Punpun at Obra
|- elevation||300 m (984 ft)|
|Length||200 km (124 mi)|
The Punpun River (Hindi: पुनपुन नदी) is a tributary of the Ganges. It originates in Palamu district of Jharkhand and flows through Chatra, Aurangabad, Gaya and Patna districts of the Indian states of Jharkhand and Bihar.
The Punpun originates on the Chota Nagpur Plateau, at an elevation of 300 metres (980 ft), The river mostly flows in a north-east direction and joins the Ganges at Fatuha, 25 kilometres (16 mi) downstream of Patna.
The main tributaries of the Punpun are – the Butane, the Madar and the Mohar.
The 200 kilometres (120 mi) long river is mostly rainfed and carries little water in the dry season. However, during rains, the Punpun often causes heavy flood damages east of Patna city. The catchment area of the Punpun is 8,530 square kilometres (3,290 sq mi). Agricultural area in the Punpun basin is about 5,000 square kilometres (1,900 sq mi). The average annual rainfall for the basin is 1,181 millimetres (46.5 in).
This river is mentioned in the Vayu and the Padma Puranas in connection with Gaya Mahatmya as the punah-punah (again and again) of which Pun-Pun is the colloquial form. The river might have been called by this name because it was frequently in spate. The Puranas interpret the word punah-punah in a spiritual sense that sins are removed again and again by offering oblations to forefathers in the river.
The Punpun is a sacred river for Hindus and it is the duty of the pilgrim to Gaya to shave his head on its banks and bathe in its waters on his way to the holy city. It is believed that Lord Vishnu in his fourth incarnation as Lord Vamana put his foot in second stride at confluence of Punpun and Ganga in Fatuha, known as Triveni (mythological river Saraswati is understood to be present at the confluence), while measuring entire universe in gift from the great demon king Mahabali. To commemorate this event, a grand rural fair, known as Varuni Mela, is organised annually on the twelfth day of the bright fortnight of Bhadrapada of Vikram calendar (Shukla Paksha Dwadashi of Bhadrapada or Bhado). Incidentally, the same day is celebrated as Onam in southern state of India, Kerala. The Keralite worships arrival of king Mahabali, while in Fatuha incarnation of Lord Vamana is celebrated which culminates in worship of Lord Ananta (endless, another name of Lord Vishnu) on the third day since beginning of the celebrations.
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