Sahibi River

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Sahibi River
Delhi aerial photo 03-2016 img2.jpg
Physical characteristics
 - locationAravalli Range, From Jitgarh, Manoharpur, and the district of Jaipur in Rajasthan
 - location
Length120 km (75 mi)
 - locationYamuna in Delhi
Basin features
 - leftTotal over 100 tributaries on both sides
 - rightSota river, Kotkasim drain, Krishnavati river and Indori river (Indori Nallah)
WaterbodiesMasani barrage

The Sahibi river, also called the Sabi River , is an ephemeral, rain-fed river flowing through Rajasthan, Haryana and Delhi states in India.[1] It drains into Yamuna in Delhi, where its channeled course is also called the Najafgarh drain, which also serves as Najafgarh drain bird sanctuary. Sahibi is a seasonal river which is 300 km long and flows from Aravalli hills in Rajasthan to Haryana,[2][3] of which 100 km is in Haryana.

Several Ochre Coloured Pottery culture sites (also identified as late Harappan phase of Indus Valley Civilisation culture)[4] have been found along the banks of Sahibi river and its tributaries such as Krishnavati river, Dohan river (originates near Neem Ka Thana in Alwar district) and Sota River (merges with Sahibi river at Behror in Alwar district).[5] The drainage pattern for all these rivers is dendritic.


The Sahibi River originates from the eastern slopes of the Saiwar Protected Forest hills in Aravalli Range near Jitgarh and Manoharpur in Sikar district of Rajasthan state. After covering about 157 km distance in the Rajasthan state. After gathering volume from a hundred tributaries, the Sahibi River forms a broad stream around Alwar and Kotputli.


These west to north-west flowing rivers originate from the western slopes of Aravalli range in Rajasthan, flow through semi-arid historical Shekhawati region, drain into southern Haryana.

Catchment area[edit]

The catchment area of the Sahibi River encompasses the following cities and towns: Sikar, Jaipur, and Alwar in northeastern Rajasthan state; Bawal, Rewari, Pataudi, and Jhajjar district in southern Haryana state; and Delhi state.


The catchment area of the Sahibi River in Rajasthan is 4,523.67 square kilometres (1,746.60 sq mi) of Jaipur, Alwar and Sikar Districts, between latitudes 27°16' and 28°11' and longitudes 75°42' and 76°57'. Sahibi Basin falls in three Districts of Rajasthan namely: Alwar district (62.11%), Jaipur district (29.30%) and Sikar district (8.59%).

Mean Annual Rainfall in Sahibi Basin is 627.60 mm. Highest maximum temperature ranges from 45.45-45.99 °C with a mean value of 45.8 °C, while Lowest minimum temperature ranges from 1.64-3.14 °C with a mean value of 2.45 °C.


It leaves Rajasthan state beyond Kotkasim in Alwar district near village Ujauli and covers a total distance of about 222 km up to Dhasa Bund.

It enters Haryana state at Jhabua, near the city of Rewari in Rewari district, after which it re-enters first Rajasthan state near Kotkasim, and then Haryana again near the village of Jarthal. The dry riverbed near Jarthal is 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) wide. During light monsoon rainfall, the river's flat and sandy bottom absorbs all rainwater. Masani barrage on the river lies near Dahuhera. During heavy rains, the river has defined course up to Pataudi railway station and branches off into two smaller streams to Jhajjar, finally reaching the outskirts of Delhi through Najafgarh drain and ending at the Yamuna River.


The Najafgarh Drain or Najafgarh Nallah (nullah in Hindi means drain) is another name for the Sahibi River, which continues its flow through Delhi where it is channelised for flood control purposes. It is a tributary to the Yamuna River, into which it flows. The Najafgarh Drain gets its name from the once famous and huge Najafgarh Lake near the town of Najafgarh in southwest Delhi. The Najafgarh Drain is the capital’s most polluted body of water due to the direct inflow of untreated sewage from surrounding populated areas. Assessing the water quality of wetlands in wildlife habitats, a January 2005 report by the Central Pollution Control Board rated the Najafgarh Drain under category D, along with 13 other highly polluted wetlands.[8][9][10][11][12]

