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Author:Laxman Burdak, IFS (Retd.)

Location of Kandahar
Catchment of Helmand River

Kandahar is a town in Afghanistan. Raj kumari of Kandahar was married to Maharaja Dhritarashtra.


It was founded by Gandhar gotra Jats.

Jat clan


Ancestry of Gandhara

V. S. Agrawala[1] writes that Ashtadhyayi of Panini mentions Gandhāra (गंधार) - which extended from Kabul Valley to Taxila. Two towns of Gandhāra mentioned are - Takshasila, its eastern capital and Pushkalavati western. The Greeks refer to it as Peucelaotes (modern Charsadda, situated near the junction of the Swat with the Kabul). Pushkala refers to people of this region. The country between the Rivers Suvastu and Gauri was known as Uḍḍiyāna.

Ram Swarup Joon[2] writes...Gandhara, son of Arh, founded Gandhar (Kandhar) and it was his capital. Gaindhu, Gaindha, Gaindhals and, Gandhara are gotras found amongst the Muslim Jats in large numbers in the Western Punjab. They all trace their origin from Quandhar. In Aligarh district are found some Hindus belonging to Gaindhar gotra. The ruins of one Gandhara fort were found in Jalalabad in Afghanistan. Gandhari, mother of Duryodhana, belonged to this dynasty. Kshatriyas of this clan have been mentioned in the Mahabharat. In Nowshera there is a barren area called Gandhara Mound. Among the Sikh Jats there are some that are called Gaindhrawal or Gaindhar

Rajatarangini[3] tells us that the history of Kashmir then presents a blank till the reign of Gonanda I at the beginning of the Kaliyuga. This powerful king was contemporary with Yudhisthira and a friend of his enemy Jarasandha. Gonanda I, who ruled in Kashmira, where the Ganges flows cheering the mount Kailasa on her way, was invited by Jarasindhu to help him in his invasion of Mathura, the capital of Krishna. With a large army they invested that city and encamped on the banks of the Yamuna to the great terror of their foes. On one occasion the army of Krishna was defeated in a battle, but Balarama not only retrieved the confusion of his army, but made a vigorous attack on the allied force. For a long time victory remained doubtful, till at last Gonanda I, pierced with wounds fell dead on the field, and the army of Krishna was victorious. On his death Damodara I ascended the throne of Kashmira, and though possessed of this beautiful kingdom, he was far from being happy ; his proud heart brooded on his father's death. While in this state, he had that the Gandharas had invited Krishna and his relatives to the nuptials of some of the daughters of

[p.6]: their tribe, to be celebrated near the banks of the Indus, and in which the bridegrooms , were to be chosen by the brides. With great preparations were being made for the nuptials, the king moved with a large army of infantry and horse, and interrupted the, festival. In the battle that ensued, many of the Gandharas were killed, but the king, pierced to the heart with Krishna's chakra perished.

Visit by Fahian

According to James Legge[4] The travellers, going downwards from this towards the east, in five days came to the country of Gandhara,1 the place where Dharma-vivardhana,2 the son of Asoka,3 ruled. When Buddha was a Bodhisattva, he gave his eyes also for another man here;4 and at the spot they have also reared a large tope, adorned with layers of gold and silver plates. The people of the country were mostly students of the hinayana.

1 Eitel says “an ancient kingdom, corresponding to the region about Dheri and Banjour.” But see note 5.

2 Dharma-vivardhana is the name in Sanskrit, represented by the Fa Yi {.} {.} of the text.

3 Asoka is here mentioned for the first time; — the Constantine of the Buddhist society, and famous for the number of viharas and topes which he erected. He was the grandson of Chandragupta (i.q. Sandracottus), a rude adventurer, who at one time was a refugee in the camp of Alexander the Great; and within about twenty years afterwards drove the Greeks out of India, having defeated Seleucus, the Greek ruler of the Indus provinces. He had by that time made himself king of Magadha. His grandson was converted to Buddhism by the bold and patient demeanour of an Arhat whom he had ordered to be buried alive, and became a most zealous supporter of the new faith. Dr. Rhys Davids (Sacred Books of the East, vol. xi, p. xlvi) says that “Asoka’s coronation can be fixed with absolute certainty within a year or two either way of 267 B.C.

