The Lost River: On The Trail of the Sarasvati
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The Lost River: On The Trail of the Sarasvati

4.3 of 5 stars 4.30  ·  rating details  ·  73 ratings  ·  17 reviews
Michel Danino was a French national who left France in 1977, to come to India and has since then lived in India. He has been a voracious scholar and an extensive researcher ever since, with his theory of “Indigenous Aryans” being critically acclaimed world over. This theory scrapes the previously propagated “Aryan Invasion theory” and its proponents, claiming that Aryans w...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published 2010 by Penguin Books India
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He's managed to make something as mundane as 'data' weave romanticism here. A journey creating a magical web through seemingly everything....right from the verses in the Rig Veda to the hyperbole (borowing a word from the author here) of the stories in the Mahabharata....from the painstakingly complex geographical and archaeological studies to the references strewn all over in folk-lore...
....And the mighty Saraswati flows amidst all the objections and counter-theories present today on her once...more
A scholarly work, that draws on a mountain of prior research, the author's own research and conclusions drawn from these.

Be aware: this book is not the 'story of the Sarasvati'; it explores the mythology, history, geography of the river drawing from various sources: the vedas, epics, folklore, local customs/practices, archaeology, history, meteorology, geology etc., For those wanting to delve deeper, the author gives copious footnotes and further notes and references in an extensive appendix.

The Vedic civilization of India flourished in the North-West of the country in the area presently included in the Indian and Pakistani Punjab. The Vedic hymns talk of Indus and six other rivers. Five of these six have been unequivocally identified with rivers flowing today: in fact they give the area its name - Punjab means 'five waters'. Saraswati, the sixth one, is not there today. Indian lore talks of its disappearance and there are various theories about where it flowed, if and when it flowe...more
Abhinav Agarwal
Remarkable book that tells the remarkable history of a remarkable river that sustained a remarkable civilization!

It is rare that a book flows with the same ease and felicity as the river it seeks to describe. This is that rare book. The river Saraswati, when it flowed some five thousand years ago, gave birth to the most massive and advanced ancient civilization that existed. The almost million square kilometers of land that formed the Indus Saraswati Civilization saw the development of the most...more
Karthikeyan Iyer
Finally, a book that consolidates multiple views on the Indus-Saraswati civilization and provides a hypothesis that people on the subcontinent can easily vouch for as realistic and highly probable.

Not many people know yet about the reality of river Saraswati, the dry river basin clearly visible through satellite imaging, the location of the river clearly and correctly mentioned in the RgVeda along with its six sisters, hundreds of sites found in the araswati basin, how the once mighty river tha...more
A very well researched book, that draws from different fields from archeology, hydrography, history, DNA analysis, soil and climate analysis as well as Local legends to trace the history of the Saraswati river and establish that the Indian civilization has been a continuous and living civilization for over 9000 years. The narrative though is not at all a drab technical book, but rather exicting. An enjoyable read.
A Beautiful book. It starts out as a mystery and a history puzzle. but unfolds into a great tale about the origins of the Indian civilization. The multi-dimensional approach of the book, combining authentic research in archeology and history, with the insights in Vedas, legends and Puranas is refreshing.
Avinash K
Awesome! After reading a three volume tome of Ramayana, I was intrigued by the amount of geography that was there in that. I stumbled on this book by chance and picked it up. It was a treat!
Starts off with chapters which alludes British/French geographical and hydro-graphical observations to stanzas in vedic texts and lays down a solid argument for the existence and possible path of the river. Then moves to describe the civilization that flourished and later declined. Discusses the prevalent tow...more
Incredible book. Brings to light a lot of hitherto unknown, obscured or suppressed facts about the subcontinent's history. The book is full of facts, data, charts and maps, full of intrigue and speculation, comparisons between different theories of the Sindhu-Sarasvati civilization, and brings to light the deplorable quality of history education in our schools. This is a must read for anyone who wants to really understand the depth of research done by many scholars on the origins of Indian civil...more
Karthik Vaidhinathan
Awesome book! Provides a detailed presentation of available evidences from various fields to present a unified picture of the saraswati river and points out the string of continuity that extends from the harappan to the gangetic civilization. A must read for anyone interested in Indian history.
Harini Srinivasan
This is a fascinating book, arguing powerfully for the existence of what is sometimes considered a mythical river. Danino gathers the evidence meticulously and then, with a flourish, reveals what we seem to have always known -- that the river in our psyche is a real one, that our primal histories and geographies are based on fact, and that this civilization is even more hoary than it has been given credit for. It made my hair stand on end! My only crib is that the second half of the book is unne...more
The Book Outline
Michel Danino's The Lost River takes the reader on the trail of this lost river Sarasvati - the river that was mentioned and praised in epics and the Vedas but had stopped flowing and had disappeared. Accumulating findings from research across various disciplines and arguments and counterarguments from scholarly thesis, the author has provided a fascinating tale about exploration of the river and disappearance.

Read the complete review of The Lost River at
Rajendra Dave
Extremely well researched and well argued book, written in a very readable style- almost a thriller as the cover claims. The author is careful to present all points of view but leaves no one in doubt about his own. It does leave a few questions unanswered though.A must read for anyone interested in the ancient history of India- especially those who are entrusted with teaching history to our children.
History + Mystery + Geography = Sure shot recipe for AWESOMENESS

The author through his brilliant narrative makes a topic which is plagued by myriad uncertainties as interesting as possible and leaves you wanting to know more about the ancient history / Indian civilization, Saraswati itself.

Must read for all the history lovers out there.
The review of this book up on my blog :
Perks your curiosity several notches.
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Michel Danino was born in France in 1956. At the age of 21, after four years of higher scientific studies, he decided to live in India, where he first took part in the English translation, editing and publication of books related to Sri Aurobindo and Mother. A student of Indian civilization, culture and history, he has lectured widely and published research papers in journals of archaeology and In...more
More about Michel Danino...
The Invasion That Never Was Indian Culture and India’s Future Is Indian Culture Obsolete? Mother's Agenda: 1969 V.10: Agenda Of The Supramental Action Upon Earth Revolt Of The Earth

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