The Ancient Geography of India/Central India

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The Ancient Geography of India: I.
The Buddhist Period, Including the Campaigns of Alexander, and the Travels of Hwen-Thsang
Sir Alexander Cunningham
Trübner and Company, 1871 - India

Central India

[p.327]: According to the Chinese pilgrim, the great division of Central India extended from the Satlej to the head of the Gangetic Delta, and from the Himalaya mountains to the Narbada and Mahanadi rivers. It coni-

[p.328]: prised all the richest and most populous districts of India, -with the single exception of the Gangetic Delta, or Bengal proper.1 Of the seventy separate states of India that existed in the seventh century, no less than thirty-seven, or rather more than one-half, belonged to Central India. The whole of these districts were visited by Hwen Thsang, whose footsteps I will now attend in describing the different principalities from west to cast in the following order : —

1. Sthaneswara.

2. Bairat.

3. Srughna.

4. Madawar.

5. Brahmapura.

6. Govisana.

7. Ahichhatra.

8. Pilosana.

9. Sankisa.

10. Mathura.

11. Kanoj.

12. Ayuto.

13. Hayamukha.

14. Prayaga.

15. Kosambi.

16. Kusapura.

17. Vaisakha.

18. Sravasti.

19. Kapila.

20. Kusinagara.

21. Varanasi.

22. Yodhapatipura.

23. Vaisala.

24. Vriji.

25. Nepala.

26. Magadha.

27. Hiranya Parvata.

28. Champa.

29. Kankjol.

30. Paundra Varddhana.

31. Jajhoti.

32. Maheswarapura.

33. Ujain.

34. Malwa.

35. Kheda or Khaira.

36. Anandapura.

37. Vadari, or Eder.

1. Sthaneswara.

In the seventh century Sa-ta-ni-shi-fa-lo, or Sthaneswara, was the capital of a separate kingdom, which is

1 See Map No. I.

[p.329]: described as being 7000 li, or 1107 miles, in circuit. No king is mentioned, but the state was tributary to Harsha Varddhana of Kanoj, who was the paramount sovereign of Central India. From the large dimensions given by Hwen Thsang, I infer that the district must have extended from the Satlej to the Ganges.[1] Its northern boundary may be approximately described as a straight line drawn from Hari-ki-patan, on the Satlej, to Muzaffarnagar, near the Ganges; and its southern boundary as an irregular line drawn from near Pak-patan, on the Satlej, via Bhatner and Narnol, to Anupshahar on the Ganges. These limits give a boundary of about 900 miles, which is nearly one- fourth less than is stated by the pilgrim. But it is certain that many of these boundary measurements must be exaggerated, as the distances could only have been estimated, and the natural tendency of most persons is rather to overstate the actual size of their native districts. Another source of error lies in the deficient information of Hwen Thsang's own narrative, which describes each of the 37 districts as a distinct and separate state, whereas it is almost certain that several of the minor states should be included within the boundaries of the larger ones. Thus I believe that the petty districts of Govisana and Ahichhatra must have formed part of the state of Madawar ; that Vaisakha and Kusapura, and the other small districts of the Gangetic Doab, Ayuto, Hayamukha, Kosambi, and Prayaga, were included in Kanoj ; that Kusinagara belonged to Kapila; and that Vadari and Kheda were integral parts of Malwa. In some instances also, I believe that thousands have been inserted in the

  1. See Map No, X.

[p.330]: text instead of hundreds. I refer specially to the petty districts in the lower Gangetic Doab. Thus, Prayaga, or Allahabad, is said to be 5000 li, or 833 miles, in circuit, and Kosambi, which is only 30 miles from Allahabad, is said to be 6000 li, or 1000 miles, in circuit ! In both of these instances I would read the smaller numbers of 500 li, or 83 miles, and 600 li, or 100 miles, which would then agree with the actual dimensions of these petty divisions. It is quite certain that they could not have been larger, as they were completely surrounded by other well-known districts. By making due allowance for one or other of these sources of error, I think it will be found that Hwen Thsang's measurements are in general not very far from the truth.

The town of Sthaneswara, or Thanesar, consists of an old ruined fort, about 1200 feet square at top, with the modern town on a mound to the east, and a suburb called Bahari, or "without," on another mound to the west. Altogether, the three old mounds occupy a space nearly one mile in length from east to west, and about 2000 feet in average breadth. These dimensions give a circuit of 14,000 feet, or less than 2-3/4 miles, which is somewhat under the 20 li, or 3-1/3 miles, of Hwen Thsang. But before the inroads of the Muhammadans, it is certain, from the number of brick ruins still existing, as well as from the statements of the people themselves, that the whole of the intervening space between the present town and the lake, which is now called Darra, must have formed part of the old city. Taking in this space, the original city would have been, as nearly as possible, an exact square of one mile on each side, which would give a

[p.331]: circuit of 4 miles, or a little more than the measurement of the Chinese pilgrim. According to tradition, the fort was built by Raja Dilipa, a descendant of Kuru, five generations anterior to the Pandus. It is said to have had 52 towers or bastions, of which some remains still exist. On the west side the earthen ramparts rise to a height of 60 feet above the road ; but the mass of the interior is not more than 40 feet high. The whole mound is thickly covered with large broken bricks, but with the exception of three old wells, there are no remains of any antiquity.

