James Todd Annals/Chapter 4 Foundations of States and Cities by the different tribes

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James Tod: Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan, Volume I,
Publisher: Humphrey Milford Oxford University Press 1920

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Chapter 4: Foundations of States and Cities by the different tribes


[p.45]: Ayodhya 2 was the first city founded by the race of Surya. Like other capitals, its importance must have risen by

2. The picture drawn by Valmiki of the capital of the Solar race is so highly coloured that Ayodhya might stand for Utopia, and it would be difficult to find such a catalogue of metropolitan embellishments in this, the iron age of Oudh. " On the banks of the Surayu is a large country called Kosala, in which is Ayodhya, built by Manu, twelve yojans (forty-eight miles) in extent, with streets regular and well watered. It was filled with merchants, beautified by gardens, ornamented with stately gates and high-arched porticoes, furnished with arms, crowded with chariots, elephants, and horses, and with ambassadors from foreign lands ; embellished with palaces whose domes resembled the mountain tops, dwellings of equal height, resounding with the delightful music of the tabor, the flute, and the harp.

[p.46]: slow degrees ; yet making every allowance for exaggeration, it must have attained great splendour long anterior to Rama. Its site is well known at this day under the contracted name of Oudh, which also designates the country appertaining to the titular wazir of the Mogul empire ; which country, twenty-five years ago, nearly marked the limits of Kosala, the pristine kingdom of the Surya race. Overgrown greatness characterized all the ancient Asiatic capitals, and that of Ayodhya was immense. Lucknow, the present capital, is traditionally asserted to have been one of the suburbs of ancient Oudh, and so named by Rama, in compliment to his brother Lakshman.


Mithila. — Nearly coeval in point of time with Ayodhya was Mithila, 1 the capital of a country of the same name, founded by Mithila, the grandson of Ikshwaku.

The name of Janaka, 2 son of Mithila, eclipsed that of the founder and became the patronymic of this branch of the Solar race.

Other Kingdoms. — These are the two chief capitals of the kingdoms of the Solar line described in [39] this early age : though there were others of a minor order, such as Rohtas, Champapura, 3 etc., all founded previously to Rama.

By the numerous dynasties of the Lunar race of Budha many kingdoms were founded. Much has been said of the antiquity of Prayag ; yet the first capital of the Indu or Lunar race appears.

It was surrounded by an impassable moat, and guarded by archers. Dasaratha was its king, a mighty charioteer. There were no atheists. The affections of the men were in their consorts. The women were chaste and obedient to their lords, endowed with beauty, wit, sweetness, prudence, and industry, with bright ornaments and fair apparel ; the men devoted to truth and hospitality, regardful of their superiors, their ancestors, and their gods.

" There were eight councillors ; two chosen priests profound in the law, besides another inferior council of six. Of subdued appetites, disinterested, forbearing, pleasant, patient ; not avaricious ; well acquainted with their duties and popular customs ; attentive to the army, the treasury ; impartially awarding punishment even on their own sons ; never oppressing even an enemy ; not arrogant ; comely in dress ; never confident about doubtful matters ; devoted to the sovereign."

1. Mithila, the modern Tirhut in Bengal [including the modern districts of Darbhanga, Champaran, and Muzaffarpur].

2. Kusadhwaja, father of Sita (spouse of Rama), is also called Janaka ; a name common in this line, and borne by the third prince in succession after Suvarna Roma, the ' golden-haired ' chief Mithila.

3 Rohtas in the modern Shahabad district ; Champapura in Bhagalpur.


[p. 47]: to have been founded by Sahasra Arjuna, of the Haihaya tribe. This was Mahishmati on the Nerbudda, still existing in Maheswar. 1 The rivalry between the Lnnar race and that of the Suryas of Ayodhya, in whose aid the priesthood armed, and expelled Sahasra Arjuna from Mahishmati, has been mentioned. A small branch of these ancient Haihayas 2 yet exist in the line of the Nerbudda, near the very top of the valley at Sohagpur, in Baghelkhand, aware of their ancient lineage ; and, though few in number, are still celebrated for their valour. 3


Dwarka. — Kusasthali Dwarka, the capital of Krishna, was founded prior to Prayag, to Surpur, or Mathura. The Bhagavat attributes the foundation of the city to Anrita, the brother of Ikshwaku, of the Solar race, but states not how or when the Yadus became possessed thereof.

