By Pradeep Koul Khodbulli
There is a connection between Maharashtra and Kashmir. Centuries ago one branch of Brahmi called North Western one coursed Gujarat went ahead and finally reached Kashmir. It became there Sharda or Sidhmatrika or Sidhdham (of Al-Biruni). In the eleventh century many Hindus lived in Afghanistan. A majority of them were Chitpawan Brahmins. These Chitpavans have Kaushik Gotra. When Hindu Shahi dynasty fell to the armies of Mahmud Ghazni these Brahmins fled and sought refuge in Maharashtra.
The art collector Sanjay Godbole is one such Chitpavan Brahmin. By physical standards they are not on the leaver side. They have big eyes, fair complexion. It tells us about their once snowy address. Here I shall not dwell upon the anthropology or anything of that sort. For such a thing is never my intention here. But reader ought to now that Godbole has a Kashmirian connection too. He is one of the very few intellectuals in the country who have interest in Kashmiri ethos and culture. Sanjay is popular among those who want to know about Kashmir.
After Exodus Pandits were scattered in different parts of the country, Maharashtra and especially its cultural capital Pune too received hundreds of Pandit families. Sanjay did for them when others faltered. He provided them with an intellectual forum. But these intentions of his have not met with the requisite response. I think it is primarily because in those times the community was concerned with sheer survival. When things such as survival is the concern then such things like culture and tradition take the backstage. But now people are rediscovering anew their roots and here the jovial, portly fellow Sanjay is always ready to help them.
Sanjay lives in the centre of the city of Pune, which is the cultural capital of Maharashtra. His home is on the main street of Budhwarpeeth opposite CPO. To me the house seems to be like a 'Time Machine' that the famous author HG Wells wrote about. But this one does not fly. All machines have not flown. Davinci's famous one failed to fly. But Godbole's Time Machine is of different nature. The house is a store house of past. It seems as if past has crystalised on this Pune street and refuses to take off. His home is big, old and gloomy. But still it has many tales to tell. The staircase, doors, windows, shelves, ailing, (wooden or otherwise) watertanks, pipe fittings, and other assortments are all antique. The glass windows are delicate and worth seeing. The whole house reminds us of the blend of traditional and later Raj styles.
He belongs to a leading publishing house of Pune. His father and grandfather were leading publishers of the city. But Sanjay did not evince any keen interest in publishing. He went on his own way to become an art collector against the wishes of his father. Despite heavy odds and no home support he pursued his passion. He lives alone with his sister. Recently, he lost his mother who was a great support to him. He is young but still bachelor.
Sanjay started collecting artifacts twenty five years ago. His home represents a veritable Time Machine. I do not know if HG Wells would have got one built how deep into past he must have travelled. But Sanjay made the travel 80 million years into the past.
He put on my both hands a big round stone like fossile. And it was the egg of an Indian dinosaur found in Gujarat. The suffix of the dinosaur is 'normadayansis' named after Narmada river where these fossils have been found. From 80 million years to the later Raj (British Rule) we can find many curious articles of antiquity. His collection is perhaps second largest private collection in Maharashtra after Kelkar museum.
Sanjay has antiques belonging to all great dynasties that ruled the country, Mauryas, Sungas, Satkarni Kings, Cholas, Guptas, Sultans, Mughals, Pathans, Marathas and British all find place in his collection. Godbole is adept in seating past with comfort and care. He has a good collection of swords and guns which are priceless. Kashmiri Samavar, Sharda and Devnagri, Urdu and Persian manuscripts, brassware, paintings etc. form a bulk of his collection. His artefacts about Indus Valley civilization are important. He has a huge collection of newspapers, photographs and even the name plate of a Viceroy. Persian scrolls, Farmans, etc. also make his collection lively. A meticulous art collector he is well versed in Kashmir history and culture.
There are few who can rival his knowledge about Indian history and culture. He is an accomplished Urdu poet and is considered an important poet in Urdu. His poetry has been published in India, Pakistan, Iran and Turkey.
Sanjay bemoans about the lack of interest among the youth in preserving traditions and culture. People like Sanjay Godbole need our all out support and appreciation. There are few men in the country who are alike him and so he is very rare indeed. His efforts nonetheless shall persist and inspire newer generations.
*The writer has authored a monograph on Kshemendra and is a keen researcher on Kashmir's History and Culture.
By Sanjay Godbole
During the first half of the 20lh century, Afghanistan became famous on two counts. The first reason was that it was a nation which achieved independence from the clutches of the British, and the second reason was that Surayya, the queen of Afghanistan, got a huge publicity and fame in the Western world. In the modern history of Asian continent, the name of ‘Surayya’ will surely be recorded and registered as a lady with progressive thoughts, or rather, she or her name has been recorded so. ‘Surayya’ was ethnically associated with the tribe called ‘Muhammadzai’ from the ‘BarakzaiP group of Afghanistan. She proved to be the first lady, who attained importance in Afghan Political life. “Surayya Tarzi” who was known as ‘Malika -e- Afghanistan’ was born on 24th November 1899 at ‘Damascus’ in Syria. Her father was ‘Sardar Mehmud Tarzi’ who was a great thinker, philosopher and belonged to the ‘intelligentsia’ group. He was also a popular Leader. Surayya had her education at ‘Damascus’ only. It is noticed that the modern thoughts and the western ideology which she adopted at her earlier days had an everlasting effect in the rest of her life. On account of political turmoil in Afghanistan, Surayya’s father had to take refuge in ‘Syria’ but when ‘Habibullah’ captured the throne (power) in Afghanistan, ‘Surayya’s father Mehmud Tarzi was one of the many associates of him (Habibullah) who returned back to Afghanistan. This Mehmud Tarzi had the lions’ share in developing Afghanistan as a progressive and modern nation. When Mahmud Tarzi returned to Afghanistan Habibullah the Amir felicitated him in the Royal court. At that time, the prince Amanullah met Surayya Tarzi. Then, in theyear 1913 Amanullah married Surayya. Prior to this marriage, Amanullha was already married to one lady named ‘PariguP from the palace. Amanullah, however, had divorced this lady before he married ‘Surayya’. Amanullah became Amir of Afghanistan in the year 1919 and became the king in the year 1929.
During the period, his wife ‘Surayya’ ma4g a valuable contribution to the evolution and development of Afghanistan. That is why, Amanullah, while addressing the subjects reiterated the fact that though he was their king, his wife ‘Surayya’ was their real queen. Surayya’ used to participate in many public functions , along with Amanullah. She had nurtured two hobbies namely, horse riding and the game of hunting. Not only that, but ‘Surayya’ used to accompany her husband during military exercises. She visited many tents in which wounded soldiered were stationed for medical treatment. Thus she established communication with soldiers and gave away many presents to them. At times, when it was really risky to visit places where insurgent mutinies or revolts were being raised, ‘Surayya’ paid direct visits and established a dialogue with the people. The father of ‘Surayya’ Mehmud Tarzi was against the tradition of ‘polygamy’. He was also very keenly insistent on imparting education to women and granting permission to ‘their right to employment’. ‘Surayya’ was an epitome of this ideology. Amanullah also adopted and embraced the same thoughts and movement of ‘ education for women’ right upto the root levels in rural Afghanistan.
‘Since ‘Surayya’ was also keenly interested in implementation of such novel and radical ideas, she encouraged many ‘Afghan’ girls to take higher education, who in course of time worked as officers in various government departments . In the year 1928 (A.D.) ‘Surayya’ who had noticed some welcome changes in ‘Turkey’ sent some 15 promising and budding girl students to ‘Turkey’. ‘Surayya’ started the publication of the periodical, “Irshad-e- Niswan” exclusively for women. The super specialty hospital for womenfolk had already started functioning . In all her lectures and public addresses, ‘Surayya’ used to refer to the important issue of absolute freedom to the women at par with men. She insisted on the right of education and access to knowledge for every woman in Afghanistan. In the year 1928 and 1929 Amanullah and ‘Surayya’ visited Europe. The University of ‘Oxford’, conferred upon them the honorary degree. ‘Surayya’ delivered some lectures to the students there. Amanullah was deeply impressed by the western technological progress. He introduced in Afghanistan the equipments of photography and the relative materials. Amanullah and his family members made numerous experiments with the help of cameras and produced some of the unusually exceptional photographs. This makes it possible for us to have glimpses of various events and happening in a royal and elite family up to the year 1927 Since both Amanullah and ‘Surayya’ were under influence of life style of European pattern, their daily chore included shooting, hunting and fishing in a natural way. ‘Surayya’ and her relatives (ladies only) always had a tea party in the ‘Gulkhani’ Tea Restaurant’. Gradually an image of’Surayya was formed in England of that of a lady sporting dresses like the elite class ladies from the times of’King Edward’.
Amanullah and ‘Surayya’ always moved in their chauffeur driven Rolls – Roice car. This is how both of them lived a life, which perhaps, the people of Afghanistan were totally unawares of. On 10th of December 1927 Amanullah and ‘Surayya’ arrived at ‘Chaman’ for a visit to India from Afghanistan. At that time they carried some 50 bundles or parcels of luggage with them There was a train from ‘Chaman’ to ‘ Karachi’ & Two special Boggies were attached to this train in which use of Burma- teak wood and parts made of silver were used. In one of the functions of Karachi, Surayya’ had a meeting with many ladies. The accounts given by those ladies who met ‘Surayya’ gave vivid descriptions of the charm and beauty of ‘Surayya’ and were being continuously discussed in the public for a long time. Then Amanullah and ‘Surayya’ left for Europe where they were received by king ‘Faud’. When ‘Surayya’ arrived In Europe for the first time, she had sported European dress and a hat. During, their tour they visited Paris, Brussels, London and such other famous cities ‘Surayya’ also met some ladies from the Royal families of Egypt and Turkey, /she abandoned her usual Blue and Rose coloured dress and adopted western style attire. She also ordered some 50 pairs of dresses along with new set of ornaments. That time the Europeans compared “ Surayya” the Malika -e-Afghanistan with Elizabeth the first. In the year 1929 the Illustrated London news,’ the famous periodical (monthly) published a special article about ‘Surayya’ At that time, ‘Surayya’ was described as a lady with Black hair but with a fairer skin than that of the women in Spain and Italy. On 13 th March 1929, an article throwing light on the various aspects of Amanullah and ‘Surayya’ and life led by them was published. Even the factories, hospitals and institutes visited by ‘Surayya’ were given a prominent publicity in German print media. ‘Surayya’ had a meeting with King George the 5lh and Queen Mary at the ‘Buckingham palace’. At that time, ‘Surayya’ looked like a lady from the British elite family. Thus, after winning fame as a celeb from all sides, ‘Surayya’ became an’ icon’ in the fashion world like ‘Lady Diana’ today. On account of the clashes, Amanullah had with the British, the relations between Amanullah and the British were strained. During the year 1929 Amanullah had a truce of Cease fire with the British who gave their nod to recognize Afghanistan as a free and independent nation. Amanullah drafted and finalized the constitution of independent Afghanistan. In that Constitution the nature and the ambit of the new government and the role of the king vis- a vis the subjects were discussed. The reforms brought about by Amanullah and ‘Surayya’ were discussed all over the world. The British, vehemently opposed the reforms for the emancipation of women. They published in Afghanistan the photographs of Amanullah and ‘Surayya’ when they were on the tour of Europe — The Orthodox and the extremists did not approve of the steps taken by Amanullah and ‘Surayya’ when in the year 1929 both returned to Afghanistan, a very strong opposition was in the offing so, to avoid the direct confrontation of the masses, Amanullah and ‘Surayya’ decided to desert their mother land and to take refuge in Italy against the standing invitation from the authorities of Rome. They lived there till the end. Amanullah died in the year. 1960 and ‘Surayya’ expired in 1968 at Rome. Her burial took place at Jalalabad. In the month of July 2006 the famous British author Mr ‘Russel’ Harris had gone to Damascus. He was given a box, smacked in soil by the relatives of ‘Surayya’. Mr Russel was shocked when he opened the box up, only to find a collection of very rare and valuable photographs from the last century. He published some selected photographs from among the above in a periodical named ‘Libas’ International of England. These pictures make you visualize some scenes of 1920 of Afghanistan. Some of the rare photographs of ‘ Surayya’ who was declared as a fashion Icon, in the first half of 20lh century are in this collection. After reviewing these photographs Mr. Russel concluded that even in the times of rule by ‘Qajar’ family such fine photographs must not have been done in the whole of Iran. Such was the excellent quality of Photography made in ‘Afghanistan’ then.
