Yamuna

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Author:Laxman Burdak, IFS (Retd.)

Map of Yamuna River & its tributaries

Yamuna (यमुना) is the longest and the second largest tributary river of the Ganges in northern India. It crosses several states, Uttarakhand, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, passing by Uttarakhand and later Delhi, and meets its tributaries on the way, including Tons, its largest and longest tributary in Uttarakhand, Chambal, which has its own large basin, followed by Sindh River, the Betwa, and Ken River.

Variants of name

Origin

Originating from the Yamunotri Glacier at a height of 6,387 metres on the south western slopes of Banderpooch peaks in the uppermost region of the Lower Himalayas in Uttarakhand, it travels a total length of 1,376 kms and has a drainage system of 366,223 square kms, 40.2% of the entire Ganges Basin, before merging with the Ganges at Triveni Sangam, Allahabad, the site for the Kumbha Mela every twelve years.

Course

The source of Yamuna lies in the Yamunotri Glacier at an elevation of 6,387 metres, on the south western slopes of Banderpooch peaks, which lie in the Mussoorie range of Lower Himalayas, in the Uttarkashi district, Uttarakhand, north of Haridwar.[3] Yamunotri temple, a shrine dedicated to the goddess, Yamuna is one of the holiest shrines in Hinduism, and part of the Chota Char Dham Yatra circuit. Also standing close to the temple, on its 13-kilometre trek route, that follows the right bank of the river, lies the Markendeya Tirtha, where the sage Markandeya wrote the Markandeya Purana.[4]

From here it flows southwards, for about 200 kms through the Lower Himalayas and the Shivalik Hills Range and morainic deposited are found in its steep Upper Yamuna village, highlighted with geomorphic features such as interlocking spurs, steep rock benches, gorges and stream terraces. Large terraces formed over a long period of time can be seen in the lower course of the river, like ones near Naugoan. An important part of its early catchment area totalling 2,320 square kms lies in Himachal Pradesh, and an important tributary draining the Upper Catchment Area is the Tons, Yamuna's largest and longest tributary, which rises from the Hari-ki-dun valley and holds water more than the main stream, which it merges after Kalsi near Dehradun. The entire drainage system of the river stretches all the way between Giri-Sutlej catchment in Himachal and Yamuna-Bhilangna catchment in Garhwal, indeed the southern ridge of Shimla is also drained into this system. Kalanag (6,387 metres) is the highest point of the entire Yamuna basin.

Other tributaries in the region are the Giri, Rishi Ganga, Kunta, Hanuman Ganga and Bata tributaries, which drain the Upper Catchment Area of the vast Yamuna basin.[5] Thereafter the river descends on to the plains of Doon Valley, at Dak Pathar near Dehradun. Here through the Dakpathar Barrage, the water is diverted into a canal for power generation, little further down where Yamuna is met by the Assan River, lies the Asan Barrage, which hosts a Bird Sanctuary as well. After passing the Sikh pilgrimage town of Paonta Sahib, it reaches Tajewala in Yamuna Nagar district, of Haryana, where a dam built in 1873, is the originating place of two important canals, the Western Yamuna Canal and Eastern Yamuna Canal, which irrigate the states of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. The Western Yamuna Canal (WYC) crosses Yamuna Nagar, Karnal and Panipat before reaching the Haiderpur treatment plant, which supplies part of municipal water supply to Delhi, further it also receives waste water from Yamuna Nagar and Panipat cities. Yamuna is replenished again after this by seasonal streams and groundwater accrual, in fact during the dry season, it remains dry in many stretches from Tajewala till Delhi, where it enters near Palla village after traversing 224 kms.

The Yamuna also creates natural state borders between the Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand states, and further down between the state of Haryana, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh. Along with the Ganges to which run almost parallel after it touches the Indo-Gangetic plain, the largest alluvial fertile plain in the world, it creates the Ganges-Yamuna Doab region spread across 69,000 square kms, one-third of the entire plain, and today known for its agricultural outputs, prominent among them is the cultivation of Basmati Rice. The plain itself supports one-third of India's population through its farming.[6]

