The Ancient Geography of India/Gurjjara

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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

II Gurjjara

[p.312]: Hwen Thsang places the second kingdom of Western India, named Kiu-che-lo or Gurjjara, at about 1800 li, or 300 miles, to the north of Balabhi, and 2800 li, or 467 miles, to the north-west of Ujain. The capital was named Pi-lo-mi-lo or Balmer[1], which is exactly 300 miles to the north of the ruins of Balabhi. From Ujain in a straight line it is not more than 350 miles ; but the actual road distance is between 400 and 500 miles, as the traveller has to turn the Aravali mountains, either by Ajmer on the north, or by Analwara on the south. The kingdom was 5000 li, or 833 miles, in circuit. It must, therefore, have comprised the greater part of the present chiefships of Bikaner, Jesalmer, and Jodhpur. Its boundaries can only be described approximately, as extending about 130 miles on the north from Balar or Sirdarkot to Junjhnu ; 250 miles on the east from Junjhnu to near Mount Abu ; 170 miles on the south from Abu to near Umarkot ; and 310 miles on the west from Umarkot to Balar. These figures give a total circuit of 860 miles, which is as close an approximation to the measurement of Hwen Thsang as can be reasonably expected.

All the early Arab geographers speak of a kingdom named Jurz or Juzr, which from its position would appear to be the same as the Kiu-che-lo of Hwen Thsang. The name of the country is somewhat doubtful, as the unpointed Arabic characters may be read as Haraz or Hazar, and Kharaz or Khazar as well as Jurz or Juzr. But fortunately there is no uncertainty about its position, which is determined to be Rajputana by several concurring circumstances.

  1. James Todd Annals/Sketch of the Indian Desert, Vol.III, p.1269, fn-3 says The old name of Bhinmal was Srimal or Bhillamala, which Erskine (iii. A. 194) identifies with Pi-lo-mo-lo of Hiuen Tsiaug. But Beal (Buddhist Records of the Western World, ii. 270) transliterates this name as Balmer or Barmer.

[p.313]: Thus the merchant Suliman, in A.D. 851,[1] states that Haraz was bounded on one side by Tafek or Takin, which, as I have already shown, was the old name of the Panjab. It possessed silver mines, and could muster a larger force of cavalry than any other kingdom of India. All these details point unmistakably to Rajputana, which lies to the south-east of the Panjab, possesses the only silver mines known in India, and has always been famous for its large bodies of cavalry.

According to Ibn Khordadbeh,[2] who died about A.D. 912, the Tatariya dirhems were current in the country of Hazar ; and according to Ibn Haukal, who wrote about A.D. 977,[3] these dirhems were also current in the kingdom of Gandhara, which at that time included the Panjab. Suliman says the same thing of the kingdom of the Balhara, or the present Gujarat ; and we learn incidentally that the same dirhems were also current in Sindh, as in a.h. 107, or A.D. 725, the public treasury contained no less than eighteen millions of Tatariya dirhems.[4] The value of these coins is variously stated at from 1-1/8 dirhem to 1½ or from 54 to 72 grains in weight. From these data I conclude that the Titariya dirhems are the rude silver pieces generally known as Indo-Sassanian, because they combine Indian letters with Sassanian types. They would appear to have been first introduced by the Scythic or Tatar princes, who ruled in Kabul and north-western India, as they are now found throughout the Kabul valley and Panjab, as well as in Sindh,

  1. Dowson's Sir Henry Elliot, i. 4.
  2. Dowson's edition of Sir Henry Elliot's Muhamm. Hist., i. 13.
  3. Ibid, i. 35.
  4. Sir Henry Elliot, ' Arabs in Sindh,' p. 36. Dowson's edit. i. 3.

