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Paravata (पारावत) is a Rigvedic tribe.[1] Paravata is also a place visited by Buddhist travelers from China. Paravata (पारावत) is also one of the Nagas that fell into the fire of the snake-sacrifice of the Nagas of race of Airavata descended. [2]


Adi Parva, Mahabharata/Mahabharata Book I Chapter 57 (verse:10-11) mentions the Names of all those Nagas that fell into the fire of the snake-sacrifice: The Nagas of race of Airavata descended includes - Paravata.

पारावतः पारियात्रः पाण्डरॊ हरिणः कृशः
विहंगः शरभॊ मॊदः प्रमॊदः संहताङ्गदः (I.57.10)
ऐरावत कुलाद एते परैविष्टा हव्यवाहनम (I.57.11)

Jat clans


It will be noted that right from the Rig Vedic times, the historical clans are today represented among the Jats. For example, the Arya, Hari, Sibi, Mana, Sindhu, Parave (Paravat), Bheda, etc., are thus existing even today. [6]

According to Bhim Singh Dahiya [7] Parave is the Paravata tribe of Rigveda:

(25) Paravata : (RV. VIII/34/18), mentions them going in their chariots-They are identified with Paroda/Parota clan of the Jats. Also recorded in RV 3/9/5; 6/61/3 etc. Ptolemy mentions them as Parouetal (6/50/1). Panca Vamsa Br.places them on the river Yamuna (lX/4/11).
पारावतस्य रातिषु दरवच्चक्रेष्वाशुषु |
तिष्ठं वनस्य मध्य आ || (RV. VIII/34/18)

Mention by Fahian

James Legge[8] writes that South from Patna 200 yojanas, there is a country named Dakshina,1 where there is a monastery (dedicated to) the bygone Kasyapa Buddha, and which has been hewn out from a large hill of rock. It consists in all of five storeys; — the lowest, having the form of an elephant, with 500 apartments in the rock; the second, having the form of a lion, with 400 apartments; the third, having the form of a horse, with 300 apartments; the fourth, having the form of an ox, with 200 apartments; and the fifth, having the form of a pigeon, with 100 apartments. At the very top there is a spring, the water of which, always in front of the apartments in the rock, goes round among the rooms, now circling, now curving, till in this way it arrives at the lowest storey, having followed the shape of the structure, and flows out there at the door. Everywhere in the apartments of the monks, the rock has been pierced so as to form windows for the admission of light, so that they are all bright, without any being left in darkness. At the four corners of the (tiers of) apartments, the rock has been hewn so as to form steps for ascending to the top (of each). The men of the present day, being of small size, and going up step by step, manage to get to the top; but in a former age, they did so at one step.2 Because of this, the monastery is called Paravata, that being the Indian name for a pigeon. There are always Arhats residing in it.

The country about is (a tract of) uncultivated hillocks,3 without inhabitants. At a very long distance from the hill there are villages, where the people all have bad and erroneous views, and do not know the Sramanas of the Law of Buddha, Brahmanas, or (devotees of) any of the other and different schools. The people of that country are constantly seeing men on the wing, who come and enter this monastery. On one occasion, when devotees of various countries came to perform their worship at it, the people of those villages said to them, “Why do you not fly? The devotees whom we have seen hereabouts all fly;” and the strangers answered, on the spur of the moment, “Our wings are not yet fully formed.”

The kingdom of Dakshina is out of the way, and perilous to traverse. There are difficulties in connexion with the roads; but those who know how to manage such difficulties and wish to proceed should bring with them money and various articles, and give them to the king. He will then send men to escort them. These will (at different stages) pass them over to others, who will show them the shortest routes. Fa-hien, however, was after all unable to go there; but having received the (above) accounts from men of the country, he has narrated them.

1 Said to be the ancient name of the Deccan. As to the various marvels in the chapter, it must be borne in mind that our author, as he tells us at the end, only gives them from hearsay. See “Buddhist Records of the Western World,” vol. ii, pp. 214, 215, where the description, however, is very different.