Important tributaries

  • Tons River, Yamuna's largest and longest tributary, rises in the 6,315 m high Bandarpoonch mountain, and has a large basin in Himachal Pradesh. It meets Yamuna below Kalsi near Dehradun, Uttarakhand.
  • Hindon River, originates in the Saharanpur District, from Upper Shivalik in Lower Himalayan Range, is entirely rainfed and has a catchment area of 7,083 square kms, traverses 400 kms through Muzaffarnagar District, Meerut District, Baghpat District, Ghaziabad, Noida, Greater Noida, before joining Yamuna just outside Delhi.
  • Chambal River, known as Charmanvati in ancient times, flows through Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, with a drainage basin of 143,219 square kms and traverses a total distance of 960 kms, from its source in Vindhya Range, near Mhow and supports hydro-power generation at Gandhi Sagar dam, Rana Pratap Sagar dam and Jawahar Sagar dam, before merging into the Yamuna south east of Sohan Goan, in Etawah district, shortly thereafter followed by another tributary, the Sindhu River.

Associated Clans

  • Bhar/Bharasiva: In about 175 or 180 A.D., we find a Naga king named Virasena re-establishing Naga sovereignty at Mathura. According to Dr. Jayaswal,[9] the rise of Virasena was a turning point not only in the Naga history but also in the history of Aryavarta. His coins have been found in Northern India, almost all over Uttar Pradesh and in the Punjab. They are most common around Mathura. He occupied Mathura and ruled all over the Aryavarta Doab. An inscription of Virasena was discovered by Sir Richhard Burn. There are a number of broken sculptures and carved pieces and the inscription is on the head and mouth of a sculptured animal.[10] The inscription is dated in the 13th year of the reign of Svamin Virasena. Virasena [11] assumed full sovereignty from the first year of his reign. It appears that he ousted the Kushanas from Mathura and the whole of the Doab between the Ganga River and the Yamuna. Virasena had a fairly long reign and according to Dr. Jayaswal he ruled from about 170 A.D. to 210 A.D. The same writer is of the opinion that 'The intimate connection between his coins and coins of the undoubted Bharasiva king, the Naga emblem on his coins as if to complete his name, the period of his rise and his establishing himself at Mathura mark Virasena out as one of the earliest Bharasiva Nagas of the inscriptions and the Nava Nagas of the Puranas.
  • Jats: Jats are found today mainly in Punjab, Rajasthan and on the banks of the Yamuna and the Ganges. They first appeared around the Sindh, gradually moving into Punjab and the Yamuna valley and then settled in the Gangetic plains. They were involved in colonising the lands around the banks of the Yamuna river as warrior cultivators and semi-pastoralists.
  • Johiya/Yaudheya: Johiya is derived from Yaudheya. The Yaudhey people inhabited over areas on the banks of Shatadru, the present site of Bahawalpur area. The coins of Yaudheya have been found in areas between Sutlej and Yamuna rivers in Sonipat fort of Rohtak. These coins are marked in Sanskrit Yaudheya Ganasya Jayâ. Yaudhey were there during Mahabharata period also. As per Puranic version the Yaudheya are present Jats considered to be descendants of Maharaja Yudhisthira. One of Maharani of Yudhistar was named Yaudheyee. This shows Yaudhey to be an ancient Jat clan. Inscription of Yaudheys in Bharatpur state shows that they had democratically elected head that was titled Mahasenapati.
  • Pachar/Panwar: Panwar is the degenerated form of Pachar. The Kannauja descendant had five sons namely Vijay Singh, Pratap Singh, Roop Singh, Dalo Singh and Bhabal Singh along with two daughters Darbo and Jasso. They constructed a Mata temple at Aayara Kheda village. 360 villages of Panwar Jats have spread from Aayara Kheda. These villages are located in the lower bank of Yamuna River. The rest of villages were established beyond Ganga River. The chieftain Sujan Singh visited the Ashram of Nimbaditya Rishi. This place was full of Neem and other trees; He established this place as Nimgaon after Nimbaditya Rishi. [23]
  • Sheokhand: According to Hukum Singh Panwar (Pauria)[24], it may, however, be interesting to note that a Jat tribe, living in about 25 contiguous villages in Jind district of Haryana and about 5 villages in Nangloi block of Delhi, goes by its gotra name as Shivakhande or Sheokhand. Of late this gotra has been Arabicised as Shokeen in Delhi villages. Yet the elders of Sheokhand Khap area take pride in the fact that they originally hail from the Dharans, whose kingdom was rather misnomered as "Gupta empire" in Indian history. Be that as it may, one thing is plausible about the Jats of Sheokhande clan. They must be the Sivas who fought against the Bharatas on the Jamuna River in one of the ten Rigvedic wars. They are identified by scholars with the Shivis [25] or the Sibis of the Usinara country in the north of Haridwar near the source of Ganges.[26] The Sivas or Sibis became known as Shivakhande or Sheokhande from and after the Shivalaks, the abode of Lord Shiva, the highest deity of the Jats.