4 This also is a Jataka story; but Eitel thinks it may be a myth, constructed from the story of the blinding of Dharma-vivardhana.

Visit by Xuanzang in 630 AD

Alexander Cunningham[5] writes about 6. Gandhara or Parashawar: The district of Gandhara is not mentioned by Alexander's professed historians ; but it is correctly described by Strabo, under the name of Gandaritis, as lying along the river Kophes, between the Choaspes and the Indus. In the same position Ptolemy places the Gandarae, whose country included both banks of the Kophes immediately above its junction with the Indus. This is the Kien-to-lo, or Gandhara of all the Chinese pilgrims, who are unanimous in placing it to the west of the Indus. The capital, which they call Pu-lu-sha-pulo or Parashapura is stated to be three or four days' journey from the Indus, and near the south bank of a large river. This is an exact description of the position of Peshawar, which down to the time of Akbar still bore its old name of Parashawar, under which form it is mentioned by Abul Fazl and Baber, and still earlier by Abu Rihan and the Arab geographers of the tenth century. According to Fa Hian, who calls it simply Fo-lu-sha or Parasha, the capital was 16 yojans, or about 112 miles, distant from Nagarahara. Hwen Thsang, however, makes the distance only 500 li, or 83 miles, which is certainly a mistake, as the measurement by perambulator between Jalalabad and Peshawar is 103 miles, to which must be added 2 miles more for the position of Begram to the west of Jalalabad.

The actual boundaries of the district are not de-

[p.48]: scribed, but its size is given as 1000 li, or 166 miles, from east to west, and 800 li, or 133 miles, from north to south. This is, perhaps, nearly correct, as the extreme length, whether taken from the source of the Bara river to Torbela, or from the Kunar river to Torbela, is 120 miles, measured on the map direct, or about 150 miles by road. The extreme breadth, measured in the same way, from Bazar, on the border of the Bunir hills, to the southern boundary of Kohat, is 100 miles direct, or about 125 miles by road. The boundaries of Gandhara, as deduced from these measurements, may be described as Lamghan and Jalalabad on the west, the hills of Swat and Bunir on the north, the Indus on the east, and the hills of Kalabagh on the south. Within these limits stood several of the most renowned places of ancient India; some celebrated in the stirring history of Alexander's exploits, and others famous in the miraculous legends of Buddha, and in the subsequent history of Buddhism under the Indo-Scythian prince Kanishka.

The only towns of the Gandarae named by Ptolemy are Naulibe, Embolima, and the capital called Proklais. All of these were to the north of the Kophes ; and so also were Ora, Bazaria, and Aornos, which are mentioned by Alexander's historians. Parashawar alone was to the south of the Kophes. Of Naulibe and Ora I am not able to offer any account, as they have not yet been identified. It is probable, however, that Naulibe is Nilab, an important town, which gave its name to the Indus river; but if so, it is wrongly placed by Ptolemy, as Nilab is to the south of the Kophes. The positions of the other towns I

[p.49]: will now proceed to investigate, including with them some minor places visited by the Chinese pilgrims.

In Mahabharata

Gandhara (गान्धार) was a northern tribe in Mahabharata (VII.200.40) and key allies of the Kauravas. Their king Shakuni lived at the Kaurava court and guided their destinies. Gandhara generally denotes Peshawar and Rawalpindi, though Persian inscriptions reveal that it included Kabul ( Afghanistan). (VI.10.52)[6]

The Mahabharata Tribe - Gandhara (गान्धार) may be identified with Jat Gotra - Gandhar (गान्धार) in Agra district.

External links


  1. V. S. Agrawala: India as Known to Panini, 1953, p.49
  2. Ram Swarup Joon: History of the Jats/Chapter V,p. 83-84
  3. Rajatarangini of Kalhana:Kings of Kashmira/Book I,p.5-6
  4. A Record of Buddhistic Kingdoms/Chapter 10
  5. The Ancient Geography of India/Gandhara, pp. 47-49
  6. काश्मीराः सिन्धुसौवीरा गान्धारा दर्शकास तदा
    अभीसारा कुलूताश च शौवला बाह्लिकास तदा (VI.10.52)

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