[p.314]: Rajputana, and Gujarat. Colonel Stacy's specimens were chiefly obtained from the last two countries, while my own specimens have been procured in all of them. In weight they vary from 50 to 68 grains ; and in age they range from the fifth or sixth century down to the period of Mahmud of Ghazni. They are frequently found in company with the silver pieces of the Brahman kings of Kabul, which agrees with the statement of Masudi that the Tatariya dirhems were current along with other pieces which were stamped at Gandhara.[1] The latter I take to be the silver coins of the Brahman kings of Kabul, whose dynasty began to reign about A.D. 850, or shortly before the time of Masudi, who flourished from A.D. 915 to 956. I have also found some of the Indo-Sassanian or Tatar dirhems in central India to the east of the Aravali range, as well as in the Upper Gangetic Doab ; but in these provinces they are extremely scarce, as the common coin of Northern India in the mediaeval period was the Vardha, with the figure of the Boar incarnation of Vishnu, varying from 55 to 65 grains in weight. From this examination of the coins I conclude that the kingdom named Hazar or Juzr by the early Arab geographers, is represented as nearly as possible by Western Rajputana.

Edrisi,[2] quoting Ibn Khordadbeh, states that Juzr or Huzr was the hereditary title of the king, as well as the name of the country. This statement confirms my identification of Juzr with Guzr or Gujar, which is a very numerous tribe, whose name is attached to

  1. Dowson's edition of Sir Henry Elliot's Muliamm. Hist., i. 24.
  2. Geogr., i. 175, Jaubert's translation.

[p.315]: many important places in north-west India and the Panjab, and more especially to the great peninsula of Gujarat. It is not known when this name was first applied to the peninsula. In early times it was called Saurashtra, which is the Surastrene of Ptolemy ; and it continued to bear this name as late as A.D. 812, as we learn from a copper-plate inscription found at Baroda.[1] In this record of the Saurashtra kings, Gurjjara is twice mentioned as an independent kingdom.

About A.D. 770 the king of Grurjjara was conquered by Indra Raja of Saurashtra, but was after-wards reinstated; and about A.D. 800 Indra's son Karka assisted the ruler of Malwa against the king of Gurjjara. These statements show most clearly that Gurjjara still existed as a powerful kingdom, quite distinct from Saurashtra, nearly two centuries after Hwen Thsang's visit in A.D. 640. They show also that Gurjjara must have been adjacent to Malwa, as well as to Saurashtra, a position which clearly identifies it with Rajputana, as I have already determined from Hwen Thsang's narrative.

In the seventh century the king is said to have been a Tsa-ti-li or Kshatriya; but two centuries earlier a dynasty of Gurjjara or Gujar Rajas was certainly reigning to the north of Maharashtra, as we have contemporaneous inscriptions [2] of a Chalukya prince of Paithan, and of a Gurjjara prince of an unnamed territory, which record grants of land to the same persons. These inscriptions have been translated by Professor Dowson, who refers the dates to the era of Vikramaditya, but in the total absence of any authentic ex-

  1. Journ. Asiat. Soc. Bengal, viii. 300.
  2. Journ. Royal Asiat. Soc, new series, i. 270, 277.

[p.316]: ample of the use of this era before the sixth century A.D., I must demur to its adoption in these early records. The Saka era, on the contrary, is found in the early inscriptions of the Chalukya Raja Pulakesi, and in the writings of the astronomers Arya Bhatta and Varaha Mihira. The inscription of Pulakesi is dated in the Saka year 411, or A.D. 489, from which I conclude that the record of the earlier Chalukya Prince Vijaya, which is dated in the year 394, must refer to the same era. The contemporary records of the Gurjjara prince, which are dated in S. 380 and 385 must therefore belong to the middle of the fifth century A.D. All these copper-plate inscriptions were found together at Khaidra, near Ahmedabad. The first inscription of the Gurjjara Raja records the grant of lands to certain Brahmans "who having left the town of Jambusara, dwell in the village of Sirishapadraka, included in the district of Akrureswara." Five years later the same Brahman grantees are described as those " who are to dwell in the town of Jambusara ;" and accordingly in the Chalukya inscription, which is dated nine years subsequent to the latter, they are described as actually dwelling in the town of Jambusara. This town is no doubt Jambosir, between Khambay and Baroch, and as it belonged to the Chalukya princes, who ruled over Maharashtra, the kingdom of Gurjjara must have been situated to the north of Khambay, that is, in Rajputana, where I have already placed it on the authority of Hwen Thsang, and other independent evidence.

