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

4.36  ·  Rating Details ·  284 Ratings  ·  45 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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Abhinav Agarwal
Sep 01, 2013 Abhinav Agarwal rated it it was amazing
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
May 30, 2011 Shahina rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
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
Jul 01, 2013 RustyJ rated it really liked it
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.

Feb 27, 2012 Satishchandra rated it it was amazing
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.
Feb 12, 2014 Subowal rated it it was amazing
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
Nabanita Ghosh Mondal
Nov 10, 2014 Nabanita Ghosh Mondal rated it really liked it
Recommended to Nabanita by: Sandeepan Mondal
Bathed in detailed analysis, this book will make you jump onto the time machine and date yourself back into the Great Harappan Civilization era. Sarasvati, the mythical river which was believed to have been a work of exaggerated imagination was actually a 'reality' just like you and me. The river, which was truly responsible for the rig Vedic writings, the growth of the oldest civilization on earth, doesn't exist today in its actual form because of weird works of nature. That which was once a hu ...more
Oct 06, 2016 Rama rated it it was amazing
Shelves: hinduism
The Sindhumata: Searching for the trail of Holy River Sarasvati

The story of the lost river Sarasvati is still being debated by scholars. The current discussion includes evidences from several disciplines; archeology, hydrology, satellite imagery, geology, history and the Vedic literature: Most notably the Rigveda. Brahmanas and itihasas, particularly Mahabharata also offer additional evidence.

A brief summary of the book is as follows: Geological survey in the early 19th century in states of Ha
Mayank Pandya
May 29, 2015 Mayank Pandya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love history books that are validated by data and facts. Historians and writers have too often taken their audiences for a ride, with wildly concocted theories about history. Here is a book that is different. There is lots of data and there are lots of inferences derived from the data presented. The book is written in a simple and accessible style, with plenty of pictures and tables. The story of the civilization that was the precursor of classical Indian civilization, accounts and conjectures ...more
Karthikeyan Iyer
Mar 01, 2014 Karthikeyan Iyer rated it it was amazing
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
Balaji Sundarrajan
Dec 27, 2014 Balaji Sundarrajan rated it really liked it
Impressive research effort. everyone who has interest in the origins of vedic culture and the important place the river saraswati plays in it, should read this book. an objective and refreshing change from reading regular books
Arun Nair
May 12, 2016 Arun Nair rated it really liked it
This is a well researched and captivating book. Usually books that delve on the topic are jingoistic or border on mythology. "The Lost River: On the Trail of the Saraswati" keeps you hooked through the pages, as you revel in the mysteries of the mythical Saraswati - not so mythical after all the evidence is laid in front of you. Highly recommended.
Mar 29, 2012 Sankara rated it really liked it
Shelves: india-history
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.
Gourav Jhunjhunwala
Oct 12, 2016 Gourav Jhunjhunwala rated it really liked it
A gripping book which will lead you to discover an ancient part of India. As a Rajasthani, I could connect immensely with this book and understand the current nature of Rajasthan's climate and the mystery behind shallow freshwater lakes found at different parts of the region.

The author's story telling is logical and backed by pictures and evidences. It looks like a complete account of the river Saraswati(if it existed) and he has discussed all the prevailing theories among archaeologists, explo
Sujatha Koduvayur
Jun 10, 2016 Sujatha Koduvayur rated it it was amazing
An excellent synthesis of survey, archeological, satellite imagery and other modern technological evidence pointing to the location and course of the vedic river, Saraswati. His exposition on epigraphy and iconography of the Harappan culture, though dense in some parts is still clear enough, albeit a little one-sided. Although he shows a clear bias against the Aryan-invasion theory (so not an unbiased presentation of facts) his arguments are cogent and comprehensive enough for the lay person to ...more
Debarati Dasgupta
Aug 28, 2014 Debarati Dasgupta rated it really liked it
The Indian government is poised to launch a project to trace and the legendary river Saraswati mentioned in ancient texts.Perhaps now is the apt time to read through this fascinating tale of exploration that draws upon research on this subject from the colonial era till present day. Frenchman Michel Danino, who has lived in India since the age of twenty one, attempts to harmonize interdisciplinary viewpoints regarding the origin, evolution and disappearance of the mythical river.This book challe ...more
Guru Raghavendran
Jul 16, 2014 Guru Raghavendran rated it really liked it
Though i owned this book more than a year its was "Land of seven rivers" which pushed me to "The lost river".. I read the tamil version but translation was not very lucid.. it was hard to read neverthless after few chapters it landed on harappa civilization which glued me to diz book.I amused to learn there are more harappa sites in india other than lothal... Author logically breaks all firvolous cliams about aryan invasion and helmand,further more it made great impact on me and pushed me to sho ...more
Rachel Eliason
Sep 12, 2016 Rachel Eliason rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've said this in a review of another book, but it's true here as well: this is a book only a handful of history buffs will love, but they will love it well.
The Lost River does a great job of following the diverse studies of history, archeology and geology to weave the story of the river and its place in the ancient world. It has enough science to satisfy the skeptic and is well written enough for average, non-academic history buff to follow.
If you are intrigued by ancient India, Vedic tradition
Surender Negi
Jun 18, 2016 Surender Negi rated it it was amazing
Shelves: indology
Author: Michel Danino
Genre: Indology, Archeology, Indian ancient History

