Chaneti

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Author of this article is Dr Raj Pal Singh
Buddhist Stupa at Chaneti

Chaneti (चनेती) is a village in tahsil Jagadhari of Yamunanagar district in Haryana.

Jat Gotras

History

It is a small village situated 3 kms east of Jagadhri and nearly the same distance north-west of the historical site of Sugh. The area in which Chaneti is situated is known as the Khadar of the Yamuna River which now flows about 7 kms east of it and on the old deserted bed of which was excavated the Western Yamuna Canal. There were thick forests in this area and the present village was inhabited only about a hundred and seventy years back by clearing away these forests.

Buddhist Stupa at Chaneti

In the south-east of the village lies the site containing a Kushana period Buddhist Stupa. Dr. D.D. Handa of Kurukshetra University has given detailed description of this Stupa (VIJ, Vol. IV, Part I, pp. 75-80) and recently ASI branch of Chandigarh Circle has undertaken steps for its restoration. We produce below some of the details about it available in the earlier studies.

The height of the mound is nearly 8 meters and its diameter about 20 meters. The original height must have been more than it is at present. The bricks used are well-burnt and yellowish-red in colour. The two sizes of the bricks are 30X30X7 cms and 30X15X7 cms. Laying down the rules of construction of a Stupa, is said that the first step was probably merely to build the cairn, the next step was to build the cairn of concentric layers of huge bricks in use at the time and to surround the whole with a wooden railing. Eluding to the very shape of this Stupa (Brick mound), Dr. Handa avers that it corresponds greatly to the Shahpur and Dharmarajika Stupas at Taxila as the same method of laying the concentric layers of huge bricks, the gradually diminishing diameter as the structure rise up and up. The bricks well-set in the circular fashion, the core of burnt bricks, and the place of Harmika as the top, all lead to its being a Stupa. The testimony of Huen Tsang, who visited Sulo-kin-na i.e. ancient Srughana/Sugh in the first half of seventh century AD, is also very important. He notice there “an Asokan tope” to the south-east of the capital, antother tope having “hair and nail relics of the Ju-lai (Buddha) and round about were some tens of topes with similar relics of Sariputra, Mudgalaputra, and other great arhats.” It seems that the Chaneti Stupa must have been one of these “tens of topes” which were erected in Dhanabhuti’s time in and around the capital city. The yellowish red colour of the bricks which is typical of the Mauryan period and the plain, square and large sized bricks, corresponding with those used in the construction of the Bharhut Stupa lend further support to surmise that this Stupa was erected some time during the reign of King Dhanabhuti who ruled from 240 to 210 B.C. a find which has however, to be confirmed by more positive epigraphically or excavation evidence.

Mention by Alexander Cunningham

Alexander Cunningham[1] writes that On leaving Thanesar, Hwen Thsang at first proceeded to the south for about 100 li, or 16⅔ miles, to the Kiu-hoen-cha, or Gokantha monastery, which has not yet been identified, but it is probably Gunana, between Vyasthali and Nisang, 17 miles to the south-south-west of Thanesar. I am obliged to notice this monastery as it is the starting-point from which Hwen Thsang measures his next journey of 400 li, or 66⅔ miles, to Su-lu-kin-na or Srughna, which makes the distance between Thanesar and Srughna just 50 miles.[2] Now Sugh, the place which I propose to identify with the capital of Srughna, is only 38 or 40 miles from Thanesar ; but as it agrees exactly in name, and corresponds generally in other particulars, I am quite satisfied that Hwen Thsang's recorded distance must be erroneous, although I am unable to suggest any probable rectification of his figures. The true distance is about 300 li, or 50 miles, from the Gokantha monastery.

