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The lost and now 'found' Saraswati river


Well-known member
"You are only just finding out. Our ancestors have known for ages that the Saraswati flows here," proclaims Rajeshwar Shastri, head priest at the Kedarnath temple in Adi Badri, Haryana.

This is the site that he, and a growing tribe of the faithful, believes to be the origin of the 'lost' Saraswati. His conviction, he says, owes to the years he spent as a Vedic scholar at Banaras Hindu University.

"I am not a pandit, I am a Brahmin. I have read the Vedas and the Puranas and I can tell you with confidence that the river that flows here is the Saraswati,".

"According to our scriptures, when Ved Vyas and Ganesha sat on the banks of the Saraswati to write the Mahabharata, the sage asked the river goddess to flow more gently. She didn't listen and that is when Ganesha cursed her that she will one day completely vanish," explains Dharmender Pandey, a priest at the Adi Badri temple.

Between evading uncomfortable questions, he chants mantras, breaks a banana in half for prasad and warns visitors of monkeys outside. Neither Shastri nor Pandey, nor anyone else in Adi Badri, are able to cite the 'scientific' findings. 'If the government is willing to spend Rs 2.5 billion to Rs 3 billion on building check-dams and reviving the river, then they must have found good reason to do so," is all Shastri can offer.

In Adi Badri, a gate and a green sign-board proclaim this site as the origin of the Saraswati.

Water trickles down a small gau-mukh (a structure common in Hindu temples where a cow's mouth is used as a spout), creating a channel for the brownish stream to flow into a pond.

A nifty little Haryana Tourism guest house, usually frequented on weekends, overlooks a large step well inaugurated by Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar in January this year.

When Harish Rawat, caretaker of the guesthouse, is asked if he believes this is water from the Saraswati, he chuckles and looks at the skies.

"This is rainwater," he says.

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