The Brahmani is the second largest river in Orissa. It begins as two rivers - the Shankha and the Koel - from the Chota Nagpur Plateau in Jharkhand and joins the Saraswati at Vedvyas to from the Brahmani. Vedvyas is a sacred place, 9 km from Rourkela, which is a major urban centre - the 2001 census estimated its population at 484,292.