The Ancient Geography of India/Udyana

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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

7. Udyana or Swat

[p.81]: On leaving Utakhanda Hwen Thsang travelled about 600 li, or 100 miles, towards the north, to U-chang-na, or Udyana, which was situated on the river Su-po-fa-su-tu, the Subhavastu and Suvastu of Sanskrit, the Suastus of Arrian, and the Swat or Suat river of the present day. It is called U-chang by the earlier pilgrims Fa-Hian and Sung-yun, which is a close transcript of Ujjana, the Pali form of Udyana. The country is described as highly irrigated, and very fertile. This agrees with all the native accounts, according to which Swat is second only to the far-famed valley of Kashmir. Hwen Thsang makes it 5000 li, or 833 miles, in circuit, which must be very near the truth, if, as was most probably the case, it included all the tributaries of the Swat river. Udyana would thus have embraced the four modern districts of Panjkora, Bijawar, Swat, and Bunir, which have a circuit of only 500 miles, if measured on the map direct, but

[p.82]: of not less than 800 miles by road measurement. Fa-Hian mentions Su-ho-to as a small district to the south of Udyana. This has generally been identified with the name of Swat ; but from its position to the south of Udyana, and to the north of Parashawar, it cannot have been the large valley of the Swat river itself, but must have been limited to the smaller valley of Bunir. This is confirmed by the legend told by Fa-Hian of the hawk and pigeon ; in which Buddha, to save the pigeon, tears his own flesh and offers it to the hawk. The very same legend is related by Hwen Thsang, but he places the scene at the north-west foot of the Mahaban mountain, that is, in the actual valley of Bunir. He adds that Buddha was then a king, named Shi-pi-kia, or Sivika, which may, perhaps, be the true form of Fa-Hian's Suhoto.

The capital of Udyana was called Mung-kie-li, or Mangala, which is probably the Mangora of Wilford's surveyor, Mogal Beg, and the Manglora of General Court's map. It was 16 or 17 li, about 2¾ miles, in circuit, and very populous. At 250 or 260 li, about 42 miles, to the north-east of the capital the pilgrim reached the source of the Subhavastu river, in the fountain of the Naga king Apalāla ; and at 750 li, or 125 miles, further in the same direction, after crossing a mountain range and ascending the Indus, he arrived at Tha-li-lo, or Darel, which had been the ancient capital of Udyana. Darel is a valley on the right or western bank of the Indus, now occupied by Dardus, or Dards, from whom it received its name. It is called To-li by Fa-Hian, who makes it a separate kingdom. The Dards are now usually divided into three separate tribes, according to the dialects which

[p.83]: they speak. Those who use the Arniya dialect occupy the north-western districts of Yasan and Chitral ; those who speak the Khajunah dialect occupy the north-east districts of Hunza and Nager ; and those who speak the Shina dialect occupy the valleys of Gilgit, Chilas, Darel, Kohli, and Palas, along the banks of the Indus. In this district there was a celebrated wooden statue of the future Buddha Maitreya, which is mentioned by both of the pilgrims. According to Fa-Hian it was erected 300 years after the Nirvana of Buddha, or about B.C. 243, that is, in the reign of Asoka, when the Buddhist religion was actively disseminated over India by missionaries. Hwen Thsang describes the statue as 100 feet in height, and states that it was erected by Madhyantika.[1] The name and the date mutually support each other, as Madhyantika, or Majjhima in Pali, was the name of the Buddhist teacher, who, after the assembly of the Third Synod in Asoka's reign, was sent to spread the Buddhist faith in Kashmir and the whole Himavanta country.[2] This is most probably the period alluded to by Hwen Thsang when Darel was the capital of Udyana.

8. Bolor or Balti

From Darel Hwen Thsang travelled 500 li, or 83 miles, over a mountain range, and up the valley of the Indus to Po-lu-lo, or Bolor. This district was 4000 li, or 666 miles, in circuit; its greatest length being from east to west. It was surrounded by snowy mountains, and produced a large quantity of gold. This account of the route, compared with the bearing

  1. Julien's ' Hiouen Thsang,' ii. 168. But he fixes the date at only 50 years after Buddha, for which we should most probably read 250 years.
  2. Tumour's ' Mahawanso,' p. 71 ; see also my ' Bhilsa Topes,' p. 120.

