It is very fertile, mostly paddy fields, with a good annual yield of tobacco. Maidan e Pakhla, meaning the plain of Pakhal, consists of many villages and situated on Karakoram Highway that leads from Mansehra town to Gilgit.
It is named after Sultan Pakhal Gabaria Jahangeeri of the Swati tribe, who ruled the area from Jalalabad to Kashmir, and was later succeeded by his brother, Sultan Behram. The Swatis, after the fall of their kingdom in the Swat and Dir Districts, crossed the Indus to take control of Pakhal and adjoining areas from the Karlugh Turks.
Visited by Xuanzang in 631 AD
Alexander Cunningham writes about Urasa - Between Taxila and Kashmir Hwen Thsang places the district of U-la-shi, or Urasa, which, from its position, may at once be identified with the Varsa Regio of Ptolemy, and with the modern district Rash, in Dhantawar, to the west of Muzafarabad. It is mentioned in the native chronicle of Kashmir as a mountainous district in the vicinity of the valley, where Raja Sangkara Varmma received his death wound in A.D. 901. It corresponds exactly with the Pakhali of Abul Fazl, which included all the hilly country between the Indus and Kashmir, as far south as the boundary of Attak. At the present day the principal towns of the district are Mansera, in the north-east; Noshahra, in the middle ; and Kishangarh, or Haripur, in the south-west. In Hwen Thsang's time the capital is said to have been either 300 or 500 li, that is, 50 or 83 miles, distant from Taxila. This difference in the distance
[p.104]: makes it impossible to identify the actual position of the capital in the seventh century ; but it seems probable that it must have been at Mangali, which is said by the people to have been the ancient capital of the district. This place stands midway between Noshahra and Mansera, and about 50 miles to the north-east of Taxila.
According to Hwen Thsang, Urasa was 2000 li, or 333 miles, in circuit, which is probably correct, as its length from the source of the Kunihar river to the Gandgarh mountain is not less than 100 miles, and its breadth from the Indus to the Behat, or Jhelam, is 55 miles in its narrowest part. Its distance from Kashmir is stated at 1000 li, or 167 miles, which would place the capital somewhere in the neighbourhood of Noshahra, and within a few miles of Mangala, which was the ancient capital according to the traditions of the people.