The River Saraswati is not a myth, as a section of the historians believed it to be. That a river flowed in India’s west where now lies the vast Thar Desert has been proven by scientists including those from NASA.
Hailed in the Rig Veda as the greatest mother, river, and goddesses, the River Saraswati was lost to the vagaries of nature. The Mahabharata says that the river dried up in a desert. There are theories suggesting how the river dried up leading to the shifting of the Vedic people from India’s northwest to the Indo-Gangetic plain.
Decades of study has revealed that Haryana’s Ghaggar-Hakra system is the Vedic Saraswati.
Geographic mapping has proved that the Ghaggar River is but a smaller version of a mightier river that flowed through the area.
So the NDA government, in 2002, embarked on a mission to discover the lost River Saraswati. Two years later, the Congress-led UPA government came to power and the project was shelved.
In 2014, the Modi government took charge, and one of its missions was restarting the project.
Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti had then told the Parliament that she has asked “authorities to collect information, detect and revive the water sources and the roots of the river” which scientific evidence states once existed.
The efforts of the government bore fruit in April 2015 when a team of geologists and scientists discovered traces of the river in a place called Yamuna Nagar in Haryana.
While digging at places the geologists believe Saraswati river once flowed based on satellite images, they found a stream of water at a place called Mugalwali near Adi Badri in Yamuna Nagar.
Those digging in the area found that the deeper they went, the moister the soil became. And at just 7-8 feet, a stream of water gushed out. They continued burrowing and the stream turned into a pool.
Soon, the excavators found water coming out from four other pits dug in the same line.
Adi Badri was identified as being the first location where traces of the river was discovered.
Haryana state government, which has made the discovery of Saraswati a prime mission, has allocated Rs.500 million for the project.
In February 2016, the state government renamed Mustafabad, just a few kilometres from the site of the discovery, to Saraswati Nagar because records suggest that the ancient river flowed past this village.
Uma Bharti set up a “task force” comprising of water experts and historians to probe the apparent discovery in Yamunanagar. “The Ministry will think further about the river only after the veracity of the claim is established,” Bharti said.
Once the river is found, it will not only help boost religious tourism but also solve the water problem in an otherwise arid area.