[p.84]: and distance, show that Po-lu-lo must be the modern Balti, or Little Tibet, which is undoubtedly correct, as the people of the neighbouring Dardu districts on the Indus know Balti only by the name of 'Palolo[1] Balti also is still famous for its gold washings. The name, too, is an old one, as Ptolemy calls the people Bύλταί, or Byltae. Lastly, both in size and position Balti corresponds exactly with the account of the Chinese pilgrim, as the length of the province is along the course of the Indus from east to west for 150 miles, and the breadth about 80 miles from the mountains of Deoseh to the Karakoram range, or altogether 460 miles in circuit, as measured direct on the map, or about 600 miles by road measurement.

9. Falana or Banu

The name of Fa-la-na is mentioned only by Hwen Thsang, who places the country to the south-east of Ghazni, and at fifteen days' journey to the south of Lamghan.[2] It was 4000 li, or 666 miles, in circuit, and was chiefly composed of mountains and forests. It was subject to Kapisene, and the language of the people had a slight resemblance to that of Central India. Prom the bearing and distance, there is no doubt that Banu was the district visited by Hwen Thsang, from which it may be inferred that its original name was Varana, or Barna. This is confirmed by Fa-Hian, who calls the country by the shorter verrnacular name of Po-na, or Bana, which he reached in thirteen days from Nagarahara in going towards the south. Pona also is said to be three days' journey to the west of the Indus, which completes the proof of its identity with Banu, or the lower half of the

  1. 'Hiouen Thsang.'ii. 150; and my 'Ladak.'p. 31.
  2. H. Th., i. 265.

[p.85]: valley of the Kuram river. In the time of Fa-Hian the kingdom of Banu was limited to this small tract, as he makes the upper part of the Kuram valley a separate district, called Lo-i, or Roh.[1] But in the time of Hwen Thsang, when it had a circuit of more than 600 miles, its boundaries must have included the whole of the two large valleys of the Kuram and Gomal rivers, extending from the Safed Koh, or " Little Snowy Mountains " of Fa-Hian, to Sivastan on the south, and from the frontiers of Ghazni and Kandahar on the west to the Indus on the east.

I think it not improbable that the full name of this district, Falana or Barana, may have some connection with that of the great division of the Ghilji tribe named Buran, as the upper valleys of both the Kuram and Gomal rivers, between Ghazni and the Sulimani mountains, are now occupied by the numerous clans of the Sulimani Khel, or eldest branch of the Burgins. Iryub, the elder son of Buran, and the father of Suliman, is said to have given his name to the district of Haryub or Irydb, which is the upper valley of the Kuram river.

M. Vivien de St. Martin[2] identifies Falana with Vaneh, or Wanneh, of Elphinstone.[3] But Vana, or Wana, as the Afghans call it, is only a petty little tract with a small population, whereas Banu is one of the largest, richest, and most populous districts to the west of the Indus. Vana lies to the south-south-east, and Banu to the east-south-east of Ghazni, so that either of them will tally very well with the south-east direction noted by Hwen Thsang ; but Vana is from

  1. Seal's Translation, c. 14, p. 50.
  2. ' Hiouen Thsang,' appendice iii.
  3. Elphinstone's ' Kabul,' ii. 156, 158.

[p.86]: 20 to 25 days' journey to the south of Lamghan, while Banu is just 15 days' journey as noted by the pilgrim. As Fa-Hian's notice of Banu dates as high as the beginning of the fifth century, I think that it may he identified with the Banagara of Ptolemy, which he places in the extreme north of Indo-Scythia, and to the south-south-east of Nagara or Jalalabad. A second town in the same direction, which he names Andrapana, is probably Draband or Derdband, near Dera Ismail Khan.

Hwen Thsang mentions a district on the western frontier of Falana, named Ki-kiang-na, the position of which has not yet been fixed. M. Vivien de St. Martin and Sir H. Elliot have identified it with the Kaikanan, or Kikan, of the Arab historians of Sindh ;[1] but unfortunately the position of Kaikanan itself is still undetermined. It is, however, described as lying to the north or north-east of Kachh Gandava, and as Kikiangna was to the west of Falana or Banu, it appears probable that the district intended must be somewhere in the vicinity of Pishin and Kwetta ; and as Hwen Thsang describes it as situated in a valley under a high mountain, I am inclined to identify it with the valley of Pishin itself, which lies between the Khoja Amran hills on the north, and the lofty Mount Takatu on the south. This position agrees with that of Kaikan, <arabic> given by Biladuri,[2] who says that it formed part of Sindh in the direction of Khorasan. This is further confirmed by the statement that Kaikan was on the road from Multan to Kabul, as the usual route between these places lies over the

  1. ' Hiouen Thsang,' iii. 185 ; Dowson's edition of Sir H. Elliot's ' Muhammadan Historians,' i. 381.
  2. Reinaud's 'Fragments Arabes, etc.,' p. 184.