The name of Thanesar or Sthanesvara is said to be derived ether from the Sthana or abode of Iswara or Mahadeva, or from the junction of his names of Sthanu and Iswara, or from Sthanu and sar " lake." The town is one of the oldest and most celebrated places in India, but the earliest certain notice of it under this name is by the Chinese pilgrim Hwen Thsang, in A.D. 634, although it is most probably mentioned by Ptolemy as Batan-Kaisara, for which we should, perhaps, read Satan-aisara, for the Sanskrit Sthaneswara. But the place was more famous for its connection with the history of the Pandus, than for its possession of a temple of Mahadeva, whose worship, in India at least, must be of much later date than the heroes of the Mahabharata. All the country immediately around Thanesar, between the Saraswati and Drishadwati rivers, is known by the name of Kurukshetra, that is, the "field or land oi Kuru," who is said to have become an ascetic on the bank of the great holy lake to the south of the town. This lake is called by various names, as Brahma-Sar, Rama-hrad, Vayu, or Vayava-Sar, and Pavana-Sar. The first

[p.332]: name is attributed to Brahma, because he performed a sacrifice on its banks. The second name is derived from Parasu-Rama, who is said to have spilt the blood of the Kshatriyas in this place. The last two titles are derived from the names of the god of Wind, on account of the pleasant breezes -which blew over the waters of the lake during Kuru's period of asceticism. This lake is the centre of attraction for most pilgrims ; but all around it for many miles is holy ground, and the number of holy places connected with the Kauravas and Pandavas, and with other heroes of antiquity, is very great indeed. According to popular belief, the exact number is 360, but the list given in the Karukshetra Mahatamya is limited to 180 places, of which one-half, or 91, are to the north along the line of the venerated Sarasvati river. There are, however, in this list so many omissions of places of acknowledged importance, such as the Nagahrada at Pundri, the Vysasthala at Basthali, the Parasaratirath at Balu, and the Vishnu-tirath at Sagga, near Narana, that I feel inclined to believe that the popular number of 360 may not be exaggerated.

The Chakra or district oi Kurukshetra, is also called Dharma-Kshetra, or the " holy land," which is evidently the original of Hwen Thsang's " champ du heur." In his time the circle of pilgrimage was limited to 200 li,[1] which, at his valuation of 40 li to the Indian yojana of 4 kos, is equivalent to 20 kos. In the time of Akbar, however, the circle had already been increased to 10 kos,[2] and at the time of my visit it had been extended to 48 kos, although the 40 kos circuit was also -well known, and is, indeed, noted

  1. Julien's ' Hiouen Thsang,' ii. 213.
  2. 'Ayin Akbari,' ii. 517.

[p.333]: by Mr. Bowring. The circuit stated by the Chines pilgrim could not have been more than 35 or 40 miles, at 7 or 8 miles to the yojana, but the circle mentioned by Abul Fazl could not be less than 53 miles, at the usual valuation of the Padshahi kos at 1-1/3 miles, and might, at Sir H. Elliot's valuation of Akbar's kos at more than 2½ miles, be extended to upwards of 100 miles. It is possible, indeed, to make these different statements agree very closely by changing the pilgrim's number to 400 li, or 10 yojanas, which are equivalent to 40 kos, or 80 miles, and by estimating Abul Fazl's 40 kos at the usual Indian rate of about 2 miles each. I am myself quite satisfied of the necessity for making this correction in the pilgrim's number, as the narrow extent of his circle would not only shut out the equally famous shrines at Prithudaka, or Pehoa on the Saraswati, and at the Kausiki-Sangam, or junction of the Kausiki and Drishadawati rivers, but would actually exclude the Drishadwati itself, which in the Vamana Purana is specially mentioned as being within the limits of the holy land, —

Dirgh-Kshetre Kurukshetre Dirgha Satranta yire
Nudyastire Drishadvatyah punyayah Suchirodhasah.

" They were making the great sacrifice of Satranta in the wide region of Kurukshetra on the banks of the Drishadwati, esteemed holy on account of its virtues." This river is also specially mentioned in the Vana Parva of the Mahabharata as being the southern boundary of the holy land.[1]

Dakshinena Sarasvatya Drishadvatyuttarena-cha
Ye vasanti Kurukshetre te vasanti trivishtape.
दक्षिणेन सरस्वत्या उत्तरेण दृषद्वतीम
ये वसन्ति कुरुक्षेत्रे ते वसन्ति तरिविष्टपे [2]

" South from Saraswati, and north from Drishadwati,

[p.334]: they who dwell in Kurukshetra live in paradise." From those texts it is certain that the holy land of Kurukshetra must have extended to the Drishadwati in the time of Hwen Thsang, and therefore that his limitation of its circuit to 200 li, or 20 kos, must be erroneous.

In another passage of the Mahabharata, the boundaries of the holy land are even more explicitly detailed,--- [1]

Tad ratnukuratnukyor yadantaram Ramahradanan-cha Bhachak-nukasya-cha
Etat Kurukshetra, Samanta — panchakam, Pitamahasyottara Vediruchyate.
तरन्तुकारन्तुकयॊर यद अन्तरं; रामह्रदानां च मचक्रुकस्य
एतत कुरुक्षेत्रसमन्तपञ्चकं; पिता महस्यॊत्तर वेदिर उच्यते [2]

" The tract between Ratnuka, Aratnuka, Ramahrada and Bhachakanuka, is called Kurukshetra, Samantapanchaka, and the northern Vedi of Pita-maha (or Brahma)." As this last name of Brahma-vedi is equivalent to Brahmvartta, we have another testimony in the Code of Manu for extending the holy land to the banks of the Drishadwati.[3]

Sarasvati Drishadvatyordeva nudyor yadantaram
Tandeva nirmitam-desan Brahmavarttan prachakshate.

"That region, made by the Gods, which is between the Saraswati and Drishadwati rivers, is called Brahmavartta."