The ancient annals of the Jaisalmer family of the Yadu stock give the priority of foundation to Prayag, next to Mathura, and last to Dwarka. All these cities are too well known to require description ; especially Prayag, at the confluence of the Yamuna and Ganges. The Prasioi were the descendants of Puru 4 of Prayag, visited by Megasthenes, ambassador of Seleucus, and the principal city of the Yadus, ere it sent forth the four branches from Satwata. At Prayag resided the celebrated Bharata, the son of Sakuntala.

In the Ramayana the Sasavindus 5 (another Yadu race) are inscribed as allied with the Haihayas in the wars with the race of Surya ; and of this race was Sisupal6 (the founder of Chedi 7), one of the foes of Krishna [40].

1 Familiarly designated as Sahasra Bahu ki Basti, or ' the town of the thousand-armed.' [In Indore State (IGI, xvii. 8).

2 The Haihaya race, of the line of Budha, may claim affinity with the Chinese race which first gave monarchs to China [?].

3 Of this I have heard the most romantic proofs in very recent times.

4 Puru became the patronymic of this branch of the Lunar race. Of this Alexander's historians made Porus. The Suraseni of Methoras (descendants of the Sursen of Mathura) were all Purus, the Prasioi of Megasthenes [see p. 37, n.]. Allahabad yet retains its Hindu name of Prayag, pronounced Prag.

5 The Hares. Sesodia is said to have the same derivation. [From Sesoda in Mewar.]

6 The princes of Ranthambhor, expelled by Prithwiraja of Delhi, were of this race.

7 The modern Chanderi [in the Gwalior State, IQI, x. 163 f.] is said to be



Surpur. — We are assured by Alexander's historians that the country and people round Mathura, when he invaded India, were termed Surasenoi. There are two princes of the name of Sursen in the immediate ancestry of Krishna ; one his grandfather, the other eight generations anterior Which of these founded the capital Surpur1 whence the country and inhabitants had their appellation, we cannot say Mathura and Cleisobara are mentioned by the historians of Alexander as the chief cities of the Surasenoi. Though the Greeks sadly disfigure names, we cannot trace any affinity between Cleisobara and Surpur.

this capital, and one of the few to which no Englishman has obtained entrance, though I tried hard in 1807. Doubtless it would afford food for curiosity ; for, being out of the path of armies in the days of conquest and revolution, it may, and I believe does, retain much worthy of research. [The capital of the Chedi or Kalachuri dynasty was Tripura or Karanbel, near Jabalpur [IGI, x. 12).]

1. I had the pleasure, in 1814, of discovering a remnant of this city, which the Yamuna has overwhelmed. [The ancient Suryapura was near Batesar, 40 miles south-east of Agra city. Sir H. Elliot (Supplemental Glossary, 187) remarks that it is strange that the Author so often claims the credit of discovery when its position is fixed in a set of familiar verses. For Suryapura see A. Fuhrer, Monumental Antiquities and Inscriptions, 69.] The sacred place of pilgrimage, Batesar, stands on part of it. My discovery of it was doubly gratifying, for while I found out the Surasenoi of the Greeks, I obtained a medal of the little known Apollodotus, who carried his arms to the mouths of the Indus, and possibly to the centre of the land of the Yadus. He is not included by Bayer in his lists of the kings of Bactria, but we have only an imperfect knowledge of the extent of that dynasty. The Bhagavat Purana asserts thirteen Yavan or Ionian princes to have ruled in Balichdes [?] or Bactria, in which they mention Pushpamitra Dvimitra. We are justified in asserting this to be Demetrius, the son of Euthydemus, but who did not succeed his father, as Menander intervened. Of this last conqueror I also possess a medal, obtained amongst the Surasenoi, and struck in commemoration of victory, as the winged messenger of heavenly peace extends the palm branch from her hand. These two will fill up a chasm in the Bactrian annals, for Menander is well known to them. Apollodotus would have perished but for Arrian, who wrote the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea in the second century, while commercial agent at Broach, or classically Brigukachchha, the Barugaza of the Greeks. [The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea was written by an unknown Greek merchant of first century A.D. (McCrindlo, Commerce and Navigation, Introd. p. 1).]

