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Page:Provincial geographies of India (Volume 1).djvu/67

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RIVERS

bears the name certainly passes beside the sacred sites of Thanesar and Pehowa. A small sandy torrent bearing the same name rises in the low hills in the north-east of the Ambala district, but it is doubtful if its waters, which finally disappear into the ground, ever reach the Thanesar channel. That seems rather to originate in the overflow of a rice swamp in the plains, and in the cold weather the bed is usually dry. In fact, till the Sarusti receives above Pehowa the floods of the Markanda torrent, it is a most insignificant stream. The Markanda, when in flood, carries a large volume of water, and below the junction the small channel of the Sarusti cannot carry the tribute received, which spreads out into a shallow lake called the Sainsa jhil. This has been utilized for the supply of the little Sarusti canal, which is intended to do the work formerly effected in a rude way by throwing bands or embankments across the bed of the stream, and forcing the water over the surrounding lands. The same wasteful form of irrigation was used on a large scale on the Ghagar and is still practised on its upper reaches. Lower down earthen bands have been superceded by a masonry weir at Otu in the Hissar district. The northern and southern Ghagar canals, which irrigate lands in Hissar and Bikaner, take off from this weir.

Action of Torrents. — The Ghagar is large enough to exhibit all the three stages which a cho or torrent of intermittent flow passes through. Such a stream begins in the hills with a well-defined boulder-strewn bed, which is never dry. Reaching the plains the bed of a cho becomes a wide expanse of white sand, hardly below the level of the adjoining country, with a thread of water passing down it in the cold weather. But from time to time in the rainy season the channel is full from bank to bank and the waters spill far and wide over the fields. Sudden spates sometimes sweep away men and cattle