III Valabhadra, or Balabhi

The ruins of the famous city of Balabhi were dis-

[p.317]: covered by Tod near Bhaonagar, on the eastern side of the peninsula of Gujarat. In an inscription of the fifth century the country is called " the beautiful kingdom of Valabhadra,"[1] but in the local histories and traditions of the people, it is generally known as Balabhi. This also was the name in the time of Hwen Thsang, who calls the kingdom Fa-la-pi, or Balabhi. In ancient times, however, the peninsula of Gujarat was only known as Surashtra, and under this name it is mentioned in the Mahabharata and in the Puranas. It is called Surashtrene by Ptolemy and the author of the ' Periplus ;' and its people are most probably intended by Pliny under the corrupt name of Suarataratae, or Varetatae, for which I would propose to read Suratae. The change in the name of the country is alluded to in an inscription, dated in the Saka year 734, or A.D. 812, of Raja Karka, whose remote ancestor Govinda is said to have been the ornament of the Saurashtra kingdom, " which lost its appellation of Sau-rajya from the ruin that had fallen npon it."[2] Karka's father is called Raja of Lateswara, which at once identifies his kingdom with Balabhi, as Hwen Thsang notes that Balabhi was also called Pe-Lo-lo, or northern Lara, which is the common pronunciation of the Sanskrit Lata. As Karka was only the fifth in descent from Govinda, the name of Saurajya or Saurashtra could not have been restored by these representatives of the old family before the middle of the seventh century. From a comparison of all the data I conclude that the old name of Saurashtra was lost in A.D. 319, when the successors of the Sah kings were sup-

  1. Journ. Asiat. Soc. Bengal, 1838, p. 976.
  2. Ibid., 1839, p. 300. Inscription from Baroda.

[p.318]: planted by the Vallabhas, and the capital changed from Junagarh to Valabhi. The establishment of the Balabhi era, which dates from A.D. 319, is said by Abu Rihan to mark the period of the extinction of the Gupta race, whose coins are found in considerable numbers in Gujarat. This date may therefore be accepted with some certainty as that of the establishment of the Balabhi dynasty, and most probably also as that of the foundation of their city of Balabhi.

According to the native histories and local traditions Balabhi was attacked and destroyed in the Samvat year 580, which is equivalent to A.D. 523, if in the Vikrama era, or A.D. 658, if in the Saka era. Colonel Tod has adopted the former; but as Hwen Thsang visited Balabhi in A.D. 640, the date must clearly be referred to the later era of Saka. If the statement is correct, we may refer the capture of Balabhi to Raja Govinda of the Baroda copper-plate inscription, who is recorded to have re-established the old family, as well as the old name of the former kingdom of Saurashtra. As he was the great-grandfather of the grandfather of Karka Raja, who was reigning in A.D. 812, his own accession must have taken place in the third quarter of the seventh century, that is, between A.D. 650 and 675, which agrees with the actual date of A.D. 658, assigned by the native historians for the destruction of Balabhi, and the extinction of the Balabhi sovereignty in the peninsula of Gujarat.

About a century after their expulsion from Balabhi the representative of the Balabhis, named Bappa or Vappaka, founded a new kingdom at Chitor, and his son Guhila, or Guhaditya, gave to his tribe the new

[p.319]: name of Guhilawat, or Gahilot, by which thcy are still known. About the same time[1] a chief of the Chaura tribe, named Ban Raja, or the " Jangal Lord," founded a city on the bank of the Saraswati, about seventy miles to the south-west of Mount Abu, called Analwara Pattan, which soon became the most famous place in Western India. Somewhat earlier, or about A.D. 720, Krishna, the Pahlava prince of the peninsula, built the fort of Elapura, the beauty of which, according to the inscription, astonished the immortals. In it he established an image of Siva adorned with the crescent.

Following this clue I incline to identify Elapura with the famous city of Somnath, which, as the capital of the peninsula, was usually called Pattan Somnath. According to Postans[2] the old " city of Pattan" is built upon a projection of the " mainland, forming the southern point of the small port and bay of Verawal." This name I take to be the same as Elapura or Elawar, which, by a transposition that is very common in India, would became Erawal. Thus Nar-sinh has become Ran-si, and Ranod is used indifferently with Narod, but we have a still more striking instance in the change from the ancient Varul to the modern Elur or Elora. Now Patan Somnath was famous for a temple of Siva, which enshrined a figure of the god bearing a crescent on his head as Somnath, or the " lord of the moon." This appellation was therefore the proper name of the temple, and not of the city, which I conclude must have been Elapura or Erawal, the modern Verawal.

