Ken River

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Map of Yamuna River & its tributaries

Ken River (केन) is one of the major rivers of the Bundelkhand region of central India. It flows through two states, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. It is a tributary of the Yamuna.



The Ken River originates near the village Ahirgawan on the north-west slopes of Barner Range in Katni district and travels a distance of 427 km, before merging with the Yamuna at Chilla village, district Banda in Uttar Pradesh at 25°46′N 80°31′E

Ken has an overall drainage basin of 28,058 km2, out of which 12,620 km2 belong to Sonar River its largest tributary, whose entire basin lies in Madhya Pradesh; and along its 427 kms course it receives water from its own tributaries such as Bawas, Dewar, Kaith and Baink on the left bank, and Kopra and Bearma of the right. Out of its total length of 427 kms it flows for 292 kms in Madhya Pradesh, 84 kms in Uttar Pradesh, and 51 kms forms the boundary between the two states.[1]

Crossing the Bijawar-Panna hills, the Ken River cuts a 60 km long, and 150–180 m deep gorge. Several streams join the Ken in this gorge making waterfalls. The Ken valley separates the Rewa Plateau from the Satna Plateau.[2]


Alexander Cunningham[3] writes...[p.485]: The ancient city of Mahoba is situated at the foot of a low granite hill, 54 miles to the south of Hamirpur, at the junction of the Betwa River and Yamuna River, 34 miles to the north of Khajuraho. Its name is a contraction of Mahotsava-nagara, or the " City of the great festival," which was celebrated there by Chandra Varmma, the founder of the Chandel dynasty.

....The traditional story of the foundation of Mahoba was originally given by the bard Chand, and has been copied by the local annalists. The portion of Chand's poem which treats of the war with the Chandel Raja Parmal (or Paramarddi Deva), and of the origin of the Chandela, is named Mahoha-Khand . According to the

[p.487]: legend, the Chandels are sprung from Hemavati, daughter of Hem-raj, the Brahman Purohit of Indrajit, Gahirwar Raja of Banaras. Hemavati was very beautiful, and one day when she went to bathe in the Rati Talab, she was seen and embraced by Chandrama, the god of the moon, as he was preparing to return to the skies. Hemavati cursed him. "Why do you curse me?" said Chandrama, "your son will be Lord of the Earth, and from him will spring a thousand branches." Hemavati inquired, " How shall my dishonour be effaced, when I am without a husband ? " " Fear not," replied Chandrama,, " your son will be born on the bank of the Karnavati river : then take him to Khajuraya, and offer him as a gift, and perform a sacrifice. In Mahoba he will reign, and will become a great king. He will possess the philosopher's stone, and will turn iron into gold. On the hill of Kalinjar he will build a fort ; when your son is 16 years of age, you must perform a Bhanda Jag to wipe away your disgrace, and then leave Banaras to live at Kalinjar."

According to this prophecy, Hemavati's child, like another Chandrama, was born on Monday the 11th of the waxing moon of Vaisakh on the bank of the Karnavati, the modern Kayan, or Kane river of the maps. In some of the manuscripts the name of the river is written Kiyan, and Kiranavati. The former is no doubt the original of Arrian's Kainas, which has perhaps been altered from Kianas. Then Chandrama, attended by all the gods, performed a " great festival" {Mahotsava), when Vrihaspati wrote his horoscope, and the child was named Chandra Varmma. At 16 years of age he killed a tiger, when Chandrama appeared to him and

[p.487]: pre-sented him with the philosopher's stone, and taught him polity {rajnit). Then he built the fort of Kalinjar, after which he went to Kharjurpur, where he performed a sacrifice (Jag or Yajnya) to do away with his mo tiler's shame, and built 85 temples. Then Chandravati Rani and all the other queens sat at the feet of Hemavati, and her disgrace was wiped away. Lastly he went to Mahotsava, or Mahoba, the place of Chandrama's " great festival," which he made his capital.

The date of this event is variously stated by the different authorities ; but according to the genealogies furnished by the inscriptions, the most probable period for the establishment of the Chandel dynasty, and the foundation of Mahoba, is about A.D. 800.

