action (l’acte gratuite) devoid of political overtones.
• The establishment of an inter-disciplinary Sarasvati Research Centre in Kurukshetra
will help in progressing further researches on water resources management, and study
of our history, heritage and culture.

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Areas for further researches

• Glaciological researches are needed in relation to the glacial source of River Sarasvati
which is referred to as Plaks.a Pras’ravan.a in the ancient texts.
• Seismological studies are needed to determine the chronology of events connected with
the submergence of Dwaraka, the Gulf of Khambat and other coastal regions of Bharat.
• Meteorological, glaciological and seismological studies have to be related to plate
tectonics – the dynamic Indian plate and the evolving Himalayas – for a better
understanding of the hydrological systems, sustainability and management of a
National Water Grid for Bharat.
• Archaeological work on the 2,000 sites on Sarasvati River Basin have to be related to
the events described in the ancient epics: Ramayana and Mahabharata
• The Vedic texts, epics and Purana-s contain historical information.which can be
validated through archaeological, astronomical and geographical studies.
• Epigraphical and language studies in relation to the evolution and spread of languages
and scripts of Bharat.
• Scholars have to be encouraged to study the unexplored manuscripts lying in museums,
libraries and private collections.
• Researches for establishing the National Water Grid should be objective and provide a
new vision to reach out the water and agricultural resources of thecountry, equitably,
to all people and for the development of the nation.

*********

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Index
Afghanistan, 31 Banawali, 24, 29, 80, 91, 109, 121, 147,
Agastya, 44, 111, 114, 183, 199 148
Agate, 242, 245 barley, 142, 149, 239
agriculture, 48, 64, 151, 211, 278 bastions, 84
Akkadian, 54, 135, 149, 157, 169, 198, bead, 80, 96, 206, 235, 239, 241, 242,
213, 217 243, 244, 245, 248, 252
Alexander, 25, 46, 100 beadmaking, 242, 250, 251
Allahabad, 33, 35 beads, 3, 83, 84, 86, 87, 91, 130, 149,
Allchin, 32, 43, 130 171, 183, 185, 186, 199, 203, 206,
amethyst, 250 211, 230, 238, 239, 240, 241, 242,
Amri, 26, 54, 55, 146, 158, 207 243, 244, 245, 248, 249, 251, 252
antelope, 157, 162, 170, 171, 172, 195, bed, 26, 29, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38,
213, 214, 257 39, 41, 45, 48, 50, 51, 58, 59, 63, 64,
Anu, 135, 152 70, 72, 73, 85, 90, 92, 93, 99, 100,
Arabian Gulf, 13 101, 102, 111, 166, 172, 176, 177,
Aravalli, 42, 59, 104, 105, 106, 107, 179, 180, 227
108, 130, 244 belt, 93, 195, 196, 235, 241
arch, 221, 254 Bha_rata, 10, 12, 13, 54, 117, 131, 160,
Archaeological Survey of India, 74, 80, 161, 164, 185, 202, 211, 220, 221,
119, 244 231, 234, 253, 257, 259
archaeo-metallurgy, 12 bha_s.a_, 155, 162, 164
archer, 170, 175, 188, 253, 255, 256, Bhairava, 15, 83, 185, 199, 202, 203,
