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THE LOST RIVER SARASWATI: MYSTERY BENEATH THE THAR DESERT



  May 22, 2024

THE LOST RIVER SARASWATI: MYSTERY BENEATH THE THAR DESERT



The Saraswati River, a prominent feature in ancient Indian texts, has intrigued historians and geologists for years. Mentioned over 80 times in the Rigveda, the Saraswati was believed to have dried up around 5000 years ago due to climatic and tectonic changes. However, modern scientific tools suggest that it may still be flowing underground beneath the Thar Desert.

Historical Significance

Originating in the Himalayas, the Saraswati River played a crucial role during the Vedic period (8000-5000 BP), flowing through Punjab, Haryana, western Rajasthan, and Gujarat before draining into the Arabian Sea. The discovery of Harappan civilization sites along its banks underscores its importance in supporting ancient cultures.

Geological Evidence

Recent advancements in remote sensing techniques and geological studies have revealed paleochannels beneath the Thar Desert that align with the described path of the Saraswati. Satellite imagery and isotope analyses of ancient waters stored beneath the desert sands provide substantial evidence. The National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) of India has significantly contributed to these findings, confirming the presence of underground channels fed by old tributaries during the monsoon season.

Causes of Disappearance

The Saraswati’s disappearance is attributed to the shifting courses of its tributaries, the Sutlej and Yamuna rivers, influenced by climatic and topographical changes. This gradual process turned the once-flourishing river into a memory, with the Thar Desert now standing where a vibrant river once supported human settlements.

Implications for Water Resource Management

Understanding the subterranean path of the Saraswati holds significant implications for water resource management in the arid regions of Rajasthan and Gujarat. Developing techniques to extract groundwater from these ancient channels could benefit these areas immensely.

Conclusion

The Saraswati River’s story is a fascinating chapter in Earth’s geological history, illustrating the dynamic nature of our planet’s geography and the legacy of ancient civilizations. Its underground channels remain a silent witness to a past era, waiting to be rediscovered and offering potential solutions for modern water challenges.


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