The mighty Sindhu (Indus) river, symbolizes the power and permanence of the ancient Indian Civilization which evolved over a period of thousands of years. The archaeological discovery of the Indus Valley civilization which flourished along its banks has reinforced the antiquity of the Indian Civilization.

A great trans-Himalayan river, Sindhu is one of the longest rivers in the world, having a length of 2900 Km. The name "Sindhu" is mentioned in the 'Rig Veda', the earliest chronicles of ancient India and is the source of the country's name. It rises in south-western Tibet near Mansarovar lake at an altitude of 16000 ft., enters India near Demchok in Ladakh (Jammu & Kashmir) and is soon joined on its left by its first tributary, Zanskar. Further down, other streams like Shyok, Shigar, Hunza and Gilgit join the Sindhu bringing water from glaciers east of Nanga Parbat. Sindhu finally flows west, crosses the Kashmir border near Batalik and enters Pakistan. The ancient epic 'Ramayana' gives the title 'Mahanadi' to Sindhu, to denote 'the mighty river'. In the 'Mahabharata', the Sindhu is reverentially mentioned along with the other two holy rivers, the Ganga and Saraswati. References to the Sindhu are also seen in many ancient literary works such as Kalidasa's 'Raghuvamsa'. The Rig Veda, has various descriptions of this mighty river. The sound of the rapidly cascading Sindhu is said to reverberate to the skies and the river is compared to a thundering bull.

The project 'Sindhu Darshan', was started to focus attention on the heritage of the ancient Indian Civilization and Culture that 'Sindhu' symbolizes. It aims to celebrate the Sindhu as a symbol of this country's ethnic diversity and to promote communal harmony. Further, attention is sought to be focussed on cultural and topographical beauty of the landscape of Ladakh. These aspects are sought to be blended in the design of the First Day Cover which also carries inscription of the hymn 'mantra', chanted by Buddhists in the area, a prayer in praise of God. The stamp depicts a landscape in the upper reaches of the Sindhu with an inset of the famous 'Vrishabha' (bull) seal of the Indus Valley Civilization and a line, from the 'Rig Veda', describing the Sindhu.

The Department of Posts is happy to issue this special stamp on the 'Sindhu' so irrevocably a bond with the country's glorious ancient civilization, on the occasion of the Sindhu Darshan Festival (Abhiyan).


Text : Based on materials supplied by Shri Tarun Vijay, Convenor, ‘Sindhu Darshan Abhiyan'

Stamp & FDC: R.N. Pasricha, Cancellation : Alka Sharma

Date of Issue: 28.7.1999