Vishwamitri who shaped Vadodara in rough waters | Vadodara news
Vadodara: The winding river Vishwamitri, which decided the direction Vadodara would take, owes its name to the revered sage Vishwamitra, the author of Gayatri Mantra.
From the time when the first human settlement appeared in Ankotakka (now Akota) until the present day when the river winds through the city, Vishwamitri is closely related to Vadodara which itself bears the name of a banyan tree.
But the city appears to have done little for the river, making it the only one in the country to have a healthy crocodile population floating straight from its heart.
The origins of this 2,200 year old city can be traced back to Skandha Purana. Scripture says that a pious Brahmin who lived in Champavati (now Champaner) in the forest of Shankar (now Pavagadh) once resolved to offer his head to Lord Shiva. But Shiva did not want the blood of the Brahmin to fall on him. Thus, it sank deep into the earth, creating a huge chasm.
Brahmarshi Vishwamitra had his ashram in Shankar Forest. One day, his sacred cow Kamdhenu fell into this abyss. Lord Shiva advised the cow to let the milk flow from her udders until she floats on the surface.
When Vishwamitra learned of this, he asked Himadri mountain (now Himalayas) to fill this gulf to avoid such incidents. Some puranas suggest that Himadri ordered one of his sons, Pavak Chakra, to stand on the Gulf.
Vishwamitra, at the behest of his people, destroyed Pavak (Pavagadh) and blessed the whole region with a river named after him – Vishwamitri.
The river turned out to be an inspiration for the sage to write Gayatri Mantra. It is said that chanting this mantra removes toxins from the body. Ironically, the dumping of garbage, the increase in chloride levels in surface and groundwater, have made several stretches of this river toxic!