Without the notice this writer has afforded us, my Apollodotus would have lost half its value. Since my arrival in Europe I have also been made acquainted with the existence of a medal of Demetrius, discovered in Bokhara, and on which an essay has been written by a savant at St. Petersburg.


[p. 49]:

Hastinapura. — The city of Hastinapura was built by Hastin a name celebrated in the Lunar dynasties. The name of this city is still preserved on the Ganges, about forty miles south of Hardwar, 1 where the Ganges breaks through the Siwalik mountains and enters the plains of India. This mighty stream, rolling its masses of waters from the glaciers of the Himalaya, and joined by many auxiliary streams, frequently carries destruction before it. In one night a column of thirty feet in perpendicular height has been known to bear away all within its sweep, and to such an occurrence the capital of Hastin is said to have owed its ruin. 2 As it existed, however, long after the Mahabharata, it is surprising it is not mentioned by the historians of Alexander, who invaded India probably about eight centuries after that event. In this abode of the sons of Puru resided Porus, one of the two princes of that name, opponents of Alexander, and probably Bindusara the son of Chandragupta, surmised to be the Abisares 3 and Sandrakottos of Grecian authorities. Of the two princes named Porus mentioned by Alexander's [41] historians, one resided in the very cradle of the Puru dynasties ; the abode of the other bordered on the Panjab : warranting an assertion that the Pori of Alexander were of the Lunar race, and destroying all the claims various authors 4 have advanced on behalf of the princes of Mewar. 5

Hastin sent forth three grand branches, Ajamidha, Dvimidha, and Purumidha. Of the two last we lose sight altogether ; but Ajamidha's progeny spread over all the northern parts of India, in the Panjab and across the Indus. The period, probably one thousand six hundred years before Christ.

1 The portal of Hari or Hara, whose trisula or trident is there.

2 Wilford says this event is mentioned in two Puranas as occurring in the sixth or eighth generation of the Great War. Those who have travelled in the Duab must have remarked where both the Ganges and Jumna have shifted their beds.

3 Abisares is Abhisara in the modern Kashmir State (Smith, EHI, 59).]

4 Sir Thomas Roe ; Sir Thomas Herbert ; the Holstein ambassador (by Olearius) ; Delia Valle ; Churchill, in his collection : and borrowing from these, D'Anville, Bayer, Orme, Rennell, etc.

5 The ignorance of the family of Mewar of the fact would by no means be a conclusive argument against it, could it be otherwise substantiated ; but the race of Surya was completely eclipsed at that period by the Lunar and new races which soon poured in from the west of the Indus, and in time displaced them all.

[p.50]: From Ajamidha1 in the fourth generation, was Bajaswa, who obtained possessions towards the Indus, and whose five sons gave their name, Panchala, to the Panjab, or space watered by the five rivers. The capital founded by the younger brother, Kampila, was named Kampilnagara. 2

The descendants of Ajamidha by his second "wife, Kesini, founded another kingdom and dynasty, celebrated in the heroic history of Northern India. This is the Kausika dynasty.


Kanauj. — Kusa had four sons, two of whom, Kusanabha and Kusamba, are well known to traditional history, and by the still surviving cities founded by them. Kusanabha founded the city of Mahodaya on the Ganges, afterwards changed to Kanyakubja, or Kanauj, which maintained its celebrity until the Muhammadan invasion of Shihabu-d-din (A.D. 1193), when this overgrown city was laid prostrate for ever. It was not unfrequently called Gadhipura, or the ' city of Gadhi.' This practice of multiplying names of cities in the east is very destructive to history. Abu-l Fazl has taken from Hindu authorities an account of Kanauj ; and could we admit the authority of a poet on such subjects, Chand, the bard of Prithwiraja, 3 would afford materials. Ferishta states it in the early ages to have been twenty- five coss [42] (thirty-five miles) in circumference, and that there were thirty thousand shops for the sale of the areca or beetle - nut only ; 4 and this in the sixth century, at which period the Rathor dynasty, which terminated with Jaichand, in the twelfth, had been in possession from the end of the fifth century.