What the book is about:-

"Sarasvati" is mentioned in many Rigved hymn clearly as Celestial River which had route from Himalayas to Sindh. It was life giving river of civilization like Harappa and Mohan-jodaro which were flourished in river system of India (Known as Saptasindhu- seven rivers). Sarasvati has very deep routed in Hinduism. In many Vedic hymn still used as Goddess of life. In Puranas, she is transformed
Aug 23, 2015 Idyll rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Here was a mighty river, as large as the Indus and the Ganges systems, that was expressly reverenced above all other rivers in the Vedas; that shored up the Indus Valley civilization; even dispatched old cities and created new ones as it mercurially shifted its course again and again by connecting and disconnecting with the neighboring Himalayan rivers flowing down to the marginal seas...

... It was amply written about in both literary and archeological tomes, oftentimes with evolutionary and hy
Avinash K
Sep 08, 2013 Avinash K rated it it was amazing
Shelves: hist-myth
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
Jul 06, 2014 Udhayt rated it liked it
Adorable research on the search of might river Sarasvati. Since i'm not keen to this archaeology & geography,it took me more time to understand and correlate each & every things.I merely got to know the history of Sarasvati river and the Indian civilization.Author's argument against the "Aryan invasion theory" is appreciable one.Must read book to those wanting to know more about ancient harappa and mohenjo-daro civilization.

Nov 23, 2013 Rajesh rated it it was amazing
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
Sachin Waghmare
Feb 08, 2016 Sachin Waghmare rated it it was amazing
The most scientifically written book i have ever read.
In some sense it also had changed my perspective.
Started to read the book as i was curious about the river and its story..but the way Michel Danino has written the book (can call it as a research paper) it gave me experience of understanding the now non existing river in a all contexts.
Nov 01, 2015 Arvind rated it liked it
Shelves: history
Grudgingly have to say that this important book on the Indus(?)-valley civilisation is dry and repetitive. The book has three sections :-
a) The first section tries to establish that a large, perennial river names Sarasvati flowed thru the desert of Rajasthan a few thousand years ago. This it does convincingly (and repetitively).
b) The second section described the so-called Indus-valley civilisation and its characteristics. While this section was good, for some reason we again had quite a few pag
Jul 20, 2014 Narayana rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
The book starts off slowly, covering details of all the rivers and waterways in the Cholistan desert region of India and Paksistan. The author cleverly builds the narrative to pinpoint the actual location of the Saraswati river. His writing seems rather unbiased, citing opinions and disagreements of others, and also explaining his reasons to not agree to some of those theories. Interestingly, the second half of the book delves into the Harappan civilization in detail, the descriptions of Saraswa ...more
Jun 07, 2016 Swamyraj rated it it was amazing
Credit goes to Author for making this book so damn interesting. The counter arguments in the end only highlights the authors' open and holistic view on the subject. Worth exploring and connecting the dots from this day to the origin of Indus civilisation.
Jan 28, 2015 DeejTHtraveller rated it it was amazing
A brilliant read which takes you through well researched & categorized arguments on the existence of Saraswati along with the great Saraswati (Harappan/Mohenjodaro) civilization.
Nuresh Bitra
Oct 25, 2015 Nuresh Bitra rated it it was amazing
Very well researched and presented. This book reveals the stories of remarkable civilization thrived, while it presents the content as a research report. A great Read.
Sridevi Bp
Jul 08, 2015 Sridevi Bp rated it really liked it
An erudite rendition of the Indus-Harappa Civilization and the Vedic Aryan civilization. The river Sarasvati connects both in a continuum that is very well narrated.
Karthik Vaidhinathan
Feb 23, 2014 Karthik Vaidhinathan rated it it was amazing
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.
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Goodreads Librari...: Please update book cover 7 36 Apr 15, 2014 08:38AM  
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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
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