  1. ' Ayin Akbari," ii. 73. Abul Fazl gives Samvat 802, or A.D. 745, if referred to the era of Vukramaditya.
  2. Journ. Aaiat. Soc. Bengal, 1838, p. 866.

[p.320]: The earliest notice that we possess of Somnath is contained in the brief account of the successful cam-paign of Mahmud of Ghazni. According to Ferishta[1] the fortified city of Somnath was situated " on a narrow peninsula, washed on three sides by the sea." It was the residence of the Raja, and Naharwala (a trans- position of Analwara) was then only " a frontier city of Gujarat." This agrees with the native histories, which place the close of the Chaura dynasty of Analwara in S. 998, or A.D. 941, when the sovereignty passed into the hands of the Chalukya prince Mula Raja, who became the paramount ruler of Somnath and Analwara.

After the time of Mahmud, Somnath would appear to have been abandoned by its rulers in favour of Analwara, which is mentioned as the capital of Gujarat in the time of Muhammad Ghori and his successor Aibeg.[2] It was still the capital of the kingdom in A.H. 697, or A.D. 1297, when the country was invaded by the army of Ala-ud-din Muhammad Khilji, which occupied Nahrwala, or Analwara, and annexed the province to the empire of Delhi.

During all these transactions Ferishta invariably designates the peninsula, as well as the country to the north of it, by the modern name of Gujarat. The name is not mentioned by Abu Rihan, although he notices both Analwara and Somnath. It occurs first in the Mojmal-ut-tawarikh of Rashid-ud-din, who wrote in A.D. 1310, just thirteen years after the conquest of the country by the Muhammadan king of Delhi. Now I have already shown that the name of Gurjjara was confined to Western Rajputana in the

  1. Brigg's translation, i.69
  2. Ibid., i. 179, 194.

[p.321]: time of Hwen Thsang, and that it was still a distinct country from Saurashtra in A.D. 812, when Karka Raja of Lateshwara recorded his grant of land. Be-tween this date and A.D. 1310, there is a gap of five centuries, during which period we have no mention of Gurjjara in any contemporary records. I have a strong suspicion, however, that the movement of the Gujars towards the peninsula must have been connected with the permanent conquest of Delhi, Kanoj and Ajmer by the Muhammadans, which ejected the Chohuns and Rathors from Northern Rajputana and the Upper Ganges, and thrust them towards the south. We know that the Rathors occupied Pali to the cast of Balmer in the Samvat year 1283, or A.D., 1220. This settlement of the Rathors must have driven the great body of the Gujars from their ancient seats and forced them to the south towards Analwara Pattan and Eder. This was actually the case of the Gohils, who, being expelled from Marwar by the Rathors, settled in the eastern side of the peninsula, which was named after them Gohilwara. In the time of Akbar the Gujars had certainly not penetrated into the peninsula, as Abul Fazl does not name them in his notice of the different tribes which then occupied the Sirkar of Surat. But even at the present day there is no large community of Gujars in the peninsula, so that we must look for some other cause for the imposition of their name on a large province which they have never completely occupied.

Origin of Gujarat: In my account of the province of Gurjjara I have already noticed an old inscription of the kings of the Gurjjara tribe. From this record we learn that in s. 380, or A.D. 458 the Gujars had pushed their conquests

[p.322]: as far south as the banks of the Narbada. In that year, and subsequently in A.D. 463, their king Sri Datta Kusali[1] made several grants of land to certain Brahmans in the district of Akrureswara, near Jambusara, which I take to be Akalesar, on the south bank of the Narbada, opposite Bharoch. But before S. 394, or A.D. 472, the Gujars must have been driven back to the north, as far at least as Khambay, as the Chalukya prince Vijaya made several grants of land to the same Brahmans in the town of Jambusara, which lies between Bharoch and Khambay. It is certain, therefore, that the Gujars had occupied the country to the north of the peninsula as early as the fifth century of the Christian era. But two centuries later they had already lost their power, as Hwen Thsang found a Kshatriya prince on the throne of Gurjjara. They must still, however, have Continued to form the bulk of the population of the countries to the west and south of Mount Abu ; and as Alaf Khan, the first Muhammadan conqueror, under Ala-ud-din Khilji, fixed his head-quarters at Naharwara, or Analwara, in the very heart of the Gujar country, I think it probable that the name of Gujarat was then first applied to this new province of the Delhi empire ; and as the peninsula of Saurashtra formed a part of the province, it was also included under the same general appellation. I therefore look upon the extension of the name of Gujarat to the peninsula as a political convenience rather than an ethnographical application. Hamilton[2] notes that the greater part of Malwa and Khandes was formerly called Gujarat; and this is borne out by

