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Author:Laxman Burdak, IFS (Retd.)
Location of the Desert Rivers by Irfan Habib

Drishadwati (दृषद्वती) is a river hypothesized by indologists to identify the route of revered Vedic river Saraswati and the state of Brahmavarta. According to Manusmriti, the Brahmavarta, where the Rishis composed the Vedas and other Sanskrit texts of the Vedic religion, was at the confluence of the Saraswati and Drishadvati rivers during the Vedic period.


Origin of name

Dṛṣad-vatī, or river meaning "she with many stones".


It was on the confluence of the revered rivers Saraswati and Drishadwati during the Vedic period that the state of Brahmavarta was located, where the Rishis composed the Vedas and other Sanskrit Granths, which are the basis of Vedic Sanatana Dharma, presently called Hinduism. Though the Drishadvati river has several mentions in the Sanskrit Granths, a clear source of Drishadwati is not mentioned any where. This generates lot of speculation on source and route of Drishadwati river. But the new researches backed by various scientific techniques are becoming useful to locate the route of Drishadwati river. Latyayana Srautasutra (10.17) has described it as a seasonal river, while Saraswati as a perennial river up to Vinasana (10.15-19). This shows that Drishadwati river did not have its source in Himalayas.

Tej Ram Sharma[1] describes that....We get three different versions about the origin of the Yaudheyas : third version is ....

(iii) The Harivamsa 594 and the Vayu Purana 595 state that King Usinara of the Puru dynasty had five queens named Nrga or Mrga, Krmi, Nava, Darva and Drsadvati who gave birth to five sons named Nrga, (or Mrga),'Krmi, Nava, Suvrata and Sibi (or Sivi) respectively. Sibi was the lord of the Sibi people or of the city of Sivapura, while Nrga (or Mrga) was the ruler of the Yaudheyas or of Yaudheyapura. The other three sons of Usinara, viz., Nava, Krmi and Suvrata, were the lords respectively of Navarastra, Krmilapuri and Ambasthapuri. 596 According to Pargiter, King Usinara established the Yaudheyas, Ambasthas, Navarastra,and the city of Krmila, all on the eastern border of the Punjab; while his famous son Sivi Ausinara originated the Sivis or Sibis in Sivapura. 597

594. I. 31.24-28: takes the reading Nrga.

595. 99.18-22: takes the variant reading Mrga.

596. D.C. Sircar, Oz. pp. 252-53.

597. Pargiter, M. P. 264.


The Drsadvati River has been identified by Oldham with the Chautang River.[2] Talageri (2000) identifies it with the Hariyupiya river and the Yavyavati river. Sir Alexander Cunningham in 1871 identified Rakshi River as old Drishadwati river and showed its flow from Chunar near Varanasi. Though, Brahman Granths mention that before making a confluence with Saraswati river, Drishadwati had flown from East to West, Rakshi can not be the river as it does not fulfill the second description that both Saraswati and Drishadwati had flown in opposite directions too, before making confluence and boundaries of Vedic state of Brahmavarta. While Saraswati had flown from north to south during Rig Vedic period, the Drishadwati had flown from south to North in Aravalies from pot of Lord Brahma, Pushkar Lake, near Ajmer, to Nangal Chaudhery in South Haryana and took a left turn to reach Satnali to meet Saraswati coming from North to move to Didwana Lake and further south. After major seismic activities in Aravallies, mentioned by several geologists, 6-7000BCE, Drishadwati river changed its route and from Nangal Chaudhery,[3]instead of moving towards east it took a route to north which is the present Sahibi river route, passing through Kot Kasim in Alwar district, Rewari district, Jhajjar district, Rohtak district and finally in to Delhi in Yamuna river. Saraswati river also changed its route and instead of moving towards south, took a westernly turn in districts of Panipat and Sonepat in Haryana where we find Harrapan settlements now.

Brahmanas, have several mentions about Drishadwati river and because these Granths were mostly written in the state of Brahmavarta, the descriptions of rivers is most appropriate.