Kusamba also founded a city, called after his own name

1 Ajamidha, by his wife Nila, had five sons, who spread their branches (Sakha) on both sides the Indus. Regarding three the Puranas are silent, which implies their migration to distant regions. Is it possible they might be the origin of the Medes ? These Medes are descendants of Yayati, third son of the patriarch Manu ; and Madai, founder of the Medes, was of Japhet's line. Ajamidha, the patronymic of the branch of Bajaswa, is from Aja, ' a goat.' The Assyrian Mode, in Scripture, is typified by the goat. [These speculations are worthless.]

2 Of this house was Draupadi, the wife, in common, of the five Pandava brothers : manners peculiar to Scythia.

3 King of Delhi.

4 [Briggs i. 57. The accounts of the size of the city are extravagant (Elphinstone, HI, 3.32 note ; Cunningham, ASR, i. 270 tf.).]


[p. 51]:

Kausambi. 1 The name was in existence in the eleventh century ; and ruins might yet exist, if search were made on the shores of the Ganges, from Kanauj southward.

The other sons built two capitals, Dharmaranya and Vasumati ; but of neither have we any correct knowledge.

Kuru had two sons, Sudhanush and Parikhshita. The descendants of the former terminated with Jarasandha, whose capital was Rajagriha (the modern Rajmahal) on the Ganges, in the province of Bihar. 2 From Parikhshita descended the monarchs Santanu and Balaka : the first producing the rivals of the Great War, Yudhishthira and Duryodhana ; the other the Balakaputras.

Duryodhana, the successor to the throne of Kuru, resided at the ancient capital, Hastinapura ; while the junior branch, Yudhishthira, founded Indraprastha, on the Yamuna or Jumna, which name in the eighth century was changed to Delhi.

The sons of Balaka founded two kingdoms : Palibothra, on the lower Ganges ; and Aror, 3 on the eastern bank of the Indus, founded by Sahl [43].

1. An inscription was discovered at Kara on the Ganges, in which Yaspal is mentioned as prince of the realm of Kausambi (As. Res. vol. ix. p. 440). Wilford, in his Essay on the Geography of the Purans, says " Causambi, near Alluhabad " (As. Res. vol. xiv.). [The site is uncertain (Smith, EHI, 29.3, note).]