The great lake of Kurukshetra is an oblong sheet of water 3546 feet in length from east to west, and 1900 feet in breadth. It is mentioned by Abu Rihan,[4] who records, on the authority of Varaha Mihira, that during eclipses of the moon the waters of all other

  1. Vana Parva, chap. 83, last verse.
  2. Vana Parva, Mahabharata/Book III Chapter 81, v.178
  3. Houngston's 'Institutes of Menu,' ii. 17.
  4. Reinaud, 'Momoire sur l'Inde/p. 287.

[p.335]: tanks visit the tank at Thanesar, so that the bather in this tank at the moment of eclipse obtains the additional merit of bathing in all the other tanks at the same time.

This notice by Varaha Mihira carries us hack at once to A.D.500, when the holy tank at Thanesar was in full repute. But the Pauranic legends attribute to it an antiquity long anterior even to the Pandus them-selves. On its banks Kuru, the common ancestor of the Kauravas and Pandavas, sat in ascetic abstraction ; here Parasu-Rama slew the Kshatriyas, and here Pururavas having lost the nymph Urvasi, at length met his celestial bride at Kurukshetra "sporting with four other nymphs of heaven in a lake beautiful with lotuses." But the story of the horse-headed Dadhyanch, or Dadhicha, is perhaps even older than the legend of Pururavas, as it is alluded to in the Rigveda.[1] " With his bones Indra flew ninety times nine Vritras." The scholiast explains this by saying, that the thunderbolt of Indra was formed of the horse's head with which the Aswins had supplied the headless Dadhyanch, that he might* teach his science to them. According to the legend, Dadhyanch during his life- time had been the terror of the Asuras, who, after his death, multiplied and overspread the whole earth. Then "Indra inquiring what had become of him, and whether nothing of him had been left behind, was told that the horse's head was still in existence, but no one knew where. Search was made fer it, and it was found in the lake Sanyanavat on the skirts of Kurukshetra." I infer that this is only another name for the great tank of Kurukshetra, and consequently

  1. Wilson's translation, i. 216.

[p.336]: that the sacred pool is at least as old as the Rigveda itself. I think it also probable that the Chakra-tirath, or spot where Visnu is said to have taken up his Chakra, or discus, to kill Bhishma, may have been the original spot where Indra slew the Vritras, and that the bones, which wore afterwards assigned to the Pandus, may have been those of the Vritras of the older legend. In support of this suggestion, I may mention that the Chakratirath is close to Asthipur or the "place of bones." In A.D. 634 these bones were shown to the Chinese pilgrim, Hwen Thsang, who records that they were of very large size.[1] All my inquiries for them were fruitless, but the site of Asthipur, or " Bone-town, is still pointed out in the plain lo the west of the city, near Aujas-ghat.

Pehoa or Prithudaka

The old town of Pehoa or Prithudaka is situated on the south bank of the Sarasuti, 11 miles to the west of Thanesar. The place derives its name from the famous Prithu Chakra-vartti, who is said to have been the first person that obtained the title of Raja. At his birth, according to the Vishnu Purana,[2] "all living creatures rejoiced," because he was born to put an end to the anarchy which then prevailed over the whole earth. The story of the cure of Raja Vena's leprosy, by bathing in the Saraswati is told in the same Purana. On his death, his son Prithu performed the usual Sraddha, or funeral ceremonies, and for twelve days after the cremation he sat on the bank of the Saraswati offering water to all comers. The place was therefore

  1. Julien's ' Hiouen Thsang,' ii. 214.
  2. "Book; 1-13, Hall's cdition of Wilson'stranslation, i. 183

[p.337]: named Prithudaka or Prithu's pool, from daka or udaka water ; and the city which he afterwards built on the spot was called by the same name. The shrine of Prithudaka has a place in the Kurukshetra Mahatmya, and is still visited.


Five miles to the south- south-east of Thanesar there is a large and lofty mound called Amin, which is said by the Brahmans to be a contraction of Abhimanyu Khera, or the mound of Abhimanyu, the son of Arjuna. The place is also named Chakra-bhyu, or the " Arrayed army," because the Pandus hero assembled their troops before their last battle with the Kauravas. Here Abhimanyu was killed by Jayadratha, who was himself killed the next day by Arjuna. Here Aditi is said to have seated herself in ascetic abstraction to obtain a son, and here accordingly she gave birth to Suryya, or the Sun. The mound is about 2000 feet in length from north to south, and 800 feet in breadth, with a height of from 20 to 30 feet. On the top there is a small village called Amin, inhabited by Gaur Brahmans, with a temple to Aditi, and a Suryya Kund on the east, and a temple to Surrya on the west. The Suryya Kund is said to represent the spot where the Sun was born, and accordingly all women who wish for male children pay their devotions at the temple of Aditi on Sunday, and after-wards bathe in the Suraj Kund.

2. Bairat

According to Hwen Thsang the capital of the kingdom of Poli-ye-to-lo which M. Reinaud has identified with Paryatra or Bairat, was situated at 500 li, or

[p.338]: 83-2/3 miles, to the west of Mathura, and about 800 li, 133-2/3 miles, to the, south-west of the kingdom of She-to-tu-lo[1] that is, of Satadru, or the Satlej. The bearing and distance from Mathura point unequivocally to Bairath the ancient capital of Matsya as the city of Hwen Thsang's narrative, although it is upwards of 100 miles further to the south of Kullu than is recorded by the pilgrim. But I have already given an explanation of this discrepancy in my account of the intermediate position of Satadru in Northern India.