The Quelling of Kaliya

Sister Nivedita & Ananda K.Coomaraswamy [27] tells us following story about The Quelling of Kaliya by Krishna.

One day the cowherds started out very early, and wandered through the woods and along the river-bank till they came to the place called Kaliya. They drank some of the water, and so did the cows ; but all at once they rolled over and over and were dying of poison. Then Krishna cast a life-giving look upon them, and they revived. Now there was living in that part of the Jamna a poisonous hydra or naga named Kaliya, and for four leagues all about him the water boiled and bubbled with poison. No bird or beast could go near, and only one solitary tree grew on the river-bank. The proper home of Kaliya was Ramanaka Dwipa, but he had been driven away from there by fear of Garuda, the foe of all serpents. Garuda had been cursed by a yogi dwelling at Brindaban, so that he could not come to Brindaban without meeting his death. Therefore Kaliya lived at Brindaban, the only place where Garuda could not come.

Presently Krishna began to play at ball with the herd- boys, and while they were playing he climbed up the kadamb tree that hung over the river-bank, and when the ball was thrown to him it fell into the river, and Shrl Krishna jumped after it. Kaliya rose up with his hundred and ten hoods vomiting poison, and Krishna's friends stretched out their hands and wept and cried, and the cows ran about lowing and snorting. Meanwhile some one ran back to Brindaban and brought Rohini and Yasoda and Nand and all the gopas and gopis, and they came running and stumbling to the edge of Kaliya's whirlpool ; but they could not see Krishna]. Only Balaram comforted every one, saying : " Krishna will come back very soon. He cannot be slain."


Myths and Legends of the Hindus & Buddhists:End of page 226

Kaliya Damana by Khitindra Nath Mazumdar

Meanwhile Kaliya wrapped himself round about Krishna's body, but Krishna became so huge that Kaliya had to release him. So Krishna saved himself from every attack, and when he saw the Braj folk were so much afraid he suddenly sprang into Kaliya's head and assumed the weight of the whole universe, and danced on the naga's heads, beating time with his feet. Then Kaliya began to die. He dashed his hoods about, putting forth his tongues, and streams of blood poured from his mouths. When he was quite overcome the thought arose in his heart : " This must be the Primal Male, for none other could resist my venom "; so thinking, he gave up all hope and remained still. But then the naga's wives came and stood round Krishna, and some stretched out their folded hands toward him and some bent to kiss his feet, worshipping Krishna and praying for their husband. "Be pleased to release this one," they said, " or slay us with him, for death itself is good to a woman without a husband. Moreover, please consider that it is the nature of a serpent to be venomous, and pardon him." Shrl Krishna stepped from Kaliya's head, and Kaliya wor shipped him and prayed forgiveness for not recognizing the Lord. So Krishna pardoned him, and sent him away home to Ramanaka Dwipa. But he was afraid to go there because of Garuda. When he told Krishna this he answered : " Go without fear. When Garuda sees the mark of my feet on your head he will not touch you." So Kaliya with his family went to Ramanaka Dwipa, and Krishna came out of the water.

All the people of Braj were glad when Krishna came out safe ; but they were too weary to go home that day, so they spent the night in the woods near Kaliya's whirlpool. But about midnight a terrible forest fire broke out, and


Myths and Legends of the Hindus & Buddhists:End of page 227


would have destroyed the trees and the cows and the people had not Shri Krishna risen and drunk up the fire and saved them. In the morning every one returned to their homes rejoicing and singing.

History

The name Yamuna seems to be derived from the Sanskrit word "yama", meaning 'twin', and it may have been applied to the river because it runs parallel to the Ganges. The Yamuna is mentioned at many places in the Rig Veda, which was composed during the Vedic period between ca. 1700–1100 BC, and also in the later Atharvaveda, and the Brahmanas including Aitareya Brahmana and Shatapatha Brahmana.[28]

In Rig Veda, the story of the Yamuna describes her "excessive love" for her twin, Yama, who in turn asks her to find a suitable match for herself, which she does in Krishna. It is also said that Lord Shiva was the main reason for the colour of the Yamuna river. After the death of Sati Devi, lord shiva couldn't tolerate the sadness around him and used to roam here and there. And At last when he went to Yamuna river, it became so black as it absorbed all his sorrow.