2. Rajgir in Patna District.

3. Aror, or Alor, was the capital of Sind in remote antiquity : a bridge over the stream which branched from the Indus, near Dara, is almost the sole vestige of this capital of the Sogdoi of Alexander. On its site the shepherds of the desert have established an extensive hamlet ; it is placed on a ridge of siliceous rock, seven miles east of the insular Bakhar, and free from the inundations of the Indus. The Sodha tribe, a powerful branch of the Pramara race, has ruled in these countries from remote antiquity, and to a very late period they were lords of Umarkot and Umrasurara, in which divisions was Aror. Sahl and his capital were known to Abu-l Fazl, though he was ignorant of its position, which he transferred to Debal, or Dewal, the modern Tatta. This indefatigable historian thus describes it : "In ancient times there lived a raja named Siharas (Sahl), whose capital was Alor, and his dominions extended north to Kashmir and south to the ocean " [Ain, ii. 343]. Sahl, or Sahr, became a titular appellation of the country, its princes, and its inhabitants, the Sehraes. [See p. 21 above.] Alor appears to have been the capital of the kingdom of Sigerdis, conquered by Menander of Bactria. Ibn Haukal, the Arabian geographer, mentions it ; but a superfluous point in writing has changed Aror into Azor, or Azour, as translated by Sir W. Ouseley. The illustrious D'AnviUe mentions it ; but, in ignorance of its position, quoting Abulfeda, says, in grandeur " Azour est presque comparable a Mooltan." I have to claim the discovery of several ancient capital cities in the north of India : Surpur, on the Jumna, the capital of the Yadus ; Alor, on the Indus, the capital of the Sodhas ; Mandodri, capital of the Pariharas ; Chandravati, at the foot of the Aravalli mountains ; and Valabhipura, in Gujarat, capital of the Balaka-raes, the Balharas of Arab travellers. The Bala Rajput of Saurashtra may have given the name to Valabhipura, as descendants of Balaka, from Sahl of Aror. The blessing of the bard to them is yet, Tatta Multan ka Rao ( ' lord of Tatta and Multan,' the seats of the Balaka-putras) : nor is it improbable that a branch of these under the Indian Hercules, Balaram, who left India after the Great War, may have founded Balich, or Balkh, emphatically called the ' mother of cities.' The Jaisalmer annals assert that the Yadu and Balaka branches of the Indu race ruled Khorasan after the Great War, the Indo-Scythic races of Grecian authors. Besides the Balakas, and the numerous branches of the Indo-Medes, many of the sons of Kuru dispersed over these regions : amongst whom we may place Uttara Kuru (Northern Kurus) of the Puranas, the Ottorokorrhai of the Greek authors. Both the Indu and Surya races were eternally sending their superfluous population to those distant regions, when probably the same primeval religion governed the races east and west of the Indus. [Much of this is incorrect.]


One great arm of the tree of Yayati remains unnoticed, that of Uru or Urvasu, written by others Turvasu. Uru was the father of a line of kings who founded several empires. Virupa, the eighth prince from Uru, had eight sons, two of whom are particularly mentioned as sending forth two grand shoots, Druhyu and Bhabru. From Druhyu a dynasty was established in the north. Aradwat, with his son Gandhara, is stated to have founded a State : Prachetas is said to have become king of Mlecchhades, or the barbarous regions. This line terminated with Dushyanta, the husband of the celebrated Sakuntala, father of Bharat, and who, labouring under the displeasure of some offended deity, is said by the Hindus to have been the cause of all the woes which subsequenty befell the race. The four grandsons of Dushyanta, Kalanjar, Keral, Pand, and Chaul, gave their names to countries.


Kalanjar. — Kalanjar is the celebrated fortress in Bundelkhand, so well known for its antiquities, which have claimed considerable notice.

Kerala. — Of the second, Kerala, it is only known that in the list of the thirty-six royal races in the twelfth century, the Kerala makes one, but the capital is unknown. 1

1. [The Chera or Kerala kingdom comprised the Southern Konkans or Malabar coast, the present Malabar district with Travancore and Cochin, the dynasty being in e.Kistence early in the Christian era (Smith, EHI, 447 ; IGI, X. 192 f.).]

[p. 53]:

Pandya. — The kingdom founded by Pand may be that on the coast of Malabar, the Pandu-Mandal of the Hindus, the Regia Pandiona of the geographers of the west, and of which, probably, Tanjore is the modern capital. 1

Chaul.— Chaul 2 is in the Saurashtra peninsula, and on the coast, towards Jagat Khunt, ' the world's end,' and still retains its appellation.

Anga. — The other shoot from Bhabru became celebrated. The thirty-fourth prince, Anga, founded the kingdom of Angadesa, of which Champapuri 3 was the [44] capital, established about the same time with Kanauj, probably fifteen hundred years before Christ. With him the patronymic was changed, and the Anga race became famous in ancient Hindu history ; and to this day Un-des still designates the Alpine regions of Tibet bordering on Chinese Tartary.

Prithusena terminates the line of Anga ; and as he survived the disasters of the Great War, his race probably multiplied in those regions, where caste appears never to have been introduced.


Thus have we rapidly reviewed the dynasties of Surya and Chandra, from Manu and Budha to Rama, Krishna, Yudhishthira, and Jarasandha ; establishing, it is hoped, some new points, and perhaps adding to the credibility of the whole.