Origin from Pushkar Lake

Pushkar Lake

Brahmanas point out that Drishadwati river had its origin from the pot of Brahma i.e. Pushkar lake, near Ajmer. Pushkar has the most revered Brahma temple in India. Website of Pushkar lake confirms that 4 branches of revered river (they call them Saraswati) had originated from hills near Pushkar in different directions. The name Drashadwati has been assigned to one of the branches of this river, which had flown towards north, because this branch near Brahmavarta had too many stones on the bed. Also, most of the Ashrams of Rishis who compiled Rigveda were on this river only in between Pushkar and Dhosi Hill in Brahmavarta.[4] Rigveda also mentions that Drashadwati river was preferred for making religious sacrifices by Vedic people.

In the Manu Smriti, this river and the Sarasvati River define the boundaries of Vedic state of Brahmavarta.[5] "It says that the land, created by the Gods, which lies between the two divine rivers Sarasvati and Drishadvati, the (sages) call Brahmavarta." Manu Smriti also says that while Saraswati made the northern boundary of Kuru Pradesh, Drishadwati had flown in the south of Kuru Pradesh and north of 'Brahmavarta'. This makes identification of Kuru Pradesh and Brahmavarta important. Mahabharata explains the southern boundaries of Kuru Pradesh up to Guru Dronacharya's Ashram, present day Gurgaon on one end and Rohtak Jangla on other southern end, which comes up to present day Jhajjar city. So Drishadwati should be considered flowing in the south of these cities. Though about 100 rivulets and small rivers had flown from south to northern side in the 200 km wide Aravali Ranges at the Northern end during the Vedic period 10,000 years ago the only huge river, which can claim the description of voluminous tributory of Saraswati in the south of Kuru Pradesh, as per mentions in Sanskrit books, is present day Sahibi River.[6]Sahibi has much lower flow at present time because of low rainfall in catchment area, though having wide dry beds at places, which carries the water from south to north from Districts of Jaipur, Sikar, Alwar, Rewari, Jhajjar, Rohtak and Delhi in Yamuna.

In ancient literature

In Rig Veda - The river is also mentioned in the Rig Veda (RV 3.23.4) together with Sarasvati and Apaya. According to Rigved, and Brahmin Granths, Vedic sacrifices were performed on this river and on the Sarasvati River (Pancavimsa Brahmana; Katyayana Sratua Sutra; Latyayana Srauta Sutra).

In Srimad Bhagavatam: According to the major religious work Srimad Bhagavatam, the Drsadvati is one of the many transcendental rivers in India.

In Harivansa:

In the Harivansa (line 1677) mention is made of a king Ushinara, of the family of Kaksheyu, who had five wives, Nriga, Krimi, Nava, Darva, and Drishadvati. They bore him each one son, and the boys were named Nriga, Krimi, Nava, Suvrata and Sivi; of whom Nava reigned over Navarashtram, Krimi, over Kumila-puri; Sivi, who is said to be the author of one of the hymns of the Rig Veda (X.179), over the Sivayas, and Nriga over the Yaudheyas. In the Mahabharat the Usinaras are said to be a lower race of Kshatriyas. They are mentioned by Panini in a connection which seems to imply that they were settled in or near the Punjab; and in the Aitareyas Brahmana, Usinara is collocated with Kurui and Panchala. Again, Drishadvati, the fifth of Usinara's wives, recalls to mind the unknown river of the same name, which is mentioned by Manu as one of the boundaries of Brahmavarta, and in the Mahabharat as the southern boundary of Kurukshetra. [7]


ठाकुर देशराज[8] ने लिखा है....‘मथुरा मेमायर्स’ के लेखक ग्राउस साहब ने नव लोगों का वर्णन करते हुये लिखा है कि उशीनर की पांच रानियां थीं - 1. नृगा 2. कृमि 3. नवा 4. दर्व 5. दृषद्वती। इनके एक-एक पुत्र हुआ। उनके नाम नृग, कृमि, नव, सुव्रत और शिवि थे। इनमें से नव ने नवराष्ट्र पर राज किया। कृमि ने कुमिल्लापुरी और शिवि ने, जो कि ऋग्वेद की एक ऋचा का लेखक कहा जाता है, शिवव्यास पर राज किया और नृग ने यौधेयों पर राज किया ।