  1. Professor Dowson in Journ. Royal Asiat. Soc, new series, i. 280.
  2. Gazetteer, in voce 'Gujerat,' i. 60.

[p.323]: Marco Polo, who distinguishes between the peninsula, which he calls Sumenat (Somnath) and the kingdom of Gozurat, which he places on the coast to the north of Tana ; that is, about Bharoch and Surat. Even at the present day the name of Gujarat is not known to the natives of the peninsula itself, who continue to call their country Sarat and Kathiawar;[1] the latter name having been a recent adoption of the Mahrattas.

The capital of Balabhi is described by Hwen Thsang as 30 li, or 5 miles, in circuit. Its ruins were first discovered by Tod, although he did not actually visit them.[2] But they have since been visited by Dr. Nicholson,[3] according to whom they are situated at 18 miles to the west-north-west of Bhaonagar, near the village of Wale. The ruins are still known by the name of Vamilapura, which is only a slight trans-position of Valami, or Valabhipura. The remains are scattered over a wide extent, but there is nothing remarkable about them, except the unusually large size of the bricks. In the time of Akbar, however, these remains would appear to have been much more considerable, as Abul Fazl[4] was informed that "at the foot of the mountains of Sironj is a large city, now out of repair, although the situation is very desirable. Mabidehin and the port of Ghogha are dependent upon it." The vicinity of Ghoga is a sufficient indication to enable us to identify this ruined city with the present remains of Balabhi, which are only about 20 miles distant from Ghoga.

  1. Elphinstone, 'India,' i. 550.
  2. 'Travels in Western India,' p. 268.
  3. Jouurn. Royal Asiat. Soc, xiii. 146.
  4. 'Ayin Akbari,' ii. 69.

[p.324]: In the seventh century Hwen Thsang describes the kingdom of Balabhi as 6000 li, or 1000 miles, in circuit, which is very near the truth, if we include the districts of Bharoch and Surat, on the neighbouring coast, as well as the whole of the peninsula of Surashtra. But in this part of the pilgrim's travels the narrative is frequently imperfect and erroneous, and we must therefore trust to our own sagacity, both to supply his omissions and to correct his mistakes. Thus, in his description of Bharroch, Hwen Thsaug omits to tell us whether it was a separate and independent chiefship, or only a tributary of one of its powerful neighbours, Balabhi, Malwa, or Maharashtra. But as it has generally been attached to the peninsula, I infer that it most probably belonged to the great kingdom of Balabhi in the seventh century. In the second century, according to Ptolemy, Barygaza formed part of the kingdom of Larike, which, in Hwen Thsang's time, was only another name for Balabhi.

In the tenth century, according to Ibn Haukal,[1] it belonged to the kingdom of the Balhara, whose capital was Analwara ; but as this city was not founded for more than a hundred years after Hwen Thsang's visit, I conclude that in the seventh century Bharoch must have formed part of the famous kingdom of Balabhi. With this addition to its territories, the frontier circuit of Balabhi would have been as nearly as possible 1000 miles.