*(The author is a noted Archeologist, based in Pune)
By Sanjay Godbole
Bahawalpur is a city in the province of Punjab in Pakistan. This city is situated at a distance of 90 k.m. from Multan and 420 km. from Lahore. One comes across a desert, called ‘Cholistan’ at a distance of 30 km. from Bahawalpur. In the past, an ancient river called ‘Hakda’ used to flow in this region. In the vicinity of this river, there exist about. 300 prominent spots, which have remains of ‘Harappa Culture’, Between 12th Century B.C. to 6th century B. C. the culture here, had flourished and was at its peak. In course of time, the basin of river ‘Hakda’ got shrunk and dried up and the whole terrain got gradually converted and transformed into a desert. The word ‘Cholistan’ has its origin in the word ‘Cholna’ as spoken in the local dialect of that area and which means to move or to migrate from one place to another. The nomadic tribes of this area very frequently migrated from one place to another, in search of water and fodder for their livestock. This practice of migrations made this province popularly known as ‘Cholistan. The residents of this area, even as on today, live in the earthen homes constructed on sandy dunes. The art of weaving, the embroidery and the needlecraft and the general artwork here are very famous. The medium of communication is predominantly the ‘Siraiki’ language, the total area covered by the desert, which is mostly extended towards the east of Bahawalpur is 15000 sq. k.m. and the same finally gets joined to Gulf of Kutch, or the desert of Thar.
Cholistan has many wells. These wells are furnished with a water lifting device which is driven with help of camels. People belonging to various tribes or communities, such as ‘Chachar, Meher, Lar, Pariyar, Channar and Chandani’ are settled in Cholistan. Ancestrically, they are more akin to the linage of the people from Rajasthan. The various forts in cholistan were specially erected by the Rajput rulers for the sole purpose of monitoring the movements of the caravans of camels, and their migratory movements in Cholistan. These forts have been uniformly erected at an evenly equispaced distance of approximately 29 k.m. For the provision of potable water, specially designed and devised underground water tanks were constructed within the limits of these forts, and potable water, was stored in these tanks. The first ever such fort was got constructed by Devraj the prince of Jaisalmer. The entire area in Cholistan was under the control of the Rajput rulers from Jaisalmer. In the year 1733, the Nawab of Bahawalpur conquered this region. One of the big forts in this region, situated at “Deravar’ is known as a ‘Square fort’. The 40 gigantic bastions, each 30 meter high could be seen from at a very long distance in the desert of Cholistan. This mammoth fort is spread over an area of 1500 sq. meters, from Deravar, one comes to a place called ‘Bijnot’ and the border of Indian territory is at a distance of mere 25 k.m. The city of ‘Bikaner’ is at a distance of 150 km. from ‘Bijnot’. In the past, the lights from ‘Bikaner’ could be clearly visible, from this place. In the 19 century, one James Tod authored an exhaustive historical account of Rajasthan. In that account, he has made a specific reference to the fort at ‘Bijnot’. The fort at Bijnot was constructed in the year 757 A.D. Prince ‘Tanmr’ of ‘Bhatti’ Dynasty found a sizable treasure-trove, buried underground. The above fort was constructed with the help of that treasure. This fort was christened after the name of Goddess ‘Bijseni’ as fort of “Bijnot’ because it was believed that the construction of this fort was possible only on account of the blessings of Goddess ‘Bijseni’. This fort was under the command and control of the ‘Rajput’ rulers for nearly a thousand long years. After some time, the Nawab of ‘Bahawalpur’ conquered this fort also. Presently this fort houses the contigent of ‘Pakistan Rangers’. One Mr. ‘Allah Wasaya a gentleman, almost 70 plus of age resides at Bijnot. Since he is thoroughly acquainted with the history of Bijnot, he always provides vital information as to the history of ‘Bijnot’ to the media. In his opinion, the real tension started mounting at Bahawalpur, when in the year 1956, the state of Bahawalpur got merged in Pakistan. In the war that broke out between India and Pakistan in the year 1971, the fort of Bijnot was considerably damaged on account of bombings and regular air assaults by the Indian air fore, says Mr. Wasaya.
The residents of all the nearby villages had vacated their places-enblock. The Indian armed forces made advances and reached Bijnot.
The Indian army, however, soon retreated from Bijnot, due to the implementation of the ‘Simla pact’ between Indira Gandhi and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.
One of the research scholars from Pakistan, Mr. Salman Rashid, carried out a detailed survey of the fort of Bijnot recently. In his opinion, the fort of Bijnot, like the one at ‘Kot Diji’ had a palace, terrace, Galleries, observation towers, Large parlours, rooms and storage spaces. Special underground tanks for storage of water were also provided. On account of a large opening caused during the action, one fails to visualize the original grandeur of the fort in totality. The walls built in limestone, of the structures of the fort are made extraordinarily thick to induce natural air conditioning effect, which is desirable in the hot and arid climate of Cholistan. The roofing is dome shaped. Many a legendary accounts of the Fort of Bijnot are tastefully gossiped in and around Pakistan. Colonel Tod has referred to the fort of Bijnot in brief. But according to Mr. Salman Rashid, a detailed historical account of the Bijnot’s central fort, in the precincts of Cholistan known as ‘Ruhi’ in local dialect and of the various forts, eventually built by the Rajput rulers along the banks of river ‘Hakda’ has not been available hereinsofar.
*(The writer is an museologist/archeologist based at Pune)
SANJAY GODBOLE is a an institution in himself. He is an archeologist, historian, indologist, an author, publisher and owns a personal museum. Sometime back Sh. Kuldeep Raina had a long discussion with him at his Pune residence on different aspects of Kashmir History and Culture. In this part we are publishing the excerpts of discussions pertaining toKashmir Archeaology.
KR: When were first Archaeological explorations carried out in Kashmir?
SG: In the year 1929 A.D., during the British regime, the first ever Archaeological excavation was carried out at Burzahom , a village 10 kms to the north-east of Srinagar. This exercise was repeated in 1959. at the same place. During the second excavation, the ancient remains which surfaced were subjected to carbon-14 test .These remains were found to be as old as 2375 B.C., belonging to ‘Neolithic’ period.
The residents of Kashmir during that period constructed underground Dwelling Shelters. The structure was erected with wooden rafters and a roof was provided over this frame of rafters. Steps and /or ladders were used to climb up and down. The fire hearth was placed near the entrance; the position of the hearth was permanently there only. At Burzahom black and gray and ash coloured pottery, Harpoons, Small hand axes, arrow heads, needles made of bones etc. have been discovered. In the subsequent phase the residents made houses of mud and raw bricks. The people at that time buried their dead in a folded posture, with earthen pots buried by the side of the dead bodies. They buried dogs, wolves, deer (antelopes) also, besides humans. This habitation came to an end in the year 1400 B.C.
In the ‘Iron age’ the remains of the housing structures were found during excavations at the same place (Burzahom). The remains found at Burzahom are considered to be precious and important from archaeological point of view.
KR: How do you perceive the augmentative additions to archaeological studies in Kashmir during recent times?
SG: There is a natural stream known as Shaliganga in the district of Budgam in Central Kashmir. On the left Bank of this stream, there is a place calledGurwait-Yarikhan. During an archaeological excavation in 1999 A.D. in a jungle, near Gurwait-Yarikhan the archaeologists came across a settlement which was spread to several terraces. This settlement also consisted of pavements of baked terracotta tiles. The size of the tiles was 36 cms x 40 cms each, and some numerals in Kharoshti script were found on them. These tiles had a symbolic mark of Swastika on their surface. In addition gray coloured pottery also surfaced at the site. During this landmark discovery, some potsherd pipes, deployed for conveying the potable water to human settlements were also reported.
The first ever Buddhist settlement was brought to light, in the year 1934, during an Archaeological excavational exercise, near Srinagar in Kashmir, at ‘Harwan’. Here, the Terracotta tiles, similar to those found at Taxila surfaced. Hence ‘Harwan’ was logically considered as a manufacturing hub for these tiles in Kashmir. Now, since at Hutmura, Pahalgam, Budgam, the Archaeological explorations have discovered similar tiles, it is now considered opinion of the experts that Kashmir was the principal manufacturing hub for these tiles, with a high degree of craftsmanship.
Kutbal is a town in the district of Anantnag in Kashmir. From the findings of the archaeological excavations, it has been established that Kutbal was one of the most beautiful and well planned cities during the rule of Kushan kings. Stamped tiles from the remains of the old structures have surfaced at Kutbal. At Ballyar, remains of a Buddhist monastery have been found. Experts, therefore, have opined that during the 2nd century, the third world Buddhist conference was most probably convened in Kashmir.
Some Terracotta heads were discovered at a place called Lethpur, previously known as Lalitapur. Near the P.O.K. there is a village known as Zirhama in the vicinity of the famous village , Shardi. Here four unique Bronzes, belonging to the 9th century, A.D. have been found. Out of these four Bronzes, one is that of Lord Vishnu ascending on Garuda-the King of Eagles. This Bronze, undoubtedly is very precious from Art History point of view.
KR: What type of ancient coins have been found in Kashmir? Rather, how the science of Numismatics has fared so far in Kashmir?
SG: The Kushan kings struck several coins in Kashmir. These coins have on one side image of the king and on the other a deity . Such numerous coins often surface in good numbers in various parts of Kashmir. Two ancient kings of Kashmir namely Hiranyakul and Mihirkul had struck coins which showed the king in a standing pose with a spear in one of hand and by his other hand, offering something to the Yagnya kund on the reverse side of the coin.A deity is shown at times with some inscription. The copper coins, belonging to the rulers of the Karkota dynasty had a mixture of copper and gold i.e. copper 88% and gold 12%. The Silver coins of ‘Tormana’ have also been found. In the ninth century A.D. Kashmir was ruled by Kings belonging to ‘Utpala’ dynasty. The coins struck by them are made of copper. These coins have a deity and legends on the obverse side and the figure of the king on the reverse side . These coins have been found in hoards. The king ‘Harshadeva’ issued and brought into effect, in Kashmir, coins in gold and silver. These coins had an image of an elephant on the obverse side and an inscription in Devnagari script. Such coins continue to surface even today in Kashmir. In the district of Baramulla, at Dengiwacha (Rafiabad) some coins belonging to Kushan kings have been brought to light. So also, at a place called Watnar, about 1800 copper coins were found stacked in an earthenware pot. These coins belong to the eleventh century and were struck by the rulers of Lohara dynasty. This is how numerous coins from different rulers surface in Kashmir. The coins of medieval period, which surfaced atSrinagar, some years back, have a distinct reference to ‘Kashmir Mint’. Srinagar Mint was known as Kashmir then. The coins, brought in effect by the Mughal rulers were of different types. On one of the coins struck by Shah Alam the Second this Kashmir mint has been addressed as ‘Jammun’, i.e.Jammu. This coin belonged to the year 1195 Hijari.
Emperor Jehangir and Shahjahan also struck their coins from over here which also included ‘Nisar’.
Many Persian verses are found on the coins struck here by Jehangir.
On one such coin, there is a Persian verse as follows:-
Jahan-e-Firuz gasht be Kashmir Sikkah-e-zar
Zi Nur Nam-e-Jahangir Shah, Shah Akbar
‘Money coined in Kashmir was made world conquering by the light of the name of Jahangir Shah-Son of Shah Akbar’.
Aurangzeb and subsequent Mughal emperors too struck coins at this place.
After Mughals, the Durrani rulers introduced and brought in effect, their coins in Kashmir.
KR: Why is the famous chronicle Rajatarangini by Pt.Kalhan held in high esteem by the Indologists and other oriental scholars ?
SG: The best example of regional histories in India that can be cited is that produced by Kalhan, known as Rajatarangini .This great chronicle dealing with the history of Kashmir was written during the year 1149 to 1150 A.D. by Kalhan. This history happens to be the one and the only one in the ancient literature. A Kashmiri Brahmin called ‘Pandit Kalhan’ went into minute details of the records and archives of the kings of Kashmir, made an in-depth study of the documents such as certificates, various declarations , charities and other contemporary books. Some experts, do not agree with certain facts and notings, particularly those to the period earlier to seventh century. The chronicles beyond the seventh century are, however, considered as authentic and credible. Had the historical account of other states been compiled in a similar manner, we would certainly be in a position to assemble a fairly accurate picture of Ancient India.
I have a copy of Sanskrit Rajatarangini which was published by the East India Company in the year 1835. A copy of the above was presented by me to the Kashmiri Sabha of Pune. Rajatarangini has since been translated in to several Indian languages. A special attention needs to made about the translation of Rajatarangini into Persian by Dr. Sabir Afaqui ,of Muzzafarabad.It has been very well received by the erudite scholars of Iran. The Sahitya Academy has published an english version of Rajatarangini.
This chronicle by Pandit Kalhan, is very useful for students, scholars and experts of Indological studies.
KR: After Swat Valley What remains belonging to ancient Greek Culture have been found in Kashmir?