Regulators at the Keshopur Bus Depot on the Outer Ring Road are wide with thick and high embankments. A vast amount of water is retained in this widened drain by closing the Kakrola regulators under Najafgarh Road to recharge the local groundwater table.[13]

Barrages and bridges[edit]

Several bridges cross the Sahibi River. A bridge on State Highway 14 crosses the river between Behror and Sodawas (Behror to Alwar Road). On State Highway 52, a bridge crosses the river between Ajaraka and Dadhiya. The Masani barrage is also used as the bridge on NH 919 which merges with NH 48 (Delhi-Jaipur-Mumbai, formerly NH 8) at this barrage near Dharuhera, Rewari.[14] Railway bridges between Ajaraka and Bawal and near Pataudi also cross the river. A railway bridge near Nangal Pathani also crosses the river.


Prior to 1960, the rain-fed Sahibi River entered Delhi near Dhansa and spilled its overflow in the Najafgarh Lake (Jheel) basin, creating a seasonal lake. A vast area more than 300 square kilometres (120 sq mi) was submerged in some seasons. In the following decades, the Sahibi River flow reaching Dhansa was channelised by digging a wide drain and connecting it directly to the Yamuna River, completely draining the seasonal Najafgarh Jheel.

The Sahibi River flooded in 1977. In response, the Masani barrage was constructed on Delhi-Jaipur highway near Masani village, Rewari.[15][16] Several smaller dams have also been constructed throughout the hills of Rajasthan to store rainwater. The construction of dams has restricted the flow of water on the Sahibi River and it is now rare for water overflow from monsoon rains to reach up the Masani Barrage.

Indus Valley Civilisation sites in the area[edit]

Harrapan period earthenware (Pottery) found on the Sahibi riverbed by INTACH-Rewari, at Hansaka village, Rewari District, 2012

Parts of Rajasthan and Haryana that Sahibi river flows through are arid and have only seasonal moonsoon rainfall, in the past river might have held perennial flow as evident by the presence of several Indus Valley Civilization sites on the banks of present-day Sahibi River meanders and its tributaries. Several sites have been found in many locations to establish a pattern of settlement of widespread Indus Valley Civilization along the banks of Sahibi and its tributaries. Archaeological excavation have proven that Indus Valley Civilization people lived here before the Harappan and pre-Mahabharata periods.[17][18]

Among the finds are handmade and wheel-made pottery dated to 3309–2709 BCE and 2879–2384 BCE found on the banks of the Sahibi River at Jodhpura.[17][18]

Other findings include pottery found on the Sahibi riverbed at Hansaka in the Rewari district by INTACH-Rewari.[17][18]

A red stone statue of Vamana Dev, now displayed at the Shri Krishna Museum, Kurukshetra was unearthed in 2002 on the Sahibi riverbed near Bawal.[17][18]

In various other places on Sahibi riverbed, many artifacts have been found, including arrowheads, fishhooks, spearheads, awls, and chisels.[17][18]

Identification with Vedic rivers[edit]

Several modern scholars identify the old Ghaggar-Hakra River (of which Tangri river is a tributary) as the Sarasvati river and the Sahibi River with the Drishadvati river of Vedic period, on the banks of which in the Vedic state of Brahmavarta, Indus-Sarasvati civilisation or Vedic Sanskriti developed. Such scholars include Bhargava[19] The Drishadwati River had formed one border of the Vedic state of Brahmavarta while other was Saraswati river. This is mentioned in the Rigveda, the Manusmriti, and the Brahmin Granths texts also.


This is an important part of ecological corridor along the route of Sahibi river which traverses from Aravalli hills in Rajasthan to Yamuna via Masani barrage, Matanhail forest, Chhuchhakwas-Godhari, Khaparwas Wildlife Sanctuary, Bhindawas Wildlife Sanctuary, Outfall Drain Number 8 and 6, Sarbashirpur, Sultanpur National Park, Basai and The Lost Lake (Gurugram). It lies 5km northwest of Bhindawas Bird Sancturay and 46 km northwest of Sultantpur National Park via road.