257 204, 208, 230
architecture, 135, 141, 230 Bharat, 42
arrow, 47, 113, 169, 176, 253, 254, 255, Bharata, 83, 109, 116, 117, 128, 135,
256, 257 138, 142, 259, 262
arsenic, 91, 130 Bhr.gu, 160
Aryan, 30 blade, 95, 96, 210
astronomy, 64, 258, 262 BMAC, 146, 202
Atharva Veda, 54, 116, 208 boat, 38, 53, 174, 263
Atharvaveda, 45 bone, 5, 47, 86, 87, 95, 149, 161, 187,
Austro-Asiatic, 160 190, 193, 243, 253, 254, 255
Avestan, 8, 32, 117, 131, 133, 134, 137, boss, 211
138, 152, 163, 166, 202 bow, 175, 188, 189, 201, 208, 212, 219,
axe, 113, 172, 176, 179, 180, 212 224, 239, 242, 244, 253, 254, 255,
Bactria, 78, 117, 146, 202 256, 257
Balakot, 150, 243 Brahmi, 17, 81
Baluchistan, 19, 26, 55, 79, 107, 115, Brahui, 133, 157
118, 119, 133, 146, 150, 244
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brass, 91, 130, 167, 173, 174, 175, 179, cloth, 195, 213, 227, 228, 256
180, 188, 194, 195, 254, 278 cobra, 206
brazier, 173, 174, 175, 180, 193, 206 coins, 84, 120, 206, 208, 209, 278
brick, 82, 83, 85, 141, 149, 168, 203, copper, 27, 44, 48, 80, 81, 83, 86, 87,
206, 228 91, 130, 132, 150, 155, 161, 166,
bronze, 81, 89, 91, 110, 128, 130, 131, 171, 172, 173, 174, 176, 178, 179,
132, 144, 158, 163, 171, 178, 179, 180, 181, 182, 187, 188, 189, 191,
186, 188, 194, 199, 203, 209, 211, 192, 193, 194, 195, 198, 211, 213,
225, 226, 228, 235, 262, 278 227, 228, 232, 234, 242, 243, 244,
Buddha, 83, 116, 136, 145, 203, 214 257, 263, 278
buffalo, 167, 168, 215, 218, 236 cotton, 98, 228, 241
buildings, 79, 202, 228, 243 crocodile, 256
bull, 81, 86, 87, 91, 113, 156, 161, 170, crown, 135, 167, 168, 205
171, 172, 174, 195, 198, 201, 215, cuneiform, 54, 115, 134, 263
221, 222, 231, 257 cylinder seal, 168, 263
bun, 150, 223, 224, 225, 226, 234 dagger, 215, 220, 236
burial, 39, 184, 200, 220, 228, 240, 263 deer, 212
calendar, 265 deity, 45, 89, 113, 114, 128, 135, 138,
caravan, 101, 102, 257 141, 204, 205, 216, 221
carnelian, 26, 27, 86, 99, 185, 186, 235, dharma, 136, 156, 263, 278
238, 240, 241, 242, 243, 244, 245, Dholavira, 24, 29, 30, 46, 47, 54, 55,
246, 250, 256 59, 79, 80, 91, 99, 100, 109, 131,
carp, 172 148, 158, 192, 228, 229, 230, 263,
carpenter, 157, 175, 188, 189 279
cart, 53, 87, 191, 263 dice, 238
cattle, 40, 87, 136, 137, 141, 143, 257 digger, 55
cemetery, 86 Dilmun, 54, 132
Central Asia, 88, 117, 143, 146 dog, 87
ceramic, 64, 86 dotted circle, 162, 231, 232, 257
Chalcolithic, 243 Dr.s.advati, 17, 22, 40, 44, 85, 109,
Chanhudaro, 46, 91, 100, 244 124, 125, 151, 277
chert, 96, 244 Dravidian, 8, 110, 111, 114, 133, 134,
chipped, 183, 201, 242 136, 158, 159, 160, 278
chisel, 55, 79, 174 drill, 186, 239, 240, 242, 244
Cholistan, 25, 26, 27, 49, 64, 92, 100 drilling, 19, 74, 107, 242, 244
citadel, 47, 85 Druhyu, 135, 152
cities, 31, 37, 38, 47, 113, 140, 145, duck, 238
146, 147, 211, 262 Durga, 91, 114, 236
city, 30, 33, 46, 47, 59, 98, 120, 145, Early Harappan, 26, 49, 63, 146
208, 243, 244 Egypt, 51, 149, 209, 241, 245, 251
clay, 28, 33, 83, 96, 238, 241 Elam, 163