SG: At a distance of 60 kms from Srinagar, there is a place calledSemthan and a hillock known as Chakdhar, originally Chakradhar. The original name of Semthan was Sinhastan. There was a big- sized gate calledHaathi Dwar on the Chakdhar hillock. King Jaun has made a reference to the temple of Lord Vishnu which existed there. During the regime of king Lalitaditya, Persian wheels were installed for supplying water to this area. On this hillock, there is a tomb of Totak Shah. In the vicinity of this area, terracotta pieces, ceramics and pieces of Earthenware pots were found. After the appearance of an article in Srinagar Times, by Shri Arjun Dev ‘Majboor’, the Archaeology department undertook an excavation work there in 1977 A.D. During this excavation, innumerable remains came to light.
In the 1982 issue of Man and Environment it is claimed that the missing gap between the Neolithic culture and the Indo-Greek culture has been aptly filled in by the discoveries of this excavation. The experts have surmised that the coins of Greek Origin and the Greek styled sculpture found here, indicate that Greek empire had definitely extended up to this part of the country. The ceramic industry was in full bloom and there was a huge forest of cedar & fir trees, perhaps beyond the reach of our imagination. The Staple food in Kashmir was wheat and rice in those times. A seal indicating Greek connection has been traced. After the discovery of gray coloured N.B.P. pottery, saffron coloured and red coloured thin polished wares of Greek style and make were also found.
Similarly, some designs of pottery and ornamental beads have shown resemblance to the Greek styled designs. Few vases have flowery designs and motifs on them. Some of the Greek and Roman patterns, introduced in pots and vases at that time continue to exist even today. A guidebook was printed in German language, giving details of Kashmir. In that guide, a photo showed Kashmiri nomads still using Indo-Greek type of utensils.
KR: What are ‘Kashmir Smast’ Caves?
SG: These caves do not have anything to do with Kashmir as such. These exist in North West Frontier Province in Pakistan. Kashmir Smast caves are a series of natural limestone caves- artificially expanded, from the Kushan to Shahi period. These are situated in the Babozai mountains in Mardan-N.W.F.P. Smast is the word used for Cave in Pashto. These caves are known as Kashmir Smast caves because of the fact that the network of the rock cut caves is so vast that it stretched from Gandhara to the Kingdom of Kashmir. Sir Alexander Cunningham described them as Cave Temples. These caves have chambers 322' x 100' x 80' in size. Waleed Ziad found a surprising treasure trove of antiquities belonging to the period 300 A.D. to 800 A.D. These included Kushan and Sassanian Bronzes, Kedar Kushan coins, Nozek Bronzes and Shahi Kings’ coins. Menander was an Indo-Greek Ruler and he struck his own coins. The Huns of Swat and Kashmir had imitated his coins. Such imitated coins were also found in the said hoard. An article on these coins was published in O.N.S. England
KR:How do you view the art of painting in Kashmir through history ?
SG:In the month of August 2007, a painting of Lord Avalokiteshwa rcame to light in a cave called Dungkar in Tibet. This ancient painting done by Kashmiri artists shows the Lord with ‘eleven heads’. This painting has been lauded as the best specimen of Kashmir school of painting.
The oldest available evidence of the existence of the art of painting in Kashmiri style dates to 8th Century .These specimens have been traced at ‘Gilgit’. It is believed that the painters and artists from Kashmir were specially invited to Central Asia and Tibet at Buddhist monasteries for various painting assignments.
Rinchen Sangpo (950 AD to 1055 A.D.) an erudite Tibetan Scholar visited Kashmir thrice and engaged 75 Kashmiri artists and technicians .With their co-operation and assistance, he got the artwork of paintings in 108 Buddhist Monasteries done. Even to this day, any one who looks at few specimens of this work, stands simply amazed .
A Buddhist Lama, Taranath arrived in Kashmir from Tibet in the 16th Century A.D. He has made a specific mention of a school of painting and metal casting, which flourished under the guidance of Hasuraja of Kashmir. He informs that the the styles practiced in the art school of central India and the school established by Shringadhari in Marwar had a dominating influence of the art of Kashmir.
The paintings in the manuscripts at Gilgit have faces in line with Gandhara style,the rest being in accordance with the Indian style. The figures in the manuscript are conspicuously muscular ,with sturdy built up bodylines. All these contributing factors seem to converge in the painting style of Kashmir .This could be identified as a special feature of Ancient Kashmiri painting style. The experts also opine that even the sculptures of Lalitaditya’s times have a similar impact. King Avantivarman (855 A.D. to 883 A.D.) was a great connoisseur and patron of arts. During his reign, various concepts of Gandhara Greek, Roman, Central Asian and Chinese styles converged into a unique combination reflected in Kashmir style of painting. This peculiar style was also followed in producing Kashmiri Bronzes. Not only that, this style was also successfully employed for wall paintings in Tibet in the 10th century.
Only natural colours were used for paintings in Kashmiri style. The green pigmentation was made from Turquoise found in Ladakh and the blue one was made from Lepis Lazuli from Gandhara. The attention of experts is always focused on the unique features of the art of Kashmir e.g. the technique, the colour scheme, the blend of various art styles etc..
This art of Kashmiri painting lost its patronage from the 11th century A.D onwards. The changed socio-economic and political situation in Kashmir added further to its decline. This led to change in the Kashmir style of painting. Since the times of Mughals , there was a more forceful impact of Iranian art style on Kashmiri painting. This can be discerned in the paintings and pictures in manuscripts.
KR:What is the importance of Gilgit manuscripts ?
SG: In the year 1938 A.D., Pt. Madhusudan Kaul,then Head of State Archaeology Deptt. discovered these manuscripts at Gilgit in a small excavatory project. These manuscripts are preserved at Srinagar in the Pratap Singh Museum. One manuscript is written on palm leaves while the otheris on birch bark. The first manuscript is of the size 6cm. x 30 cm. It is written in a script called Northern Cursive Script. This script has descended from the Late Gupta Script. The second manuscript is of the size of 7.5cm x 30cm. Both there manuscripts have wooden covers. There are icons drawn on them. The first cover has a picture of Lord Avalokiteshwar sporting ornaments. Two disciples are sitting at the feet of the lord. The disciples have put on the local attires of the elicit. On the inside cover of the second manuscript the picture of Lord Buddha sitting on a Lotus in a meditative posture is depicted.
In the opinion of experts both these paintings of Lord Avalokiteshwar and Lord Buddha belong to a period between 7th & 8th century A.D. Further these pictures are akin to and have similarity with the traditional art of painting from Foundkistan in Gandhara.
According to experts the pictures of Lord Avalokiteshwar and Lord Buddha on the covers of 2nd manuscript belong to the 9th century. These are in typical Kashmir style of painting. These show convergence of Gandhara, Indian & Central Asian Styles.
Gilgit manuscripts are masterpieces in the history of Ancient India so far as the art history is concerned. These manuscripts are important for studying the evolution of the Kashmir School of painting and the onward journey of the same up to Tibet.
KR:Which religious sect in Kashmir was in existence during the rule of the Kushans?
SG:During the 4th century B.C. a religious cult called ‘Nagpuja Cult’ i.e. serpent worshiping existed in Kashmir. During the reign of Emperor Asoka, a Buddhist monk named Majjahantika was sent to Kashmir for propagation of the faith. When Majjhantika arrived in Kashmir, he performed certain miracles by the grace of heavenly bliss . Araval, the Naga King of Kashmir, was highly impressed and he surrendered before Majjahantika along with his followers and converted to Buddhism, shedding his earlier strong opposition.
Hieun-Tsang, the famous Chinese traveller, visited Kashmir in the 7th century .According to him, as per the ‘native record’, Kashmir was known as Dragon Lake. During Hieun-Tsang’s stay in Kashmir, he says there were about 500 Buddhist monks in Kashmir.
According to ‘Neelmatpurana’ Land was created out from water and thus Kashmir came into being. Kashmir was under the control of people called ‘Naga’. Kashyap, the son of Nila was the commander of this Land. The word Kashmir is derived from ‘Kashyapmir’ (Land of Kashyap’)
Once this King Nila was pleased by the blessings of a Brahmin calledChandradeva Nila acceded to the request of Chandradeva and permitted human beings to live in Kashmir during winters. The Naga King also disclosed to him the rites, which were to be followed, by the future human inhabitants if they were to live permanently in the valley. These rites included devotional worship of certain deities and festivals of ‘Nag Puja’. During the first snowfall in the valley, the Naga king Nila was worshipped. In the month of Bhadrapada during the Varun Panchami festival, the serpent King Nila was worshipped. Similarly, during the month of Chaitra in the festival calledIrmanjiri Nila and serpents were worshipped. In accordance with ‘Neelmatpurana’ the ‘Nagas’ had their settlements near lakes and springs. Therefore, many places of worship are found in the vicinity of these places. Names such as Vernag, Anantnag, etc. have been in vogue due to this ‘Naga belief’. There is a reference in ‘Nilmatpurana’ that 527 principal Nagas were worshipped in Kashmir. Pt. Kalhan has written that during the month of Jyeshtha a festival for the great serpent king Takshaka was celebrated and many dances were performed during the festival.
This Nagpuja being practiced in Kashmir since the times prior to the Christian era, seems to have continued right up to the Medieval period.
In the 16th century, Abul Fazal has written that in Kashmir, Lord Vishnu was worshipped at 64 places, Lord Shiva at 75 places, Lord Brahma at 3 places and Goddess Durga at 22 places and Nagas were worshiped at 700 places. These idols are carved out and the residents worship them all. After the death of Emperor Asoka, in the 1st century A. D. King Menander of Indo- Greek descent came to rule Kashmir. The Vihar built
by him in Kashmir is called Milind Vihar. During the rule of King ‘Kanishka’ when Kashmir was a prominent hub of Buddhist religious activities, many Buddhist scholars were staying in Kashmir. During the Kushan regime three cities - Kanishkapur (Kanispur), Juskar( Inskar), Huvishkapur (Huskkur) - were established in Kashmir. In the 1st century A.D. in the reign of king Kanishka, many chaityas & stupas were erected. The sermons and dictates of Buddhist religion, carved out on a copper plate were kept by Kanishka in a stupa erected in Kashmir. ( To be continued )
Sh. Sanjay Godbole
The Honourable Shri Sanjay Godbole
You stand out as a versatile scholar in today's communication revolution, who reveals to us how the delicate ties of culture, reflected in our languages, literatures and the arts, have always bound the world together, even in periods when not many historical sources were available.
Your vision of history has transcended the conventional cataloguing of conflicts and coups, and the chronology of dynasties. You have honed your skills to relate closely to the people, the times they lived in and what they spoke, wrote, used and consumed.
You have the magic gift of reaching out smoothly over centuries of history, and entering into the very lives of people of the time, assessing their attitude, their values and the human condition. Your painstaking research and investigations into their artifacts and archives, sketches and relics, earthenware and metal vessels, have recreated for us even epochs wiped off from the palimpsest of time and history!
A living embodiment of your single-minded and magnificent obsession to converse with the past is your well-preserved Museum and Library of over 2,000 precious and rare books and exhibits at home. No wonder they have earned honourable mention in the Limca Book of Records! Your wonderful collection of books, precious manuscripts, rare paintings and photographs of Pune and other cities; terra-cotta vessels and some ancient musical instruments reveals your eclectic approach to the study of history.
Because of your special interest in the evolution of West Asian culture, and your abiding love for the Persian and Urdu languages, you have written seminal research articles on the nomadic Gypsy and Baluchi tribes of the area. Your documentary films (and short-film Naseem-e-Punah in Persian) along with evocative photographs of artifacts in your history museum in Pune, have received appreciative notices in West Asian cities of Teheran, Kabul, Istanbul and Turbat.
Many prestige publications in Pakistan and Iran have periodically published your well-studied articles on Pakistan. Magazines there have also published articles regarding your remarkable home library and museum, in Pune.
We, in the South Asian Forum and the Mumbai-Karachi Forum, respectfully salute a 'cultural ambassador' like Shri Sanjay Godbole, who helps so much to strengthen bonds of friendship and goodwill among people of India and Pakistan.
By Sanjay Godbole
In ancient literature, there is a frequent reference to River ‘Suvastu’. Valley of Suvastu River is today’s Swat river valley. This is on the banks of River Swat. The river Swat flows through towns of ‘Malla' and 'Saidu’etc. and ultimately merges with the waters of River ‘Sindhu’. People belonging to ‘Usufzai’ tribe of Pakhtoon Community are settled in this region. ‘Khush hal khan khatak' is a famous Afghan poet. He quotes, “The swat region is the most charming one in the whole of the world and by the natural beauty, the kings also derive heavenly bliss. After Partition, Swat became a part of Pakistan and at present it is included in the North -West Province of Pakistan. The Swat valley has many famous ancient spots, which include ancient caves, indicative of hall marks of Aryan settlements, Buddhist Monasteries and stupas. Hieun-Tsang the famous Chinese traveller has mentioned that more than 1400 Lama series existed in this region during ancient time.
Saidu Sharif and Bhingora are twin cities in ‘Swat’. ‘Saidu Sharif is the administrative capital of ’Swat’ and is at a height of 3250 feet from Mean sea level. Bhingora has a weekly market, selling gems of various types, Precious stones, Woollen hosiery items and tribal artifacts. The tradition of selling and purchase of these items in the weekly market here is more than two thousand years old.
