Sone, Durgawati and Karmnasha-their courses in 1810 AD

The Sone- its course about 200 years ago

Survey of Rivers of Bihar in 1810 AD

Francis Buchanan surveyed the courses of the rivers of Bihar along with their tributaries and branches in 1810-11 AD and presented a minute account of it.
Bihar has many rivers and innumerable rivulets. They are shifting their courses .The shifting of the courses and bed over the centuries is very remarkable. Many of the channels mentioned in that survey have become dead and dry even extinct. This account of the courses of the rivers of Bihar in about 200 years ago, is very important and interesting for making the comparison with their present courses. 

At present, the ecological unbalance and many other factors are contributing to the great losses to ecology of Bihar and its negativity is resulted in forms of massive flood,soil-erosion etc. These statements of the old courses of the rivers of Bihar may be relevant and interesting in finding solutions to the above environmental issues.
The Sone for about 70 miles forms the boundary between the then districts of Shahabad and Ramgarh was coming to Bihar from the west, and was receiving the Kiul as its tributary. In 1810-11 it was no where above 1,000 yards wide, and no where less than 600.
The rock of some small hills, in a few parts was coming to the side of the river, but the channel was no where rocky. It consisted of sand with a few pebbles intermixed. In the end of December, 1810, the stream was 300 or 400 yards wide, but not rapid. It was pretty clear, and in most parts deep. It was then only fordable in two places, but in spring the fords were numerous. 

In the rainy season the Sone was so rapid, that little use could be made of it for navigation. When the water was falling, the stream was divided into many channels, after proceeding up one of which for miles the boatman find it too shallow. Over that period, boats were mainly employed to carry down stones and lime; bamboos and timber were carried down in floats, while all other goods were conveyed by land.

Sone in then district of Patna contained water above ground. After heavy rains the channel was almost filled, but did not overflow, and was scarcely compatible with navigation upwards; but during the rainy season boats of five or six hundred mons  while small boats in  the whole year, 
could pass. During the dry season there were many fords; but the ferry boats in all places was plying eight months in the year, and there being many long reaches that at all seasons have every where deep water. 

View of  the River Sone  with the Kaimur hills in the background. 19 December1868, Artist-Leighton Stanley

Sone joining Ganga

The Sone, according to the old Bengal Atlas, formerly joined the Ganga at Maner, but in 1810 AD a tongue of land had been formed  projecting east, so that Maner was on that time three miles above the junction of the two rivers.
 The Sone received no branch during its course, but was sending off some old channels in different places. The main of these separated from the river 11 or 12 miles above Maner and was running straight east to the Bikram, and thereafter, was bending to north until it passed Noubatpur. Immediately beyond this, it was sending to the right a branch, which, running through the whole breadth of the division of Bakipur, joined the dry channel of the Ganga, and was called Mahauliya. The main channel of the Mar-Son, soon after the separation of the Mahauliya was divided into two branches, which was reunited before they fall into the Ganga at Danapur. That to the west was called Deonar, that to the east was called Bhadaiya. 
It was also observed on that time, that an old channel was running from this Mar-Sone, and parallel to the Ganga, a great part of the way to Bakipur, near the western extremity of Patna city, and this might have been the old channel of the Sone, and Patna may possibly therefore had been once at the junction of this river with the Ganga; but there was no tradition concerning such a circumstance . North a little way, from where the last mentioned Mar-Sone separated from the river, a similar channel, also named Mar-Sone, separated , but rejoined the river after a course of six or seven miles. At Mainer also another channel was separating from the Sone, and rejoined just where it was falling into the Ganga. 

These branches of the Sone were of no use either in navigation or for watering the fields The other rivers and their branches were the Gupteswar, Yamsoti, Suura, Katane, Kukurnai, Kuhira, Parei, Karat, Kudura, Dhobra, Kasar, and Kao (all these flow into the Karamnasa or Durgawati); the Thongra, Kochani, Bhagar, Garatha, Chhenge, Bhas, Dewha, Tengrahanala, Ganggli, Bana, and Gubri, which flow into the Ganges; the Aosani and Guluriya Kho, which were falling into the Sone.

                             The Karmnasa - its course about 200 years ago
River Karmanasa,in 1810 AD, was a torrent of considerable size, which received many branches.       


The Myth of Karmnasha

It was held by the Hindus in the utmost abhorrence, and no person, who had come from a distance, would drink its water, nor even touch it; so that several poor people of the locality were earning their livelihood by carrying the religious people across its channel, which in the dry season did not admit of a boat. On this account, Ahalya Bai Holkar, attempted to build a bridge of stone, but the work was abandoned. The reason assigned for the impurity of this river was based on a myth-. There was in the family of the sun, in the twenty-fifth generation from Marichi, the common ancestor of that illustrious race, Raja Trisanku or Satyabrata, who was a monstrous sinner, having murdered a Brahman, and married a step-mother. A good natured saint took compassion on this sinner, and removed all his impurity by collecting water from all the sacred streams in the world, and washing him in this powerful bath, which was made on the place from whence the Karmanasa (deprived of virtue) has ever since flowed.
Near the village Sarodag, the Karmanasa issues from a little fountain called Sarmanchuya, and immediately form a fine rapid. In this part of its course it never dried, and in the end of December,1810 AD, was filling many fine pools in its rocky channel, while the streams between were copious and rapid. In this state it was passing north-west about 12 miles. It then passed about five miles farther in the same direction. Tbe river then entered Bihar; but, after a great sweep to the west, returned again to present UP, 11 miles northwest from where it again entered present UP. There it received a, smaller torrent named the Gongroongt.

After this junction, the Karmanasa was running northerly along the boundary for about two miles, when it is precipitated down an immense rock named Chhanpathar
, at the extremity of a narrow recess called Karohar. The channel of the Karmanasa above the fall appeared to me to be about 300 feet wide, and the rock, over which it was falling, was about 100 feet in perpendicular height. The recess called Karohar extended about five miles in length, and the river there continued to form the boundary Bihar and UP. The upper end of the recess was narrow, in some places was filled from side to side with deep pools, In 1810 AD,it was very large and deep, and from above its water, appeared green,evidently. In the end of February, 1811 the Karmanasa was in many parts dry, where the bottom was sandy; but in general it passed through a rich clay and was about 150 yards wide; From where the Karmanasa was coming again to the boundary, it was runing in a north-easty direction for about 22 miles, leaving on its left two small portions of then shahabad district, and then received the Durgawati, a torrent rather more considerable than itself.

The Durgawati - its course about 200 years ago

The source of the Durgawati or Durgauti was about seven miles east from that of the Karmanasa, and in this part of its course it was a rocky channel from 20 to 30 feet wide, containing, in December1810,  many fine pools, and between them clear rapid streams somewhat larger than those of the Karmanasa. It was running nearly north for about nine miles, when it was precipitated down the rocky boundary of the table land into the head of a deep recess or glen named Kadhar Kho. There it was joined by three other torrents, the Lohara, Hatiyadub and Korhas.

The Lohara was coming from the west, and was rising near a village of the same name, from the sides of a rice field, by several small springs, which united, and run east about eight miles to join the Durgawati. The Hatiyadub rised about half way between the source of the Karmanasa and that of the Durgawati, and was a torrent nearly similar, but rather smaller than the former.

The Karmanasa, after receiving the Durgawati, continued its course for eight miles towards the north-east forming the boundary of Bihar and UP. The remainder of its course, about an equal distance, was entirely within the the boundary of UP.