The tale is further detailed in the 16th century Sanskrit hymn, Yamunashtakam, an ode by the philosopher Vallabhacharya. Here the story of her descent to meet her beloved Krishna and to purify the world has been put into verse. The hymn also praises her for being the source of all spiritual abilities. And while the Ganges is considered an epitome of asceticism and higher knowledge and can grant us Moksha or liberation, it is Yamuna, who, being a holder of infinite love and compassion, can grant us freedom, even from death, the realm of her elder brother. She rushes down the Kalinda Mountain, and verily describes her as the daughter of Kalinda, giving her another name, Kalindi, the backdrop of Krishna Leela. The text also talks about her water being of the colour of Lord Krishna, which is dark (Shyam).[29][30]

The river is referred as Asita in some historical texts.[31]

It is mentioned as Iomanes (Ioames) in the surveys of Seleucus I Nicator, an officer of Alexander the Great and one of the Diadochi, who visited India in 305 BC, later Megasthenes, a Greek traveller and geographer, visited India, sometimes before 288 BC, the date of Chandragupta's death, also mention the river in his text Indica, where he described the region around it as the land of Surasena.[32]

Megasthenes describes:

9. The hill-tribes between the Indus and the Iomanes: The Cesi (Khasa); the Cetriboni (Khatri), the Megallae (Mukul, Magloda ), the Chrysei (Karesia), the Parasangae (Paraswal), and the Asange (Sangwa)..... The Megallae (Mukul, Magloda ), whose king is master of five hundred elephants and an army of horse and foot of unknown strength;The force under arms consists of 30,000 foot, 300 elephants, and 800 horse the Asange, where tigers abound, noted for their ferocity

In Mahabharata, Indraprastha, the capital of Pandavas was also situated on the banks of Yamuna, it is considered to the modern day city of Delhi.

Geological evidence indicates that in the distant past the Yamuna was a tributary of the Ghaggar River (also known as the Vedic Sarasvati River), but that it later changed its course eastward due to a tectonic event, becoming a tributary of the Ganges. This may have led to the Sarasvati River drying up, the end of many Harappan civilization settlements, and creation of the Thar desert.[33][34][35] However, recent geological research suggests that the diversion of the Yamuna to the Ganges may have occurred during the Pleistocene, and thus could not be connected to the decline of the Harappan civilization in the region.[36]

The importance of the Ganges–Yamuna river basin, and the Doab region as traditional the seat of power, can be derived from the fact, in much of early history of India, most of great empires, which ruled over majority of India, until the Chalukyas King, Vinayaditya, were based in the highly fertile Ganges–Yamuna basin, including the Magadha (ca 600 BC), Maurya Empire (321–185 BC), Shunga Empire (185–73 BCE), Kushan Empire (1st–3rd centuries CE), Gupta Empire (280–550 CE), and many had their capitals here, in cities like Pataliputra or Mathura. These rivers were revered throughout these kingdoms that flourished on their banks, in fact ever since the period of Chandragupta II (r. 375–415 CE), statues both the Ganges and Yamuna became common throughout the Gupta Empire. Further to the South, images of the Ganges and Yamuna are found amidst shrines of the Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas (753–982), as well as on their royal seals, and prior to them, the Chola Empire too added the river into their architectural motifs. The Three River Goddess shrine, next of famous Kailash rock-cut Temple at Ellora, built by Rashtrakuta King, Govinda III, shows the Ganges flanked by the Yamuna and Saraswati.[37]

Tej Ram Sharma[38] writes about 4. Kalindi (कालिन्दी) : According to Eran Stone Pillar Inscription of Budhagupta GE 165 (484-485 CE), his feudatory, Maharaja Surashmichandra was governing the country lying between the river Kalindi and Narmada. Kalindi is the same as the river Yamuna. The Yamuna has got its source from the Kalindadesa, a mountainous country situated in the Bandarapuccha range or the Himalaya and hence the river is called Kalindi. In the Puranas we get the earlier mention of Kalindi by both the names, Kalindi as well as Yamuna. The Kalindi is also mentioned in the Sisupalavadha of Maga.