During the British regime, they carried out an exploratory survey of the region, which threw light on all the ancient remains, which surfaced there. A treatise titled ‘exploration of Swat' is considered as the Best reference work on Swat. At present, the remains of ancient Buddhist stupa explored at ‘Butkara’ are carefully preserved at the Swat Museum at ‘Saidu Sharif'. During the winters, the Swat valley is totally covered by snow and when snow starts melting this ‘Swat’ region right upto ‘Chitral’ where ‘kalash' tribals, who are descendents of the Greeks are settled, gets dolled up with the unique natural beauty which is simply superb.
The ‘Swat’ valley has witnessed innumerable events that took place in ancient India. This region saw the rise and fall of many monarchs. On account of many invaluable and precious remains surfacing from time to time, the ‘Swat’ region has always been the central point for scholars and researchers. Many Mathas, Stupas and ancient structures have been brought to light during the excavational exercises carried over here. The ancient name of ‘Swat’ was ‘Uddiyan’. Uddiyan means Garden.
The Akhmeniyan Emperors ruled this province. Subsequent to this, Alexander- the great arrived here in the year 327 B.C. During this period ‘Swat’ became a cultural link between India and Iran, ‘Chandra Gupta Murya’ conquered this territory from the Greek Emperor Asoka, the grandson of “Chandragupta Murya” apostated Hinduism and adopted Buddhism. He deputed his religious propagandists and canvassers to every nook and corner of his kingdom. In Afghanistan at Shahbazgadhi, many inscriptions belonging to Emperor Ashoka in ‘Kharoshti’ have been found.
The Kushans ruled ‘Swat’ for more than 100 years. Hieun Tsang, the famous Chinese traveller arrived here around the year 600 A.D. He has given in his report that at Butkara there were about six thousand golden idols. He has further stated in his report the king Uttersen the ruler of Swat belonged to the shakya community and he (Uttersen) erected a stupa in memory of Buddha. The journal recently published by the Royal Asiatic society of London gives a vivid description of the Lamps carved out of Schist stones surfaced from 'Dir'--a town in Swat valley. These Lamps carry some informative description in Kharoshti script .One such Lamp carries the words Deep thal and the other carries the name Bheemas. Between the 2nd and the third century A.D such Lamps were in vogue and in regular use by the Buddhist monks and ascetics. In this connection one Buddhist folk-tale confirms that lord Gautam Buddha had personally visited this place and had given a discourse and preached sermons to his disciples.
The Buddha statue which has been detailed by Hieun Tsang in his elaborating descriptions of his travels is situated at Shekhudai a place at a distance of 16 K.M. in the North-West direction of Saidu Sharif.
This town of shekhudai is today known as Jahanabad. At Jahanabad a huge Buddha idol has been carved out of seven meters in the size in the mountain. Here the Buddha has been displayed in a meditative posture calledPadmasana (Lotus shaped Seating position). This Sculpture there has been carved out in the 1st Century during the regime of Kushana rulers. This Buddha statue at Jahanabad like the one at Bamiyan has also become a centre of attraction for the students of the Gandhar culture. Many tourists from Japan, Thailand and Sri Lanka visit Jahanabad annually Dr. Fida- Ullah Sahrai, the ex-director of Peshawar Museum is an authority on subject of Gandhar culture and history of Gandhar. In his opinion till 11th century Buddhism flourished in swat and the remains found here testify this. The Buddha statue at Jahanabad is next to that of Bamiyan in size and is considered to be one of the. best artifacts of Gandhar tradition. Dr. Sahrai further states that the Swat valley was a witness to the many sects in Buddhism such as Hinyan, Mahayan and Vajrayan and the development thereof.
After swat achieved the position as the main centre of Buddhism the king of Tibet in the 7th century invited Padama Sambhav Swaty, the chief Bhikkhu (lama). Accordingly, Bhikkhu Padasambhau went to Tibet. Dr. Saharai states that the great tradition of Buddhism now present in Tibet has its roots in the Bhikkhu tradition of Swat.
After Emperor Ashoka his noble mission of spreading of Buddhism was carried on by Emperor kanishka. This kushan emperor deputed his canvassers to many countries. He had also conveyed an international conference for furthering the cause of Buddhism. The Buddha Idol in Jahanabad most probably was sculpted in the regime of Kanishka as an everlasting memorial and monument in memory of lord Buddha.
The followers of Taliban arrived on the scene in Swat. This has disturbed the peaceful atmosphere of Swat which is full of ancient remains. Jenab Riyazkhan has informed that Talibans exploded some detonaters near the mountain of Jahanabad on 10th of Sept. 'Dawn' has also confirmed that Talibanis also repeated this explosion on 29th September. Dawn reports that the archaeological department of Pakistan has requested the Govt of Pakistan to preserve the historical heritage of Swat but no concrete steps seem to have been taken so for in this respect.
Postscript: Lately it has been destroyed by Taliban.
*(The author is a noted Archeologist, based in Pune)
By Sanjay Godbole
The city of ‘Taxila’ is situated at a distance of 35 kilometers from Rawalpindi in the Punjab province of Pakistan. It is the seventh Tehsil of Punjab province. The old name of ‘Taxila’ was ‘Takshashila’ and it was famous throughout the world as an ancient centre of Hindu and Buddhist culture. There is a verse in the ancient epic ‘Ramayana’. The verse describes how Bharat, the son of queen Kaikayi, after defeating all his enemies in war, established two settlements, namely, Takshshila and ‘Pushpakalavati’ in the Gandhar province. Both these settlements were abounding in all necessities of life. Bharat deputed his two sons, Takshak at Takshashila and Pushpal in Pushpakalavati’ to take charge and rule them. The state capital of ‘Takshak’ situated on the top of a mountain was popularly addressed as ‘Takshakshila’. This name ‘Takshakshila’ in course of time, got changed to ‘Taksh-Shila’. The grandson of Arjuna, named as ‘Janmajaya’ conquered Takshashila and established his rule on a hill there, called ‘Haathiyal’. The first presentation of the great epic ‘Mahabharata’ was given by “Vaishampayana’ here only. ‘Haathiyal means abode of elephants. This whole region was called ‘Gandhar’ meaning thereby ‘Land of fragrance’. In the opinion of some Archaeologists from Pakistan, King Takshak belonged to the ‘Naga’ Dyansty and he had established the city ofTakshashila.
The University of Takshashila was an important knowledge imparting centre of ancient India and it was operational between the 6th century B.C. to the 5th century A.D. Here the student aspirants were admitted at the age of 16 and finished their educational courses.
Here various courses, such as archery, horse riding, elephant riding, philosophy, defence sciences, grammar, religion, law etc. were taught. The merit list of the alumini of Takshashila University included such famous names such as Jyotipal the commander of armed forces of the king of Varanasi, the physician Jeevak of King Bimbisar, Prasannajeet king of the state of Kaushal and the emperor Chandragupta. The famous grammarian Panini was at Takshashila during the sixth century BC. Similarly, Arya chanakya, (Kautilya) was also busy in imparting education at Takshashila University. Many historians from Pakistan are of the opinion that Kautilya wrote and compiled his world famous treatise on economical sciences (Arthashastra) at Takshashila only. Takshashila was renowned all over the world then for unequalled quality of education imparted and the discipline observed. In one of the ‘Jatak kathas’ of Srilanka, composed in the fifth century, there is a stray reference to the University at Takshashila.
During the regime of the Iranian emperor, ‘Dariyush the Is’ prior to the year 486 B.C. the King ‘Pukkusati’ of Takshashila was defeated by the Iranian forces. On the tomb of king Zerzes the 3rd (year 338 B.C.) the fact that he conquered ‘Gandhar’ along with the images of the Gandhar’s warriors are carved out. Alexander the great reached Takshashila in the year 326 B.C., when king Ambhi was the ruler. Ambhi subsequently surrendered to Alexander. The region where the remains of old Takshashila lie scattered and strewn is presently known as ‘Bheer’. These remains are scattered in an area admeasuring some 1600 sq meters. A strong fortification exists in this area and has been constructed with wood, bricks and soil. The residences at Takshashila had storage spaces for food grains in the rear walls.
‘Sirkap’ is a small settlement near ‘Tamra-Nallah’ near Takshashila. The remains of the fortification, surfaced during an archaeological excavation, have long been testified in ancient literature. In the biography of ‘Apolonius’ authored by ‘Philostratus’, he writes that Takshashila is as imposingly colossal as the city of ‘Neenwah’. He further adds that Takshshila has all the characterically distinctive Greek features including a Greek styled fortification. Sirkap has narrow roads like ‘Athens’ and has single storeyed houses have Parthian type roofs. The remains of this city are strewn over a large area of 12000 sq. meters. During the regime of Alexander the great the Greeks addressed this city as Taxile’. ‘Strabo’ has described this city as vast and expansive and abounding. After the Greeks, emperor Chandragupta Maurya conquered Takshashila. After, Maurya, the Bactrians, the sakes and then Kushanas ruled Takshashila. The white Hunas devastated Takshashila on a great scale during the 5th century A.D. The famous Chinese traveller, ‘Fahiyaan’ visited this area in the 5th century. He addressed Takshashila as ‘Chuchshila’. He has described the four large ‘Stupas’ there and has praised both the ruler and the ruled. Hu-en-tsang, the famous Chinese traveller visited Takshashila in the 7th century. He addresses Takshashila as Taa-chi-shilo’. He also says that Takshashila was included into the kingdom of Kapisha initially but was included in Kiyashilo Kingdom (Which is Kashmir at present.) He has specially described the brave people, the fountains and the area abounding in flowers & fruits and the vegetation in general.
The Takshashila University charged one thousand ‘Karsharpane’ (the then prevailing unit of currency) towards tuition fees from the rich. The poor, however, were provided with education, free of cost. The coaching work was on throughout day and night. Takshashila could be very aptly described as the one and the uniquely one University, which was fully operative and functional in the whole of the universe for one thousand record years and that too, without any incessance or disturbance. During the British regime, the firstever attempt was mady be ‘Cunningham’ to fathom the hidden whereabouts of this ancient city of Takshashila. Subsequent to these attempts, in the years 1912 AD and 1934 A.D. an archaeological excavation exercise was undertaken, under the able leadership of Sir John Marshall at Takshashila. In this excavation many constructed structures were surfaced at different levels in various encrustrations These include remains of the ‘Bhallar Stupa’ on the sharda hill at an enormous height, at the banks of river ‘Haro’. The Kushan Kings erected many ‘Stupas’ and monasteries at ‘Jalian’. In one of such monasteries, many coins struck by Tormana and ‘Samantdeva’, so also, many stucco idols (made from lime) of ‘Bodhisatva’, Goddess ‘Hariti’ in Gandhara style surfaced. At that time complete sets of ornaments also surfaced. One ‘Armaiec’ inscription was also found. Several earthen pots, terracottas, stucco idols and hoards of Indo Greek and Saka Kushan coins were also surfaced. There is a stupa erected by emperor Ashoka at Dharmarajika. At this Dharmarajika stupa, there is an inscription of the Sythian king ‘Azes’. In that inscription the name of emperor Ashoka had been referred to as ‘Dhar raja’. This inscription was brought to light during that excavation. At ‘Jandiyal’ the remains of a uniquely characteristic and typically distinctive Greek temple were surfaced.
During the excavation at Takshashila many miniature stupas deployed during worship and several Urns for preserving the remains were brought to light. After Sir John Marshall, Mr. Mortimer Wheeler undertook an excavation at Takshashila. After the partition, Takshashila.
(The author is a noted archaeologist, based in Pune).
By Sanjay Godbole
Mr. Anant Joshi, from Pune Maharashtra India resides in Sadashiv Peth, (Peth a residential sector in the city) and is the lawful owner of the temple of Lord “Narsinha” (a Hindu deity in the form of half human and half lion body e.g. incarnation of lord Vishnu).
In the March 2004, he successfully obtained a Visa permit from Pakistan and with a view to visit the original location of the incarnation of Lord Narsinha, as detailed in Hindu Mythological scriptures & visited Multan in Pakistan. He photographed some of the ancient remains and ruins of the Hindu culture. During his stay at Multan, he was presented a book in Urdu named “Tarikh-e-Multan” written by Munshi Abdul Rehman Khan and published by “Ulum-Islamia-Chahalak”. Some vital information of the ancient remains and ruins of the Hindu Culture is detailed on Page No. 480 of this book. The translation of the related Urdu matter is as follows:
Hindu Asar-Bot-E-Multan (Hindu Idols-antiquities of Multan)
In the history of the city of Multan, during the dilivu-an period , the deity called “Aditya” played a substantially vital role. That is exactly why, Multan was, in Arabia addressed as Betul-Juhet, literally means a house full of Gold. The reason is, as stated by Abdul Qassim an Arab Author, “Mohammad Bin-Quasim-got 40 Bhars of Gold (l Bhar equals 380 Maunds and 1 maund equals 40 seers or 20 Kilograms approximately) from a house in Multan.