Abu Rihan, the contemporary of Mahmud, places Narana, the capital of Karzat, at 28 parasangs to the west of Mathura,[2] which, taking the parasang at 3½ miles, would make the distance 98 miles, or 14 miles in excess of the measurement of Hwen Thsang. But as the narratives of the different Muhammadan historians leave no doubt of the identity of Narana, the capital of Karzat, with Narayana the capital of Bairat, this difference in the recorded distance from Mathura, is of little moment. According to Abu Rihan, Narana, or Bazana, was called Narayan,<arabic> by the Musalmans, a name which still exists in Narayanpur, a town situated at 10 miles to the north-east of Bairat itself. From Kanoj to Narana, Abu Rihan gives two distinct routes; the first direct via Mathura being 56 parasangs, or 196 miles, and the other to the south of the Jumna being 88 prasangs, or 308 miles.[3] The inter-mediate stages of the later route are, 1st, Asi, 18 para-

  1. Julien's ' Hiouen Thsang,' pp. 206-207. See Map No. X.
  2. Reinaud, ' Fragments .'Aabes at Persans,' p. lo7. The translator gives Bazana, but this has been corrected by Sir H. M. Elliot to Narana.
  3. Reinaud, 'Fragments,' p. 100 ; Dowson's edit, of Sir H. Elliot,i. 58

[p.339]: sangs, or 63 miles; 2nd, Sakina, 17 parasangs, or 59½ miles; 3rd, Jandara, 18 parasangs, or 63 miles; 4th, Rajauri, either l5 or 17 parasangs, 54 or 59½ miles, and 5th, Bazana, or Narana, 20 parasaiigs, or 70 miles. As the direction of the first stage is speeially recorded to have been to 'the south-west of Kanoj, it may be at once identified -with the Asai Ghat on the Jumna, 6 miles to the south of Etawa, and about 60 miles to the south-west of Kanoj. The name of the second stage is written ...?... Sahina, for which by the simple shifting of the diacritical points, I propose to read ...?... Suhania, which is the name of a very large and famous ruined town situated 25miles tothe north of Gwalior. Its distance from the Assai Ghat is about 50 miles. The third stage named Jandara by M. Reinaud, and Chandra by Sir Henry Elliot, I take to be Hindon reading ,...?... for...?... distance from Suhaniya by the Khetri Ghat on the Chambal river is about 70 miles. The fourth stage, named Rajori, still exists under the same name, 12 miles to the south-west of Macheri, and about 50 miles to the north-west of Hindon. From thence to Narainpur and Bairat, the road lies altogether through the hills of Alwar or Macheri, which makes it difficult to ascertain the exact distance. By measurements on the lithographed map of eight miles to the inch, I make the distance to be about 60 miles, which is sufficiently near the 20 parasangs, or 70 miles, of Abu Rihan's account.

According to the other itineraries of Abu Rihan, Narana was 25 parasangs the north of Chitor in Mewar, 50 parasangs to the east of Multan, and 60

[p.340]: parasangs to the north-east of Anhalwara.[1] The bearings of these places from Bairat are all sufficiently exact, but the measurements are more than one-half too short. For the first distance of 25 parasangs to Chitor, I would propose to read 65 parasangs, or 227 miles, the actual distance by the measured routes of the quartermaster-general being 217¾ miles. As the distance of Chitor is omitted in the extract from Abu Rihan which is given by Rashid-ud-din, it is probable that there may have been some omission or confusion in the original of the Tarikh-i-Hind from which he copied. The erroneous measurement of 50 parasangs to Multan is perhaps excusable, on the ground that the direct route through the desert being quite im-passable for an army, the distance must have been estimated. The error in the distance of Anhalwara I would explain by referring the measurement of 60 parasangs to Chitor, which lies about midway between 35airat and Anhalwara. From a comparison of all these different itineraries, I have no hesitation what-ever in identifying bazana or Narana, the capital of Karzat or Guzrat, with Narayanapura, the capital of Bairat or Vairat. In Ferishta the latter name is written either Kibrat <arabic> in Dow, or Kairat <arabic> as in Briggs, both of which names are an easy misreading of <arabic> Wairat or Virat, as it would have been written by the Muhammadans.

Virat, the capital of Matsya, is celebrated in Hindu legends as the abode of the Five Pandus during their exile of 12 years from Dilli or Indraprastha. The country was also famous for the valour of its people, as Manu directs that the van of an army should be

  1. Reinaud, 'Fragments,' pp. 108-112

[p.341]: composed of " men born in Kurukshetra near Indraprastha, in Matsya or Virata, in Panchala or Kanya Kubja, and in Surasena of the district of Mathura."[1] The residence of Bhim Pandu is still shown on the top of a long low rocky hill about one mile to the north of the town. The hill is formed of enormous blocks of coarse gritty quartz, which are much weather-worn and rounded on all the exposed sides. Some of these blocks have a single straight face sloping inwards, the result of a natural split, of which advantage has been taken to form small dwellings by the addition of rough stone walls plastered with mud. Such is the Bhim-gupha or Bhima's cave, which is formed by rough wails added to the overhanging face of a huge rock about 60 feet in diameter and 15 feet in height. Similar rooms, but of smaller size, are said to have been the dwellings of Bhim's brothers. The place is still occupied by a few Brahmans, who profess to derive only a scanty subsistence from the offerings of pilgrims, a statement which is rather belied by their flourishing appearance. Just below Bhim's cave, a wall has been built across a small hollow to retain the rain water, and the fragments of rock have been removed from a fissure to form a tank, about 15 feet long by 5 feet broad and 10 feet deep ; but at the time of my visit, on the 10th of November, it was quite dry.

The present town of Bairat is situated in the midst of a circular valley surrounded by low bare red hills, which have long been famous for their copper mines. It is 105 miles to the south-west of Delhi, and 41 miles to the north of Jaipur. The main entrance to

  1. Haughton's translation, vii. 193.

[p.342]: the valley is on the north-west along the bank of a small stream which drains the basin, and forms one of the principal feeders of the Ban Ganga. The valley is about 2½ miles in diameter, and from 7½ to 8 miles in circuit. The soil is generally good, and the trees, and more especially the tamarinds, are very fine and abundant.

