The Sarayu is a river that flows through the Indian states of Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh. This river is of ancient significance, finding mentions in the Vedas and the Ramayana. The earliest references to Sarayu in the Rigveda may not be to the present Sarayu river of Uttar Pradesh, but the Hari-Rud river (Harayu in Avestan language) flowing through Afghanistan-Iran-Turkmenistan border regions. The Sarayu river of India forms at the confluence of the Karnali (or Ghaghara) and Mahakali (or Sharda) in Bahraich District. The Mahakali or Sharda forms the western Indo-Nepal border. Ayodhya is situated on the banks of river Sarayu. Some mapmakers consider the Sarayu to be just a section of the lower Ghaghara River.
|Other name(s)||Kali River, Sarda River|
4,150 m (13,620 ft)
|River mouth||Tributary of Ganges|
|Length||350 km (220 mi)|
|Basin size||Eastern Kumaon - Western Nepal|
The name is the feminine derivative of the Sanskrit root सर् sar "to flow"; as a masculine stem, saráyu- means "air, wind", i.e. "that which is streaming".
Origin and courseEdit
This section needs expansion with: towns and villages along course, direction of flow, tributaries, citations to topo maps. You can help by adding to it. (April 2013)
The river is mentioned three times in the Rigveda. The banks of the Sarayu are the location of the slaying of two Aryas at the hands of Indra in RV 4.30.18. It is listed together with western tributaries to the Indus: Rasā, Anitabha, Kubha, Krumu, and the Sindhu itself as obstacles crossed by the Maruts in RV 5.53.9. In this verse, Purisini appears as its epithet. At this stage of the earlier Rigveda, it apparently was a river west of the Indus system that corresponds to Iranian Harayu (Avestan acc. Harōiium, Old Persian Haraiva, modern Harē or Harī), the Hari River. It is invoked together with Sindhu and Sarasvati (two of the most prominent Rigvedic rivers) in the late hymn RV 10.64. There is no mention of the Ganga River in Rigveda.
According to the regional versions of the Ramayana written in different Indian languages, especially in Ram Charit Manas by Goswami Tulsi Das 1.5.6, the Sarayu flowed beside the ancient city of Ayodhya, which is in modern day Uttar Pradesh. It is a tributary of the Ghaghara. This Sarayu played a vital role in the city and life of Ayodhya, and according to the Ram Charit Manas, Rama, the seventh Avatar of Vishnu immersed himself in the river to return to his eternal Mahavishnu form, after he retired from the throne of Kosala. His brothers Bharata and Shatrughna also joined him, as did many devout followers. The Sarayu is also the river on whose banks King Rama was born.
While the Sarayu river plays an important role in Rigveda and Atharvaveda along with Ramayana. Ayodhya, capital of King Rama is mentioned on the banks of Sarayu river. Sarayu river is mentioned in great details in Ramayana, Ayuthya, as locally called, is the ancient capital of Shyam Desh (Thailand) and king of Thailand is still revered decedent of King Rama of Ramayana. It is a tributary of the Ganges which meets two other rivers at the confluence (sangam) in Uttar Pradesh.
Linkage with Queen of ancient Korea, Heo Hwang-okEdit
Heo Hwang-ok was a princess of Ayodhya, who married king Suro of Geumgwan Gaya of Korea. In 2008, her memorial was built by the Korean government on the west bank of Sarayu river, and Ayodhya was declared as sister city of Incheon.
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