Ester, a contemporary historian, too, has made a statement about Multan that the name of the deity called Aditya, was also “Multan” and that the deity was mounted in a Glorious palace. The location was a big market place near Thatheri Bazar and ivory Bazar. The spot was in the vicinity of the “Pralhad” Temple. Abu Zahid Safi writes about Multan that many pilgrims, after undertaking a tedious journey, lasting many months, visited Multan to obtain glimpses of this deity “Aditya” and brought with them, an incense called Chandan (Sandlewood) the famous Kamrani Dhoop, which was burnt in front of the deity. The then, price of this sandle wood incense was 200 Dinars for 1 maund (40 seers or 20 Kgs.) in 886 AD. Ibn-e-Rasta in the year 906 A.D. Writes that in Multan, there is an idol which is 2000 years old. It is here only, the descendents of “Ibn-e-Manba” dynasty rule the province (Ibn-e-Manba is a branch of Sama bin Louie) on such occassions when Indian rulers, waged war and arrived near Multan, the local and native rulers became alert and kept their Military forces ready for action and showed their valour on the battle field.
Masudi, in 905 A.D. writes that the Sultan of Islamic rule, had both the riches and military. The Sultan was having a direct control of one lac twenty thousand towns in the near vicinity of Multan, spread around on all four sides. The famous Hindu temple is here only and the suitan gets a substantial income by the sale of sandle wood, required at the temple for performing religious rituals. The sandle wood was brought to Multan from far off places. Whenever, the Hindu rulers waged war on Multan and had a winning edge, over the Muslims, they (the muslims) threatened that they would destroy the idol of the God and the Hindu Military would retreat and go back. The famous city of Kanauj was also under the control of Multan.
Hindus from Sindh province held this idol of Aditya, in a very high esteem and treated it as an emblem of the Almighty and flocked this place frequently without fail, to have glimpses of the deity .
After their arrival here, the pilgrims got their heads and beards shaved off. This deity, primafacie had live anthropoid human features and therefore, Mohammed Bin Qassim had, with a view to behead the deity, taken out his sword.
This idol was made of pure gold and was inlaid with precious stones. There was a dense forest around the temple, where the pilgrims rested under the trees.
The temple of Pralhad at Multan
This temple is within the precincts of the old fort of Multan. The popular legend states that this temple was got constructed by Bhakta Pralhad, himself. Bhakta means devotee. It is title associated with Pralhad. It is one of the ancient remains of Hindu religious centres, and faces the Shrine of Hazrat Bahul Haque-Zakeria”.
In side the temple, there was an idol of Lord Vishnu in the incarnated form of Narasinha (A half human and half lion form) A grand fete was celebrated, of Narsinha, here in every month of “Jyeshtha”. On that occasion, many fairs and pilgrimages were held. This fete was of great importance for Hindus.
Hiranyakashyapu (father of Pralhad) wished to punish Pralhad. So he got one golden pole fabricated. He heated the column from inside and tied Pralhad to it. But Lord Narasinha favoured Pralhad and got the golden pole transformed into a column made of soil and cooled it. The Lord killed Hiranyakashyapu and made Pralhad a king. Multan was earlier known as Kashyappur then. This name was subsequently changed to Pralhadpur, after Pralhad occupied the throne.
Sir Alexander Bernas” visited Multan and has mentioned that the Prahlada temple had no roof-top. In the year 1810 A.D., the Hindus collected contributions and got an acme for the temple. This acme was errected at a higher level than that of the dome of the tomb of “Hazarat Zakaria”. This led to rift and disharmony in the two communities. This was one of the first communal riots in Multan. Hindu as a result of the riots, were compelled to reduce the height of the acme, so as to bring it lower than the height of the dome over the tomb. In the year 1848 A.D., the East India companie’s English forces attacked the Multan Fort. Due to the explosives used in and from the artillery, the structure of the temple was badly damaged and the very existence of this ancient structure went into Jeopardy. In the year 1853 A.D. the Temple was conventionally put into non-use and was put out of vogue. The temple finally was reinstated and restored, by using the funds, gathered by way of public contributions. The temple was in a fairly good shape till the year 1992 A.D. This intact temple was destroyed by the Muslims of Multan as a revenge of the Babri Masjid episode on 6th of Dec. 1992. This day, only stray remains of the walls of the temple exist in a dilapidated state.
The Suraj Kund of Multan
This Surya-kund temple is situated at a distance of 3 kms from Multan. Here is a kund (water tank) which is 10 feet deep and 132 feet long. During the Sikh regime, Shri. Savanmal, got all the four walls, surrounding the tank, constructed. As the legend from the Hindu scripture goes, Lord Narasinha, drank water from this Kunda after he relieved Pralhad from the clutches of Hirankashyapu.
The Sun God (Aditya) Surya Devata (Deity) was worshipped at this temple. This place was considered as the second important ancient place in Multan.
The temple of Totalamai
Totlamai (Mai means mother) is the third important and sacred spot for Hindus in Multan and is situated inside of the Haram Darwaza. In olden days the cities and towns were protected from outside attacks by constructing surrounding walls from all sides and only a few entry points were provided which were called Fasil Ka Darvaza.
This temple is called the temple of Totlamai. The deity here is Goddess “Totla. The Mughal King Aurangzeb had thrown the idole of the deity in a well here. The Chief priest of the temple at that times was an expert in Ayurvedic medicines and he treated the son of Aurangzeb and got him cured completely. The priest, as a reward, requested Aurangzeb for the idol of Goddess Totlamai and by royal order, the same was returned to him. The deity was subrogated in the temple. Shri. Savanmal richly contributed for the restoration work.
The temple of Goddess Jog Maya
This Jogmaya Mandir happens to be the fourth important and sacred religious place in Multan. It is very near from Multan Railway Station and was initially in the form of a stone pedestal. During the regime of Deewan Savanmal (Deewan-Chief Administrator) the temple was errected and Mr. Mulraj completed this construction work.
As per the Hindu Mythological Scripture in Mulsthana i.e. Multan, when Lord Narasinha incarnated, many Gods and Goddesses arrived there on the occasion to felicitate him, and amongst them Goddess Jogmaya was one who decided to inhabit and remain present at the spot forever. Here the Navaratri festival was celebrated in the months of Chaitra and Ashwin ( from Hindu calendar months) every year.
This is the fifth important and sacred place in Multan for Hindus. This is the abode of Lord (God) Ramchandra. There is a Kund (Water tank). Which is situated near the place. This is situated on the outside of Delhi Darwaza (Gate) and near Melsi-Duniyapur highway. During the regime of Maharaja Ranjeet Singh, the Kund and the temple were constructed. The festival is celebrated here on the full moon night in the month of Bhadrapada.
Since this temple was inside the precincts of Multan Fort, the priests could not enter the temple, except for the pre-scheduled timings on account of the restrictions on visiting hours. To remove the cause of this pre-decamental inconvenience, the priest of the temple, got a new temple errected near the sabji mandi and subrogated an idol of Narsinha incarnation. Afterwards, a wealthy devotee of Multan renovated this temple into an elegant and modern one at a cost of rupees ten thousand.
The Other old remains at Multan
Apart from the above, there are a few religiously important remains at Multan. These include the Samadhi of Savanmal outside the gate of the fort. Dnyanshala at Delhi gate, a Kund for the use of Pathashala (School), the Jain temple at Chodisara market and a temple of Lord Shiva.
The Hanuman temple in the Chowk area is also very famous. This temple was utilized as a safe refuge, for Hindus during communal riots. The other defence implements and weapons needed during such periods of riots were also stored over here. These implements were mainly used for retaliatory purposes. The Dnyanshala, referred to above topped the list of such hideouts.
*(The author is a noted Archeologist, based in Pune)
By Sanjay Godbole
THE ‘Thar’ Division in Pakistan has an expanse of twenty thousand square kilometers. During the census of this area in the year 1981 A.D., it was revealed that 0.5 million people were settled over there. Geographically, this 'Thar’ (desert) has been created out of heaps formed from the sandy dunes, saltish residues and oysters from the kutch desert and carried naturally over there over a period of years. The desert of ‘Thar’ was controlled by the ‘Rajputs’ (a warrior community). Many rulers from Rajput dynasties such as Sodha, Sumera, Sanna, Rathod etc. ruled here. Mehmud Gaznavi traversed the Thar desert and came to Somnath for attacking and destroying the temple. During the British regime, one Capt. Recks studied this terrain geographically. According to him, ‘Parinagar’ was an important and large port in the pre-Christian era. A large tributary of the River Sindhu contributed its flow into the Arabian Sea. The river was called ‘Hakdi’ at that time. Subsequently on account of onslought of natural calamities such as earthquake, the river changed its course and many towns and villages vanished in the blue. The ‘Kutch’ province was created due to turmoil on account of earthquakes and subsequent drying up of the Arabian sea in parts. Sindh has many ancient legacies such as temples, Mathaslamaseries, kundassacred tanks and such other ancient holy places. The Government of Sindh had published a Gazzettier in Sindhi language. Mr. Jagdish Rathi, a Sindhi author, sent me a few pages from this Gazzetter. These give an oblique reference to many such holy pilgrimage sites. There is a holy water tank situated at Nagarparkar which owes its origin by dint of the legendary story given in Mahabharata that Bheema kneeled down here. This Kunda admeasures 30' x 20' in size.
In the direction of North West from ‘Nagarparkar’ lies a place called ‘Achalshor’ where there are natural springs. There is a temple of Lord Shiva and a charitable rest house built by ‘Satramdasa’, where many ascetics dwell. A natural spring stemming and originating at the foot of a mountain near the old town is called ‘Zarano’ in the local dialect. There is also a cave in the mountain at the east side of nagarparkar, which can accommodate about 25 persons. During emergency and period of crisis, the womenfolk was safely put in the cave and the opening of the cave was closed with stones and the men faced the enemies. This place was called as ‘Bavanji Bibo’. A Fort was built near Nagarparkar by one Shri. Govind Rai, which was levelled with the ground by the British. ‘Ghordharo’ is an ancient place near ‘Karunjar’. The place is revered as a sacred place in Sindh, it exists from Vedic times. There is a lake called ‘Lorai'. The water from this lake goes right upto ‘Katch’. There are many ancient remains in the Vicinity of ‘Ghordharo’
This ‘Thar’ desert and the ‘Thar’ region has also been alluded to by many literatures from Pakistan in their works. Similarly, special mention has been made by some travellers about the sand dunes, desolated barren lands and peaceful tranquillity of this region. ‘Mazrul Islam’ a famous author and storyteller has said that his heart and Thar’ are identical with the same desert. In the South East direction of Thar lies the ‘Nagarparkar’ district which is still undeveloped, there are huge egg-shaped hills measuring 12 miles long and 1000 feet high. There are many temples belonging to Hindu and Jain faiths. During the pre-independence times, all these temples were always thronged by pilgrims. These are, however, in a deserted state and in neglected conditions in that the patrons of them have settled in India.
But these temples are, even as on today, known and are referred to for their Architecture and legacy. In an area at the foot of ‘Karunjar’ hills, within a periphery of 50 kilometers, there are five Derasars (Jain temples). Out of these, two temples are in good shape and structurally sound. Out of these five Jain temples, the most famous is called ‘Gori Mandir’ and is at a distance of 40 km. in the North-West direction from ‘Karunjar’. This temple was built, it is believed, since olden times. It was built during the regime of rulers from ‘Sodha’ dynasty, who ruled the province of Sindh during 1376 A.D. Since no inscriptions are available in the Mandir, confirmed conclusions and inferences can not be drawn as to the establishment of the same. This temple is of the size of 39 M x 15 M and is built in Jodhpur stone, which is quite akin to Marble. There is a court yard in the front side of the temple, in the North direction; and there are acmes in the shape of Umbrellas, on the top of the temple. After entering the temple from the Southern end, one can have glimpses of the rectangular spaces [Khana: means the space between two consecutive pillars] and the acmes over it. Long ago, way back, some idols had been installed there. Since, now that, these idols are no more existent, the acmes and the pillars and the Umbrellas are all in a broken state. At the back side of the main market at Nagarparkar, there exists a Jain temple in a neglected and deserted state. The temple has acmes in the shape of “triangle and there is a lot of carved work on the walls and the pillars. There are many sculptures depicting Jain Mythology. Way back, there were many painting and sketches also. But these are all destroyed and sculptures are broken. The colourful tiles set in the temple have also vanished. There is no one to look after the temple. When there was partition, the Jain community, en masse, chose to go to India.