Bairat is situated on a mound of ruins, about one mile in length by half a mile in breadth, or upwards of 2½ miles in circuit, of which the present town docs not occupy more than one-fourth. The surrounding fields are covered with broken pottery and fragments of slag from the ancient copper-works, and the general aspect of the valley is of a coppery red colour. The old city, called Bairatnagar is said to have been quite deserted for several centuries until it was repeopled about 300 years ago, most probably during the long and prosperous reign of Akbar. The town was certainly in existence in Akbar's time, as it is mentioned by Abul Fazl in the ' Ayin Akbari,' as possessing very profitable copper mines. A mumber of large mounds about half a mile to the east, and immediately under the hill, are said to have formed part of the old city ; but, both from their position and appearance, I am inclined to think that they must be the remains of some large religions establishment. At present the surface remains consist of rough stone foundations only, as the whole of the squared stones have been used in building the houses of the modern town.

The number of houses in Bairat is popularly reckoned at 1400, of which 600 are said to belong to Gaur Brahmans, 400 to Agarwal Baniyas, 200 to Minas, and the remaining 200 to various other races. Allowing

[p.343]: the usual average of 5 persons to each house, the population of Bairat -will amount to 7000 persons.

The earliest historical notice of Bairat is that of the Chinese pilgrim Hwen Thsang in A.D. 634.[1] According to him, the capital Mas 14 or 15 li, or just 2i miles, in circuit, which corresponds almost exactly with the size of the ancient mound on which the present town is built. The people were brave and bold, and their king, who was of the race of Fei-she, either a Vaisya or a Bais Rajput, was famous for his courage and skill in war. The place still possessed eight Buddhist monasteries, but they were much ruined, and the number of monks was small. The Brahmans of different sects, about 1000 in number, possessed 12 temples, but their followers were numerous, as the bulk of the population is described as heretical. Judging from the size of the town as noted by Hwen Thsang, the population could not have been less than four times the present number, or about 30,000, of whom the followers of Buddha may have amounted to one-fourth. I have deduced this number from the fact that the Buddhist monasteries would appear to have held about 100 monks each, and as those of Bairat are said to have been much ruined, the number of monks in Hwen Thsang's time could not have exceeded 50 per monastery, or 400 altogether. As each Buddhist monk begged his bread, the number of Buddhist families could not have been less than 1200, allowing three families for the support of each monk, or altogether about 6000 lay Buddhists in addition to the 400 monks.

The next historical notice of Bairat occurs during.

  1. Julien's ' Hiouen Thsang,' ii. 200,

[p.344]: the reign of Mahmud of Ghazni, who invaded the country in A.H. 400, or A.D. 1009, when the Raja submitted. But his submission was of little avail, as his country was again invaded in the spring A.H. 404, or A.D. 1014, when the Hindus were defeated after a bloody conflict. According to Abu Rihan the town was destroyed, and the people retired far into the interior.[1] By Ferishta this invasion is assigned to the year A.H. 413, or A.D. 1022, whcn the king hearing that the inhabitants of two hilly tracts named Kairat and Nardin {or Bairat and Narayan) still continued the worship of idols (or lions in some manuscripts) resolved to compel them to embrace the Muhammadan faith.[2] The place was taken and plundered by Amir-Ali, who found an ancient stone inscription at Narayan, which was said to record that the temple of Narayan had been built 40,000 years previously. As this inscription is also mentioned by the contemporary historian Otbi, we may accept the fact of the discovery of a stone record in characters so ancient that the Brahmans of that day were unable to read them. I think it highly probable that this is the famous inscription of Asoka that was afterwards discovered by Major Burt on the top of a hill at Bairat, and which now graces the museum of the Asiatic Society in Calcutta.

In the seventh century the kingdom of Bairat was 3000 li, or 500 miles, in circuit. It was famous for its sheep and oxen, but produced few fruits or flowers. This is still the case with Jaypur to the south of Bairat, which furnishes most of the sheep required for the great Muhammadan cities of Delhi and Agra, and their English

  1. Dowson's edition of Sir H. Elliot's Muhamm. Hist., i. 59.
  2. Briggs's ' Ferishta' i. 64.

[p.345]: garrisons. Bairat, therefore, may haw included the greater part of the present state of Jaipur. Its precise boundaries cannot be determined ; but they may be fixed approximately as extending on the north from Jhunjnu to Kot Kasim, 70 miles ; on the west from Jhunjnu to Ajmer, 120 miles; on the south from Ajmer to the junction of the Banas and Chambal,150 miles ; and on the east from the junction to Kot Kasim, 150 miles ; or altogether 490 miles,

3. Shrughna

On leaving Thanesar, Hwen Thsang at first proceeded to the south for about 100 li, or 16⅔ miles, to the Kiu-hoen-cha, or Gokantha monastery, which has not yet been identified, but it is probably Gunana, between Vyasthali and Nisang, 17 miles to the south-south-west of Thanesar. I am obliged to notice this monastery as it is the starting-point from which Hwen Thsang measures his next journey of 400 li, or 66⅔ miles, to Su-lu-kin-na or Srughna, which makes the distance between Thanesar and Srughna just 50 miles.[1] Now Sugh, the place which I propose to identify with the capital of Srughna, is only 38 or 40 miles from Thanesar ; but as it agrees exactly in name, and corresponds generally in other particulars, I am quite satisfied that Hwen Thsang's recorded distance must be erroneous, although I am unable to suggest any probable rectification of his figures. The true distance is about 300 li, or 50 miles, from the Gokantha monastery.

