The Haryana Sarasvati Heritage Development Board has recommended that the Indus Valley civilisation be renamed the “Sarasvati river civilisation”, The Indian Express reported on Thursday. The board, which is chaired by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, said the river was “no more a myth” and its existence was now a reality.

Hindu groups believe the “lost river” Saraswati – which Haryana spells Sarasvati – once flowed through the area that is now Haryana. They claim it was mentioned in the Vedas, which describes it as “fierce” and “swifter than other streams”. This has been the subject of a great deal of debate, with some historians saying the Vedas themselves have not been validated, and the river thus only exists in myth. Others say Krishna had once taken a historic journey up the river.

In July last year, the Haryana government had released water into a dry channel that was excavated to recreate the river Sarasvati’s supposed path. Another official said since a large number of Harappan sites were found in Haryana, the nomenclature should be changed to the Sarasvati-Indus civilisation.

The board has also recommended that river Saraswati no longer be referred to as a myth. “By using this term [myth], we are negating our own culture and heritage,” Deputy Chairman of the board, Prashant Bhardwaj, told the English daily. “We will raise objections if anyone uses this word,” he said.

A two-day international conference on the matter had been held in January at the Kurukshetra University and was attended by experts from India and abroad. The conference passed a resolution that the Indus civilisation should be renamed the Sarasvati civilisation.