The ‘Karunjar’ hill, for the Hindus of the Sindh is like a permanent holy place. The town of Sardharo is situated centrally amongst these hills, which are composed of Granite stone with a reddish tinge. In total there are three temples and the Shiva-Parvati temple is very famous. There is a temple of the Goddess on the Dharohar hill. Sardharo next to ‘Hinglaj’ is considered to be the 2nd important holy place in Pakistan. People come here for immersion of the bones of the dead in the ‘Kunda’ over here. For the upkeep of this holy place, the ‘Nehalpuri’ family consisting of 8 members is permanently settled here.
The residents of Sindh treat and rever the fountain water as holy as the water from the river Ganges. On the auspicious day of Mahashivratri around twenty thousand devotees come here to offer their prayers and Puja. In this temple there are some idols of deities and some paintings of God and Goddesses. Though this temple is nothing special from architectural points of view, it enjoys special importance due to a legend mentioned in Hindu scriptures; and therefore this place is held in high esteem by the masses. This legend runs as follows- Once upon a time, a couple of deer and doe was returning homewards in the valley of ‘Karunjar' and the deer slipped’ from a high cliff and fell in the lake below. It got drowned and died. The doe rushed forward to rescue the deer and in doing so, got herself entangled in a nearby bush. Her head got stuck in the bush and rest of her body bogged down in the lake. Subsequent to this incident, the doe was reborn in a merchant family of ‘Patan’ She, unfortunately suffered from chronic headache (migraine) and could not be cured of this disease in spite of treatments and medications. A Brahmin priest from the town, with the help of his deep studies and intuitive powers visualized the past of this unfortunate girl and told her parents to retrieve the remains of the head of the doe and immerse them in the lake. The parents of the girl acted upon the advice of the priest and the girl got totally rid of the sufferings. In kind remembrance of this, the parents of the girl erected three temples by the side of the lake.
Due to geographical situation, ‘Nagarparkar’ is accessible with great difficulties. In the olden days the pilgrims took two full days to traverse a distance of 490 km from Karachi to reach ‘Nagarparkar’. But now with the construction of concrete roads, one can reach ‘Mithi’ from Karachi within 7 hours. ‘Mithi’ happens to be the district head quarters of the 'Thar Parkar’ desert area. From ‘Mithi’ one can reach ‘Nagarparkar’ within a short period of 3 hours. From ‘Nagarparkar’, with the assistance of local guidance one can go to ‘Sardharo’. Lodging and Boarding arrangements of pilgrims can be made by paying charges of Rs. 1500 per day at the residence of a local man. There is no road in good condition for going to Sardharo from ‘Nagarparkar’. Hence the pilgrims have to pass many obstacles and obstructions. According to a local resident Shri. ‘Maun Puri’, though the Hindu Panchayat Committee is looking after the up keep of the temple; it is not in a position to raise funds to make proper arrangements for lodging and boarding of the pilgrims. If, according to Shri. Maun Puri, the Govt, makes adequate arrangements to construct a permanent Road from ‘Nagarparkar’ to ‘Sardharo’ the aged and the women can also have glimpses of this holy place. A few days back Mr. Maqbool Ahmad undertook a detailed survey of the temple and published an illustrated report of the same in Herald. He also appealed to the Govt, authorities to take concrete steps to preserve and conserve this valuable heritage of historical importance. In the year 2003 A.D. Mr. Aziz Sanghdar, prepared an exhaustive report about the neglected and ignored remains existing in this area. Janab Zulfikar Syed, too, published a report about ‘Karunjar’ under the name and title ‘Lost world’.
Some days back, I was acquainted with Mr. ‘Jethanand’ a "resident of ‘Dhano’, a town in Sindh. Mr. Jethanand gave me a reference to a Baloch gentleman Janab Ali Khosu, who is 94 now and has thorough and in-depth knowledge of the history of Sindh - very recently, G.O.T.V., had broadcast a programme about Janab Khosu.
When contacted, Janab Khosu informed that upto the year 1971 many Jain ascetics visited this holy place. About 1200 Jains were settled in Nagarparkar and the Jain population in ‘Parshvanath Gori’ was 2000. But majority of them migrated to India. There is a water tank here (Kund) which has natural sources of water, which subsequently joins the river water. This kund is called ‘Mrigakund’. A Huge fair is held here by end of ‘Kartik’ (the 8th month of Hindu calendar.) There is a temple of Lord Shiva at Sadhu Bela near Sakkar, where a fair is held in the month of June. The famous Hindu ascetic, ‘Parashar’ had carried out his penance on the hills of ‘Sarodhar’. There are prints of his feet here. Janab Khosu further added that prior to Partition, this region was famous for Communal harmony. Many fairs were held and various festivals were celebrated. Yogis and Saints flocked here. In the precincts of this area many remains of Jain, Hindu and Buddha idols were surfaced. An image of Lord Shiva was also found. In addition ancient utensils and containers, along with other remains were also found. In the area surrounding ‘Sarodhar’, ‘Agriculture’ was professed on a very large scale. The honey was exported. Today, there is only one household of the Jains. The Name of ‘Nagarparkar’ has its origin with three words. Nagar means city, Par means to go beyond or transcend the limits and kar means to do - according to Mr. Khosu.
Janab Khosu has his formal education upto the second standard and that too in Sindhi medium. On account of his affinity for culture and history, he has visited all the holy places of pilgrimage and has studied ‘Ramayana’, ‘Mahabharata’ and history to great detail. He has sharp memory even now and he has a flare to teach and elucidate the cultural history of Sindh to many scholars and students he comes in contact with.
Erudites like Janab Khosu are furthering the cause of the study of the cultural pride of the past and the bygone areas. And surely it is a matter of pride for all of us that he continues with his endeavour with the same zeal.
(The author is a noted archaeologist, based in Pune).
By Sanjay Godbole
Prior to independence, Hindu Pandits were settled in great numbers, in the Northern areas of Kashmir. Sharadi is a small village in Northern parts of Kashmir, which was famous for an ancient temple of Goddess Sharada. A Kashmiri Pandit family headed by Thusu Ladarwani was settled in this village. This Thusu family was compelled to migrate to Srinagar from Pakistan occupied Kashmir (POK) and again due to the terrorists and their activities, had forcibly to shift to Jammu and stay in a transit camp there.
At present, Shri Shambhunathji Thusu from this family is ninety four year old and possesses an exceptionally remarkable memory. He is well versed in Urdu, and Kashmiri language . Shri Shambhunathji provided me a map in Urdu prepared by him, giving details of the "Sharda Temple". He has successfully retained many memories, about the "Sharda Temple" right from 1920 A.D. Shri. Shambhunathji reiterated that there was no idol of the Goddess Sharda in the temple, but there was only a stone plinth, admeasuring six feet long, seven feet wide and one and half feet high. "Just outside the temple, not very far, was a Shivaling.( i.e . symbolic idol of Lord Shiva). The devotees worshipped at both the places.
Shri. Shambhunathji was born and brought up in Shardi and he spent his prime youth there only. His family owned a business there. He aptly recollects the fair held at Shardi in the month of Bhadrapada (the sixth month according to Hindu Calendar) on the eighth day of Shukla Paksha i.e. a fortnight of rising moon.
He makes a mention of the briefings by a scholar in History from "Shardi", about the assistance rendered, by a Gaud King to the "Sharda Temple Complex". The village Shardi is situated at a distance of 130 Kilometers from Srinagar and 140 k.m.s. from Muzaffarabad. This place, presently, has the following postal address in Pak occupied Kashmir. (POK).
Village Shardi, Tehsil Atta Mukam, District Muzafferabad.
Since olden times, the village Shardi was renowned for the following two things
1. temple of Goddess Sharda, and
2. Sharda Peetham (Centre for Advanced studies)
Prior to the partition, a fair was held at village Shardi in the month of Bhadrapada and on the eighth day of the Shukla Paksha, and devotees from all over India, flocked the place in thousands, for receiving the blessings of the Mother Sharada deity. There is a place called "Tikkar" at a distance of one and half kilometers from Kupwara, in Kashmir. From here, there is a short cut for going to Shardi which measures 40 k.m. Many Pilgrims treaded this path only.
Prior to the partition of India, many Kashmiri Pandit families were settled in "Shardi". Those professing as priests and traders had their shops and establishments in the near vicinity of the Sharda Teerath. Besides, many saints, ascetics and their associates/disciples and their servants also lived there.
Shri. Pradeep Kaul, from Srinagar, informed that every scribe offered his writings to Goddess Sharda, for obtaining her blessings. The following alleged legend in this regard runs as follows. The Kashmiri Scribes, kept their Bhurjapatra manuscript covered in a platter overnight, in front of Goddess Sharda, for obtaining her blessings. If the pages of writings remained undisturbed, it was taken for granted that the works had the blessings of the Goddess. If, however, the pages of the works were found sifted, the works were considered as disapproved by the Goddess.
Presently , the Sharda Temple lies within POK territory and one has to travel from Muzaffarbad to Thitwal - 80 K.M. from Thitwal to Karna-20 k.m., from Keran to Dudhe Niyal - 24 km, and from Dudhaniyal to Shardi- 16 K.M., to reach Shardi.
Prior to 1947, some travellers went to "Udi" from Barahmulla, and then from "Udi" to Shardi, via Muzaffarabad. In Shardi, the Sharda temple is on the right bank of river "Krishnaganga". At this spot, there is a confluence between river Madhumati and river Krishnaganga. In Sanskrit, the word Sharda denotes both Goddess "Saraswati", and Goddess "Durga". An old styled, stringed musical Instrument called "Veena" is also addressed as "Sharda". The Kashmiri Pandits, rever this Goddess Sharda as a symbol of strength. The brief history of "Sharda" in Kashmir is as follows.
"Kashyapmir" aka Kashmir means the Land of "Kashyap: Rishi the ascetic. Kashmir was a home of erudites and scholars. Here was an University of the extremely learned Pandits and philosphers in all branches of knowledge. The epic, Mahabharata, refers to Kashmir as "Kashmir Mandal". Ancient History of India describes that there was a temple of "Goddess Sharda" in Kashmir also. There was a centre for providing education, Sharada Peetha had four doors facing four direction. The southern door was always closed and no one from South ever entered from this door. "Shankaracharya" in 8th cent A.D. opened this door and entered the Centre . He defeated all the scholars there and won the highest hierarchial position of Acharya. An ancient volume "Shakti Sangam Tantra" has a stray reference to "Sharda complex". The volume describes Kashmir as a Land from Sharda Complex to "Saffron mountain " Keshara Parbat extending upto 50 yojana.
At present, in POK, the valley of river Krishnaganga lies at a distance of 125 k.m. from Muzaffarabad towards North. It is now being addressed as "Neelam Valley" by Pakistani authorities.
The village "Shardi" lies in between Gurej and Karna: the two places in Neelam valley. At Shardi, wreckaged remains of the temple of Goddess Sharda can be seen. One can reach Shardi within 4 hours from Muzaffarbad. The following are the lines from the verse of "Goddess Sharda" (residing in Kashmir) in praise of her
Prior to Division of Kashmir in last century Mr. Bamzai, a Kashmiri Pandit, has very aptly described the Sharda Temple had the main girdle of 22 feet dia. It had an entrance door in the west. The other entrances had arches over them, and these arches were 20 feet in height .The main entrance had foot steps. On both sides of the porch, there were two square shaped pillars, 16 feet high and 2'6" x 2'6" in sectional size. Carved out of a solid stone Block. The construction inside the temple was very plain and unadorned . The temple was situated on a hillock, on the right' bank of river Madhumati". The rectangular sanctum had 63 foot steps, each 9' wide. The name and fame of this Sharda Teerath was well spread throughout ancient India.
Kalhan, the famous Historian, who wrote "Rajtarangini has given a reference to "Lalitaditya" of the eighth's century. He says, disciples of the Gaud King had come all the way from Bengal to Kashmir to pay a visit to this Sharda Mandir.
Alberuni, the famous traveller of the 10th century has made a mention of this "Sharada Mandir". He narrates "After traversing the interior portion of the valley of Kashmir, one reaches the Bolair Mountain, which is mid way between "Ladakh" and "Gilgit'. Many pilgrims come here for receiving the blessings of Goddess Sharda". Albe-runi further states that this "Sharda Teerath is equally famous like Som Nath of Gujarat, the Vishnu Temple of Thaneshwar, and the Sun-Temple of Multan.
"Bilhan" Pandit the famous author of the Later half of the 11th Century has also made a mention of the :Sharada Teerath". Though settled in South India over a long period, "Bilhan" has dedicated all his Literary works to Goddess "Sharda".
Between the period 1088 A.D. and 1172 A.D., an erudite, Shri Hemchandra had completed his "Prabhav Karta" a voluminous treatise. Under the auspices and patronage of King "Jay Singh" of Gujarat, he was required to compile a volume on "Grammar". So, king Jay Singh deputed his representative to Kashmir, and made available to Shri Hemchandra a manuscript of the subject of grammar, from the Library of Sharda Teerth. This enabled Shri. Hemchandra, to complete his treatise called "Hemkandra" (Siddha Hemkandra) . This amply proves, how the name and fame of the library of "Sharda Teerth" was well-known in ancient India and as to, how abounding was the Library of "Sharda Peeth".
