The rivers of Ganga, Yamuna, Saraswati, Kaveri, Godavari, Krishna, Sindhu, Shipra and Brahmaputra, all have their own confluences. Hindu religion consists of three main gods of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva and three main goddesses of Lakshmi, Saraswati and Parvati. This is the reason as to why the Triveni everywhere in India holds incredible importance. Triveni defines the place where the three rivers meet forming a confluence. In the same way, the holy river of Ganga which flows in Prayag has a place where the three rivers meet.
Sangam which is also known as Triveni is the place which pinpoints the location where the confluence of three rivers of Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati takes place. This rare Sangam is famous all over the world. After Ganga and Yamuna the river of saraswati has garnered its importance in the Indian culture and religion. But the big question here is that the merging of the rivers of Ganga and Yamuna are clearly visible due to the contrast in color but where does the third mysterious river of Saraswati merge and how did it happen?
Actually there is an explanation behind this mysterious convergence which is depicted in great detail in the Shrimad Bhagwat Puran. In the past ages the river of Saraswati used to flow in the current Saurashtra region. During the ancient ages this Saurashtra region also consisted of the entire Marwar area. Saraswati made her way peacefully from here. every day people used to perform puja rituals here. Gradually, with time when the residents of this place started accepting the beliefs and culture of the ‘Yavan’ people, then the holy river of Saraswati asked Brahmaji for his permission to leave the Marwar and the Saurashtra regions and made her home in Prayag. After the departure of Saraswati River from those regions the entire area has become a desert land which is known for being the present day Rajasthan.
Rigveda has described the holy river of Saraswati as Annavati and Udakvati i.e. a source of nourishment and provider of food. It has also mentioned that the river flows from the east of Yamuna and from the west of Sutlej. In the iconic epic of Mahabharata Saraswati goes by the name of Plakshvati, Vedsmriti, vedvati etc. in other sources of Tandaya and Jaiminiya Brahmana Saraswati river has been described as a dry desert land.
The epic book of Mahabharata mentions the name of a place called “Vinashan” as the exact spot where the river Saraswati disappeared completely from the surface. Brahmavarta and Kurukshetra were located on the banks of this river but today there exists a reservoir in its place. Mahabharat also mentions that Balram had travelled from Dwarka to Mathura via the river Saraswati. It has also been mentioned that after the battle the mortal remains of the Yadavas was immersed in its water which means that it is possible this river had existed during this time and this river was also utilized for travel purposes.
How Did Saraswati Converge into Ganga?
The Vedic times also describe the existence of another river called ‘Drishdwati’ river. This river was the assisting river to Saraswati. This river also makes its way through Haryana. At the same time a massive earthquake rocked the entire land of Haryana and Rajasthan and such destructions caused the underlying mountains to rise above the ground which in turn resulted in the change in the flow of the rivers.
On one hand where river Saraswati disappeared on the other hand river Drishdwati’s course and flow also changed. The same river Drishdwati now goes by the name of ‘Yamuna’ in present day. The history of this river is believed to be dated as far back as 4,000 years ago. Due to the earthquake when the ground rose up than half the water from saraswati got transferred into the river of Yamuna (Drishdwati) this is how the water of Saraswati got merged with Yamuna. This is the reason as to why the Prayag is known for being the confluence point of three rivers.
Religious reference: Mahabharata has found the mention of 7 rivers named Saraswati. A saraswati river along with flowing with Yamuna used to get merged with river Ganga. According to the observations mentioned in Brajmandal, a river Saraswati used to make its way to Braj from the ancient state of Haryana that used to make its way via the Ambika Van (close to Mathura) near the Gokarneshwar Mahadev temple and on that place it would join river Yamuna which was known as ‘Saraswati Sangam Ghat’. The Purans have also found mentions of Saraswati River and Ambika van which is situated in close proximity to the river.
The ancient flow of river Saraswati no longer flows regularly here. In place of river Saraswati a monsoon stream flows, with the same name, that makes its way through the previous spot of Ambika van, and flows its way to the forest of Mahavidya to meet the river of Yamuna. Saraswati Kund also exists there. The existing Nala, Mandir, Kund and Ghat give the evidence of the existence of this ancient river stream. The tradition of Braj is associated with the prehistoric autumn as mentioned in the Swayambhuva Manu (the 1st Manu of the series). The earlier name of Swami Ghat of Mathura was Sanyaman Ghat.