Mention by Pliny

Pliny[4] mentions 'The Nations of India.'.... The nations whom it may be not altogether inopportune to mention, after passing the Emodian Mountains, a cross range of which is called "Imaus," a word which, in the language of the natives, signifies "snowy,"27 are the Isari, the Cosyri, the Izi, and, upon the chain of mountains, the Chisiotosagi, with numerous peoples, which have the surname of Brachmanæ,28 among whom are the Maccocalingæ. There are also the rivers Prinas and Cainas,29 which last flows into the Ganges, both of them navigable streams. The nation of the Calingæ30 comes nearest to the sea, and above them are the Mandei and the Malli.31 In the territory of the last-named people is a mountain called Mallus: the boundary of this region is the river Ganges.

27 The Sanscrit for "snowy" is "himrarat." The name of Emodus, combined with Imaiis, seems here to be a description of the knot of mountains formed by the intersections of the Himalaya, the Hindoo Koosh, and the Bolor range; the latter having been for many ages the boundary between the empires of China and Turkistan. It is pretty clear, that, like Ptolemy, Pliny imagined that the Imaiis ran from south to north; but it seems hardly necessary, in this instance at least, to give to the word "promontorium" the meaning attached to our word "promontory," and to suppose that he implies that the range of the Imaüs runs down to the verge of the eastern ocean.

28 A name evidently given to numerous tribes of India, from the circumstance that Alexander and his followers found it borne by the Brahmins or priestly caste of the Hindoos.

29 Still called the Cane, a navigable river of India within the Ganges, falling into the Ganges, according to Arrian as well as Pliny, though in reality it falls into the Jumna.

30 The Calingæ, who are further mentioned in the next Chapter, probably dwelt in the vicinity of the promontory of Calingon, upon which was the town of Dandaguda, mentioned in c. 23 of the present Book. This promontory and city are usually identified with those of Calinapatnam, about half-way between the Mahanadi River and Godavari; and the territory of the Calingæ seems to correspond pretty nearly to the district of Circars, lying along the coast of Orissa.

31 By the Malli, Parisot is of opinion that the people of Moultan are meant.

In Mahabharata

Shyeni (शयेनी) is mentioned in Mahabharata (I.60.67)

Adi Parva, Mahabharata/Book I Chapter 60 mentions genealogy of all the principal creatures: Shyeni (शयेनी) is mentioned in Mahabharata verse (I.60.67). [5]..And Syeni, the wife of Aruna, gave birth to two sons of great energy and strength, named Sampati and the mighty Jatayu. And Vinata had two sons Garuda and Aruna, known far and wide.

In Ramayana

Shyeni is mentioned in Ramayana verse 3-14-33.

Ramayana ....Aranya Kanda/Aranya Kanda Sarga 14 mentions Rama's Contact with Jatayu. Rama on way to Panchavati came into contact with Jatayu. When Rama questions about its identity, Jatayu narrates the Genealogy , and informs Rama that he is a friend of King Dasharatha and would like to help Rama in exile.

Shyeni is mentioned in Ramayana verse 3-14-33. [6]...Oh enemy-destroyer Rama, I took birth from that Aruna, the charioteer of Sun, and my elder brother Sampati too, hence know me as Jatayu, the son of Shyeni.

केन नदी

विजयेन्द्र कुमार माथुर[7] ने लेख किया है ...केन नदी (AS, p.223): केन या 'कियाना' यमुना की सहायक नदी है. इस नदी को प्राचीन समय में 'कर्णावती', 'श्येनी', 'कैनास' और 'शुक्तिमति' नाम से जाना जाता था। यह सागर जिले के निकट विंध्याचल से निकलती है. मध्य प्रदेश के छतरपुर और पन्ना की सीमा बनाती हुई बाँदा (उत्तर प्रदेश) ज़िले में 'चिल्ला' या चीलतारा नामक स्थान पर यमुना से मिलती है। इस नदी की लम्बाई लगभग 230 मील है।