Historian Jon Raja has made a reference, as to, how Sultan of Kashmir Zain-ul-Abidin visited this place in 1422 A.D.
Abul Fazal has also made a reference to this place. The stone crafted Sharda Mandir, he adds, a beautiful temple at that-is situated on the bank of river Madhumti (Krishna Ganga). Gold was often found in the river basin here. A fair is held here, on the eighth day of every month of the (Shukla Paksha) fortnight of the rising moon. After the Mughals, the Dogra regime assumed power in Kashmir and the then Collector of Muzaffarabad, Col. Gundu repaired the temple and provided a new ceiling made of wood. He got fixed an annuity for the priest of the temple, under the orders of Maharaja Gulab Singh of Kashmir.
The Northeast province of our vast country India is Kashmir. Kashmir has its own style of temple Architecture. This style was developed, during the reign of King Lalitaditya (724 A.D.) and in 9th Century reached its Zenith, during the regime of Avantiverman. There are a few ancient temples in Kashmir. Among these, the Rudrash temple at Ludo, the sun-temple at "Martand" and the "Shankaracharya Temple at Srinagar are conspicuously famous. Generally, a temple in Kashmir has two parts, a square sanctum and a porch in front of it. These structures have centres and subcentres of Learning associated with them.
Experts opine that the pillars and columns of Kashmiri temples compare favourably with those of Derrik style. There is an expansive courtyard around the temple. This ancient Sharda Mandir is in (P.O.K.) today and has nurtured all the Salient features of Kashmiri style of Architecture.
Yograj Razdan and Mr. Ratan Kaul made available this rare photograph of Sharda Mandir from Sharadi. It is at their instance, it was available to me.
Kashmir, in olden days, was a centre for education , pursuit of knowledge and studies of various sciences. That is exactly why, Kashmir is also called Land of Goddess Sharda, City of Goddess Sharda and Sharda Peetham (University).
The famous Chinese traveller, Hue-en-tsang visited Kashmir in the year 632 A.D. and lived there for almost two years. His notings assert that at Shardi, there are Pandits who are exceptionally brilliant, endowed with perspicacious wits and acumen and are genius in the real sense of the term. There is a narrative, regarding Goddess Sharda in Hindu Scriptures. When Pandits refuse to perform the sacred thread ceremony of "Shandilya" the son of ascetic "Vashishta", he (Shandilya) under instructions of his father, went to Kashmir, to offer his services to Goddess Sharda. He bathed in the water tank near Sharda temple and got his body, transformed into radiant gold, afterwards, he, by the grace of Goddess Sharda obtained accomplishment and became famous as Shandilya Rishi the ascetic.
The Sharda Shastranam Stotra is a canticle depicting Goddess Sharda as follows :-
Goddess Sharda is "Sheeladevi" (A Goddess in stone) she sits on a stone seat and has a pleasantly smiling face. Her form and appearance resemble those of Goddess Parvati (Wife of Lord Shiva). She holds a Sword in one hand. Her eyes are glowing and radiant like the Sun, the moon and the god fire, she is the Supreme controller of all the three "Lokas" (According to Hindu Mythology, there are three lokas i.e. worlds swarga (the heaven) Mrutya (the Earth) and Patal (the under world). She has six arms and sports the sacred thread of Yagyopavit Shandilys, the ascetic. Her devotees are blessed with the eternal light from the outer world.
The members of the Gujar and Pahadi Communities, residing in the nearby area of the "Shardi" village had an abiding and unalienable faith in the sheeladevi shakti peeth (a source of power). They offered cow's milk and cereals and other agricultural produce to Goddess Sharda. In the recent times, Swami Nandlalji a famous Yogi (a hermit) from Kashmir had his hermitage near the Sharda temple, and his disciples were both' Hindus
This is how the imposing and magnificent history of Goddess Sharda for a few centuries in the post goes. The following lines from a Sanskrit canticle are enough and sufficient to stress the importance of the history of Goddess Sharda.
By Sanjay Godbole
Shankaracharya, the first, was born in the year 788 A..D. at ‘Kaladi’ in Kerala. The day was the fifth day in Shukla Paksha in the month of Vaishakh and the time was noon as per the Hindu Calendar. Shankaracharya hailed from a family from Malabar. His family was a Nambudripad Brahmin family, who led a simple living style, but believed in high thinking and had a tradition of being quite learned and knowledgeable.
Shivguru Nampudri and his wife Aryamba after many long years of their married life did not have any issues and being desirous to have one, they started a penance for the blessings of Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva was pleased with their penance and came in their dreams and gave them a boon that Aryamba would soon bear a son, who will be brilliant, intelligent but who would be short lived and ephemeral. The auspicious new born had the following emblems on his body the wheel symbol on his head -an eyelike symbol on his forehead, a trident mark on his shoulders, Looking all these, the astrologers declared unanimously that the new born was nothing short of an incarnation of Lord Shiva and they all said that he would be called by’ Shankar’ as his name. This Shankar (as he was called then) was gifted with unparalleled brilliance and when he was merely three, he started taking lessons, through faculty” of speech, from his father.
Shankara became proficient and adept in many sciences with explanatory critical analysis of the same. As a result of such a deep study, ascetic tendencies were aroused in him. He had in his heart, an intense desire for the well being of one and all.
At the age of five he entered the institution of his Guru at Trichure. Within a span of three years, he mastered the three disciplines of yoga. He also attained the accomplishments of eight types of divine powers. (These accomplishments arc called Ashtasiddhis). These arc faculty of remote listening, remote visualizing, power to enter other bodies moving at the speed of light etc. He went to his spiritual guide Swami Govind Bhavatpad in central province, now known as Madhya Pradesh and carried out the important and vital mission of rejuvenating the ancient vedic tradition of Aryan religion. Shankaracharya who was well versed in all four vedas, had an excellent command over Sanskrit and meters and technique of poetry. He authored many hymns and canticles praising Gods and Goddesses and many poems and criticisms. He successfully-debated with people who followed different schools of thought and after winning over them, established four centres of knowledge at the far-flung corners in India. He thereby, so to say, sowed the seeds, which would result into cultural and spiritual integration. He organized the working of the four centres, wliich he established, so that each centre had one of the vedas as the main theme of their functioning. Therefore each of the four centres had its distinct identity as to the system of working and propagation of its central theme. Shankaracharya appointed the following Principals i.e. Acharyas at different centres, (a) Shrungeri -Surcshwaracharya (b) Jyotirmath at Badrikcdar - Totakacharya (c) Sharda Math at Dwarka -Hasmalkacharya (d) Govardhan math at JagannathPuri -Hastamalakacharya. In due course of time the fifth centre (Math) at Kanchi was established. Shankaracharya, then went to the city of Mahishmati which was situated on the banks of river Narmada. There he defeated Mandanmishra, an erudite in a debate and made him his dcsciple. Ubhayabharati, the wife of Mandanmishra, posed Shankaracharya, with a questionnaire, asking for details, procedures, rituals in the science of sex. Shankaracharya, though he was a strict celibate since birth, outwitted her by entering into the body of Amruk, the ruler of Kashi (now known as Bcnaras or Varanasi) and obtained the necessary details and then giving satisfactory answers to the queries raised by Ubhayabharati.
Shankaracharya propogates that ‘Let the urighlcous become riteous, let the wicked be benign let the righteous attain tranquility and peace, let those attaining peace emancipate themselves from the worldly ties and those who have attained emancipation, preach others to follow suite. Shankaracharya, by dint of his intense and glaring intellect, won over many erudites in debates and guided them to the real path of knowledge. Shankaracharya and his Acharyas proved and established their intellectual supremacy all over India. With a view to preserve and protect the divine knowledge stored in Vedas, he organized the ascetics in seven forums. These groups are Ahwan, Mahanirvani, Niranjani, Atul Anand, Agni and Bhairav. Shankaracharya was an accomplished organizer and a great philosopher.
Once it so happened that Shankaracharya’s mentor, Guru Govind, entered a cave and started his meditation. The cave was near the banks of river Narmada. The river was in full spate and the water started gushing into the cave. Shankaracharaya kept a big earthen pot at the entrance of the cave and surprisingly, the flood waters were emptied into the pot and could not reach the cave.
When Govind yati finished his meditation, he was surprised of what Shankaracharaya achieved. He realized the capabilities of Shankaracharaya and suggested to him to write a criticism on the Brahmasutra. Thereafter, Shankaracharaya, the erudite of the tender age of twelve, started preaching the Vcdanta philosophy on the Ghats of river Ganges at Benaras. While at Benaras, the Lord Shankar (Kashi Vishweshwara) Himself, presented before Shankaracharya, in the disguise of a vile and tested his wits and wisdom, through which Shankaracharaya came out with flying colours.
Lord Vishwanatha told Shankaracharaya to write an exhaustive criticism on Brahma Sutra. The Lord also told him to profess monism and uniqueness of Brahma’ (Universe). Shankaracharya chose to traverse to ‘Badari Khetra’ with an inherent desire to draw-inspiration from the great anchorite Vyasa and his blessings. On way to Badari Khetra, he abrogated the prevalent tradition of human sacrifice. He lived near ‘Vyasa Tirth’ and wrote excellent criticisms on Brahama-Sutra, Upnishadas and Bhagwatgceta. One fine morning, Vyasa Maharshi, came to Shankaracharaya in the form of a Brahmin and tested him and he was satisfied with Shankaracharaya’s wisdom; and blessed him. Even though Shankaracharaya was destined to live for only sixteen years, Vyasa gave a further lease of sixteen more years to his life. After Mandanmishra became a disciple of Shankaracharaya, all the erudites, with their scholarlincss and eruidition got fully geared up for convening the philosophy of monism in the whole of Northern India.
Shankaracharaya, then travelled down to South along with his disciples. There he canvassed monism at various places like shaila, Gokarna. After the demise of his mother, Shankaracharaya began his pilgrimages. At the end of his entourage, he went to Kashmir and established the Sarvadnya Peetham and took charge of the same. All the Kashmiri Brahmins got dazzled by the intellectual acumen and wisdom of Shankaracharaya. Shankaracharaya, then went to Nepal. There he established a proposed standard code of Vcdic rituals and observance thereof. Since qualified and eligible priests capable of performing correct, true and exact vedic rites and rituals were not available Shankaracharaya invited some Namputiri Brahmin priests from Kerala for keeping the ancient Vcdic traditions alive. His great work or mission encompassed the following activities: a) Criticism of various Suktas in an elucidative style, b) canvassing his philosophy of monism; (c) Conquring debates on all four sides and establishing centres (Mathas). This gigantic mission he accomplished within a short span of 31 years. He chose the pious land of the Kedar Kshetra for his final departure from his earthly incarnation and did leave this world to have unisom with eternity on the 11th day of the Shukla Paksh (first fortnight) in the month of vaishakha at the age of 32 year as was predicted earlier.
The research scholars have unanimously arrived at the conclusion that all those canticles are composed by, Shankaracharaya only. These canticles are ‘Anand Lahari’ ‘Dakshina-moorty stotra’ ‘CharpatPanjari’, Shivabhujang Prayat’ & the ‘Saundarya Lahri’ to mention a few. For expounding the philosophy of ‘Vedanta’ Shankaracharaya authored several volumes. Out of these, “Advaita Panchratna’ and ‘Vivekachudamani’ are particularly wellknown and famous. The basic and fundamentally key concept of the doctrine of Monism, propogated by Shri. Shankaracharaya can be stated in a nutshell as under i) The ultimate truth is Brahma 2) The world we see is false and a mere illusion. 3) Soul is nothing but Brahma only & 4) Soul and Brahma are inseparable.
The ‘Bharatiya Sanskriti Kosha’ (Indian Cultural Encyclopedia) Vol No 1 Page 184 gives the following legend in connection with Goddess Sharada. It reads as follows:
“During the previous birth, she was the wife of Lord Brahmadeva and was known as ‘Saraswati’. She had to take a new birth on account of a curse or malediction by an ascetic called ‘Durvasa’ She, during this birth (incarnation) was, in course of time, married to Mandanmishra’ an erudite, when she could have glimpses of Shankaracharaya (who himself, was an incarnation of Lord Shiva). She got emancipation from the ill effects of the curse. She set out for her original place, where she belonged to. Shankaracharaya, at that juncture appealed to her that she should stay at ‘Shringeri’ only and permit her worshippers to serve her. Saraswati acceded to Shankaracharaya’s request and went to the River Tunga and resorted to ‘Jal Samadhi’ (Jal means water and Samadhi means transcending limits of earthly identities). Her soul reached ‘Satyaloka’ but her mortal remains stayed there only in the form of a rock. Shankaracharaya got a wheel carved out on that rock and got a sandlewood idol made, of Goddess Sharada and installed it near that place. The Goddess, is called ‘Sharadamba’. The Goddess is the venerable deity at the Shringeri (Math). In due course, Shri. Viddyaranyaa swami got a beautiful temple erected and installed a golden image (idol) of Sharadamba. The Shringeri Math is situated on the banks of river Tungbhadra at Koppa (Dist Kadur) in South India. This is one of the sites in Karnataka worth seeing. It has an expanse of 8 miles x 6 miles. In the Dharma Kosha (encyclopedia of religion) authored by Mr. James (Ref. Page 11-16) it is stated that in order to convince the local people more effectively, Shankaracharaya had to master the local languages of that region.