cloak, 162, 224, 225
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elephant, 161, 169, 170, 195, 206, 214, 159, 207, 208, 209, 243, 244, 262,
215 264, 277
embroidery, 228 Gujarati, 124, 133, 138
etched, 243, 244, 245 Gulf of Khambat, 13, 30, 48, 54, 55, 59,
faience, 86, 149, 175, 211, 228, 229, 241, 79, 94, 99, 100, 104, 105, 111, 130,
243 158, 159, 183, 207, 238, 262, 263,
Fairservis, 158 280
farm, 99 hammer, 55, 210
figurine, 83, 87, 165, 185, 186, 215, Harappa, 25, 29, 31, 53, 54, 59, 64, 70,
222, 225, 226, 232, 235, 238, 241 73, 79, 86, 92, 95, 131, 148, 155,
fillet, 175, 223, 224 165, 175, 183, 184, 193, 200, 201,
fish, 64, 83, 166, 168, 172, 174, 176, 206, 220, 221, 222, 224, 225, 227,
177, 179, 180 228, 232, 235, 238, 239, 240, 242,
Ganga, 16, 19, 24, 39, 43, 45, 49, 53, 245, 246, 248, 257, 263
65, 72, 73, 74, 78, 80, 89, 90, 92, hare, 186
102, 104, 107, 108, 110, 111, 113, headdress, 156, 167, 169, 222, 235, 241
115, 117, 121, 128, 130, 131, 146, hearth, 94, 96, 166, 172, 176, 177, 179,
149, 155, 164, 244, 262, 263, 277, 180, 191
279 Himalaya, 27, 73, 93, 102
Ganweriwala, 25, 59, 91, 263 Hindu, 12, 19, 32, 51, 107, 109, 138,
gateway, 84, 256 140, 142, 183, 185, 186, 201, 203,
Ghaggar, 22, 26, 28, 29, 36, 38, 41, 49, 206, 210, 265
50, 51, 56, 58, 59, 64, 70, 71, 72, 75, horned, 167, 168, 169, 170, 171, 172,
90, 102, 104, 106, 277 174, 195, 196, 197, 201, 212, 221,
glass, 84, 87, 171, 211, 222, 251, 252 222, 229, 257
glazed faience, 243 horse, 45, 64, 78, 117, 134, 170, 185,
goat, 87, 141, 168, 193, 195, 201, 213 201, 206, 212, 216
godess, 10, 232, 236 hunter, 212
gold, 18, 46, 86, 107, 126, 150, 166, incised, 70, 86, 87, 161, 183, 200, 211,
167, 173, 175, 178, 179, 181, 182, 215, 240, 254
186, 189, 191, 192, 194, 198, 205, Indo-Aryan, 6, 78, 79, 80, 134, 143,
208, 209, 211, 239, 240, 242, 253, 146, 147, 152, 157, 158, 159, 160,
254 278
goldsmith, 157, 166, 167, 168, 173, Indo-Iranian, 115, 134, 135, 143, 158
174, 175, 178, 180, 189, 191, 192, ingot, 177, 182, 191, 193, 213
194, 196, 198 inlaid, 198, 200, 254
granary, 67, 228 inscription, 8, 47, 55, 83, 108, 128, 143,
grapheme, 194 161, 203
Gujarat, 13, 16, 17, 20, 21, 24, 31, 42, ivory, 149, 175, 212, 234, 238, 253,
43, 47, 52, 53, 54, 55, 59, 66, 67, 77, 254, 255
78, 80, 93, 96, 97, 98, 103, 104, 106, jackal, 81
110, 111, 115, 130, 147, 149, 158, janapada, 42, 164
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Jarrige, 146, 147, 186, 215, 243 lead, 18, 34, 120, 150, 169, 177, 186,
jasper, 241, 242 200, 244, 257
jewelry, 239 lizard, 79, 166, 228, 229, 230
Kalibangan, 24, 29, 38, 39, 41, 48, 59, Lothal, 20, 24, 30, 31, 41, 46, 47, 59,
62, 79, 86, 91, 93, 109, 121, 148, 91, 92, 96, 98, 99, 100, 111, 121,
155, 217, 220, 263 148, 171, 207, 238, 263
Kalyanaraman, 1, 2, 4, 10, 11, 12, 14, Mackay, 217, 220, 228, 234, 238, 244,
77, 94, 198, 262 257
Kannad.a, 6 Magadha, 135
Kashmir, 13, 45, 88, 110, 128, 203 Magan, 54, 132
Kashmiri, 41, 131, 156 Maha_bha_rata, 35, 36, 37, 42, 45, 64,