The Sanskrit name of the country is Srughna, which in the spoken dialects becomes Sughan and Sugh, as it


[p.346]: is called at the present day. The village of Sugh occupies one of the most remarkable positions that I met with during the whole course of my researches. It is situated on a projecting triangular spur of high land, and is surrounded on three sides by the bed of the old Jumna, which is now the western Jumna canal. On the north and west faces it is further protected by two deep ravines, so that the position is a ready-made stronghold, which is covered on all sides, except the west, by natural defences. In shape it is almost triangular, with a large projecting fort or citadel at each of the angles. The site of the north fort is now occupied by the castle and village of Dyalgarh. The village of Mandalpur stands on the site of the south-east fort, and that of the south-west is unoccupied. Each of these forts is 1500 feet long, and 1000 feet broad, and each face of the triangle which connects them together is upwards of half a mile in length, that to the east being 4000, and those to the north-west and south-west 3000 feet each. The whole circuit of the position is therefore 22,000 feet, or upwards of 4 miles, which is considerably more than the 3½ miles of Hwen Thsang's measurement. But as the north fort is separated from the main position by a deep sandy ravine called the Rohara Nala, it is possible that it may have been unoccupied at the time of the pilgrim's visit. This would reduce the circuit of the position to 19,000 feet, or up wards of 3½ miles, and bring it into accord with the pilgrim's measurement. The small tillage of Sugh occupied the west side of the position, and the small town of Buriya lies immediately to the north of Dyalgarh. The occupied houses, at the time of my visit, were as follows: — Mandalpur 100, Sugh 125,


[p.347]: Dyalgarh 150, and Buriya 3500, or altogether 3875 houses, containing a population of about 20000 soul.

Of Sugh itself the people have no special traditions, hut of Mandar, or Mandalpur, they say that it formerly covered an extent of 12 kos, and included Jagadri and Chaneti on the west, with Buriya and Dyalgarh to the north. As Jagadri lies 3 miles to the west, it is not possible that the city could have extended so far ; hut we may reasonably admit that the gardens and summer-houses of the wealthier inhabitants may once possibly have extended to that distance.

At Chaneti, which lies 2 miles to the north-west, old coins are found in considerable numbers ; but it is now entirely separated from Buriya and Dyalgarh by a long space of open country. The same coins are found in Sugh, Mandalpur, and Buriya. They are of all ages, from the small Dilials of the Chohan and Tomar Rajas of Delhi to the square punch-marked pieces of silver and copper, which are certainly as old as the rise of Buddhism in 500 B.C., and which were probably the common currency of Northern India as early as 1000 B.C. With this undoubted evidence in favour of the antiquity of the place, I have no hesitation in identifying Sugh with the ancient Srughna.

The importance of the position is shown by the fact that it stands on the high-road leading from the Gangetic Doab, via Mirat, Saharanpur, and Ambala, to the Upper Punjab, and commands the passage of the Jumna. By this route Mahmud of Ghazni returned from his expedition to Kanoj ; by this route Timur returned from his plundering campaign at Haridwar ; and by this route Baber advanced to the conquest of Dehli.

According to Hwen Thsang, the kingdom of Srughna


[p.348]: was 6000 li, or 1000, miles in circuit. On the east it extended to the Ganges, and on the north to a range of lofty mountains, while the Jumna flowed through the midst of it. From these data it would appear that Srughna must have comprised the hill states of Sirmor and Garhwal, lying between the Giri river and the Ganges, with portions of the districts of Ambala and Saharanpur in the plains. But the circuit of this tract does not exceed 500 miles, which is only one half of Hwen Thsang's estimate. His excess I would attribute chiefly to the difference between direct measurements on the map, and the actual road distances in a mountainous country. This would increase the boundary line by about one-half, and make the whole circuit 750 miles, which is still far short of the pilgrim's estimate. But there is an undoubted error in his distance between the Jumna and the Ganges, which he makes 800 li, or 133 miles, instead of 300 li, or 50 miles, which is the actual distance between the two rivers from the foot of the hills down to the parallel of Delhi. As it is probable that this mistake was doubled by applying the same exaggerated distance to the northern frontier also, its correction is of importance, as the double excess amounts to 167 miles. Deducting this excess, the circuit of Srughna will be only 833 miles according to Hwen Thsang's estimate, or within 83 miles of the probable measurement.

Notable persons

  • Mam Chand Madhan - former Sarpanch of the village and is currently President of Jat Mahasabha Branch, Kapal Mochan.

External Links

References


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