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Birthday of River Vitasta or Jhelum in Kashmir

The birthday of River Vitasta or Jhelum is celebrated annually by Kashmiri Pandits. The birth date of Vitasta River is known as ‘Veth Truvaha’ and the celebrations take place at Om Vethvathur (Verinag) in Annatnag district of Jammu and Kashmir. According to Hindu Mythology, Goddess Parvati appeared as Vitasta River on the 13th day of the bright fortnight of Bhadrapad.

According to Nilamata Purana, Sage Kashyap in order to save the people from a water demon drained the lakes. The demon was killed but due to the draining of waterbodies the present day region of Kashmir faced severe drought.

People approached Sage Kashyap to find a way to get water as the drought was getting severe and more fatal than the attack of water demon. Sage Kashyap prayed to Lord Shiva for a river which will be immune to demons and which will have good clean water. Lord Shiva agreed and he struck the ground near his abode with his trident and Goddess Parvati gushed forth in the form of a river.

The opening created by the trident measured one vitasta, which is equal to 12 angulas and therefore the river got the name Vitasta.

River Vitasta finds mention in the Mahabharata and today it is popularly known as River Jhelum after a town in Pakistan. It plays an important role in the economy of Kashmir.