केन नदी की अन्य जानकारी

'सोनार', 'वीरमा', 'बाना', 'पाटर' इत्यादि केन नदी की सहायक नदियाँ हैं। पथरीली घाटियों से प्रवाहित होने के कारण इसमें चलने वाली नावें यमुना नदी और केन के संगम से बाँदा तक ही आती-जाती हैं। नदी में 'पाँडवा घाट' तथा 'कोराई' नामक दो जलप्रपात भी हैं। केन नदी पर बाँध बनाकर 'बाँदा नहर' निकाली गई है। ग्रीष्म ऋतु में नहर का जलसंचार बढ़ाने के लिये गांगई के पास बाँध बनाकर एक जलाशय बनाया गया है। यह नदी केवल वर्षा ऋतु में ही जलमग्न रहती है। गर्मी के मौसम में नदी लगभग सूख जाती है। केन तथा मंदाकिनी यमुना की अंतिम उपनदियाँ हैं, क्योंकि इसके बाद यमुना गंगा से जा मिलती है। केन नदी जबलपुर, मध्य प्रदेश से प्रारंभ होती है, पन्ना में इससे कई धारायें आ जुड़ती हैं और फिर बाँदा, उत्तर प्रदेश में इसका यमुना से संगम होता है। इस नदी का 'शजर' पत्थर मशहूर है। [8]

अंध नदी

विजयेन्द्र कुमार माथुर[9] ने लेख किया है ...अंध (AS, p.5) श्रीमद्भागवत में उल्लिखित एक नदी.... 'नर्मदा चर्मणवती सिंधुरन्ध्रशोणश्च' (5,19,18). सिंधु, यमुना की सहायक सिंध है और शोण वर्तमान सोन. इन्हीं के समीप बहने वाली किसी नदी का नाम अंध हो सकता है. संभव है, यह वर्तमान केन या शुक्तिमती ही का नाम हो. इसका संबंध अंधक से भी हो सकता है जो श्री डे के अनुसार भागलपुर के निकट गंगा में गिरने वाली चंदन नदी है.

Places of interest

  • The Raneh Falls on the Ken river and Ken Ghariyal Sanctuary are tourist attractions. The rocks formed here present different hues and are made of Granite, Dolomite and Quartz.
  • Gangau Dam has been constructed at the confluence of the Ken and Simri rivers.[6] The Ken River passes through Panna National Park.
  • The banks of the Ken River have quite a few castles which were used by the Rajputs of this region to fight against the Mughals. Nowadays, some of these castles are occupied by dacoits and are a cause for worry for the local police. These castles are in such a state of ruin that the walls are difficult to see from below the hill they are built on and ruins of only key buildings still exist. Some of these castles make for a good trek.
  • It is famous for its rare Sajhar or Dendritic Agate stone.
  • Banda city is located on banks of river Ken.

External links


  1. Jain, Sharad K.; Pushpendra K. Agarwal; Vijay P. Singh (2007). Hydrology and water resources of India- Volume 57 of Water science and technology library - Tributaries of Yamuna river. Springer. p. 354. ISBN 1-4020-5179-4.
  2. Sharma, Shri Kamal. Spatial framework and economic development. p. 22. Google books. Retrieved 2010-07-11.
  3. The Ancient Geography of India/Champa, p.485-487
  4. Natural History by Pliny Book VI/Chapter 21
  5. अरुणस्य भार्या शयेनी तु वीर्यवन्तौ महाबलौ, संपातिं जनयाम आस तथैव च जटायुषम, दवौ पुत्रौ विनतायास तु विख्यातौ गरुडारुणौ (I.60.67)
  6. तस्मात् जातो अहम् अरुणात् संपातिः च मम अग्रजः । जटायुर् इति माम् विद्धि श्येनी पुत्रम् अरिंदम ॥3-14-33॥
  7. Aitihasik Sthanavali by Vijayendra Kumar Mathur, p.223
  8. भारतकोश-केन नदी
  9. Aitihasik Sthanavali by Vijayendra Kumar Mathur, p.5

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