[p.87]: Sakhi Sarwar Pass in the Sulimani mountains, and across the Pishin valley to Kandahar. A shorter, but more difficult, route is by the valley of the Gomal river to Ghazni. But as the valley of the Gomal belonged to Falana, it follows that the district of Kikiangna must have been somewhere in the neighbourhood of Pishin; and as this valley is now inhabited by the tribe of Khakas, it is not improbable that the name of Kikan, or Kaikan, may have been derived from them.

10. Opokien, or Afghanistan

O-po-kien is mentioned only once by Hwen Thsang in a brief paragraph, which places it between Falana and Ghazni, to the north-west of the former, and to the south-east of the latter. From this description it would appear to be the same as the Lo-i of Fa-Hian, and the Roh of the Indian historians. Perhaps the name of Opokien may have some connection with Vorgun or Verghin, which Wilford's surveyor, Mogal Beg, places near the source of the Tunchi, or Tochi branch of the Kuram river. In the map attached to Burnes's Travels by Arrowsmith the name is written Borghoon. I am, however, inclined to identify Opokien, or Avakan, as it is rendered by M. Julien, with the name of Afghan, as I find that the Chinese syllable kien represents ghan in the word Ghanta. From the cursory notice of the district by Hwen Thsang, I infer that it must have formed part of the province of Falana. It was certainly a part of the mountainous district called Roh by Abul Fazl and Ferishta,[1] or south-eastern Afghanistan, which would appear to have been one of the original seats of the Afghan people. Major

  1. Briggs's ' Ferishta,' i, p. 8.

[p.88]: Raverty[1] describes Roh as " the mountainous district of Afghanistan and part of Biluchistan," or "the country between Ghazni and Kandahar and the Indus." The people of this province are called Rohilas, or Rohila Afghans, to distinguish them from other Afghans, such as the Ghori Afghans of Ghor between Balkh and Merv. There is, however, a slight chronological difficulty about this identification, as the Afghans of Khilij, Ghor, and Kabul are stated by Ferishta to have subdued the province of Roh so late as A.H. 63, or A.D. 682, that is about thirty years later than the period of Hwen Thsang's visit. But I think that there are good grounds for doubting the accuracy of this statement, as Hwen Thsang describes the language of Falana as having but little resemblance to that of Central India. The inhabitants of Roh could not, therefore, have been Indians; and if not Indians, they must almost certainly have been Afghans. Ferishta[2] begins his account by saying that the Muhammadan Afghans of the mountains "invaded and laid waste the inhabited countries, such as Kirman, Shivaran, and Peshawar;" and that several battles took place between the Indians and Afghans " on a plain between Kirman and Peshawar." The Kirman here mentioned is not the great province of Kirman, or Karmania, on the shore of the Indian Ocean, but the Kirman, or Kirmash, of Timur's historians, which is the valley of the Kuram river. The difficulty may be explained if we limit the part of Kirman that was invaded to the lower valley, or plains of the Kuram river, and extend the limits of the Afghan country beyond Ghazni and Kabul, so as to

  1. Pushtu Dictionary, in voce.
  2. Briggs's Translation, i. 7.

[p.89]: embrace the upper valley, or mountain region of the Kuram river. Politically the ruler of Peshawar has always been the ruler of Kohat and Banu, and the ruler of Kabul has been the lord of the upper Kuram valley. This latter district is now called Khost ; but it is the Iryab of Timur's historians, and of Wilford's surveyor, Mogul Beg, and the Haryub of Elphinstone. Now the Suliman-Khel of the Buran division of the Ghiljis number about three-fourths of the whole horde. I infer, therefore, that the original seat of the Ghiljis must have included the upper valleys of the Kuram and Gomal rivers on the east, with Ghazni and Kelat-i-Ghilji on the west. Haryub would thus have formed part of the Afghan district of Khilij, or Ghilji, from which the southern territories of Peshawar were easily accessible.

But whether this explanation of Ferishta's statement be correct or not, I feel almost certain that Hwen Thsang's O-po-kien must be intended for Afghan. Its exact equivalent would be Avaghan, which is the nearest transcript of Afghan that the Chinese syllables are capable of making. If this rendering is correct, it is the earliest mention of the Afghans that I am aware of under that name.

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