2 Compare the account of Buddha’s great stride of fifteen yojanas in Ceylon, as related in chapter xxxviii.

3 See the same phrase in the Books of the Later Han dynasty, the twenty-fourth Book of Biographies, p. 9b.

Visit by Xuanzang in 639 AD

Alexander Cunningham[9] writes that From Kalinga the Chinese pilgrim Xuanzang proceeded about 1800 or 1900 li, or from 300 to 317 miles,[10] to the

[p.520]: north-west to the kingdom of Kiao-sa-lo, or Kosala. The bearing and distance take us to the ancient province of Vidarbha, or Berar, of which the present capital is Nagpur. This agrees exactly with the position of Kosala as described in the Ratnavali, and in the Vishnu Purana.[11] In the former, the king of Kosala is surrounded in the Vindhyan mountains, and in the latter it is stated that Kusa the son of Rama, ruled over Kosala, at his capital of Kusasthali, or Kusavati, built upon the Vindhyan precipices.

All these concurring data enable us to identify the ancient Kosala with the modern province of Berar, or Gondwana. The position of the capital is more difficult to fix, as Hwen Thsang does not mention its name ; but as it was 40 li, or nearly 7 miles, in circuit, it is most probably represented by one of the larger cities of the present day. These are Chanda, Nagpur, Amaravati, and Elichpur.

Chanda is a walled town, 6 miles in circuit, with a citadel. It is situated just below the junction of the Pain Ganga and Warda rivers, at a distance of 290 miles to the north-west of Rajamahendri, on the Godavari, and of 280 miles from Dharanikota, on the Kistna. Its position, therefore, corresponds almost exactly with the bearing and distance of Hwen Thsang.

Nagpur is a large straggling town, about 7 miles in circuit ; but as it is 85 miles to the north of Chanda, its distance from Rajamahendri is about 70 miles in excess of the number stated by the Chinese pilgrim.

Amaravati is about the same distance from

[p.521]: Rajamahendri, and Elichpur is 30 miles still further to the north. Chanda is therefore the only place of consequence that has a strong claim to be identified with the capital of Kosala in the seventh century. The recorded distance of 1800 or 1900 li from Rajamahendri is further supported by the subsequent distance of 1900 li, or 900 plus 1000 li, to Dhanakakata, which was almost certainly the same place as Dharanikota, or Amaravati, on the Kistna river. Now, the road distance of Chanda from Dharanikota is 280 miles, or 1680 li, by the direct route; but as Hwen Thsang first proceeded for 900li to the south-west, and then for 1000 li to the south, the direct distance between the two places would not have been more than 1700 li.

At 300 li, or 50 miles, to the south-west of the kingdom, there was a high mountain named, which is said to mean the " black peak." M. Julien identifies this name with " Baramula-giri of the present day;"[12] but I cannot find this place in any map or book to which I have access. The mountain is described as very lofty, and without either spurs or valleys, so that it resembled a mere mass of stone. In this mountain King So-to-po-ho, or Satavahan, hewed a pavilion of five storeys, which was accessible by a hollow road many dozens of li, that is many miles, in length. The place was not visited by Hwen Thsang, as the narrator of his journey uses the expression " on arrive," instead of " il arriva." But as the rock is said to have been excavated as a dwelling for the holy Buddhist sage Nagarjuna, the pilgrim would almost certainly have visited it, if it had been only 50 miles

[p.522]: distant from the capital ; and if the south-west bearing is correct, he must have passed quite close to the place on his subsequent journey to Andhra, which is said to be either in the same direction, or towards the south. I conclude, therefore, that the curious, " au sud-ouest du royauvie"[13] which the pilgrim uses to indicate the position of this excavated rock, may possibly refer to the boundary of the kingdom, and consequently that the place must be looked for at 300 li, or 50 miles, beyond its south-west frontier. This position would agree very well with that of the great rock fortress of Deogir, near Elura, and the name of Polomolokili, or Varamula-giri, might be accepted as the original of Varula, or Elura. Parts of the description, such as the long galleries hewn out of the rock, and the cascade of water falling from the top of the rock, agree better with the great Buddhist establishment at Elura than with Deogir. But as the place was not actually visited by Hwen Thsang, his description must have been made up from the varying accounts of different travellers, in which the contiguous sites of Elura and Devagiri were probably treated as one place.

