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Author:Laxman Burdak, IFS (Retd.)

Taki (टाकी) or Tse-kia was the Kingdom visited by Xuanzang in 633 AD.

Variants of name

The kingdom of Taki

Alexander Cunningham [1] writes that The kingdom which Hwen Thsang calls Tse-kia , or Taki (टाकी), embraced the whole of the plains of the Panjab from the Indus to the Bias, and from the foot of the mountains to the junction of the five rivers below Multan.1 The Chinese syllable tse is used by Hwen Thsang to represent the cerebral ṭ of the Sanskrit in the name of Danakakaṭa which is found in no less than five of the western cave inscriptions at Kanhari and Karli.2 In Hwen Thsang's travels this name is written To.no. kia-tse.kia, in which the last two syllables are transposed. It is the Danaka of Abu Rihan, which, as will be shown hereafter, is most probably the same as the old town of Dharani-kotta, on the Kistna river, adjoining the modern city of Amaravati. Tse-kia., therefore, represents Ṭāki, which would appear to have been the name of the capital as well as of the kingdom of the Panjab in the seventh century, just as Lahor has since been used to describe both the kingdom and the

1 See Maps Nos. V. and VI.

2 Dr. Stevenson read this name as the Pali form of the Greek Xenokrates, but in all the inscriptions at Kanhari and Karli it is clearly the name of a town or country.

[p.149]: capital of Ranjit Singh. The position of the capital will be discussed hereafter. It will be sufficient at present to note that it was within a few miles of the more ancient capital of She-kie-lo, which was long ago identified by Professor Lassen with the Sakala of the Mahabharata, and with the Sangala of Arrian.

Now the people of Sakala are called Madras, Arattas, Jarttikas, and Bahikas1 in the Mahabharata ; and in the Lexicon of Hemachandra the Bahikas are said to be the same as the Takkas (टक्का).2 Again, in the 'Raja Tarangini,' the district of Takkadesa is mentioned as a part of the kingdom of Gurjjara (or Gujrat, near the Chenab), which Raja Alakhana was obliged to cede to Kashmir between A.D. 883 and 901.3 From these statements it is clear that Sakala was the old capital of the powerful tribe of Takkas, whose country was named after themselves Takka-desa.4 The name of the new capital is not actually stated by Hwen Thsang, but I believe it to have been Taki, or Takkawar, which I would identify with the Tahora of the Pentingerian Tables by the mere softening of the guttural k to the aspirate h. In the latter authority Tahora is placed at 70 Roman miles, or 64⅓ English miles from Spatura, opposite Alexandria Bucefalos.

Early Muhammadan writers

I will now turn to the early Muhammadan writers who have noticed Kashmir and Sindh, and who, therefore can scarcely have omitted all mention of so important a country as the Panjab, which lies

1 In the Mahabharata and Vishnu Purana the name is written Balhika ; but as they follow the Kulutas, it seems certain that the true reading is Bahika, as proposed by Lassen.

2 Lassen, ' Pentapot Indica,' p. 21. Bāhīkāshṭakkanāmāno.

3 'Raja Tarangini,' v. 150, Troyer; v. 155, Calcutta edit.

4 For the position of Sakala, or Taki, see Maps. Nos. V. and VI.

[p.150]: immediately between them. In A.D. 915, Masudi thus describes the Indus, according to Sir Henry Elliot's translation :1

" The Mihran of es-Sind comes from the well-known sources of the high land of es-Sind, from the country belonging to Kinnauj in the kingdom of Budah, and of Kashmir, el Kandahar, and et-Takin. The tributaries which rise in these countries run to el Multan, and from thence the united " river receives the name of Mihran."

In this passage Takin must certainly be intended for the hills of the Panjab. The Kabul river and the Indus both flow through Gandhara or el Kandahar ; the Jhelam comes from Kashmir ; and the Bias and Satlej flow through Jalandhar and Kahlur, which in the time of Hwen Thsang were subject to Kanoj. The only other tributaries of the Indus are the Chenab and the Ravi, which must therefore have flowed through the kingdom of Takin. The mention of Gandhara and Kanoj shows that Masudi does not refer to the actual sources of the rivers, but to the points in the lower ranges of hills, where they enter the plains. Takin therefore, in the time of Masudi, represented the lower hills and plains of the Panjab to the north of Multan, which was then in the possession of the Brahman kings of Kabul.

The name is read Ṫākin, <arabic>, by Sir Henry Elliot, and Tafan, <arabic>, by Gildemeister,2 in his extracts from Masudi. The first reading is supported by the strong authority of Abu Rihan and Rashid-ud-

1 Sir H. M. Elliot's ' Muhammadan Historians of India,' p. 56; and Prof. Dowson's edition, i. 21, where the name is read as Tafan. But Sprenger, in his translation of 'Masudi,' p. 193, gives Tafi, with Takan and Tafan as variants, and at p. 390, Takin.

2 ' De Rebus Indicis,' p. 161.

[p.151]: din, who agree in stating that the great snowy mountain of Kelarjik (or Larjk), which resembled Demavend by its cupola form, could be seen from the boundaries of Takishar and Lohawar.1 Elliot, in one passage, corrects Takishar to Kashmir ; but this alteration is quite inadmissible, as the mountain is specially noted to have been only 2 farsangs, or about 8 miles, distant from Kashmir. One might as well say that St. Paul's Cathedral is visible from Ludgate Hill and Windsor. The mountain here referred to is the great Dayamur, or Nanga Parbat, to the west of Kashmir, which is 26,629 feet in height ; and which I have myself seen repeatedly from Ramnagar, on the Chenab, a distance of 200 miles. In a second passage of the same author, Sir Henry calls the mountain Kalarchal,2 and the two places from which it can be seen be names Takas and Lohawar. This Takas, or Takishar, I take to be the same place as the Tsekia, or Taki of Hwen Thsang, and the Takin of Masudi.