Kenoyer, 3, 53, 64, 78, 133, 146, 147, 88, 92, 109, 110, 113, 116, 117, 129,
150, 165, 175, 183, 184, 185, 186, 145, 153, 202, 216
193, 199, 200, 201, 215, 220, 221, Mahadevan, 112, 195, 207
222, 223, 224, 226, 228, 234, 235, Makran, 3, 54, 55, 94, 183, 199, 207,
238, 239, 240, 241, 242, 243 243
Khetri, 44, 48, 108, 130 Marshall, 27, 149, 162, 175, 211, 225,
kiln, 156, 165, 167, 168, 172, 191, 198, 226, 228, 235, 241, 256
227 Meadow, 53, 64, 92
Kish, 211, 222, 244 Mehrgarh, 3, 97, 145, 158, 183, 199,
kneeling, 170, 205 234, 243
Kon Meluhha, 53, 54, 127, 132, 133, 157,
kan.i, 6, 169 171, 228, 244, 263
Kot Diji, 26, 56, 57, 146, 218, 241 Meluhhan, 157, 158
Kunal, 59, 91, 148, 263 merchants, 53, 132, 150
Kutch, 13, 20, 22, 26, 27, 29, 30, 31, Mesolithic, 44, 96
32, 37, 38, 41, 46, 47, 48, 50, 55, 58, Mesopotamia, 13, 53, 54, 55, 88, 127,
59, 66, 67, 94, 98, 99, 100, 102, 103, 132, 163, 209, 211, 217, 228, 241,
105, 106, 107, 108, 115, 121, 130, 243, 244, 263, 278
147, 150, 159, 183, 207, 264 metal, 10, 81, 91, 130, 132, 149, 156,
Lal, 39, 47, 59, 77 166, 167, 168, 169, 171, 172, 173,
language, 5, 6, 10, 12, 59, 114, 115, 174, 175, 176, 177, 178, 179, 180,
127, 131, 134, 146, 152, 155, 156, 181, 182, 186, 187, 189, 191, 192,
157, 158, 159, 160, 161, 162, 278, 193, 194, 195, 196, 197, 198, 218,
280 253, 255, 278
languages, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 59, 80, 119, metallurgy, 80, 89
124, 131, 133, 139, 143, 149, 151, metals, 127, 130, 132, 156, 157, 166,
156, 157, 159, 160, 161, 162, 163, 168, 175, 180, 189, 191, 196, 198,
164, 278, 280 213, 221, 239, 278
lapidary, 85, 166, 201 microbeads, 241
lapis lazuli, 31, 241, 242, 243 mining, 150
Mleccha, 15, 155, 278

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Mlecchita, 15, 155, 278 pipal, 167, 168
Mohenjodaro, 27, 29, 31, 46, 53, 55, plant, 49, 122, 123, 124, 167, 169
59, 70, 92, 95, 109, 144, 146, 148, plants, 163
165, 175, 183, 199, 200, 206, 222, platform, 86, 95, 129, 167, 168, 169, 170,
223, 224, 225, 228, 229, 235, 241, 182, 193, 232
244, 263 Pleiades, 265
molded, 221 Possehl, 26, 27, 31, 46, 48, 49, 52, 70,
monkey, 18, 106, 229 99, 105, 119, 145, 146, 147, 149,
mortar, 83 158, 222, 232
mould, 175, 177, 180, 221 pottery, 82, 83, 84, 86, 87, 96, 140, 149,
mud-brick, 85, 141 165, 221, 222
Mundari, 122, 124, 166, 189, 193 Pra_kr.t, 42, 133, 139
Nausharo, 185, 186, 215, 221, 238, 243 Priest, 197, 198
necklace, 185, 186, 217, 230, 242 punch-marked, 278
Neolithic, 159, 242, 243 Punjab, 13, 16, 18, 22, 24, 28, 32, 33,
Oldham, 28, 32, 33, 35, 37, 39, 40, 63, 34, 35, 36, 37, 41, 45, 53, 57, 63, 66,
71, 103 72, 78, 83, 90, 92, 103, 104, 106,
onager, 257 107, 111, 116, 122, 124, 146, 149,
one-horned, 170, 171, 172, 195, 196, 153, 202, 203, 245, 262, 277
212, 221, 222, 257 Puru, 116, 117, 135, 152
onyx, 250 quartz, 240, 242
ore, 79, 126, 150, 166, 169, 171, 192, R.gveda, 2, 10, 12, 13, 16, 17, 18, 20,
194, 195, 227, 255 22, 25, 32, 35, 39, 40, 41, 45, 47, 54,
