Saraswati River did exist, says K.S. Valdiya Committee

The seven-member expert committee of geologists, archaeologists and hydrologists, headed by Professor K.S. Valdiya of the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), have found evidence of the course of the river Saraswati. The committee on “Palaeochannels of North-West India: Review and Assessment” had been appointed by Water Resources Ministry to map paleo-channels of north-west India including river Saraswati, a mythological river mentioned in the Rigveda and other literature of Hindu mythology.

Key Facts from the submitted report:saraswati-river_1

  • Sarawati was a Himalayan river.
  • Saraswati river had two branches  the eastern branch included Sarsuti-Markanda rivulets in Haryana and the  western branches were made of Ghaggar-Patiali channels.
  • These branches met in Shatrana, 25 kilometres south of Patiala and “flowed as a large river” emptying out into the sea that is now the Rann of Kutch.
  • It is assumed that River Saraswati originated from Adibadri in the Himalaya to culminate in the Arabian Sea through the Runn of Kutch.
  • It was approximately 4,000 km in length with nearly 3000 km of length occurring in India and remaining one-third of the river lying in present-day Pakistan.
  • During its six-month research, the committee came across “an unique” palaeochannel (a path abandoned by river when it changes its course) relating to present Ghaggar, Sarsuti, Hakra and Nara rivers.
  • They  also concluded that around 1700 “small and big” towns and villages were located around the palaeo-channel concerned during Harappa Civilization. “Some towns were spread over more than 100 hectares. These colonies were there for 5,500 years.

Timeline of Topic: Prior to K S Valdiya Committee



  • Paleochannel is a remnant (remaining traces) of an inactive river or stream channel that has been either filled or buried by younger sediment.
  • The word palaeochannel is formed from the words “palaeo” or ‘old’, and channel.   Hence palaeochannel stands for ancient or vey old channel.
  • Study of paleo-channels help in understanding movements of faults, earth quakes etc.
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