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Author:Laxman Burdak, IFS (Retd.)

Drishadwati (दृषद्वती) (Drsadvati, Drishadwati or Drishadvati) is the most imagined, assumed, deemed, and hypothesized river by indologists to identify the route of revered Vedic river Saraswati and the state of Brahmavarta. Drishadvati (दृषद्वती) has been mentioned several times in Mahabharata (III.88.10), (VI.10.14), (III.81.80).

Adi Parva, Mahabharata/Mahabharata Book I Chapter 90 tells us about a country named Drishadwata of which princes Varangi, the daughter of Drishadwata married with Puru King Sanyati Mahabharata (I.90.14).

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.


ठाकुर देशराज[2] 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 ।


The Drsadvati River has been identified by Oldham with the Chautang River.[3] 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,[4]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.[5] 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.[6] "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.[7]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. [8]

In Mahabharata

List of Mahabharata people and places contains Drishadvati (दृषद्वती) in shloka (VI.10.14).

Adi Parva, Mahabharata/Mahabharata Book I Chapter 90 tells us that Prachinwat married Asmaki, a daughter of the Yadavas and begat upon her a son named Sanyati. And Sanyati married Varangi, the daughter of Drishadwata and begat upon her a son named Ahampati. [9]

Adi Parva, Mahabharata/Mahabharata Book I Chapter 95 tells us: Prachinwat married Asmaki, a daughter of the Yadavas and begat upon her a son named Sanyati. And Sanyati married Varangi, the daughter of Drishadwata and begat upon her a son named Ahayanti. [10]


  1. Personal and geographical names in the Gupta inscriptions/Tribes,pp.171-172
  2. Jat Itihas (Utpatti Aur Gaurav Khand)/Pancham Parichhed,p.106-110
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. Sudhir Bhargava; Saraswati-a perspective, 2009
  6. Manusmriti, Chapter 2, Shalok 17
  7. 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.
  8. Jat History Thakur Deshraj/Chapter V,p.141-142
  9. :पराचिन्वान खल्व अश्मकीम उपयेमे
    तस्याम अस्य जज्ञे संयाति Mahabharata (I.90.13)
    संयातिः खलु दृषद्वतॊ दुहितरं वराङ्गीं नामॊपयेमे
    तस्याम अस्य जज्ञे अहं पातिः Mahabharata (I.90.14)
  10. पराचिन्वान खल्व अश्मकीम उपयेमे
    तस्याम अस्य जज्ञे संयाति Mahabharata (I.95.13)
    संयातिः खलु दृषद्वतॊ दुहितरं वराङ्गीं नामॊपयेमे
    तस्याम अस्य जज्ञे अहं पातिः Mahabharata (I.95.14)

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