The same rock-hewn habitations are also described by Fa-Hian[14], in the beginning of the fifth century. He calls the excavation the monastery of Pho-lo-yu, or the "Pigeon," and places it in the kingdom of Tathsin, that is in Dakshiana, or the south of India, the present Dakhan. His information was obtained at Banaras ; and as wonders do not lose by distance, his account is even more wonderful than that of Hwen Thsang. The monastery, hewn out of the solid rock, is said to be five storeys in height, each storey in the

[p.523]: shape of a different animal, the fifth, or uppermost, storey being in the form of a Pigeon, from which the monastery received its name. The Chinese syllables Pho-lo-yu must therefore be intended for the Sanskrit Pārāvata, a "pigeon." A spring of water rising in the uppermost storey, descended through all the rooms of the monastery, and then passed out by the gate. In this account we have the five storeys, the spring of water falling from the top, and the name of the place, all agreeing very closely with the description of Hwen Thsang. The chief point of difference is in the meaning assigned to the name, as Hwen Thsang states that Polomolo-kili signifies the "black peak," while according to Fa-Hian, Pholoyu means a " pigeon." But there is still another account, of an intermediate date, which gives a third meaning to the name.

In A.D. 503, the king of Southern India sent an ambassador to China, from whom it was ascertained that in his country there was a fortified city named Pa-lai, or "situated on a height." At 300 li, or 50 miles, to the eastward, there was another fortified town, named in the Chinese translation Fu-cheu-ching, or " ville soumise a ce qui est deteste,"[15] which was the birth-place of a famous saint, whose name was Chu-san-hu, or " Coral-beads " (grains de corail). Now, Pala-mala is the name of a " coral necklace," or " string of coral-beads ;[16] and as it represents every syllable of Hwen Thsang's Polomolo, I presume that it must be the same name. I am unable to explain Hwen Thsang's translation of the name as the "black

[p.524]: peak " in any of the northern dialects ; and I can only suggest that he may perhaps refer to one of the southern or Dravidian dialects. In Kanarese, male is a "hill;" and as para, or "quicksilver," and paras, or the " touchstone," are both of black hue, it is probable that they are connected with πελός. Para, therefore, might signify "black," and paramale would then be the black hill. One of the most venomous snakes in southern India, which is of a very dark blue or almost black colour, is called Para-Gudu. It seems probable, therefore, that Hwen Thsang's translation may be derived from one of the southern dialects. This confusion in the Chinese translations is no doubt due to the very defective power of the Chinese syllables for the transcription of Sanskrit words. Thus, might be read as Paravata, a "pigeon," according to Fa-Hian; or as paravata, " subject," according to the Si-yu-ki ; while it is probable that the true reading should be parvata, a " mountain," as the monastery is specially stated to have been excavated in a rocky hill.

The capital itself was named Pa-lai,[17] which is said to mean " qui s'appuie sur une Eminence." Now the citadel of Chanda is called " Bala kila,", or the " High Fort," which, though a Persian appellation given by the Muhammadans, was very probably suggested by the original appellation of Palai. [18]

In all our Chinese authorities the rock-hewn monastery is connected with a holy sage ; but the name in each account is different. According to Fa-Hian,

[p.525]: it was the monastery of the earlier Buddha named Kasyapa. In the Si-yu-ki, however, it is said to be the birthplace of the Muni Paramal, while Hwen Thsang states that the monastery was excavated by King Satavahan, for the use of the famous Nagarjuna. From the wonderful descriptions of Fa-Hian and Hwen Thsang I have been led to think that their accounts may possibly refer to the grand excavations of Deva-giri and Elura. But if the distance given by Hwen Thsang as well as by the Si-yu-ki is correct, the rock-hewn monastery must be looked for about 50 miles to the west or south-west of Chanda. Now in this very position, that is about 45 miles to the west of Chanda, there is a place in the map called Pandu-kuri, or the "Pandus' houses," which indicates an undoubted ancient site, and may possibly refer to some rock excavations, as the rock-hewn caves at Dhamnar and Kholvi are also assigned to the Pandus, being severally named " Bhim's cave, Arjun's cave," etc. In the total absence of all information, I can only draw attention to the very curious and suggestive name of this place. There is also a series of Buddhist caves at Patur, 50 miles to the south-west of Elichpur and Amaravati, and 80 miles to the east of Ajanta. As these have never been described, it is possible that the site may hereafter be found to correspond with the descriptions of the rock-hewn monastery by Fa-Hian and Hwen Thsang.