The Sanskrit name of the country is Srughna, which in the spoken dialects becomes Sughan and Sugh, as it

  1. Julien's 'Hiouen Thsang,' ii. 215. See Map No. X.

[p.346]: is called at the present day. The village of Sugh occupies one of the most remarkable positions that I met with during the whole course of my researches. It is situated on a projecting triangular spur of high land, and is surrounded on three sides by the bed of the old Jumna, which is now the western Jumna canal. On the north and west faces it is further protected by two deep ravines, so that the position is a ready-made stronghold, which is covered on all sides, except the west, by natural defences. In shape it is almost triangular, with a large projecting fort or citadel at each of the angles. The site of the north fort is now occupied by the castle and village of Dyalgarh. The village of Mandalpur stands on the site of the south-east fort, and that of the south-west is unoccupied. Each of these forts is 1500 feet long, and 1000 feet broad, and each face of the triangle which connects them together is upwards of half a mile in length, that to the east being 4000, and those to the north-west and south-west 3000 feet each. The whole circuit of the position is therefore 22,000 feet, or upwards of 4 miles, which is considerably more than the 3½ miles of Hwen Thsang's measurement. But as the north fort is separated from the main position by a deep sandy ravine called the Rohara Nala, it is possible that it may have been unoccupied at the time of the pilgrim's visit. This would reduce the circuit of the position to 19,000 feet, or up wards of 3½ miles, and bring it into accord with the pilgrim's measurement. The small tillage of Sugh occupied the west side of the position, and the small town of Buriya lies immediately to the north of Dyalgarh. The occupied houses, at the time of my visit, were as follows: — Mandalpur 100, Sugh 125,

[p.347]: Dyalgarh 150, and Buriya 3500, or altogether 3875 houses, containing a population of about 20000 soul.

Of Sugh itself the people have no special traditions, hut of Mandar, or Mandalpur, they say that it formerly covered an extent of 12 kos, and included Jagadri and Chaneti on the west, with Buriya and Dyalgarh to the north. As Jagadri lies 3 miles to the west, it is not possible that the city could have extended so far ; hut we may reasonably admit that the gardens and summer-houses of the wealthier inhabitants may once possibly have extended to that distance.

At Chaneti, which lies 2 miles to the north-west, old coins are found in considerable numbers ; but it is now entirely separated from Buriya and Dyalgarh by a long space of open country. The same coins are found in Sugh, Mandalpur, and Buriya. They are of all ages, from the small Dilials of the Chohan and Tomar Rajas of Delhi to the square punch-marked pieces of silver and copper, which are certainly as old as the rise of Buddhism in 500 B.C., and which were probably the common currency of Northern India as early as 1000 B.C. With this undoubted evidence in favour of the antiquity of the place, I have no hesitation in identifying Sugh with the ancient Srughna.

The importance of the position is shown by the fact that it stands on the high-road leading from the Gangetic Doab, via Mirat, Saharanpur, and Ambala, to the Upper Punjab, and commands the passage of the Jumna. By this route Mahmud of Ghazni returned from his expedition to Kanoj ; by this route Timur returned from his plundering campaign at Haridwar ; and by this route Baber advanced to the conquest of Dehli.

According to Hwen Thsang, the kingdom of Srughna

[p.348]: was 6000 li, or 1000, miles in circuit. On the east it extended to the Ganges, and on the north to a range of lofty mountains, while the Jumna flowed through the midst of it. From these data it would appear that Srughna must have comprised the hill states of Sirmor and Garhwal, lying between the Giri river and the Ganges, with portions of the districts of Ambala and Saharanpur in the plains. But the circuit of this tract does not exceed 500 miles, which is only one half of Hwen Thsang's estimate. His excess I would attribute chiefly to the difference between direct measurements on the map, and the actual road distances in a mountainous country. This would increase the boundary line by about one-half, and make the whole circuit 750 miles, which is still far short of the pilgrim's estimate. But there is an undoubted error in his distance between the Jumna and the Ganges, which he makes 800 li, or 133 miles, instead of 300 li, or 50 miles, which is the actual distance between the two rivers from the foot of the hills down to the parallel of Delhi. As it is probable that this mistake was doubled by applying the same exaggerated distance to the northern frontier also, its correction is of importance, as the double excess amounts to 167 miles. Deducting this excess, the circuit of Srughna will be only 833 miles according to Hwen Thsang's estimate, or within 83 miles of the probable measurement.

4. Madawar

From Srughna the Chinese pilgrim Xuanzang proceeded to Mo-li-pu-lo, or Madipura, which M. Vivien de St. Martin has identified with Mandawar, a large town in

[p.349]: "Western Rohilkhand, near Bijnor. I had previously made the same identification myself, and I have since been able to confirm it by a personal examination of the site.[1] The name of the town is written मड़ावर Madawar, the Mundore of the maps. Aecording to Johari Lai, Chaodri and Kanungo of the place, Madawar was a deserted site in Samvat 1171, or A.D. 1114, when his ancestor Dwarka Das, an Agarwala Baniya, accompanied by Katar Mall, came from Morari in the Mirat district, and occupied the old mound. The pesent town of Madawar contains 7000 inhabitants, and is rather more than three-quarters of a mile in length by half a mile in breadth. But the old mound, which represents the former town, is not more than half a mile square. It has an average height of 10 feet above the rest of the town, and it abounds with large bricks, which are a sure sign of antiquity. In the middle of the mound there is a ruined fort 300 feet square, with an elevation of 6 or 7 feet above the rest of the city. To the north-east, distant about one mile from the fort there is a large village on another mound called Madiya ; and between the two there is a large tank called Kunda Tall, surrounded by numerous small mounds which are said to be tho remains of buildings. Originally these two places would appear to have formed one large town, about 1¼ mile in length, by a mile in breadth or just 3½ miles in ciruit which agrees very well with Hwen Thsang's measurement of 20 li, or 3⅓ miles.