Alexander Cunningham[39] writes that The holy city of Mathura is one of the most ancient places in India. It is famous in the history of Krishna, as the stronghold of his enemy Raja Kansa ; and it is noticed by Arrian,[40] on the authority of Megasthenes, as the capital of the Suraseni. Now Surasena was the grandfather of Krishna, and from him Krishna and his descendants, who held Mathura after the death of Kansa, were called Surasenas. According to Arrian the Suraseni possessed two great cities, Methoras and Klisoboras, and the navigable river Jobares flowed through their territories. Pliny- names the river Jomanes, that is the Jumna, and says that it passed between the towns of Meihora and Clisobora. Ptolemy mentions only Mathura, under the form of Modura, Modovpa, to which he adds " the city of the gods," or holy city.

Places of historical importance

Importance

Most importantly it creates the highly fertile alluvial, Yamuna-Ganges Doab region between itself and the Ganges in the Indo-Gangetic plain. Nearly 57 million people depend on the Yamuna waters. With an annual flow of about 10,000 cubic billion metres (cbm) and usage of 4,400 cbm (of which irrigation constitutes 96 per cent), the river accounts for more than 70 per cent of Delhi’s water supplies. Just like the Ganges, the Yamuna too is highly venerated in Hinduism and worshipped as goddess Yamuna, throughout its course.

In Hindu mythology, she is the daughter of Sun God, Surya and his wife Saranyu (Bhagavata Purana 8.13.9), and sister of Yama, the God of Death, hence also known as Yami and according to popular legends, bathing in its sacred waters frees one from the torments of death.[41][42]

Yamuna, referred to respectfully as Yamunaji, holds a very important position in Pushti Marga, a sect of Hinduism based on the ShuddhAdvaita, in which Shri Krishna is the main deity, propagated by Vallabhacharya / Maha Prabhuji, and having a large following in India.

The River Yamuna is also connected to the religious beliefs surrounding Krishna and various stories connected with Him are found in Hindu religious texts, especially the Puranas, like that of Kaliya Daman, the subduing of Kaliya, a poisonous Nāga snake, which had inhabited the river and terrorized the people of Braj.[43][44]

Yamuna, according to the legends, is closely related to Lord Krishna and Mahabharata. Krishna was taken across the Yamuna on the night of his birth. Kansa, Krishna's maternal uncle planned to kill all his nephews, as his eighth nephew was predicted to be his Kāla. When Vasudeva, carrying Krishna in a basket, reaches the river Yamuna, on the extremely turbulent, rainy night of Krishna's birth, Yamuna is said to have parted to make way for Vasudeva.

Krishna and the Gopis also used to play on the banks of the Yamunaji as children.

In Indian epics

In Rigveda:

आवदिन्द्रं यमुना तर्त्सवश्च परात्र भेदं सर्वतातामुषायत |
अजासश्च शिग्रवो यक्षवश्च बलिं शीर्षाणि जभ्रुरश्व्यानि || (RV VII/18/19)

Meaning: Yamuna and the Trtsus aided Indra. There he stripped Bheda bare of all his treasures. The Ajas and the Sigrus and the Yaksus brought in to him as tribute heads of horses.

Nadistuti sukta includes Yamuna.

In Ramayana

Kishkindha Kanda Sarga 40 of Ramayana mentions that in The Empire of Holy Vanaras, Sugreeva orders vanara-s to search Sita in east under the leadership of Vinata, a mighty vanara. Sugreeva commissioning Vinata explains the topography and geography of Eastern side of the Jambudwipa, 'the Indian subcontinent,' and its eastward, comprising whole of South-East Asia. This is the first chronicle ever recorded about the lands and oceans, islands and dwellers in there, as far as Ancient Indian Geography is concerned.

