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Punach

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Author:Laxman Burdak, IFS (Retd.)

Punach was one of Buddhist Kingdoms visited by Xuanzang in 633 AD. It has been identified with Punch town in Poonch District in the Jammu and Kashmir. [1]

Visit by Xuanzang in 633 AD

Alexander Cunningham[2] writes about Punacha or Punach:

[p.128]: The district of Puan-nu-tso, or Punacha, is placed by Hwen Thsang at 700 li, or 117 miles, to the south-west of Kashmir.1 It is called Punats by the Kashmiris, who have adopted a soft pronunciation of the ch, as in Pir Pantsal for Panchal of the Panjabis. Moorcroftf spells the name Prunch, or Pruntz, according to the Kashmiris. General Court also has Prunch ; but it is called Punje by Wilford's surveyor, Mirza Mogal Beg, and Punch by Vigne, both of whom actually visited the place. Its distance from Kashmir, as measured on the map via Barahmula and Uri is 75 miles, which is equal to about 100 miles of actual road distance.2

Hwen Thsang describes Punach as 2000 li, or 333 miles, in circuit, which is just about twice its actual size. On the west it is bounded by the Jhelam, on the north by the Pir Panchal range, and on the east and south-east by the small state of Rajaori. But these limits, which include the potty state of Kotali, are not more than 170 miles in circuit ; and even if the tract at the source of the Punach river be included, the frontier


1 Julien's ' Hiouen Thsang,' ii. 187.

2 ' Travels,' ii. 298.

3 See Maps Nos. V. and VI.


[p.129]: will not be more than 200 miles in circuit. But as the distances in the mountain districts were most probably estimated by the lengths of the roads, the circuit of the frontier line may be taken as equivalent to about 300 miles in road distance.

In the seventh century Punach was without a king, and subject to Kashmir ; but in later times it had a chief of its own, whose descendants. Shir Jang Khan and Shams Khan, were put to death by Gulab Singh, of Jammu, and this petty sovereignty once more forms part of the kingdom of Kashmir.

References