The Sacred River Sindhu/Indus

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by Swami B.G. Narasingha

‘The Sacred River Sindhu/Indus’ was posted by Swami B.G. Narasingha on his blog, narasingha.net, on October 2nd, 2011. In this short article, Narasingha Maharaja explains the significance of the River Sindhu and his pilgrimage to it. This article was later expanded into a bigger article called ‘Sindhu River – How India Got Her Name.’

Of the seven most holy rivers in India the Sindhu is significant in that it is from the Sindhu that India has got her name (Sindhu-Indus-Indica-India) The Ṛg Veda refers to the Sindhu River as very auspicious and it is from the name ‘Sindhu’ that the word ‘Hindu’ also comes. Due to a speech variation, the Persians referred to those people east of the Sindhu River as Hindus.

After the time of Alexander the Great (circa 350 BCE) the Sindhu became known as the Indus River and the lands to the east of the Indus were known as Indica. During the British Raj, Indica came into the English language as India. Thus the name India. But as we know, the Vedic name of India is Bhārata and it is still in vogue today among the learned.

My recent trip to Ladakh gave me the opportunity to have a darśana of the Sindhu River — something i had looked forward to for many years. The Sindhu originates from Mount Kailāśa deep in the Himalayan range and flows westward across modern day Ladakh and Kashmir where he (a masculine river) then enters Pakistan and then flows south to eventually reach the Arabian Sea.

Many Hindus come to Ladakh every year to have darśana of the Sindhu and a great Darśana Festival is held in June that is attended by thousands. Myself, Kuñja-vihāri and Rūpānuga however preferred to go for darśana at a time with less crowds, the end of September. It was a wonderful experience. Here are a few photos of the Sindhu River and also the saṅgam where the Zanskar River joins the Sindhu.

Sindhu ki jaya! Indus ki jaya!

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