organization, 12, 64, 149 70, 92, 115, 125, 126, 127, 130, 131,
ornaments, 3, 54, 79, 87, 130, 183, 186, 134, 135, 136, 141, 142, 143, 153,
199, 205, 207, 208, 211, 213, 221, 155, 160, 164, 166, 185, 203, 207,
234, 243, 263, 278 217, 259, 263, 278
Oxus, 34, 78, 117, 146 Ra_ma_yan.a, 88, 114, 128, 135, 151,
Pakistan, 18, 25, 26, 27, 30, 56, 57, 72, 153, 206, 225, 226
90, 92, 97, 99, 107, 118, 149, 161, Rajasthan, 13, 16, 18, 20, 21, 22, 26,
193, 200, 218, 222, 223, 227, 239, 32, 43, 44, 47, 48, 52, 53, 60, 66, 67,
240, 242 70, 76, 78, 89, 90, 93, 103, 104, 105,
palaeolithic, 44, 253 106, 107, 108, 109, 110, 115, 130,
Palaeolithic, 44, 96 141, 142, 149, 150, 257, 264
Parpola, 78, 139, 202 Rakhigarhi, 24, 29, 59, 80, 85, 86, 91,
peacock, 18, 91, 126, 169, 256 92, 144, 263
pendant, 86, 185, 186, 225, 226, 235, ram, 42, 84, 87, 141, 167, 172, 257
241, 242 ratha, 79, 214, 255, 257
perforated, 201 Ravi, 25, 28, 39, 40, 45, 50, 64, 75, 131
Persian Gulf, 53, 54, 94, 130, 171, 239, raw material, 31, 48, 242, 244, 251
263 rebus, 131, 156, 166, 169, 171, 173,
phallus, 213 174, 176, 177, 179, 180, 182, 187,
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189, 192, 193, 194, 195, 196, 197, serpentine, 241
198, 213, 278 Shaffer, 78, 146, 147
red ochre, 211 sheep, 87, 141, 142, 211
reservoir, 55, 79, 91, 131, 155, 263, shell, 3, 47, 54, 84, 131, 149, 150, 173,
264, 279 177, 178, 182, 183, 184, 185, 199,
rhinoceros, 142, 168, 257 200, 201, 206, 208, 209, 210, 220,
rice, 29, 92 224, 240, 241, 243, 254, 255
Rojdi, 30, 41, 91, 98, 100, 263 ship, 160
Ropar, 25, 29, 58, 73, 74, 91, 92, 111, Sindh, 18, 27, 40, 48, 99, 107, 111, 117,
262, 263 120, 147, 157, 199, 243, 244
Sanskrit, 4, 6, 8, 34, 36, 42, 72, 111, Sindhi, 6, 99, 131, 133
114, 115, 124, 128, 133, 134, 156, Siwalik, 22, 23, 24, 25, 29, 36, 58, 62,
158, 162, 205, 206, 231 66, 74, 78, 79, 81, 90, 92, 93, 100,
Santali, 122, 131, 132, 156, 166, 167, 102, 258, 263
169, 170, 171, 172, 173, 174, 175, snake, 168, 169, 202, 204, 206, 255
176, 177, 178, 180, 181, 182, 186, soma, 125, 126, 151, 152, 163, 166,
187, 188, 189, 191, 194, 195, 196, 167, 255
197, 198, 213 spear, 126, 169, 218, 219
Sarasvati, 2, 4, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, squirrel, 229
17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, standing person, 174
27, 28, 29, 30, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, steatite, 27, 53, 211, 241
39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 47, 48, 49, stone bead, 230, 239, 241, 242
52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 62, stone sculptures, 85
63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, stoneware, 165
75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 84, 85, stoneware bangle, 165
86, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 97, 98, stool, 168, 170, 217
99, 100, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106, storage jar, 82, 165
107, 108, 109, 110, 111, 115, 116, stupa, 82, 83, 203, 205, 214, 229