The wrecks of almost all the vast cities founded by them are yet to be traced in ruins.

The city of Ikshwaku and Rama, on the Sarju ;
Indraprastha, Mathura, Surpura, Prayag on the Yamuna ;
Hastinapura, Kanyakubja, Rajagriha on the Ganges ;
Maheswar on the Nerbudda ;
Aror on the Indus ; and
Kusasthali Dwarka on the shore of the Indian Ocean.

1 [The Pandya kingdom included the Madura and Tinnevelly districts, with parts of Trichinopoly, and sometimes Travancore, its capitals being Madura, or Kudal, and Korkai (Smith, op. cil. 449 f. ; IGI, xix. 394 f.).]

2 From Chaul on the coast, in journeying towards Junagarh, and about seven miles from the former, are the remains of an ancient city.

3 From the description in the Ramayana of King Dasaratha proceeding to Champamalina, the capital of Lomapada, king of Anga (sixth in descent from the founder), it is evident that it was a very mountainous region, and the deep forests and large rivers presented serious obstructions to his journey. From this I should imagine it impossible that Angadesa should apply to a portion of Bengal, in which there is a Champamalina, described by Colonel Francklin in his Essay on Palibothra. [The Anga kingdom, with its capital at Champapuri, near Bhagalpur, corresponded to the modern districts of North Monghyr, North Bhagalpur, and Purnea west of the Mahananda river [IGI, v. 373).]


Each has left some memorial of former grandeur : research may discover others.

There is yet an unexplored region in Panchala ; Kampilanagara its capital, and those cities established west of the Indus by the sons of Bajaswa.

Traces of the early Indo-Scythic nations may possibly reward the search of some adventurous traveller who may penetrate into Transoxiana, on the sites of Cyropolis, and the most northern Alexandria ; in Balkh, and amidst the caves of Bamian.

The plains of India retain yet many ancient cities, from whose ruins somewhat may be gleaned to add a mite to knowledge ; and where inscriptions may be found in a character which, though yet unintelligible,- will not always remain so in this age of discovery. For such let the search be general, and when once a key is obtained, they will enlighten each other. Wherever the races of Kuru, Uru, and Yadu have swayed, have been found ancient and yet undeciphered characters.

Much would reward him who would make a better digest of the historical and geographical matter in the Puranas. But we must discard the idea that the history of Rama, the Mahabharata of Krishna and the five Pandava 1 brothers, are [45] mere allegory : an idea supported by some, although their races, their cities, and their coins still exist. Let us master the characters on the columns of Indraprastha, of Prayag and Mewar, on the rocks of Junagarh, 2 at Bijolli, on the Aravalli, and in the Jain

1 The history and exploits of the Pandavas and Harikulas are best known in the most remote parts of India : amidst the forest-covered mountains of Saurashtra, the deep woods and caves of Hidimba and Virat (still the shelter of the savage Bhil and Koli), or on the craggy banks of the Charmanvati (Chambal). In each, tradition has localized the shelter of these heroes when exiled from the Yamuna ; and colossal figures cut from the mountain, ancient temples and caves inscribed with characters yet unknown, attributed to the Pandavas, confirm the legendary tale.

2 The ' ancient city,' par eminence, is the only name this old capital, at the foot of, and guarding, the sacred mount Girnar, is known by. Abu-l Fazl says it had long remained desolate and unknown, and was discovered by mere accident. [Ain, ii. 245. For a description of the place see BG, viii. 487 ; E. C. Bayley, Local Muhammadan Dynasties, Gujarat, 182 ff.] Tradition even being silent, they gave it the emphatic appellation of Juna (old) Garh (fortress). I have little doubt that it is the Asaldurga, or Asalgarh, of the Guhilot annals ; where it is said that prince Asal raised a fortress, called after him, near to Girnar, by the consent of the Dabhi prince, his uncle.

[p 55]: temples scattered over India, and then we shall be able to arrive at just and satisfactory conclusions.

End of Chapter 4 Foundations of States and Cities by the different tribes

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