On identifying Rg-Vedic River Marudvṛdhā

Rupa Bhaty
5 min readJan 9


Maruts related to this River gave away the name of City — Marot


On the first thought you would stumble upon the name Māruti nandana-as another name of Hanumān. Māruti comes from Rg-Vedic name Marut which means Vayu — wind/storm. Rudras and Maruts are associated with Vayu.

Interestingly, there is a city called Marot in Punjab (now in Pakistan’s Punjab) which is still being pronounced as Marud by the inhabitants of Marot. Marud fort City thrived under the kings of Jaisalmer from its initial conception. One can still find the remnants of sun-dried brick architecture similar to Nāgara temples found on the Salt Route. Fort Marot lies on the old Paleo-channel of Hakra river. One can have a glimpse on formation of Aeolian deposits far and wide on Hakra paleochannel near Marot, fort Abbas.

Marud/Marot instantaneously gives an idea of one of the Rg-Vedic river name “Marudvṛdhā”, which comes from the word Marudvṛdha. Marudvṛdhā would thus means a river abounding in winds. This would mean a turbulent river due to high wind pressures constituting a windy river. A tributary to River Saraswati, flowing towards west, almost parallel to the latitude 29º N. Lexicographers note this very correctly that मरुद् — वृधा is a name of a River in the Panjāb, RV. The name has remained invariant.

Lets gather some more information through Lexicon

Marud-vṛdhā 1 is the name of a stream mentioned in the Nadīstuti (‘Praise of Rivers’) in the Rigveda ( x. 75, 5) along with the Asiknī (Akesines-Chenab) and the Vitastā (Hydaspes-Jhelum). Roth (Zur Litteratur und Geschichte des Weda, 138 et seq.) considers that the Marudvṛdhā denotes the stream formed by the combined waters of these two rivers down to its junction with the Paruṣṇī (Ravi), a view accepted by Zimmer. (Altindisches Leben, 11, 12.) On the other hand, Ludwig (Translation of the Rigveda, 3, 200.) thinks that the Marudvṛdhā designates the stream formed by the junction of the Paruṣṇī with the combined waters of the Asiknī and Vitastā, a view which seems less likely.

Identifying the geographical location of Marudvridha

I clearly noted that River Asiknī (Akesines-Chenab) physically was present near Marudvṛdhā is correct since the river lies in proximity with Marot and lying over Hakra paleochannel. When one observe the paleochannels it appears to be huge and lying almost perpendicular to North-South alignment. The width and the alignment of the paleochannel suggest abounding of windy nature of the river during the monsoons times.


Description of one of the Paleochannels of Hakra River in new researches

A range of research aimed to examine whether fluvial migration was related to the fall of the Indus Civilisation has illuminated evidence for fluvial activity in the Ghaggar-Hakra river ranging between MIS 4 (71e59 ka) and MIS 2 (28e11.5 ka) fed by the Sutlej drainage (Clift et al., 2012; Singh et al., 2017) and potentially the Yamuna drainage (Dave et al., 2019) at sites including Tilwara, Marot, Fort Abbas, Kalibangan and Hissar.

— J. Blinkhorn, H. Achyuthan, M. Jaiswal et al.

Fig. 2

The Early to Middle Pleistocene (.200 ka) period in Thar has generally been interpreted as relatively wet, fol- lowed by a distinct arid phase characterized by the development of extensive calcretes (Dhir et al. 1999, 2004), several playas, dunes and sand sheets. More intensive but episodic aeolian deposition, drying of river systems and lowering of groundwater level, has been recorded between 115 and 100 ka, suggesting an increase in aridity (Thomas et al. 1999; Singhvi & Kar 2004). Several other major phases of pre-LGM aeolian activity in the Thar Desert have been recorded at c. 75ka, c. 55ka and between 30 and 25ka (Singhvi & Kar 2004). An interesting observation made by these authors is that at the LGM the Thar Desert experienced high aridity but wind strength was not sufficient for extensive aeolian accumulation.

— (Evolution of the Indian summer monsoon: Synthesis of continental records) Rajiv Sinha & Prasanta Sanyal


A little takeaway — No wonder the city name Marot-Marud contain the ancient river name Marudvṛdhā. The combination of fluvial river flow sedimentation activity and at the same time aeolian deposition active on the banks of river together is a necessary condition for getting a name like Marudvṛdhā for a turbulent windy river.

One can note three things from the above informations…

(1) Fluvial (of or found in a river) eminence during MIS 4 (71e59 ka), MIS 2 (28e11.5 ka)

(2) Aeolian (relating to or arising from the action of the wind) eminence during c. 75ka, c. 55ka and between 30 and 25ka

(3) Hakra was fed by the Sutlej drainage during MIS 2 (28e11.5 ka). This is the time when the Aeolian was minimal.

One can locate when the Rg-Vedic River Marudvṛdhā may have got her name when fluvial and aeolian conditions prevailed together. I locate the naming of the river during 75,000 — 59,000 years before present.

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मरुद् — वृध mfn. (मरुद्-) rejoicing in the wind or in the Maruts, RV. ; ŚāṅkhŚr.
मरुद् — वृधा f. N. of a river in the Panjāb, RV. ; Prâyaśc. [ID=158372.1]



Rupa Bhaty

Architect and Adjunct Assistant Professor at School of Indic studies, Institute of Advanced Sciences, MA, USA