117, 121, 124, 125, 126, 127, 128, Sumerian, 168, 243
129, 130, 131, 133, 140, 141, 142, Sutlej, 17, 18, 19, 22, 24, 25, 26, 28, 29,
143, 144, 146, 149, 150, 151, 152, 32, 33, 34, 35, 37, 39, 40, 41, 45, 50,
153, 154, 155, 157, 158, 159, 160, 51, 53, 56, 57, 58, 59, 62, 64, 65, 67,
161, 162, 163, 164, 165, 166, 183, 70, 71, 73, 74, 90, 91, 92, 93, 102,
198, 199, 202, 207, 211, 214, 228, 103, 104, 106, 107, 116, 130, 262,
231, 236, 238, 239, 243, 244, 258, 264, 277
259, 260, 261, 262, 263, 264, 277, svastika_, 156, 161, 232
278, 279, 280 symbols, 54, 79, 183, 201, 206, 219,
Saurashtra, 30, 31, 38, 46, 59, 66, 96, 257
98, 108, 147, 150, 183 tablets, 81, 155, 166, 173, 175, 176,
saw, 163, 201, 209, 210, 211 177, 180, 181, 186, 187, 188, 189,
sealing, 221, 231 190, 191, 211, 221, 229, 240, 278
serpent, 40, 162, 170, 191, 218, 264
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Tamil, 4, 6, 111, 112, 114, 124, 131, vedic, 110, 111, 113, 134, 162, 207,
132, 156, 160, 208, 209 263
Taxila, 244, 245, 247, 248, 249 vessels, 46, 82, 180, 181, 200, 211, 228
Telugu, 4, 6, 124 Vindhya, 151
temple, 42, 81, 84, 85, 109, 111, 114, war, 20, 24, 40, 44, 117, 130, 161, 207,
120, 128, 170, 190, 202, 204, 205, 208, 255, 259, 260, 266
206, 220, 234, 237, 251 warfare, 253
terracotta, 53, 79, 83, 84, 86, 87, 155, weapons, 91, 131, 132, 138, 155, 166,
168, 175, 186, 193, 195, 206, 221, 209, 211, 218, 219, 234, 256, 257,
222, 235, 241, 256, 263 278
terracotta cake, 221 weaving, 89, 149, 221, 227
terracotta tablet, 175, 193 weights, 53, 54, 91, 149, 211, 221, 239,
textile, 227 240, 263
throne, 168, 212 wheat, 149
tiger, 81, 156, 162, 169, 195, 198, 213, Wheeler, 146
215, 256, 257 Wilhelmy, 73, 99, 100, 102, 103
Tigris, 127, 130, 262, 278 workshop, 168, 169, 170, 178, 192,
tin, 91, 99, 112, 130, 132, 150, 169, 194, 195, 196, 198, 207, 209, 218,
171, 172, 175, 177, 179, 181, 186, 228
187, 188, 193, 194, 198, 244 workshops, 208
tokens, 210 worship, 41, 79, 88, 111, 114, 120, 121,
tools, 44, 91, 96, 97, 130, 132, 157, 126, 133, 220
166, 167, 173, 228, 239, 242, 243, writing, 10, 12, 13, 15, 17, 80, 92, 131,
260, 262, 278 155, 161, 164, 211, 260, 278, 279
tortoise, 113, 196, 206, 255 writing system, 10, 12, 13, 15, 17, 92,
traders, 143, 146, 150, 208 155, 164, 279
transport, 53, 103, 149, 262, 278 yajn~a, 53, 54, 109, 115, 125, 126, 156,
tree, 41, 81, 113, 121, 122, 123, 124, 215, 216, 265
156, 161, 169, 171, 193, 195, 221, Yama, 136
231, 232, 234 Yamuna, 16, 17, 18, 19, 21, 22, 23, 24,
trefoil, 162, 198 27, 29, 35, 39, 40, 44, 45, 48, 53, 59,
triven.i, 115, 277 64, 72, 73, 74, 79, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93,
Turkmenistan, 146 104, 106, 107, 108, 109, 115, 117,
turquoise, 121, 242, 243 128, 129, 130, 142, 144, 145, 146,
Ur, 232, 243, 244 149, 214, 262, 264, 277
Valdiya, 17, 19, 29, 50, 58, 73, 90, 104, yogic, 157, 167, 168, 231, 232
159 Yudhis.t.hira, 127, 155, 278
Vats, 73, 220, 246, 248 Zebu, 156, 161, 231

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