|Author:Laxman Burdak, IFS (Retd.)|
Vaitarani (वैतरणी) or Baitarani (बैतरणी) is is one of six major rivers of Orissa, India. 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 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.
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 is mentioned in Mahabharata in various Parvas. Vaitarani (वैतरणी) (River)/(Tirtha) (III.81.70), (III.83.6), (III.114.4), (III.114.13), (VI.10.33),
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.