चीतंग नदी

विजयेन्द्र कुमार माथुर[9] ने लेख किया है ...चीतंग नदी (AS, p.338): स्थानेश्वर (=थानेसर) या कुरुक्षेत्र के दक्षिण-पूर्वी की ओर बहने वाली एक नदी है। संभव है यह प्राचीन दृषद्वती हो क्योंकि कुरुक्षेत्र की सीमा का वर्णन इस प्रकार है- 'सरस्वती दक्षिणेन दृषद्वत्युत्तरेण च, ये वसंति कुरुक्षेत्रे ते वसंति त्रिविष्टपे' अर्थात् सरस्वती के दक्षिण और दृषद्वती के उत्तर में जो लोग कुरुक्षेत्र में रहते हैं, वे स्वर्ण में ही बसते हैं।


विजयेन्द्र कुमार माथुर[10] ने लेख किया है ...1. दृषद्वती (AS, p.440): उत्तर वैदिक काल की प्रख्यात नदी थी, जो यमुना और सरस्वती के बीच के प्रदेश में बहती थी। इस प्रदेश को ब्रह्मावर्त कहते थे। इस नदी को अब घग्घर कहते हैं। द्दषद्वती का उल्लेख ऋग्वेद में केवल एक बार सरस्वती नदी के साथ है। महाभारत में नदियों की सूची में द्दषद्वती भी परिगणित है- 'शतद्रूं चन्द्रभागां च यमुनां च महानदीम्, द्दषद्वतीं विपाशां च विपापां स्थूलवालुकाम्' भीष्मपर्व 9,15

महाभारत वनपर्व में द्दषद्वती का सरस्वती के साथ ही उल्लेख है- 'सरस्वती नदी सदिभ्: सततं पार्थ पूजिता, बालखिल्यैर्महाराज यत्रेष्टमृषिभि: पुरा, द्दषद्वती महापुण्या यत्र ख्याता युधिष्ठर' वनपर्व 90,10-11

द्दषद्वती-कौशिकी संगम का वर्णन महाभारत वनपर्व 83,95-96 में है। (दे. कौशिकी-2)

2. दृषद्वती (AS, p.440): श्रीमद् भागवत 5,19,18 में भी इसी नदी का उल्लेख है-- 'यमुना सरस्वती दृषद्वती गोमती सरयू ...' दृषद्वती का शाब्दिक अर्थ दृषद्-वाली या प्रस्तरों से पूर्ण नदी है. उत्तर वैदिक काल में दृषद्वती और सरस्वती ब्रह्मावर्त की पूरी सीमा बनाती थीं--( मैकडोनाल्ड ए हिस्ट्री आफ संस्कृत लिटरेचर, 1929, पृ. 141) वामन पुराण 39,6-8 में दृषद्वती को कुरुक्षेत्र की एक नदी माना गया है 'दृषद्वती महापुण्या तथा हिरण्यवती नदी'.

पुराण वर्णित एक नदी का नाम है। महाभारत के अनुसार यह थानेश्वर से 13 मील दक्षिण में है। इसका आधुनिक नाम ‘कग्गर' या 'घग्गर’ है और 'राखी' भी इसे कहते हैं। इसका उल्लेख ऋग्वेद और मनुस्मृति में भी मिलता है। [11]


विजयेन्द्र कुमार माथुर[12] ने लेख किया है ... 2. कौशिकी: कुरुक्षेत्र की एक नदी. वामन पुराण 39, 6-8 के अनुसार कुरुक्षेत्र में अनेक नदियां प्रवाहित होती हैं-- 'सरस्वती नदी पुण्या तथा वैतरणी नदी, आपगा, च महापुण्या गंगा मंदाकिनी नदी, मधुश्रवा अम्लु नदी, कौशिकी पापनाशिनी दृषद्वती महापुण्या तथा हिरण्यवती नदी.' कौशिकी और दृषद्वती के संगम का महाभारत 83,95-96 में उल्लेख है-- 'कौशिक्या: संगमे यस्तु दृषद्वत्याश्च भारत, स्नाति वै नियताहारा: सर्वपापैः प्रमुच्यते.'

