Salt Range

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Salt Range (Koh-i-Jud, mountains of Jud) is a hill system in the Punjab, Pakistan, extending from the Jhelum River to the Indus. It is considered to be the original home of Jats by historians. Sakaser and Tilla Jogian are the highest peaks of Salt Range. Khabikki Lake and Uchhali Lake are lakes in the Salt Range.

Origin of name

It derives its name from its extensive deposits of rock salt. The Salt Range contains the great mines of Mayo, Khewra, Warcha and Kalabagh, which yield vast supplies of salt.


Amanda is an ancient country mentioned by Greek historians and identified with the Salt Range in Punjab, Pakistan. Jat clans as described by Megasthenes mentions about the country Amanda inhabited by four tribes as under :

23. Then succeeds a level tract of country known by the general name of Amanda (Manda) - The Peucolaitae (Panghal), Arsagalitae (Asiagh), Geretae (Getae), Asoi (Asiagh), Whereof the tribes are four in number

Two interesting sites

Two interesting sites are close to Kathwai, Kutte Mar and Tulaja fort. At Kuttee Mar to the Northeast of Kathwai are Muslim graves made of Kangar and the purported grave of a dog that is said to have died defending the wedding procession of its owner from an attack by bandits. Kutte Mar may have been the place where the Khura inscription of Toramana was found (Buhler 1891-92, 238-41; Sircar 1965: 422-4). If this assessment is correct, a Buddhist monastery was established here around 500. A.D. This inscription and another fragmentary inscription found at Sakaser (Pakistan Archaeology 5, 1968: 284-70) confirm that this area was a flourishing, centre for Buddhism, which is borne out by the extensive archaeological remains.

The Tulaja fort is located on a huge rock outcropping with sheer cliffs overlooking the shrine of Kacchianwalla and the Punjab plains. The entire area is covered with the ruins of defensive walls, houses, and other structures made of large stone blocks. One of the most interesting features is a large square tank made of the flat rectangular bricks, which may have supplied water so that the fort could withstand a siege. Comparing this tank with those in other forts may help in assigning a relative date to its construction. In addition to architectural styles, evidence from any coins, which are found here, may help to indicate if this city belonged to the period of the Turk Sultans, Lodhis or Mughals. Extensive remains of a cemetery and other settlements are on the slopes below the fort. There are also supposed to be some remains on Tulaji across the valley from Talaja.

Jat History

Hukum Singh Panwar[1] quotes Ptolemy[2] (63 B.C. to 23 A.D.) mentions the Zaratoi living near Jalandhar, whereas Pliny[3] (23-79 A.D.) describes Geratae in the country of Amanda, identified with the Salt Ranges in Panjab. As the names of Zaratoi and Geretae suggest, they are undoubtedly the Jartas of the Indian texts41, who defeated42 the Huns in India at a later date. These people are also identified with the Jats43. If this identity is correct, as is firmly believed by some historians of the Jats, it does prove the presence of the Jats in Panjab in the contemporary period of the above cited Greek and Roman historians, and also of the Scythic invaders.

It is extremely interesting to note the remarks of Diodorus Siculus[4] (60-20 B.C.) about the contemporary Indian tribes that "not even one of them was originally of foreign descent and all were evidently indigenous to India where from the have spread out."

Pliny[5] opines that "they are continuing from the past." The views of Megasthenes, who was, in his capacity of an ambassador at the court of Chandragupta Maurya, more familiar with the Indian people than any other foreign writer of that period, are no less significant and naturally enjoy more credibility. He46 observes that "none of the peoples inhabiting India is

The Jats:Their Origin, Antiquity and Migrations: End of p.180

an alien and all of them are India's indigenous citizens".

