Betwa River

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Author:Laxman Burdak, IFS (Retd.)

Map of Yamuna River & its tributaries

Betwa (बेतवा) is a river in Northern India, which flows through Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. It is a tributary of the Yamuna.

Variants of name

Origin

Originating in the Kumra village in Raisen district, The Betwa rises in the Vindhya Range just north of Hoshangabad in Madhya Pradesh and flows north-east through Madhya Pradesh and Orchha to Uttar Pradesh.

Mention by Panini

Vetra (वेत्र) is name of a place mentioned by Panini in Ashtadhyayi under Nadadi (नडादि) (4.2.91) group. [1]


Shukti (शुक्ति) is name of a place mentioned by Panini in Ashtadhyayi under Madhvadi (मध्वादि) (4.2.86) group. [2]

Course

Nearly half of its course, which is not navigable, runs over the Malwa Plateau. The confluence of the Betwa and the Yamuna Rivers is Hamirpur town in Uttar Pradesh, in the vicinity of Orchha.[3]


In accordance with an inter-state agreement between the states of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh in 1973, Betwa River Board (BRB) was constituted under the Betwa River Board Act, 1976. The Union Minister of Ministry of Water Resources the Chairman of the Board and the Union Minister of Power, Union Minister of State for Water Resources, Chief Ministers and Ministers in-charge of Finance, Irrigation and Power of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh are its Members.

Betwa sub-sub basin:

Betwa River originates near Bhopal and meets Yamuna near Hamirpur. Total basin area in Madhya Pradesh is 19365 km². Total length of river is 575 km, out of which 216 km lies in Madhya Pradesh, 98 km common boundary between the two states and 261 km in Uttar Pradesh.

Major tributaries

The major tributaries are

History

In Sanskrit "Betwa" is Vetravati. This river is mentioned in the epic Mahabharata along with the Charmanwati river. Both are tributaries of Yamuna. Vetravati was also known as Shuktimati. The capital of Chedi Kingdom was Suktimati on the banks of this river.


Ram Sarup Joon[4] writes that ....Samudra Gupta conquered the whole of Punjab and a major part of India. The clans defeated by him included

अंध नदी

विजयेन्द्र कुमार माथुर[5] 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.

Historical places

  • Orchha -
  • Vidisha - The town is situated east of the Betwa River, in the fork of the Betwa and Bes rivers, 10 km from Sanchi.

In Mahabharata

Adi Parva, Mahabharata/Mahabharata Book I Chapter 63 describes Uparichara, the king of the Paurava race, called also Vasu, who conquered the kingdom of Chedi:

And as he coursed through the upper regions, he was called Uparichara. And by his capital flowed a river called Suktimati. And that river was once attacked by a life-endued mountain called Kolahala maddened by lust. And Vasu, beholding the foul attempt, struck the mountain with his foot.

वसन्तम इन्द्र परासादे आकाशे सफाटिके च तम
उपतस्थुर महात्मानं गन्धर्वाप्सरसॊ नृपम
राजॊपरिचरेत्य एवं नाम तस्याथ विश्रुतम (I.63.31)
पुरॊपवाहिनीं तस्य नदीं शुक्तिमतीं गिरिः
अरौत्सीच चेतना युक्तः कामात कॊलाहलः किल (I.63.32)

Bhisma Parva, Mahabharata/Book VI Chapter 10 describes geography and provinces of Bharatavarsha: Vetravati is mentioned in verses-15,18 and Shuktimati in verse-33.

नदीं वेत्रवतीं चैव कृष्ण वेणां च निम्नगाम
इरावतीं वितस्तां च पयॊष्णीं देविकाम अपि (VI.10.15)
रदस्दां शतकुम्भां च सरयूं च नरेश्वर
चर्मण्वतीं वेत्रवतीं हस्तिसॊमां दिशं तदा (VI.10.18)
मन्दाकिनीं वैतरणीं कॊकां चैव महानदीम
शुक्तिमतीम अरण्यां च पुष्पवेण्य उत्पलावतीम (VI.10.33)

Kichaka Kingdom

Kichaka Kingdom is identified to be one of the Matsya Kingdom ruled by Matsya rulers.

Kichaka Kingdom was allied to King Virata. The Kichaka king (or chief), known by the name Kichaka was the commander-in-chief of the Matsya-army under king Virata. He belonged to the Suta caste (4,15). He was the main strength of king Virata against his arch-enemy viz the Trigarta king Susharman (2,25). He got attracted to the wife of Pandavas viz Draupadi (4,15). He was later slain by the Pandava Bhima (4,22). Some believe that the village named Ekachakra were the Pandavas finally settled after the escape from the murder-attempt, belonged to the kingdom of Kichaka. At (1,162) is mentioned that the city named Vetrakiya (a city on the banks of river Vetravati, the modern-day river Betwa) was the capital of this kingdom. Vetravati is believed to be same as the river Suktimati on the banks of which lied the Chedi capital Suktimati. It is a tributary of Yamuna to the east of Charmanvati, yet another tributary of Yamuna. Kingdom of Kichaka is identified to be lying between Charmanwati and Vetravati rivers, i.e., to the south of southern- Panchala; to the north of Chedi and to the east of Matsya-proper.

References


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