Sone is also called Maikalsut (whose source is in Maikal) as it originates from a mountain called Amarkantak in the Maikal Ranges. In ancient times, Sone was known as Shona. The Narmada also originates from Amarkantak, though it flows westward, while Sone journeys towards the east. A legend explains why these two rivers flow in opposite directions.
Princess Narmada (the river) was the daughter of King Maikal (the mountain). Maikal announced that the prince who could bring Gulabkawali – a flower supposed to have the power to cure all kinds of eye ailments – would be the ideal match for his daughter. Prince Shona brought Gulabkawali, but he took much longer to get it than he was supposed to. But Princess Narmada was so impressed by the attractive Shona that she decided to marry him and sent her hairdresser, Johila, to inform Shona about her feelings. Prince Shona, who had never seen Narmada, mistook the beautiful Johila to be Narmada and started flirting with her. When Johila didn’t return for a long time, Narmada became impatient and went to see what had delayed Johila.
Seeing Johila with Shona angered Narmada so much that she went away towards the west. When Shona discovered his folly, he jumped off the mountain Amarkantak, in despair, and wandered eastwards through jungles. Later, he returned and married Johila, while Narmada remained a maiden.
One of the major tributaries of the river Ganga, the Sone is 780km long with a drainage basin of 17,900sq km. The Sone joins the Ganga in Danapur in Bihar, and its main tributaries are Johila, Banas and Gopat.