Ecological concerns[edit]

Entire 100 km stretch of Sahibi river and its streams (Sota river, Kotkasim drain and Indori river) in Haryana are ecologically dead.[2] Gurugram also dumps polluted discharge in the riverbed of Sahibi.[2] In some of its reaches, from Mandawar and Kotkasim to Haryana border, meandering of the river causes bank erosion.


Government of Haryana is coordinating with Government of Rajasthan to ensure water reaches usually-dry Masani barrage and dying seasonal Sahibi river. Another govt. project is being implemented to direct the extra water of Yamuna river during monsoon to Masani barrage through Jawahar Lal Nehru Canal and Western Yamuna Canal (c. July 2015).[20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Books: Page 41, 42, 43, 44, 47 (b) Sahibi Nadi (River), River Pollution, By A.k.jain
  2. ^ a b c Haryana rivers profile
  3. ^ Ropeway for tourist pull at barrage site, Times of India, 17 Mar 2017.
  4. ^ Gupta, S.P. (ed.) (1995), The lost Sarasvati and the Indus Civilization, Jodhpur: Kusumanjali Prakashan
  5. ^ a b Cultural Contours of India: Dr. Satya Prakash Felicitation Volume, Vijai Shankar Śrivastava, 1981. ISBN 0391023586
  6. ^ Sahibi river
  7. ^ Minerals and Metals in Ancient India: Archaeological evidence, Arun Kumar Biswas, Sulekha Biswas, University of Michigan. 1996. ISBN 812460049X.
  8. ^ Blot across the Capital: Najafgarh most polluted[permanent dead link], Sunday, 10 July 2005,The Indian Express
  9. ^ minister raises a stink over Najafgarh jheel[permanent dead link], 22 February 2005, The Indian Express
  10. ^ Najafgarh basin Delhi’s most polluted area, 25 December 2009, The Indian Express
  11. ^ Najafgarh drain 11th among highly polluted industrial clusters, 25 Dec 2009, The Times of India
  12. ^ drain causes less pollution in Yamuna now[permanent dead link], 4 July 2006, The Indian Express
  13. ^ to Sahibi River, Department of Irrigation and Flood Control, Government of NCT of Delhi, India. Website Last Updated : 3 May 2010, sewage drain is now called the Yamuna, By Sonu Jain, 27 March 1999, Indian Express, CRUSADE: Killing Delhi’s Lifeline Archived 4 January 2013 at, Charu Soni, 19 Aug 2006, New Delhi. Tehelka,gone all wrong, By Sunita Narain, 5 Jun 2012, Times of India, ‘Better management in Haryana may solve Delhi’s water problems’, New Delhi, 22 Mar 2012, DHNS, Deccan herald, Sunita Narain bats for sustainable development, Express News Service : Pune, Tue 28 February 2012, The Indian Express
  14. ^ "Toll plaza on NH 8 to be shifted, says Nitin Gadkari.", Indian Express, 14 August 2017.
  15. ^ GROUND WATER INFORMATION BOOKLET REWARI DISTRICT, HARYANA, Contributors: Dr. Sunil Kumar, Scientist – ‘B’, Prepared under supervision of Sushil Gupta Regional Director. Our Vision “Water Security through Ground water Management” . REWARI DISTRICT HARYANA, CENTRAL GROUND WATER BOARD, Ministry of Water Resources, Government of India, North Western Region, CHANDIGARH, 2007
  16. ^ Geography of Haryana Archived 1 February 2016 at the Wayback Machine.
  17. ^ a b c d e A History of Ancient and Early Medieval India from the stone age to the 12th century, Pearson 2009, page 116
  18. ^ a b c d e India Mapped - Sahibi river
  19. ^ "Location of Brahmavarta and Drishadwati River is important to find earliest alignment of Saraswati River", Sudhir Bhargava, International Conference, 20–22 Nov. 2009, "Saraswati-a perspective" pages 114–117, Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra, Organised by: Saraswati Nadi Shodh Sansthan, Haryana.
  20. ^ "Centre of AIIMS to come up in Rewari district: Khattar .", Business Standard, 4 July 2015.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 28°29′N 76°44′E / 28.483°N 76.733°E / 28.483; 76.733