Regulation of Vitasta (Jhelum) by Suyya

Kalhana writes in ‘Rajatarangini’ about the illustrious visionary Suyya- The Engineer .He lived during the King Avantivarman’s Rule and was in fact whole heatedly supported by the king in his endeavor. Kalhana has given in detail about this great Engineering Operation, which was carried out in his reign(Avantivarman)for the drainage of the valley as well as for irrigation.
The topographically interesting details of these operations which are connected with the name of Avantivarman’s skillful Engineer Suyya. The systematic regulation of the course of the vitasta , down to the rock-bound gorge where it leaves the valley, largely reduced the extent of the water-locked tracts along the banks of the river and the damage to the crops caused by floods. The construction of the new beds for the river at points threatened by the inundation-breaches was among the measures designed to effect the same object.The change thus made in the confluence of the vitasta and its most important tributary , the Sindhu, can still be clearly traced, thanks to Kalhana’s accurate topographical Data. It shows alike the large scale and the systematic technical basis of Suyya’s regulation. The result of the latter was a great increase of land available for cultivation , and increased protection against disastrous floods which in Kashmir have ever been the main cause of famine.
According to the account of the chronicler, Suyya supplemented these measures by equally important improvements in the system of irrigation which indispensable for the cultivation of Rice, the staple produce of Kashmir. The facilities thus secured for cultivation produced a remarkable reduction in the orice of rice, the cost of a Khari being alleged to have fallen from 200 Dinnaras to 36 Dinnaras in consequence.

It is only natural that the story of this great change in the material condition of the country which so closely affected the welfare of its inhabitants should have exercised popular imagination , already at the time and still more thereafter.We accordingly find the account of Suyya’s origin and his initial proceedings embellished with details which are manifestly legendary. But though the anecdotes to which we are treated, can have no foundation in historical fact, yet they are just such as would readily be accepted by contemporary popular tradition. Suyya’s memory is preserved to this day by the town of Suyyapura, the present Sopore-which was founded by him at the point where the vitasta since his regulation leaves the basin of the volur lake.

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