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Iravati River in Hinduism – Ravi River In Hindu Religion Scriptures

Iravati River is a sacred river in Hinduism that flows through Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Punjab in India and is now known as River Ravi. This holy river was known as Parushni, Kawa, Rawati and Airavati in ancient Hindu texts. In Rig Veda, oldest scripture in Hindu religion, Iravati River is known as Parushi and is invoked with great reverence.

The river is also mentioned in the Vayu Purana, Kalika Purana, Vamana Purana and Mahabharata.

Nilamata Purana, a treatise of the 15th century, refers to the river in the account of Shiva’s journey from Varanasi to Haramukha.

Iravati River (Ravi in modern India) rises in the Bara Banghal basin, a branch of the Dhauladhar range in Kullu District of Himachal Pradesh. Thereafter, it immediately passes into the Chamba District and drains the whole of the picturesque Chamba Valley.

It then flows in a northwesterly direction and is joined by the two large tributaries, the sacred Budhil and Tundah. With great force Iravati River then escapes through a narrow gorge to Chhatrari, a sacred place famous for its Shakti Devi Temple. On the right bank of Iravati River, where it joins with the tributary Saho, stands Chamba town, the ancient capital of the Chamba state.

Chamba has many ancient temples famous for wood carvings, such as Lakshmana Temple, Lakshmi Narayana Temple, Vamshi Gopala Temple, Chamunda Temple and Champavati Temple. To reach the holy mount and Lake Mani Mahesha in the Budhil Valley, pilgrims trek along the Ravi River.

Lake Manimahesh has on its bank an image of Chaturmukha Shiva.

Iravati River then flows by the foot of Dalhousie Hill through the famous Chamba valleys.
Flowing past Chamba town, Ravi receives its largest tributary, Sine, and flows westwards,  forming the boundary of Jammu.

After traversing nearly forty kilometers, it takes a southwest turn and skirting the terminal spurts of the Dhaula Dhar, separates Chamba from Jammu and enters the Gurdaspur District of Punjab. By Ravi in the Gurdaspur District is the cave temple of Mukteswara, attributed to the Pandavas.

The Tali Sahib shrine at Dera Baba Nanak on Ravi is the holy shrine of Guru Nanak. The shrine was destroyed by the waters of Ravi in 1870.

Maintaining its southwest course, Ravi then enters the district of Lahore (present day Pakistan) and finally meets the Chenab, between Ahmedpur and Sarai Sindhu.

The whole length of Ravi from its source to its confluence with the Chenab is 1020 kilometers.

Ravi and four other rivers – Jhelum, Chenab, Beas and Sutlej – meet in Pakistan, forming Pancha Nadai. The Pancha Nada then flows into the Sindhu (Indus), which after making a long journey through the plains falls into the Arabian Sea.

SourceEncyclopedia of Hinduism Volume V – page 187-88 – IHRF
Antiquities of Chamba State (1911) – by J.P. Vogal – Government Printing Press Kolkata
Rivers of India (1970) by S.D. Mishra – National Book Trust New Delhi
The Story Of Our Rivers (1989) – L Majumdar – National Book Trust New Delhi