19b, 20a."There in the East, the forests, mountains and impassable places shall be searched for the princess from Videha kingdom, namely Seetha, and even for the residency of Ravana. [4-40-19b, 20a]
20b, 21, 22, 23. "Search shall be conducted at the riversides of heartening rivers like River Bhagirathi, another name for Ganga River, and Sarayu River, like that at Kaushiki River, and at the pleasing surrounds of Yamuna River, and on Mt. Kalinda, as well at Saraswati River, Sindhu River and at the river whose waters are lustrous like gems, namely Shona River, and further at Mahi River and Kalamahi River which rivers are brightened by mountains and forests surrounding them. And the kingdoms like Brahmamala, Videha, Malva, Kashi, and Kosala, and in Magadha, which kingdom has grand villages, and in that way, also in the kingdoms of Pundra and Anga, and in the countries of the kings called Koshakara, and in the provinces of silver mines search is to be conducted. [4-40-20b, 21, 22, 23]
अधिगच्छ दिशम् पूर्वाम् स शैल वन काननाम् ।
तत्र सीताम् च वैदेहीम् निलयम् रावणस्य च ॥४-४०-१९॥
मार्गध्वम् गिरि दुर्गेषु वनेषु च नदीषु च ।
नदीम् भागीरथीम् रम्याम् सरयूम् कौशिकीम् तथा ॥४-४०-२०॥
कालिंदीम् यमुनाम् रम्याम् यामुनम् च महागिरिम् ।
सरस्वतीम् च सिंधुम् च शोणम् मणि निभ उदकम् ॥४-४०-२१॥
महीम् कालमहीम् चैव शैल कानन शोभिताम् ।
ब्रह्ममालान् विदेहान् च मालवान् काशि कोसलान् ॥४-४०-२२॥
मागधाम् च महाग्रामान् पुण्ड्रान् अंगाम् तथैव च ।
भूमिम् च कोशकाराणाम् भूमिम् च रजत आकराम् ॥४-४०-२३॥

In Mahabharata

Adi Parva, Mahabharata/Mahabharata Book I Chapter 63 mentions Yamuna in verse-47:

"The fish-smelling daughter of the Apsara in her piscatorial form was then given by the king unto the fishermen, saying, 'Let this one be thy daughter.' That girl was known by the name of Satyavati. And gifted with great beauty and possessed of every virtue, she of agreeable smiles, owing to contact with fishermen, was for some time of the fishy smell. Wishing to serve her (foster) father she plied a boat on the waters of the Yamuna".

तत्राद्रिकेति विख्याता बरह्मशापाद वराप्सराः
मीनभावम अनुप्राप्ता बभूव यमुना चरी (Mahabharata:I.63.47)

Sabha Parva, Mahabharata/Book II Chapter 13 mentions Yamuna in verses: (II.13.40,42)

"People say that Hansa had been killed, Dimvaka, thought that he could not live without Hansa. He accordingly jumped into the waters of the Yamuna and killed himself. Afterwards when Hansa, the subjugator of hostile heroes, heard that Dimvaka, had killed himself, he went to the Yamuna and jumped into its waters."

हतॊ हंस इति परॊक्तम अद केनापि भारत
तच छरुत्वा डिभकॊ राजन यमुनाम्भस्य अमज्जत (Mahabharata: II.13.40)
विना हंसेन लॊके ऽसमिन नाहं जीवितुम उत्सहे
इत्य एतां मतिम आस्दाय डिभकॊ निधनं गतः (Mahabharata: II.13.41)
तदा तु डिभकं शरुत्वा हंसः परपुरंजयः
परपेथे यमुनाम एव सॊ ऽपि तस्यां नयमज्जत (Mahabharata: II.13.42)
तौ स राजा जरासंधः शरुत्वाप्सु निधनं गतौ
सवपुरं शूरसेनानां परययौ भरतर्षभ (Mahabharata: II.13.43)

Vana Parva, Mahabharata/Book III Chapter 82 mentions Yamuna-prabhava (यमुनाप्रभव) (III.82.39) , (the source of the Yamuna) and batheth there, obtaineth the merit of the horse-sacrifice and is worshipped in heaven.

यमुना प्रभवं गत्वा उपस्पृश्य च यामुने
अश्वमेध फलं लब्ध्वा सवर्गलॊके महीयते (III.82.39)

Vana Parva, Mahabharata/Book III Chapter 85 mentions the sacred asylums, tirthas. mountans and regions of eastern country:

"In that quarter, is the sacred confluence of Ganga and Yamuna which is celebrated over the world. Holy and sin-destroying, that tirtha is much regarded by the Rishis. It is there that the soul of all things, the Grandsire, had, in olden days, performed his sacrifice, and it is for this, that the place hath come to be called Prayaga (प्रयाग) (III.85.14)."

