Come July 30 and a unique attempt will be made to artificially recharge the mythical Saraswati river which is believed to have originated from Adi Badri now in Haryana.
The attempts to revive the holy river, which has dried up and is believed to have gone underground, is being made under the aegis of the BJP government in Haryana.
The state government is set to pump water into the "lost river" through the Dadupur feeder from the Uncha Chandana village.
The government has already cleaned up and widened the nallah (channel) which passed through the districts of Yamunanagar, Kurukshetra and Kaithal districts of Haryana before entering Rajasthan and then on to Gujarat.
The work to clean and widen the nallah has already been completed in two phases of 37km and 55km to re-establish links with patches which had dried up over the centuries.
The total length of the river in Haryana is 153km and the work to widen the channel has been undertaken by the Saraswati Heritage Development Board (SHDB) formed by the Haryana Government.
|Saraswati river. Image source: indiafacts.org|
With water from the monsoon rains already flowing in some parts of the nallah, the boost from the Dadupur channel is aimed at providing a continuous flow. The ultimate aim is to construct a dam at Adi Badri to regular water into the river.
Union minister of state for culture and tourism, Mahesh Sharma, took a meeting on Monday, July 25, to monitor the progress of the project.
It was decided to appoint a world class consultant for the project to boost heritage and cultural tourism. It was also decided to appoint a nodal agency for geological studies to trace the route of the mythical river. It was also decided to start an inter-state dialogue for coordination on the project.
Deputy chairman of SHDB, Prashant Bhardwaj, said the amount of water to be pumped in through the Dadupur feeder is yet to be decided. Since it would be a test run on July 30, the final decision would be taken later on the quantity of water required to revive the river.
The move to revive the mythical river, which finds mention in the Vedas as well as the Bhagavad Gita, was initially taken up during the tenure of the first NDA government under Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 2002.
The then Union tourism and culture minister, Jagmohan, had ordered studies on the underground river.
He had constituted a committee of four experts including a scientist from the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Ahmedabad, an eminent archeologist and a glaciologist.
The committee was asked to explore excavation from Adi Badri to Bhagwanpura in Haryana and in the second phase from Bhagwanpura to Kalibangar on the Rajasthan border.
The committee was also asked to explore the deepening of two wells, which according to mythology, were associated with the Pandavas.
Incidentally, the Rajasthan Groundwater Department too had undertaken a similar project in the mid-1990s to link a network of water channels in Rajashthan.
Jagmohan had also referred to satellite imagery of an underground channel. The imagery had shown patches of water bodies along the mythological route of Saraswati.
A remote sensing study conducted by the Geological Survey of India had also found existence of palaeo channels on the west of the Aravalli range and it was believed that these could be part of a river system ending in the Rann of Kutch.
The project was dropped after the Manmohan Singh government took over at the Centre and was revived only by the BJP government in Haryana led by Manohar Lal Khattar.
The chief minister had earmarked Rs 50 crore to trace and revive the river.
The state government, while deciding to set up the SHDB, declared, "The board will conduct meticulous field work to unearth and understand the past and the present content of the Saraswati heritage in Haryana for exposition of cultural patterns and values. It will help to preserve and promote the various archaeo-cultural facets of the Saraswati Heritage Area."
The Khattar government cried eureka when water was found after digging along the perceived route of the Saraswati last year.
Water was found at a depth of seven to eight feet in pits dug in a row over the supposed bed of the Saraswati.
This fact together with the discovery of ancient artefacts as well as evidence of ancient marine life was touted as re-confirming of the fact that a river flowed along the route and that an ancient civilisation existed along its banks.
Ever since the discovery of water, people from nearby areas have been flocking to the site and a few small temples have already sprung up along the route.
All eyes would now be on the experiment to discharge water on the route of the mythical Saraswati later this week.