|Author:Laxman Burdak, IFS (Retd.)|
The Baitarani originates from the Guptaganga hills, and starts flowing over a stone looking like the nostril of a cow. Afterwards for about half a kilometre the river flows underground and is not visible from outside. The Baitarani is known here by the name Guptaganga or the Gupta Baitarani, in Gonasika of Keonjhar district in Orissa state of India at an elevation of 900 m above sea level. The uppermost part of the river, about 80 km in length, flows in a northerly direction; then it changes its path suddenly by 900 and flows eastward. The beginning portion of Baitarani acts as the boundary between Orissa and Jharkhand.
Venerated in popular epics and legends, the Baitarani River is a source of water for agricultural irrigation. Most of the potentially arable land in the area is not under cultivation. The coastal plain of Odisha has the name of "Hexadeltaic region" or the "Gift of Six Rivers". These deltas divide the coastal plain into three regions from north to south. The Baitarani, the Mahanadi and the Brahmani rivers form the Middle Coastal Plain, with evidence of past 'back bays' and present lakes.
The district Jajpur in Orissa is the gift of river Vaitarani. Historical evidences show early civilization on the bank of this river. Currently the district is subject to massive floods which are common during monsoon.
Sirpur stone Inscription of Mahahasivagupta: It will be observed from other inscriptions that whenever kataka is used, the name of the camp (a separate place-name) is invariably given, but this is not the case when the charters purport to be issued from Yayatinagara or Vinitapura, which Dr. Fleet considers to be fanciful names of Kataka itself, It has been assumed that Kataka was the capital of these kings, but I am unable to share this view. The question, has already been discussed by other scholars, and the identification of Yayatinagara with the modem Jajpur has been suggested, hut Dr. Fleet has pointed out that this suggestion is untenable as the inscriptions distinctly imply that Yayatinagara was on the Mahanadi, whereas Jajpur is only on the Vaitarani, about 50 miles away from the former river. 
The district Jajpur in Orissa is the gift of river Baitarani. Historical evidences show early civilization on the bank of this river. Currently the district is subject to massive floods which are common during monsoon.
The river enters a plain at Anandapur and creates a deltaic zone at Akhuapada. The river travels a distance of 360 kilometres to drain into the Bay of Bengal after joining of the Brahmani at Dhamra mouth near Chandabali. The river has 65 tributaries, of which 35 join from the left side and 30 join from the right side. The river basin in Odisha is spread among 42 blocks of eight districts. River Budha is one of the tributaries of Baitarani.
Vaitarani River (वैतरणी) is mentioned in (2-9-24), (III.81.70), (III.83.6), (III.114.4), (III.114.13), (VI.10.33),
Sabha Parva, Mahabharata/Book II Chapter 9 mentions the Kings Oceans and the Rivers who attended Sabha of Varuna. Vaitarani River (वैतरणी) is mentioned in (2-9-24)...... the Godavari, the Krishna-Venna and that queen of rivers the Kaverithe Kimpuna, the Vishalya and the river Vaitarani also...
Vana Parva, Mahabharata/Book III Chapter 81 mentions names of Tirthas (Pilgrims). Vaitarani River (वैतरणी) is mentioned in (III.81.70).....One should next proceed to the tirtha called Trivishtapa (त्रिविष्टप) (3.81.70) that is known over the three worlds. There in that tirtha is the sacred and sin-estroying river called Vaitarani (वैतरणी) (3.81.70). Bathing there and adoring the god known by the mark of the bull and holding the trident in his hand, one's soul being purified from every sin one attaineth to the highest state.
Vana Parva, Mahabharata/Book III Chapter 83 mentions names of Pilgrims. Vaitarani River (वैतरणी) is mentioned in ((III.83.6). One should next proceed to the Vaitarani (वैतरणी) (III.83.6) capable of destroying every sin. Arriving next at the tirtha named Viraja (विरज) (III.83.6) one shineth like the moon, and sanctifying his race rescueth it and is himself cleansed of all his sins. He that bathes in Viraja further reapeth the merit of giving away a thousand kine besides sanctifying his line.
Vana Parva, Mahabharata/Book III Chapter 114 mentions that there is the land, where the Kalingas (कलिङ्ग) (III.114.3-4) tribes dwell. Through it passeth the river Vaitarani (वैतरणी) (III.114.4), on the banks whereof even the god of virtue performed religious river, having first placed himself under the protection of the celestials.
Bhisma Parva, Mahabharata/Book VI Chapter 10describes geography and provinces of Bharatavarsha.Vaitarani River (वैतरणी) is mentioned in (VI.10.33).... and Mandakini, and Vaitarani, and Koka, and Mahanadi; and Shuktimati, and Aranya, and Pushpaveni (Vrisha), and Utpalavati; ....
विजयेन्द्र कुमार माथुर ने लेख किया है .....1. वैतरणी नदी (AS, p.878) = कुरूक्षेत्र की एक नदी थी। 'वामनपुराण' 39, 6-8 में इसकी कुरूक्षेत्र की सप्तनदियों में गणना की गई है- 'सरस्वती नदी पुण्या तथा वैतरणी नदी, आपगा च महापुण्या गंगा-मंदाकिनी नदी। मधुस्रवा अम्लुनदी कौशिकी पापनाशिनी, दृषद्वती महापुण्या तथा हिरण्यवती नदी।'
1. वैतरणी नदी (AS, p.878) = उड़ीसा की एक नदी जो सिंहभूमि के पहाड़ों से निकल कर 'बंगाल की खाड़ी' में धामरा नामक स्थान के निकट गिरती है। यह कलिंग की प्रख्यात नदी थी। महाभारत, भीष्मपर्व 9,34 में इस प्रदेश की अन्य नदियों के साथ ही इसका भी उल्लेख है- 'चित्रोत्पलां चित्ररथां मंजुलां वाहिनी तथा मंदाकिनी वैतरणी कोषां चापि महानदीम्।' पद्मपुराण 21 में इसे पवित्र नदी माना गया है। बौद्ध ग्रंथ 'संयुक्तनिकाय'1,21 में इसे "यम की नदी" कहा गया है- 'यमस्त वैतरिणम्।' पौराणिक अनुश्रुति में वैतरणी नामक नदी को परलोक में स्थित माना गया है, जिसे पार करने के पश्चात् ही जीव की सद्गति संभव होती है।
- Epigraphia Indica Vol. XI (1911-12): A S I, Edited by E. Hultzsoh, Ph.D., pp. 184-197
- गोदावरी कृष्णवेणी कावेरी च सरिद्वरा। (2-9-24a) , किम्पुना च विशल्या च तथा वैतरणी नदी।। (2-9-24b)
- 70 ततस तरिविष्टपं गच्छेत तरिषु लॊकेषु विश्रुतम, तत्र वैतरणी पुण्या नदी पापप्रमॊचनी (III.81.70)
- एते कलिङ्गाः कौन्तेय यत्र वैतरणी नदी, यत्रायजत धर्मॊ ऽपि देवाञ शरणम एत्य वै (III.114.4)
- मन्दाकिनीं वैतरणीं कॊकां चैव महानदीम, शुक्तिमतीम अरण्यां च पुष्पवेण्य उत्पलावतीम (VI.10.33)
- Aitihasik Sthanavali by Vijayendra Kumar Mathur, p.878