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Origin of Tamas or Tons River – Why the water from the river is never drunk?

Tamas River is the largest tributary of the Yamuna and flows through Garhwal region in Uttarakhand, touching Himachal Pradesh. Today, the river is popularly known as Tons. A popular story in the Garhwal region indicates that the origin of the Tamas River is associated with Barbareek, grandson Pandav Bhim and son of Ghatotkachch.

Legend has it that the word about Mahabharata battle spread around the world and Barbareek too came to hear about it. He wanted to participate in the battle but he will only take the side of the loser.

Barbareek then set out to reach Kurukshetra on his way he met Arjuna and Krishna who were disguise – in the form of Saints. They were on the look out for great warriors.

When Barbareek displayed his talent in archery, Krishna knew that he was capable of overrunning any opposition. But Barbareek said he would only join the side that will be losing the great battle. Krishna knew that Kauravas were destined to be defeated and Barbareek joining them was not good for Pandavas.

Krishna then played a trick. He said that there is no doubt that you are courageous but what about the qualities like performing charity etc. Barbareek said that he can ask him anything and he will give it in charity.

Krishna then asked for his head in charity, which Barbareek agreed without any difficulty.

It is said that the head of Barbareek was placed atop a hill near the Kurukshetra and Barbareek watched the entire Mahabharata war from there.

But he was unhappy to see the Kauravas getting defeated. He shed his tears. The local people in the Garhwal region believe that Barbareek's tears still flow. It is those tears of intense, helpless, uncontrollable sorrow, that now make the river Tamas or Tons. That is why the water from this river is never drunk.