It seems probable that the people of Madawar, as pointed out by M. Vivien de St. Martin, may be the of Megasthenes, who dwelt on the banks of the

  1. See Map No. X.

[p.350]: Erineses. If so, that river must be the Malini. It is true that this is but a small stream ; hut it was in a sacred grove on the bank of the Malini that Sakuntala was brought up, and along its course lay her route lo the court of Dushmanta at Hastinapur.While the lotus floats on its waters, and while the Chakwa calls to its mate on the bank, so long will the little Malini live in the verse of Kalidas.

According to Hwen Thsang, the kingdom of Madipura was 6000 li, or 1000 miles, in circuit; but this estimate, as I have already pointed out, must certainly include the two neighbouring states of Govisana and Ahichhatra, as they are also in Rohilkhand, and at so short a distance that Madipur alone must have been a very small district, confined to the tract between the Ganges and Ramganga, of not more than 250 miles in circuit. But even with the extended limits now proposed, which would include the whole of the country lying to the east of the Ganges from Haridwar to Kanoj as far as the bank of the Ghagra near Khairigarh the circuit would not be increased to more than 650 or 700 miles. This is still too small ; but as some large allowance must be made on the northern mountain boundary for the difference between direct measurement on the map and the actual road distance, I think that the true circuit may be not less than 850 miles. The king of Madawar was a Siu-to-lo or Sudra, who worshipped the Devas, and cared nothing for Buddhism. As Govisana and Ahichhatra eere without kings, I presume that they were tributary to Madawar, and that the circuit of the territory recorded by Hwen Thsang was the political boundary of the whole State, and not that of the district proper.

Mayapura or Haridwar

[p.351]:Hwen-Thsang describes the town of Mo-yu-lo, or Mayura, as situated on the north-west frontier of Madawar, and on the eastern bank of the Ganges.[1] At a short distance from the town there was a great temple called "the gate of the Ganges," that is, Ganga-dwara, with a tank inside, which was supplied by a canal with water from the holy river. The vicinity of Ganga-dwara, which was the old name of Haridwara, shows that Mayura must be the present ruined site of Mayapura, at the head of Ganges canal. But both of these places are now on the western bank of the Ganges, instead of on the eastern bank, as stated by Hwen Thsang. His note that they were on the north-west frontier of Madawar seems also to point to the same position ; for if they had been on the western bank of the Ganges, they would more properly be described as on the north-eastern frontier of Srughna. I examined the locality with some care, and I was satisfied that at some former period the Ganges may have flowed to the westward of Mayapura and Kankhal down to Jwalapur. There is, however, no present trace of any old channel between the Gangadwara temple and the hills; but as this ground is now covered with the houses of Haridwar, it is quite possible that a channel may once have existed, which has since been gradually filled up, and built upon. There is therefore no physical difficulty which could have prevented the river from taking this westerly course, and we must either accept Hwen Thsang's statement or adopt the alternative, that he has made a

  1. Julien's ' Hiouen Thsang,' li. 230. See Map No. X.

[p.352]: mistake in placing Mayura and Gangadwara to the east of the Ganges.

There is a dispute between the followers of Siva and Vishnu as to which of these deities gave birth to, the Ganges. In the 'Vishnu Purana' it is stated that the Ganges has its rise "in the nail of the great toe of Vishnu's left foot;"[1] and the Vaishnayas point triumphantly to the Hari-ki-charan, or Hari-ki-pairi (Vishnu's foot-prints), as indisputable evidence of the truth of their belief.

On the other hand, the Saivas argue that the proper name of the place is Hara-dwara, or " Siva's Gate," and not Hari-dwara. It is admitted also, in the ' Vishnu Purana,' that the Alakananda (or east branch of the Ganges) " was borne by Mahadeva upon his head."[2]

But in spite of these authorities, I am inclined to believe that the present name of Haridwar or Haradwar is a modern one, and that the old town near the Gangadwara temple was Mayapura. Hwen Thsang, indeed, calls it Mo-yu-lo, or Mayura, but the old ruined town between Haridwar and Kankhal is still called Mayapur, and the people point to the old temple of Maya-Devi as the true origin of its name. It is quite possible, however, that the town may also have been called Mayura-pura, as the neighbouring woods still swarm with thousands of peacocks (Mayura), whose shrill calls I heard both morning and evening.

Hwen Thsang describes the town as about 20 li, or 3⅓ miles, in circuit, and very populous. This account corresponds very closely with the extent of the old city of Mayapura, as pointed out to me by the people.

  1. Book ii. 8. Hall's edition of Wilson's translation, ii.73.
  2. Ibid

[p.353]: These traces extend from the bed of a torrent, which enters the Ganges near the modern temple of Sarvvanath to the old fort of Raja Ben, on the bank of the canal, a distance of 7500 feet. The breadth is irregular, but it could not have been more than 3000 feet at the south end, and, at the north end, where the Siwalik hills approach the river, it must have been contracted to 1000 feet. These dimensions give a circuit of 19,000 feet, or rather more than 3½ miles. Within these limits there are the ruins of an old fort, 750 feet square, attributed to Raja Ben, and several lofty-mounds covered with broken bricks, of which the largest and most conspicuous is immediately above the canal bridge. There are also three old temples dedicated to Narayana-sila, to Maya-Devi, and to Bhairava. The celebrated ghat called the Pairi, or "Feet Ghat," is altogether outside these limits, being upwards of 2000 feet to the north-east of the Sarvvanath temple. The antiquity of the place is undoubted, not only from the extensive foundations of large bricks which are everywhere visible, and the numerous fragments of ancient sculpture accumulated about the temples, but from the great variety of the old coins, similar to those of Sugh, which are found here every year.