इतिहासकार स्वामी ओमानन्द सरस्वती लिखते हैं -

हरयाणा प्रान्त के प्राचीन नाम यौधेयों का बहुधान्यक, मयूरभूमि, ब्रह्मर्षि देश, कुरु प्रदेश, कुरु-जांगल, मध्यदेश, ब्रह्मावर्त थे, और 'आर्यावर्त' का यह प्रान्त एक भाग माना जाता है । जैसा कि निम्नलिखित शास्त्रीय प्रमाणों से सिद्ध होता है । प्रथम आर्यावर्त के विषय में मनुस्मृति आदि ग्रन्थों में इस प्रकार है -

आसमुद्रात्तु वै पूर्वादासमुद्रात्तु पश्चिमात् ।
तयोरेवान्तर गिर्योरार्थावर्तं विदुर्बुधाः ॥
मनु० अ० श्लोक-२२

उत्तर में हिमालय, दक्षिण में विन्ध्याचल, पूर्व और पश्चिम में समुद्र है । इस देश का वा इस भूमि का नाम आर्यावर्त है, क्योंकि आदि सृष्टि से इसमें आर्य लोग निवास करते रहे हैं, परन्तु इसकी अवधि उत्तर में हिमालय, दक्षिण में विन्ध्याचल, पश्चिम में अटक (सिन्धु) और पूर्व में ब्रह्मपुत्र नदी है । इन चारों के बीच में जितना देश है उसको आर्यावर्त कहते हैं और जो इसमें सदा से रहते हैं उनको भी आर्य कहते हैं । कुछ विद्वानों की ऐसी मान्यता है कि आर्यावर्त का दूसरा नाम ब्रह्मवर्त भी है । इसकी सीमा के विषय में मनु जी महाराज ने लिखा है -

सरस्वती दृषद्वत्योर्देव नद्योर्यदन्तरम् ।
तं देव निर्मितं देशं ब्रह्मावर्त प्रचक्षते ॥

अर्थात् सरस्वती पश्चिम में, अटक नदी पूर्व में, दृषद्वती जो नेपाल के पूर्व भाग पहाड़ से निकलकर बंगाल और आसाम के पूर्व और ब्रह्मा के पश्चिम की ओर होकर दक्षिण के समुद्र में मिली है, जिसको ब्रह्मपुत्रा नदी कहते हैं । और जो उत्तर के पहाड़ों से निकल कर दक्षिण के समुद्र की खाड़ी में आ मिली है । हिमालय की मध्य रेखा से दक्षिण और पहाड़ों के अन्तर्गत रामेश्वर पर्यन्त, विन्ध्याचल के भीतर जितने देश हैं उन सबको आर्यावर्त इसलिये कहते हैं कि यह आर्यावर्त वा ब्रह्मवर्त को देव अर्थात् विद्वानों ने बसाया । विद्वानों और आर्यजनों के निवास करने से आर्यावर्त व ब्रह्मवर्त कहलाया ।[13]

In Mahabharata

Drishadwata (दृषद्वत) is in Mahabharata (I.90.14)

Drishadvati (दृषद्वती) (River) has been mentioned in Mahabharata (III.81.80), (III.88.10), (VI.10.14),

Adi Parva, Mahabharata/Mahabharata Book I Chapter 90 mentions History and family tree of Puru, Bharatas and Pandavas commencing from Daksha. Drishadwata (दृषद्वत) (Country) is mentioned in Mahabharata (I.90.14). [14]....And Sanyati married Varangi, the daughter of Drishadwata and begat upon her a son named Ahampati....

