Adi Badri, Haryana
Sri Sarasvati Udgam Tirath
Forest Area, Riverbed
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Adi Badri, also Sri Sarasvati Udgam Tirath, is a tourist site of archaeological, religious and ecological signifiance in a forest area in the foothills of the Sivalik Hills in Bhabar area, situated in northern part of Yamunanagar district, of the north Indian state of Haryana. There are remains of many Buddhist stupas and monasteries, which are about 1500–2000 years old, and there is also a group of Hindu temples from the 9th century. Based on the multiple archaeological excavations undertaken here, archaeologists have sent the proposal to Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to include this site in the list of protected heritage site. Several popular annual festivals are held here, including the five day long National Saraswati Festival in January, Adi Badri Akha Teej Mela in Vaisakh around April-May, week-long Adi Badri-Kapal Mochan Kartik Purnima religious mela around November.
Adi Badri, often related to the Saraswati River, is one of the most ancient Vedic religious site in Haryana, along with 48 kos parikrama of Kurukshetra, Dhosi Hill and Kapal Mochan. The Somb river passing through here is considered by some to follow the course of the Rig Vedic Sarasvati river.[title missing][page needed] It lies in the ecosensitive zone of Kalesar National Park. Adi Badri Vatika herbal park developed by the state's forests department also lies here.
Adi Badri Heritage Board was formed by the state govt to develop the area and to revive the sacred Sarasvati river, and also owing to its religious, ecological and tourism significance and potential.
Location and nearby attractions
Nearby Bilaspur, Haryana (not to be confused with Bilaspur, Himachal Pradesh) in Yamuna Nagar District which takes its name from the corrupted form of "Vyas Puri", was the ashram of Ved Vyasa rishi where he wrote the Mahabharta on the banks of Sarasvati river near Adi Badri where Sarasvati river leaves Himalayas and enters the plains.
ASI has carried out excavations of 3 mounds over 9 years on this 13.5 acres site, with plans for further excavations. ASI has sent the proposal to Ministry of Culture in 2013 to notify this as the protected site.
There are remains of many Buddhist stupas and monasteries near the confluence of rivers Som and Saraswati in Adi Badari. These stupas and monasteries, built of hard bricks, are about 1500–2000 years old.
Buddhist Sharirika stupa
The Buddhist Sharirika Stupa, made of burnt bricks, is dated to 3rd century Kushana. During excavations ASI also found pottery of that era, such as bowl, lids, miniature pots, jars, cooking vessels, pitchers, storage jars and stamped wares. Phase I of Period I had bricks measuring (35x20x6 cm, 33x20x5 cm, 30x22x6 cm and 23x25x6 cm) organised in tapering circular manner, and the bottom 23 layers of bricks were unearthed during the 2002-03 excavation.
Adi Badri Buddhist monastery is dated to 10th-12th century. Few cells, big enough to accommodate one person, and a Buddha statue suggest that this rare ancient monastery was meant for meditation. Buddhist statues from 12th century CE were discovered here.
Hindu temples and sculptures
Yamuna Nagar Adi Badri is a group of Hindu temples from the 9th century. Excavations by ASI unearthed several ancient sculpture and monuments pertaining to the Vaishnavism, Shiva and Shakti traditions, including late medieval Adi Badri-Narayana temple (Vishnu) built by Adi Shankaracharya on the banks of Somb river, Shakti-Mantra Devi temple (wife of Abhimanyu and daughter of king Virata of Matsya Kingdom during Mahabharta) and Sri Kedarnath Temple (Shiva). Several 9th century CE Hindu statues of Shiva, Parvati and Ganesha were discovered here. Archaeological finds also include lingam, which is estimated by experts to be 4,000 years old. Nearby Kathgarh village is hub of several oral traditions related to the Saraswati Civilization.