Jats the original inhabitants

Jats appear to be the original race of Sind valley, stretching from the mouth of Indus to as far as the valley of Peshawar.[6] Traditionally Jats of Sind consider their origin from the far northwest and claimed ancient Garh Gajni (modern Rawalpindi) as their original abode.[7] Persian chronicler Firishta strengthened this view and informs us that Jats were originally living near the river of the Koh-i-Jud (Salt Range) in northwest Punjab.[8] The Jats then occupied the Indus valley and settled themselves on both the banks of the Indus River. By the fourth century region of Multan was under their control.[9] Then they rose to the sovereign power and their ruler Jit Salindra, who promoted the renown of his race, started the Jat colonisation in Punjab and fortified the town Salpur/Sorpur, near Multan.[10]

Kharavela belonged to Salt Range

Some historians have tried to speculate the origin of Kharavela from Salt Range. It would be better to take Kharavela as the prakrit form of Sanskrit word Ksharavela (Devanagari:क्षारवेल). It is significant to note here that the letter Khā (Devanagari:खा) in the Hathigumpha inscription invariably stands for kshā (Devanagari:क्षा) So, Khāra (Devanagari:खार) has to be taken as Kshāra (Devanagari:क्षार) meaning saltish and Vela means wave or shore. The word Khāra(Devanagari:खार) is still in vogue in many a northwestern Indian language in the sense “Saltish”, and the second component, vela, is also reminiscent of the word vela meaning wave or shore. [11] Khāra (Devanagari:खार) word of Hindi indicates its linkages with northwest India. In northwest India, we find mention of Khārvel as a clan originated from samrat Kharavela, in the list of Jat clans given by Jat historians. Similarly in Jat history books Ail (ऐल) has been mentioned as Aryans habitatants in northwest and Air (ऐर) as a Jat clan originated from Nagavanshi ruler named Airawat. [12] It needs more research to find the exact origin of Kharavela.

Clan of Kharavela: As pointed out earlier it needs more research to find the exact origin of Kharavela. The author got a chance to visit Udayagiri and Khandagiri caves near Bhubaneswar on 15-2-2007 and saw Hathigumpha inscription personally. The main source of information about Kharavela is his famous seventeen line Hathigumpha inscription in a cave in Udayagiri hill near Bhubaneswar in Orissa.

To arrive at some conclusion we have to find the origin of words mentioned in Hathigupha inscription. From the very first line we find that

Aireṇa Mahārājena Mahāmeghavāhana Cetarāja vasa Vadhanena xxx Kalimgādhipatinā Siri Khāravelan

Khāra word of Hindi indicates its linkages with northwest India. It means the origin of this clan is from Salt-range area situated in Sindh, which is considered to be the original home of Jats by historians. [13]

Jat clans migrated to Jangladesh

Earlier a number of Jat clans were in Central Asia, who migrated to northern Salt-range Punjab region in India and at the time of Alexander invasion in Punjab in 326 B.C. they fought with Alexander . Saran, Sihag,Punia,Godara,Beniwal and Johiya clans migrated to north Rajasthan region known as Jangladesh and ruled there upto 15th century.


  1. The Jats:Their Origin, Antiquity and Migrations/The Scythic origin of the Jats, p. 180-181
  2. Ancient India as described by Ptolemy, ed. by McCrindle, reprinted by Surendra Nath Majumdar Sastri, Calcutta. 1927, p. 288. Satya Shrava, Sakas in Ind., Delhi, 1981, p. 5.
  3. Majumdar, R.C.; The Classical Accts. of Ind., p. 345.
  4. Majumdar, op.cit., p.,235.
  5. Ibid., p. 340.
  6. Dr S.Jabir Raza, The Jats - Their Role and Contribution to the Socio-Economic Life and Polity of North and North West India. Vol I, 2004, Ed Dr Vir Singh
  7. Elliot, op. cit., Vol.I, p.133
  8. Muhammad Qasim Hindu Shah Firista, Gulsan-i-Ibrahimi, commonly known as Tarikh-i-Firishta, Nawal Kishore edition, (Kanpur, 1865), Vol.I, p.35
  9. Dr S.Jabir Raza, The Jats - Their Role and Contribution to the Socio-Economic Life and Polity of North and North West India. Vol I, 2004, Ed Dr Vir Singh
  10. Inscription No.1, Tod, op.cit., Vol.I, p. 622-23.
  11. Sadananda Agrawal: Śrī Khāravela, Published by Sri Digambar Jain Samaj, Cuttack, 2000
  12. Dr Mahendra Singh Arya, Dharmpal Singh Dudee, Kishan Singh Faujdar & Vijendra Singh Narwar: Ādhunik Jat Itihasa (The modern history of Jats), Agra 1998
  13. Dr S.Jabir Raza, The Jats - Their Role and Contribution to the Socio-Economic Life and Polity of North and North West India. Vol I, 2004, Ed Dr Vir Singh

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