The mention of King Satavahana, or Sadavahana, in connection with Nagarjuna is specially interesting, as it shows that the Buddhist caves of Paramala must be as old as the first century of the Christian era. Sadavahana was a family name, and as such is mentioned in one of the cave inscriptions at Nasik.[19] But

[p.526]: Satavahana is also a well-known name of the famous Salivahan,[20] who founded the Saka era in A.D. 79, so that we have a double proof that the Buddhist caves of Paramala must have been excavated as early as the first century. The probable identity of Satavahan and Satakarni will be discussed in another place. We know from the western cave inscriptions that Kosala certainly formed part of the vast southern kingdom of Gotamiputra Satakarni ; and if he flourished in the first century as would appear to be the case,[21] his identity with Satavahan, or Salivahan, would be undoubted. It is sufficient here to note the great probability of this interesting point in the history of Southern India.

The kingdom of Kosala is estimated by Hwen Thsang at 6000 li, or 1000 miles, in circuit. Its frontiers are not named ; but we know from the pilgrim's itinerary that it must have been bounded by Ujain on the north, by Maharashtra on the west, by Orissa on the east, and by Andhra and Kalinga on the south. The limits of the kingdom may be roughly described as extending from near Burhanpur on the Tapti, and Nander on the Godavari, to Ratanpur in Chatisgarh, and to Nowagadha near the source of the Mahanadi. Within these limits the circuit of the

[p.527]: large tract assigned to Kosala is rather more than 1000 miles.


Notable persons


External links


  1. Bhim Singh Dahiya: Aryan Tribes and the Rig Veda
  2. Adi Parva, Mahabharata/Mahabharata Book I Chapter 57 (verse:10-11)
  3. Jat History Dalip Singh Ahlawat/Parishisht-I, s.n. प-37
  4. O.S.Tugania:Jat Samuday ke Pramukh Adhar Bindu, p.48, s.n. 1475
  5. Bhim Singh Dahiya: Aryan Tribes and the Rig Veda
  6. Jats the Ancient Rulers (A clan study)/Appendices/Appendix III,p.335-36
  7. Aryan Tribes and the Rig Veda
  8. A Record of Buddhistic Kingdoms/Chapter 35
  9. The Ancient Geography of India/Southern India, p.519-526
  10. Julien's ' Hiouen Thsang,' vol. i. p. 185, gives 1800 li, and vol. iii. p. 94, 1900 U. See Map No. I.
  11. H. H. Wilson, 'Vishnu Purana,' Hall's edition, ii. 172, note.
  12. ' Hiouen Thsang,' iii. 101, note 4 : " aujourd'hui Baramulaghiri ; " and note 5, " en Chinois, He-fong, le pic noir.
  13. Julieu's ' Hiouen Thsang,' iii. 101.
  14. Beal's 'Fah-Hian,' c. xxxv.
  15. Pauthier, "Bxamen Methodique desfaitsqui concement Tien-tehu, ou l'Inde ;" ' Journal Asiatique,' 1839, p. 292.
  16. Pauthier, ' Journal Asiatique,' Oct. 1839, p. 292.
  17. Pauthier in ' Journal Asiatique,' 1839, p. 293.
  18. We have an example of such translation in Buland-shahr, which the Hindus still call Uncha-gaon.
  19. <Bombay Journal, vii, Nasick inscriptions No. 6, by Mr. West.
  20. Sata, or Sali, was the name of a Yaksha, or demigod, who, being changed to a lion, was ridden by the infant prince, who thus acquired the title of Satavahan, or Salivahan.
  21. The greater number of the inscriptions in the caves of Kanhari, Nasik, and Karle belong to one period ; and as several of them record the gifts of Gotamiputra Satakarni, Pudumayi, and Yadnya-Sri, the whole must be referred to the period of the Andhra sovereignty. But one of them is dated in the year 80 of the Sakaditya-kal, or Sake era, that is in A.D. 108 ; and, therefore, the Andhras must have been reigning at that time.

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