Vana Parva, Mahabharata/Book III Chapter 81 mentions names of Tirthas (Pilgrims). Drishadvati (दृषद्वती) (River) has been mentioned in Mahabharata (III.81.80).[15]....Proceeding with regulated diet, he that bathes in the confluence of the Kausiki (कौशिकी) (3.81.80) and the Drishadwati (दृषद्वती) (3.81.80), becometh free from all his sins. One should next proceed to Vyasasthali (व्यास स्थली) (3.81.81)....

Vana Parva, Mahabharata/Book III Chapter 88 mentions tirthas in the North. Drishadvati (दृषद्वती) (River) has been mentioned in Mahabharata (III.88.10).[16] ....In that region also, O son of Pritha, is the river Saraswati, which is ever worshipped by the god, where, in days of yore, the Valakhilyas (वालखिल्य) (III.88.9), O great king, performed sacrifices. In that region also, O Yudhishthira, is the well-known river Drishadwati (दृषद्वती) (III.88.10), which is productive of great merit.

Bhisma Parva, Mahabharata/Book VI Chapter 10 describes geography and provinces of Bharatavarsha. Drishadvati (दृषद्वती) (River) has been mentioned in Mahabharata (VI.10.14).[17]....O Kauravya, and many races, O lord, mixed of the two elements, drink the waters of the following rivers, viz., magnificent Ganga, Sindhu, and Saraswati; of Godavari, and Narmada, Shatadru, Chandrabhaga, Yamuna and Mahanadi; of Dhrishadwati, and Vipapa, and Vipasa and Sthulavaluka;...


  1. Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions/Tribes,pp.171-172
  2. Keith and Macdonell. 1912. Vedic Index of Names and Subjects.; Oldham: Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 25, 58; see Amal Kar and Bimal Ghose 1984
  3. Sudhir Bhargava, "Location of Brahmavarta and Drishadwati river is important to find earliest alignment of Saraswati river" Seminar, Saraswati river-a perspective, Nov. 20-22, 2009, Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra, organised by: Saraswati Nadi Shodh Sansthan, Haryana, Seminar Report: pages 114-117
  4. Sudhir Bhargava; Saraswati-a perspective, 2009
  5. Manusmriti, Chapter 2, Shalok 17
  6. Sudhir Bhargava, Convenor, Brahmavarta Research Foundation, Rewari, "Location of Brahmavarta and Drishadwati river is important to find earliest alignment of Saraswati River", Presentation in Seminar 'Saraswati River-a perspective', on Nov. 20-22, 2009, Kurukshetra university, Kurukshetra, pages 114-117, Seminar report, published by Saraswati Nadi Shodh Sansthan, Haryana.
  7. Jat History Thakur Deshraj/Chapter V,p.141-142
  8. Jat Itihas (Utpatti Aur Gaurav Khand)/Pancham Parichhed,p.106-110
  9. Aitihasik Sthanavali by Vijayendra Kumar Mathur, p.338
  10. Aitihasik Sthanavali by Vijayendra Kumar Mathur, p.440
  11. भारतकोश-दृषद्वती नदी
  12. Aitihasik Sthanavali by Vijayendra Kumar Mathur, p.245
  13. वीरभूमि हरयाणा (पृष्ठ 112-113)
  14. संयातिः खलु दृषद्वतॊ दुहितरं वराङ्गीं नामॊपयेमे, तस्याम अस्य जज्ञे अहं पातिः (I.90.14)
  15. कौशिक्याः संगमे यस तु दृषद्वत्याश च भारत, सनाति वै नियताहारः सर्वपापैः परमुच्यते (III.81.80)
  16. दृषद्वती पुण्यतमा तत्र खयाता युधिष्ठिर, तत्र वैवर्ण्य वर्णौ च सुपुण्यौ मनुजाधिप (III.88.10)
  17. नदीः पिबन्ति बहुला गङ्गां सिन्धुं सरस्वतीम, गॊदावरीं नर्मदां च बाहुदां च महानदीम (VI.10.13) शतद्रुं चन्द्रभागां च यमुनां च महानदीम, दृषद्वतीं विपाशां च विपापां स्थूलवालुकाम (VI.10.14)

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