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Behat River

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Author:Laxman Burdak, IFS (Retd.)

Baramula district map

Behat River flows in Jammu and Kashmir. Xuan Zang found the following cities on the banks of Behat River in 631 AD.


  • Veth
  • Punjabi: Bihat (बिहत) या (बीहट)
  • Kashmiri: Vyath (व्यथ) or Vyeth (व्यथ)


The town of Bijbehara is situated in the north of district headquarters on the banks of Jhelum River popularly known here as "Veth".


Alexander Cunningham[1] writes that Hwen Thsang entered the valley of Kashmir from the west in September, A.D. 631. At the entrance there was a stone gate, where he was met by the younger brother of the king's mother ; and after

[p.91]: paying his devotions at the sacred monuments, he went to lodge for the night in the monastery of Hu-se-kia-lo, or Hushkara.[2] This place is mentioned by Abu Rihan,[3] who makes Ushkara the same as Baramula, which occupied both sides of the river. In the ' Raja Tarangini[4] also Hushkapura is said to be near Varaha, or Varahamula, which is the Sanskrit form of Baramula. Hushkara or Uskar still exists as a village on the left or eastern bank of the Behat River, two miles to the south-east of Baramula. The Kashmiri Brahmans say that this is the Hushkapura of the ' Raja Tarangini,' which was founded by the Turushka king Hushka, about the beginning of the Christian era.

[p.99]: Hushkapura, which was founded by the Indo-Scythian prince Hushka, or Huvishka, the brother of Kanishka, would appear to have been the same place as the well-known Varahamula, or Barahmula, on the Behat River. Abu Rihan[5] calls it " Ushkar, which is the

[p.100]: town of Baramula, built on both banks of the river."


Alexander Cunningham[6] writes that Surapura, the modern Supur or Sopur, is situated on both banks of the Behat River, immediately to the west of the Great Wular Lake. It was originally called Kumbuva, and under this name it is mentioned in the chronicles of Kashmir as early as the beginning of the fifth century.[7] It was rebuilt by Sura, the minister of Avanti Varmma, between A.D. 854 and 883, after whom it was called Surapura. From its favourable position at the outlet of the Wular Lake, I think it probable that it is one of the oldest places in Kashmir.


Alexander Cunningham[8] writes that Avantipura was founded by Raja Avanti-Varmma[9] who reigned from A.D. 854 to 883. It is situated on the right bank of the Behat River, 17 miles to the south- east of the present capital. There is now only a small village called Wantipur ; but the remains of two magnificent temples, and the traces of walls on all sides, show that it must have been once an extensive city. The name of No-nagar, or the " New Town," which is now attached to the high tract of alluvial table-land on the opposite side of the river, is universally allowed by the people to refer to Avantipura itself, which is said to have occupied both banks of the river originally.

Behat River in Annals of Jaisalmer

James Tod [10] writes that Bhatti Chief Tunno succeeded Rao Kehar. He laid waste the lands of the Barahas, and those of the Langahas of Multan.

James Tod [11] writes that The Indo-Scythic tribes were designated by the names of animals. The Barahas are the hogs ; the Numries, the foxes ; Takshaks, the snakes ; Aswas or Asi, the horses, etc.

But Husein Shah advanced with the Langaha Pathans, clothed in armour with iron helms, with the men of Doodi, [12] of Kheechee; the Khokur ; the Mogul, Johya, the Yadu, and Syed, all mounted on horses, to the number of ten thousand men, to attack the Yadu. They reached the territory of the Barahas, who joined them, and there they encamped. Tunno collected his brethren around him, and prepared for defence. During four days they defended the castle ; and on the fifth the Rao ordered the gates to be thrown open, and with his son, Beeji Rae, sallied out sword in hand, and attacked the besiegers. The Barahas were the first to fly, and they were soon followed by the rest of the Asuras. The victors carried the spoils of the field into Tunnote. As soon as the armies of Multan and Langaha were driven off, the coco-nut came from Jiju, chief of the Butas of Butaban, and an alliance offensive and defensive was formed against the prince of Multan.

James Tod[13] writes that the Yadus and Johyas were inhabiting the range called in the native annals Jadu-ka-dang, and by Baber 'the hill of Jud,' skirting the Behat. The position of Behera is laid down in that monument of genius and industry, the Memoir of Rennel (who calls it Bheera), in 32° N. and 72° 10' E. ; and by Elphinstone in 32°10', but a whole degree further to the east, or 73° 15'. This city, so often mentioned in the Yadu-Bhatti annals as one of their intermediate places of repose, on their expulsion from India and migration to Central Asia, has its position minutely pointed out by the Emperor Baber (p. 259), who, in his attack on the hill tribes of Jats, Gujar, Gukers, &c., adjoining Kashmir, " expelled Hati Guker from Behreh, on the Behat River, near the cave-temples of Gar-kotri at Bikram," of which the able annotator remarks, that as well as those of But Bamian, they were probably Buddhist. Baber (p. 294) also found the Jats masters of Sialkot, most likely the Salpoor of the Inscription (Vol. I, p. 707), conquered from a Jat prince in the twelfth century by the Patun prince, and presumed to be the Salivahanpur founded by the fugitive Yadu prince of Ghazni.

See also


  1. The Ancient Geography of India/Kingdom of Kashmir, pp. 90-91,99-100
  2. ' Hiouen Thsang,' i. 90.
  3. Reinaud, ' Fragments Arabes,' p. 116.
  4. B. vii. 1310 and 1313.
  5. Reinaud, 'Fragments Arabes, etc.,' p. 116.
  6. The Ancient Geography of India/Kingdom of Kashmir,p.99
  7. Ibid., iii. 227.
  8. The Ancient Geography of India/Kingdom of Kashmir, p.103
  9. 'Raja Tarangini,' v. 44.
  10. Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan, Volume II, Annals of Jaisalmer, pp.209-210
  11. Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan, Volume II, Annals of Jaisalmer, pp.209, fn-5
  12. Babar in his Autobiography, gives the names of all the tribes he met in his passage into India, and this enumeration goes far to improve the authenticity of the early annals of the Bhattis. Babar does not mention "the men of Doodi"
  13. Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan, Volume II, Annals of Jaisalmer, pp.209, fn-10

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