पवित्रम ऋषिभिर जुष्टं पुण्यं पावनम उत्तमम
गङ्गायमुनयॊर वीर संगमं लॊकविश्रुतम (III.85.13)
यत्रायजत भूतात्मा पूर्वम एव पिता महः
प्रयागम इति विख्यातं तस्माद भरतसत्तम (III.85.14)

Vana Parva, Mahabharata/Book III Chapter 88 mentions tirthas and sacred spots that lie to the north: In that region is the Saraswati (सरस्वती) (III.88.2) abounding in tirthas and with banks easy of descent. There also, O son of Pandu, is the ocean-going and impetuous Yamuna (यमुना)(III.88.2),

सरस्वती पुण्यवहा हरदिनी वनमालिनी
समुद्रगा महावेगा यमुना यत्र पाण्डव (III.88.2)

Bhisma Parva, Mahabharata/Book VI Chapter 10 Describes geography and provinces of Bharatavarsha. Rivers are mentioned in Mahabharata (VI.10.13,14).

नदीः पिबन्ति बहुला गङ्गां सिन्धुं सरस्वतीम
गॊदावरीं नर्मदांबाहुदांमहानदीम Mahabharata (VI.10.13)
शतद्रुं चन्द्रभागांयमुनांमहानदीम
दृषद्वतीं विपाशांविपापां सदूलवालुकाम Mahabharata (VI.10.14)

Udyoga Parva/Mahabharata Book V Chapter 19 mentions Kings and tribes Who joined Yudhishthira for war:

And for this reason the land of the five rivers, and the whole of the region called Kuru-jangala, and the forest of Rohitaka which was uniformly wild, and Ahichhatra and Kalakuta, and the banks of the Ganga River, and Varana River, and Vatadhana, and the hill tracts on the border of the Yamuna--the whole of this extensive tract--full of abundant corn and wealth, was entirely overspread with the army of the Kauravas.

ततः पञ्चनदं चैव कृत्स्नं च कुरुजाङ्गलम
तदा रॊहित कारण्यं मरु भूमिश च केवला (V.19.29)
अहिच छत्रं कालकूटं गङ्गाकूलं च भारत
वारणा वाटधानंयामुनश चैव पर्वतः (V.19.30)
एष थेशः सुविस्तीर्णः परभूतधनधान्यवान
बभूव कौरवेयाणां बलेन सुसमाकुलः (V.19.31)

Karna Parva/Mahabharata Book VIII Chapter 30 gives us description blaming the Vahikas and Madrakas:

"A foremost one among brahmanas, venerable in years while reciting old histories, said these words, blaming the Vahikas and Madrakas, One should always avoid the Vahikas, those impure people that are out of the pale of virtue, and that live away from the Himavat and the Ganga River and Sarasvati and Yamuna and Kurukshetra and the Sindhu River and its five tributary rivers."

तत्र वृथ्धः पुरावृत्ताः कदाः काश चिथ थविजॊत्तमः
बाह्लीक थेशं मद्रांश च कुत्सयन वाक्यम अब्रवीत (VIII.30.9)
बहिष्कृता हिमवता गङ्गया च तिरस्कृताः
सरस्वत्या यमुनया कुरुक्षेत्रेण चापि ये (VIII.30.10)
पञ्चानां सिन्धुषष्ठानां नथीनां ये ऽनतर आश्रिताः
तान धर्मबाह्यान अशुचीन बाह्लीकान परिवर्जयेत (VIII.30.11)

Shanti Parva Mahabharata Book XII Chapter 29 tells us about horse sacrifice on Rivers:

"Devoting three hundred horses unto the gods on the banks of the Yamuna, twenty on the banks of the Saraswati, and fourteen on the banks of Ganga River, that king of great energy, in days of old, performed (in this order) a thousand Horse-sacrifices and a hundred Rajasuyas."

यॊ बद्ध्वा तरिंशतॊ हय अश्वान थेवैभ्यॊ यमुनाम अनु
सरस्वतीं विंशतिं च गङ्गाम अनु चतुर्थश (XII.29.41)

Vana Parva, Mahabharata/Book III Chapter 85 mentions sacred asylums, tirthas. mountans and regions of eastern country:

In that quarter, O hero is the sacred confluence of Ganga and Yamuna which is celebrated over the world. Holy and sin-destroying, that tirtha is much regarded by the Rishis. It is there that the soul of all things, the Grandsire, had, in olden days, performed his sacrifice, (p. 200) and it is for this, O chief of the Bharata race, that the place hath come to be called Prayaga (प्रयाग) (III.85.14).

13 पवित्रम ऋषिभिर जुष्टं पुण्यं पावनम उत्तमम

    गङ्गायमुनयॊर वीर संगमं लॊकविश्रुतम

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