The name of Haridwara, or " Vishnu's Gate," would appear to be comparatively modern, as both Abu Rihan and Rashid-ud-din mention only Ganga-dwara. Kalidas also, in his ' Meghaduta,' says nothing of Haridwara, although he mentions Kankhal ; but as his contemporary Amarasinha gives Vishnupadi as one of the synonyms of the Ganges, it is certain that the legend of its rise from Vishnu's foot is as old as the fifth century.

[p.354]: I infer, however, that no temple of the Vishnupada had been erected down to the time of Abu Rihan. The first allusion to it of which I am aware is by Sharif-ud-din,[1] the historian of Timur, who says that the Ganges issues from the hills by the pass of Cou-pele, which I take to be the same as Koh-pairi, or the " Hill of the Feet" (of Vishnu), as the great bathing ghat at the Gangadwara temple is called Pairi Ghat, and the hill above it Pairi Pahar. In the time of Akbar, the name of Haridwar was well known, as Abul Fazl speaks of "Maya, vulgo Haridwar, on the Ganges," as being considered holy for 18 kos in length.[2] In the next reign the place was visited by Tom Coryat, who informed Chaplain Terry that at " Haridwara, the capital of Siba, the Ganges flowed amongst large rocks with a pretty full current." In 1790 the town was visited by Hardwicke, who calls it a small place situated at the base of the hills. In 1808, Raper describes it as very inconsiderable, having only one street, about 15 feet in breadth, and a furlong and a half (or three-eighths of a mile) in length. It is now much larger, being fully three- quarters of a mile in length, but there is still only one street.

Hwen Thsang notes that the river was also called Fo-shui [3] which M. Stanislas Julien translates as I'eau qui porte bonhcur, and identifies with Mahabhadra, which is one of the many well-known names of the Ganges. He mentions also that bathing in its waters was sufficient to wash away sin, and that if corpses were thrown into the river the dead would escape the

  1. ' History of Timur,' translated by Petis de la Croix, iii. 131.
  2. 'Ayin Akbari,' ii. 516.
  3. Julien's ' Hwen Thsang,' ii. 217.

[p.355]: punishment of being born again in an inferior state, which was clue to their crimes. I should prefer reading Subhadra, which has the same meaning as Mahabhadra, as Ktesias mentions that the great Indian river was named ύπαρχος, which he translates by Φέρων πάητα τά άΎαθά [1] Pliny quoting Ktesias calls the river Hpobarus, which he renders by " omnia in se ferre bona."[2] A nearly similar word, Oibares, is rendered by Nicolas of Damascus as άΎαθάΎΎελος. I infer, there-fore, that the original name obtained by Ktesias was most probably Subhadra.

5. Brahmapura.

On leaving Madawar, Hwen Thsang travelled north-ward for 300 li, or 50 miles, to Po-lo-ki-mo-pu-lo, which M. Julien correctly renders as Brahmapura. Another reading gives Po-lo-ki-mo-lo,[3] in which the syllable pu, is omitted, perhaps by mistake. The northern bearing is certainly erroneous, as it would have carried the pilgrim across the Ganges and back again into Srughna. We must therefore read north-east, in which direction lie the districts of Garhwal and Kumaon that once formed the famous kingdom of the Katyuri dynasty. That this is the country intended by the pilgrim is proved by the fact that it produced copper, which must refer to the well-known copper mines of Dhanpur and Pokhri in Garhwal, which have been worked from a very early date. Now the ancient capital of the Katyuri Rajas was at Lakhanpur or Vairat-pattan on the Ramganga river, about 80 miles in a direct line from Madawar. If we might take the measurement

  1. Ctesiae Indica, Excerp. ab Photio, 19, c.lit. Lion.
  2. Hist. Nat. xxxvii. 11.
  3. Julien's 'Hiouen Thsang,' i. 434, and ii. 231.

[p.356]: from Kotdwara, at the foot of the hills on the north-east frontier of Madawar, the distance would agree with the 50 miles recorded by Hwen Thsang. It occurs to me, however, as a much more probable explanation of the discrepancy in the recorded bearing and distance that they must properly refer to Govisana, the next place visited by Hwen Thsang, from which Bairat lies exactly 50 miles due north.

According to the history of the country, Vairat-pattan or Lakhanpur was the ancient capital, as the Sombansi dynasty of Kumaon and the Surajbansi dynasty of Garhwal date only from the Samvat years 742 and 745, which, even if referred to the era of Vikramaditya, are posterior to the time of Hwen Thsang. I think, therefore, that Brahmapura must be only another name for Vairat-pattan, as every other capital in these provinces is of much later date. Srinagar on the Alakananda river was founded so late as S. 1415, or A.D. 1358, by Ajaya Pala of Garhwal, and is besides nearly as far from Madawar as Vairat-pattan ; while Chandpur, the earlier capital of Garhwal, is still more distant, and dates only from S. 1216 or A.D. 1159. The climate is said to be slightly cold, and this also agrees with the position of Bairat, which is only 3339 feet above the sea.

Hwen Thsang describes the kingdom of Brahmapura as 4000 li, or 667 miles, in circuit.[1] It must, therefore, have included the whole of the hill-country between the Alakananda and Karnali rivers, which is now known as British Garhwal and Kumaon, as the latter district, before the conquests of the Gorkhas, extended to the Karnali river. The boundary of this tract measured on the map is between 500 and

  1. Julien's 'Hiouen Thsang,' ii. 231. See Map No. X.

[p.357]: 600 miles, or very nearly equal to the estimate of the Chinese pilgrim.