  1. Elliot, Muhammada Historians of India, i. 03.

1. Surashtra

According to Hwen Thsang, the province of Su-la-cha, or Suratha, was a dependent of Balabhi. Its

[p.325]: capital was situated ut 500 li, or 83 miles, to the west of Balabhi, at the foot of Mount Yeu-chen-ta, or Ujjanta. This is the Pali form of the Sanskrit Ujjayanta, which is only another name for the Girinar hill that rises above the old city of Junagarh. The name of Ujjayanta is mentioned in both of the Girinar inscriptions of Rudra Dama and Skanda Gupta, although this important fact escaped the notice of the translators.[1] The mention of this famous hill fixes the position of the capital of Surashtra at Junagarh, or Yavana-gadh, which is 87 miles to the west of Balabhi, or very nearly the same as stated by Hwen Thsang. The pilgrim notices that the mountain was covered with thick forests, and that its scarped sides contained numerous chambers and galleries. This description agrees with the account of Postans,[2] who, in 1838, found the hill covered with " a thick jungul of the custard- apple tree," and a number of excavations at the base, consisting of " small flat roofed rooms, supported by square pillars without ornament."

The name of Surath is still known in this part of the peninsula ; but it is confined to a comparatively small tract, which forms one of the ten divisions of Gujarat.[3] In the time of Akbar, however, it was applied to the southern or larger half of the peninsula, which, according to Abul Fazl, extended from the port of Ghoga to the port of Aramroy, and from Sirdhar to the port of Diu.[4] The name of the district

  1. Journ. Asiat. Soc. Bombay, vii. 119, " the Urjayata hill ;: p. 123, "Urjayat ;" and p. 124., " the Jayanta mountain," should all be rendered Ujayanta.
  2. Journ. Royal Asiat. Soc. Bengal, 1838, pp. 874, 876
  3. Eastwick, ' Handbook of Bombay,' p. 424.
  4. ' Ayin Akbari,' ii. 66.

[p.326]: is also preserved by Terry,[1] whose information was obtained at the Court of Jahangir. According to his account, the chief city of Soret was called Janagar, that is, Javanagarh, or Jonagarh. The province was small, but very rich, and had the ocean to the south. At that time also it would appear not to have been included in Gujarat, as Terry describes it as lying upon Gujarat. In the seventh century Hwen Thsang states that Surath, or Surashtra, was 4000 li, or 667 miles, in circuit, and touched the river Mo-hi on the west. This river has always been identified with the Mahi of Malwa, which falls into the Gulf of Khambay.[2] Accepting this identification as correct, the province of Surath in the time of Hwen Thsang must have comprised the whole of the peninsula, including the city of Balabhi itself. This is confirmed by the measurement of the frontier given by the pilgrim, which agrees exactly with that of the entire peninsula to the south-west of a line drawn from the Lesser Ran of Kachh to Khambay. In spite of the fame of Balabhi, the old name of Surath was still applied to the whole peninsula so late as A.D. 640.

2. Bharoch or Barygaza

In the seventh century the district of Po-lu-kie-che-po, or Barukachwa, was from 2400 to 2500 li, or from 400 to 417 miles, in circuit; and its chief city was on the bank of the Nai-mo-tho, or Narmmada river, and close to the sea. With these data it is easy to identify

  1. 'Yoyage to East India,' p.80.
  2. As the Mahi rier lies to the north-east of Gujarat, we must either read east, or suppose that the pilgrim referred to the western bank of the stream.

[p.327]: the capital with the well-known seaport town of Bharoch, under its Sanskrit name of Bhrigu-Kachha as written by the Brahmans, or Bharukachha as found in the old inscriptions. The latter was no doubt the more usual form, as it is almost literally preserved in the ΒαρύΎαξα of Ptolomy, and the 'Periplus'. From Hwen Thsang's measurement of its circuit, the limits of the district may be determined approximately as extending from the Mahi[1] river on the north, to Daman on the south, and from the Gulf of Khambay on the west to the Sahyadari mountains on the east.

According to the text of Hwen Thsang, Bharoch and Balabhi were in Southern India, and Surashtra in "Western India ; but as he places Malwa in Southern India, and Ujain in Central India, I look upon these assignments as so many additional proofs of the confusion which I have already noticed in the narrative of his travels in Western India. I would therefore assign both Balabhi and Bharoch to Western India, as they formed part of the great province of Surashtra. The correctness of this assignment is confirmed by the author of the 'Periplus,' who notes that below Barygaza the coast turns to the south, whence that region is named Dakhinabades, as the natives call the south Dakhanos.[2]

  1. The Mais river of Ptolemy.
  2. Peripl. Mar. Erythr., in Hudson's Geogr, Vet., i. 20i

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