Present-day religious significance
Adi Badri has a Sarasvati kund (pond) for the worship of Sarasvati river where evening aarti is held everyday. Adi Badri Akha Teej Mela is a large fair that takes place at the Hindu temple complex on the Akshaya Tritiya (Akha Teej) in Vaisakh around April or May. The popular week-long annual Adi Badri-Kapal Mochan Kartik Purnima religious mela is usually held around November. All the main Hindu festivals are also celebrated at the ancient temple complex.
Sarasvati river revival
Adi Badri Heritage Board
The Government of Haryana, headed since 2014 by Hindu nationalist party BJP, announced setting up of the Adi Badri Heritage Board and its plans to revive the sacred Sarasvati river by creating a new water channel along the supposed path of the river.
According to a government-constituted expert committee, Saraswati river did exist, originating in the Himalayas, and passing through Haryana. According to committee-member Khadg Singh Valdiya, the committee identified a paleo-channel which is related to the Indus Valley Civilisation, and to the present Ghaggar, Sarsuti, Hakra and Nara rivers.
212 km channel is being revived, including 55 km section from Adi Badri to Uncha Chandna, 153 km section from Uncha Chandna to Kaithal and 4 km section from Kaithal to confluence with Ghaggar River in Punjab, from there Ghaggar reenters Haryana and courses through Fatehabad and Sirsa districts up to Ottu barrage. All but 12 km section needs to be dug up.
To revive the river, the dried up channel is being dug up and 3 dams will be built in the Sivalik Hills at Adi Badri, Haripur and Lohgarh on the Somb river (a tributary of Saraswati) and downstream Senonar barrage (Guldehra). This will help in controlling floods from Somb river, harvesting and conservation of water for irrigation and lake tourism. Pilgrimage sites, ghats, and tourist facilities will be developed along the channel to be revived.
Revenue department has acquired 1,900 acre of land from the farmers on the paleochannel of the river to revive it. Land for the entire channel of Saraswati river passing through Haryana is in the ownership and possession of Government of Haryana, except few patches totaling 12 km which need to be cleared of encroachment or need to be acquired (c. Aug 2016). A 55 km long channel from Adi Badri to Uncha Chandna (up to west of Yamuna Nagar) is being dug up under MNREGA, of which 37 km is already revived and 12 km in patches is encroached which will be freed up and/or acquired. Downstream 153 km channel from Uncha Chandna to Kaithal is already unhindered and ready to receive the water.
Related revival activities
Research nodal agency and research committee
The UGC has granted several crore research grant in 2018 to the Centre of excellence for research on Saraswati river at Kurukshetra University. Someone[who?] has proposed to designate this center as the nodal agency for research on Saraswati river. A research fellowship program for the scientific research on Saraswati is established at the university. In 2016, Haryana government constituted a committee of scientists initially for a duration of two 2 years (2016-2018) to conduct the scientific studies. Another interstate co-ordination committee will be formed with Himachal, Uttrakhanda, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujrat states that fall in the paleochannel of Saraswati.
National Saraswati Festival
National Saraswati Festival, also called Saraswati Mahotsav, is an annual 5-day national-level festival held in the last week of January in honor of Sarasvati River, a manifestation of Hindu goddess Saraswati, believed to enter the plains from the Shivalik hills here at Adi Badri. It is simultaneously celebrated at multiple locations, including by bringing water from hundreds of rivers across India, hosting events at all government and government-aided schools and colleges as well as several district headquarters across Haryana. Activities include prayers, poetry on Saraswati, and essay writing on scientific and archaeological, geological and ideological aspects of Saraswati heritage. Pilgrimage and river awareness marches are organised from various parts of the state that culminate at Adi Badri. A two-day scientific seminar on Saraswati is also held with participation of scientists of from over 20 nations. It is organised by the Haryana Saraswati Heritage Development Board (HSHDB), which is also making efforts since 2015 to restore the Saraswati river channel from Adi Badri to Mustafabad. Annual pilgrimage along the Saraswati route is organised that travels through various ghats on religious tirthas and Indus Valley Civilization sites along the banks of Saraswati river.
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