The earliest Muhammadan author who mentions Taki is the merchant Suliman, who visited the east before A.D. 851, when his account was written. He describes Tafak, <arabic>, as not of very great extent, and its king as weak, and subject to the neighbouring princes ; but he adds that he possessed "the finest white women in all the Indies.3 As Tafak and Takin are almost the same in unpointed Persian characters, I have

1 Reinaud, ' Fragments Arabes,' p. 118. In Sir H. M. Elliot, p. 41, and in Dowson's edition of Elliot, i. 65, Takishar is altered to Kashmir.

2 Sir H. M. Elliot, p. 30 ; and Dowson's edition, i. 46. If this is the same as Ibn Batuta's Karachal, or " Black Mountain," the identification with Nanga Parbat, or the " Bare Mountain " is nearly certain, as " bareness " means " blackness," from want of snow.

3 Sir Henry Elliot, p. 49 ; and Dowson's edition, i. 4.

[p.152]: no hesitation in identifying Tafak with the Panjab, where the women, and especially those of the lower hills, are the " fairest," as well as the " finest," in India.

Ibn Khurdadba, who died in A.D. 912, mentions the king of Taffa1 as next in eminence to the Balhara. Lastly, Kazwini describes Taifand, which was taken by Mahmud of Ghazni in A.D. 1023, as a strong Indian fort, on the top of an inaccessible mountain.2 This account agrees with the actual hill of Sangala, which is almost inaccessible on three sides, and on the fourth is protected by a sheet of water.

All these slightly different names of Takin, Tafan, Tafak, Taffa, Takas, and Takishar, I take to be only various readings of the one original form of Taki, or Takin, which, when written without the diacritical points, may be read in several different ways. M. Reinaud gives another spelling as Taban, which, without the points, may be read in as many different ways as the other form of Tafan. I conclude, therefore, that the true form of the name of the country was Taki (टाकी), or Taka (टाका), as recorded by Hwen Thsang. The name of the capital was probably either Takin or Takkawar, of which the former agrees exactly with Kazwini's Taifand, and the latter with the Tahora of the Pentingerian Tables. I consider it almost certain that the name must have been derived from the tribe of Taks or Takkas, who were once the undisputed lords of the Panjab, and who still exist as a numerous agricultural race in the lower hills between the Jhelam and the Ravi.

1 Sir Henry Elliot, ' Muhammadan Historians of India,' p. 53. In Dowson's edition, i. 13, this name is written Tafan

2 Gildemeister, ' De Rebus Indicis,' p. 208.

Ṭākari characters

[p.153]: The former importance of this race is perhaps best shown by the fact that the old Nāgari characters, which are still in use throughout the whole country from Bamiyan to the banks of the Jumna, are named Ṭākari, most probably because this particular form was brought into use by the Taks or Takkas. I have found these characters in common use under the same name amongst the grain dealers to the west of the Indus, and to the east of the Satlej, as well as amongst the Brahmans of Kashmir and Kangra. It is used in the inscriptions, as well as upon the coins of Kashmir and Kangra ; it is seen on the Sati monuments of Mandi, and in the inscriptions of Pinjor ; and lastly, the only copy of the ' Raja Tarangini ' of Kashmir was preserved in the Takari characters. I have obtained copies of this alphabet from twenty-six different places between Peshawar and Simla. In several of these places the Takari is also called Munde and Lunde, but the meaning of these terms is unknown. The chief peculiarity of this alphabet is, that the vowels are never attached to the consonants, but are always written separately, with, of course, the single exception of the inherent short a. It is remarkable also that in this alphabet the initial letters of the cardinal numbers have almost exactly the same forms as the nine unit figures in present use.

Divisions of Kingdom of Taki: In the seventh century the kingdom of Taki was divided into three provinces, namely,

  1. Taki in the north and west,
  2. Shorkot in the east, and
  3. Multan in the south.

The province of Taki comprised the plains of the Panjab, lying between the Indus and the Bias, to the north of the Multan district, or the whole of the Chaj Doab, together with the upper portions of the

[p.154]:three Doabs of Sindh-Sagar, Richna, and Bari.

The province of Shorkot comprised the middle portions of these Doabs, and

the province of Multan their lower portions. It is probable, also, that the possessions of Multan may have extended some distance to the west of the Indus as well as to the east of the Satlej, as was the case in the time of Akbar.

1. Taki or Northern Punjab

The province of Taki contained several of the most celebrated places of ancient India ; some renowned in the wars of Alexander, some famous in Buddhist history, and others known only in the widely-spread traditions of the people. The following is a list of the most important of the ancient places, arranged according to their relative geographical positions from west to east. The names of the Doabs were invented by Akbar by combining the names of the including rivers. Thus, Chaj is an abbreviation of Chenab and Jhelam ; Richna of Ravi and Chenab ; and Bari of Bias and Ravi.

Doab Place name
Sindh-Sagar Doab 1. Jobnathnagar, or Bhira.
2. Bukephala, or Dilawar.
Chaj Doab 3. Nikaen or Mong
4. Gujrat.
Richna Doab 5. Sakala, or Sangala.
6. Taki, or Asarur.
7. Narsingha, or Ransi.
8. Ammakatis, or Ambakapi.
Bari Doab 9. Lohawar, or Lahor.
10. Kusawar, or Kasur.
11. Chinapati, or Patti.