Shri. C. G. Karve has written an article in the issue of the Marathi Magazine ‘Prasad’ of 1961. In that article, Shri Karve says “The reason as to why the centre (Matha) was established at Shringeri is equally queer and strongly supernatural. Shankaracharaya saw a cobra, protecting a pregnant she-frog from the torturing heat by-covering it with the help of the shadow- of its fangs. This was very exceptional. This incidence had a very deep impact on him and it is exactly why he chose this very spot for establishing his Math (Monastery). Another reason why the Math was given the name ‘Shringeri Math’ was that the hillock on which the hermitage of the famous ascetic ‘Rushyashrung’ existed is at a distance of mere 9 miles from this spot.
The King Harihar and his five brothers bestowed upon the authorities of this Math the right to collect the revenue accrued from the nine villages, nearby. There have been 35 Acharayas (Head) of this Matha hereinsofar (Rcf. Ayyer Pp 118) How, the King of Vijaynagar made a permanent provision of assured income for the Math, has already been detailed hereinabove. This empire was founded by king Harihar the first in Shaka 1258. The city of ‘Kishkindha’ was the capital city of this empire. Sayan and Madhav were both ministers in this Kingdom. Both of them resorted to spiritualism and rose to fame by the new names such as Sayannacharya and Vidyaranya Swami. They have authored 150 volumes in Sanskrit and the Devyaparadha Stotra (Canticle) is very famous. Sayannacharya has written many criticisms or interpretationary expoundings of many famous literary works.
Apart from and besides the idol of Goddess Sharada, the idols of Venugopal and Shriniwasa in other temples are worth seeing and attract attention of all. A figure of Nandi carved out on a pearl (Vehicle of Lord Shiva) is exhibited here and is considered to be one of the finest sculptures. The temple ofNavagrahas here (NinePlannets) is also worth seeing. This temple has twelve sculpted pillars. On top of each pillar there is a figure of Lion and a person mounting on it. In the Jaws of the Lions, bright and sparkling spheres, made out of superior quality rock are so placed so as to rotate within the jaws without slipping out from the jaws. These 12 sculpted pillars symbolize the 12 signs of zodiac and according to or in unison with the time, the rays of the Sun falling on the pillars get reflected from the spheres. The symbolic figures of planetary bodies such as Saturn, Jupitor, Venus, Moon etc are fitted and the combined effect of all this gives one a fairly accurate idea as to how solar family as a whole moves around the Sun. This setup is really intelligently devised (Ref: Ayyer PP. 360-362)
In the Devikosha (encyclopedia of Goddesses) on page no. 339 volume -1st, the following details are given. “There arc several copperplates and inscriptions in the ‘Matha’. They all indicate the Peshwa rulers of Pune held the Acharyas of this Matha in high esteem and the Acharyas were given the highest honours by giving them the first prestigious position in worshipping the deities. Not only that but the Muslim rulers too, had the feeling of reverence in their minds towards the Heads of the Math. The Nawab of Mysore, HyderAli Khan presented the then Head of the Matha, elephants and horses and felicitated him and paid him respects. He (HyderAli Khan) sanctioned a sum often thousand rupees towards the expenses to be incurred for taking the Acharya of the Matha from Shringeri to the capital (Mysore). The Tipu Sultan, the son of HyderAli Khan continued carry cany the inheritance of his father with the same ferver and faith. Once a gang of robbers, plundered the Matha and in a letter written by him to the authorities of the Matha by way of consolations, he wrote those who have committed this heinous act with a sense of pleasure, will weep when they repay for their actions.
Tipu Sultan was a great admirer of Shringeri Math, besides being a patron to it. He often requested the religious Heads to pray to God for prevalence of peaceful conditions in the state, general welfare of the public and for bcingvictorious in any ensuring battles. Once he even went to the extent of asking the Brahmins to perform ‘Sahastra Chandi sacrifice’ and fed them with sumptuous meals for 40 days continuously and made liberal offerings to them -This is mentioned in the chronicals - (Ref.: Report of the Archaeological Department - -Govt, of Mysore -year 1916 PP 74/75).
*(The author is a noted Archeologist, based in Pune)
By Sanjay Godbole
Baluchistan is a State in Pakistan, having a fairly vast expanse. Hingola is an ancient river, which traverses across the terrains of Baluchistan. A mountain named ‘Khirdhar’ is situated at the banks of river Hingol. At the extreme end portion of this mountain, which is popularly known as Kanraj, there is an ancient cave known as ‘Hingalaj’. This place is situated in Tehsil Lyari of Baluchistan and is, since ancient times, reckoned as the largest and the most famous place of Worship of the Goddess Hingla in the Indian Sub-continent. The “Hingalaj” cave is located at a distance of 250 kilometers from “Karachi” on Karachi-Quetta highway. On the eastern side, is situated a town called Lyari. Next to Lyari, not very far, is located a military base of Baluchistan. One has to cross two rivers named Aghor and Gungi, to arrive at Ashapura Sarai hermitage’ charitable rest house for a camping halt where the Hingalaj cave is situated in the near vicinity.
At this location, there are some old temples of worshiping such as Lord Ganesha, remains like Goddess mother Kali, Guru Gorakhnath, Brahmkunda, Ram Zarokha, Anil Kund and holy place of Gruha of Goddess Devi.
During the Treta-Yuga epoch or era (according to Hindu mythology there are 4 yugas (Eras) Satyayug Dwaparyug, Treta-Yuga and Kalki-Yug .WhenParshuram incarnated, Dadhichi the Famous ascetic sage had penned a predictive story. King Vichatar, a descendent of a Tartar Mangol Dynasty, ruled this province. He had two sons, named “Hingol” and “Sunder” Sunderbrutally oppressed the populace. The harassed public, propitiated Lord Shiva, and the Lord Ganesha (Son of Shiva). Lord Ganesha killed Sunder.
Later on, Sunder’s brother, Hingol, who had received boons, which ensured that he (Hingol) would not meet death by any weapon whatsoever, in any of the three lokas (worlds)' as per Hindu mythological concept three worlds exist worlds Swarg, Mrityu. Pataal Hingol, all the same, would not remain immune to death. Hingol soon became insolent and opressed his subjects. He also added new territories to his Kingdom. He, thereafter, suo moto, assumed the title as Hingol Dev (God Hingol). Ultimately, the people as a resultant reaction, worshipped “Goddess Shakti”.
The Goddess killed Hingol in a cave at a place known as “Satdeep” in, what is known as ‘Baluchistan’today. Hingol, just before meeting his death, requested and prayed to Goddess Shakti, that he be identified and be synonymous with his name. The place, thenceforth, was known as “Hingol Tirth”.
When Alexander the great, invaded “Sistan” now called “Baluchistan” presently, in the year 325 B.C., the Greek forces were camping at the banks of river “Hingol”. Sikandar waged a war with the King of “Balikot”. Some devotees of Goddess Hingla were there, to worship the Goddess Hingla and they were all safe.
Emperor “Vikramaditya” at the time of Vanquishing India, visited this place as a devotee. King, Todarmal, contemporary of Emperor “Akbar” had also visited this place as a devotee. So also did many Rajput nobles, and personalities such as Biharimal, Madhusingh, & Raja Jagtatsingh visit the place.
Dada Mek-han, the famous saint of Gujrat, came all the way from Gujarat, to visit and have glimpses of this holy place. Those devo-tees, visiting this place Hingalag are addressed as ‘Kapdis’. The pilgrims, after completion of their pilgrimage, sport a string, made out of “Thumra”, a variety of stone, mined from “Thatta” in Sindh.
Prior to the partition of British India, in 1947, many devotees, especially from “Gujarat” and “Rajasthan” regularly visited “Baluchistan” to propitiate Goddess “Hingla”. Travelling was not that easy and comfortable at that time. The travellers had to undertake the tedious journey by braving the barriers such as rough and sloppery roads, jungles, mountains and crossing of challenging rivers. This tedious journey, at times had to be completed on the back of camels or in a Palanquin and would last for about a month or so.
Shri Varsimal Devani, a Trust of Swami Narayan Temple , a religious cult popular as Vaishnava, residing on Mohamad Ali Jinnah Road in Karachi, is also a trusth of Hingla Mata Temple of Baluchasitan. He also arranges tours to Hingla Teerth. He very graciously made available to me some fine photographs of Hinglamata Mandir.
According to Shri Devani, the Goddess Hingla Devi being famous all around, devotees from Africa and even Europe frequent this pilgrimage spot in multitudes.
As per the legend, in Uttar Ramayana, Lord Rama visited Hingla Teerth in a sortie in his aircraft “Pushpak” and bathed in the water basin (Jal Kunda) here. One spot in this area is identified with Lord Rama’s sacred visit.
Shri. Devani further added, that the temple of Hingla Mata is inside a cave and it admeasures 25 feet by 12 feet. There is no idol of the deity, but only the Astan (Seat) and the trident.
A priest is duly appointed for carrying out daily rituals and general maintenance and house keeping.
Each year a minimum of Twenty five thousand strong contigent of devotees visit there for pilgrimage. They offer flowers and coconuts to the Goddess Hingla. Some offer a cloth piece suitable for Blouse, making such an offer is considered to be auspicious. Some offer “Saubhagya Lenis” and even silver canopies Umbrellas i.e. according to Hindu belief, a married lady is considered to be fortunate, if she passes away prior to her husband. Since dry fruits are available in abundance in Baluchistan, these are offered to the deity and are distributed to the visitors as blessings of the deity.
Devani said that the members of “Zigri”, a Baluch tribe reside in this area. They also worship the deity and take a vow. When their vows are fulfilled these “Zigri Baloch come to the spot and offer Mithi roti (Sweetened Bread). All the members of their family gather on such an occasion. They address Hinglamata as “Nanima” . (Nani means mother’s mother ). All the security personnel of this temple are Baloch. This was specifically mentioned by Shri. Varsimal Devani.
As per the legend described in “Shiva-Purana” Sati’s main mortal remains fell over this part of the land. Sati was the daughter of “King Daksha” and wife of Lord Shiva who preferred to go “Sati”. (Sati according to orthodox Hindu beliefs, a married woman after the death of her husband should immolate herself on the pyre of her husband , this it is claimed is necessary for her salvage in future births) . Hence this place assumed importance in the specified holy places of the Goddess.
But exactly like the “Sharada” temple in Kashmir, this place Hingla Teerth is now in Pakistan. Hence we (Indians) are deprived of an easy access do this place.
*(The author is a noted Archeologist, a linguist and expert on the history of South-West Asia)
By Sanjay Godbole
There is a small village called Kolpur at a distance of 25 Kilometers towards South from Quetta the capital of Baluchistan. It is situated just near the entrance of the ‘Bolan’ pass. The river ‘Bolan’ stems from here only. Evidences of many ancient human settlements have come to light from the surroundings of this river.
‘Kolpur’ Chiefly abounds in fruit laden gardens and Date trees. But, a village named ‘Much’near the railway lines is a dry, and barren place, and has huts constructed in mud.
As one proceeds, from ‘Much’ one comes across coal mines at a distance of 24 Kilometers and then to wards right, an uneven and wide path takes you to a place called ‘Pir-e-Ghaib’.
Here there is a Kund (Water tank) made in stone and gets its supply of water from a waterfall. So also, this place has many Crags of mountains and innumerable trees in its proximity. There is a similar Kunda a Little downstream and is perenially brimful with clear and pure water. There is a sacred spot near this Kund.
From ‘ Pir- e- Ghaib’just at a distance of five kilometers is situated a place called Bibi Nani. Due to the heavy down pour in Baluchistan in the year 1986. the historically important bridge was completely washed away. If one proceeds from over here, to Sirajabad he comes across several water Kundas (tanks).
These contain accumulated reserves of hot and cold water.
This place is considered as one of the delightfully charming spots in Baluchistan on account of the thickly wooded Landscapes and scenic beauty of the Kundas of water.
Tourists of Foreign origin, however, are not permitted to tour this area, unless specially permitted to do so by the authorities of the Government of Pakistan.
At the far end of the ‘Bolan’ Pass and near the base of the mountain, there is a simple and ordinary mausoleum. A thick green cloth is always rolled up.
On the rocky crags, nearby, some ageold figures seem to have been depicted. It is said that these figures are associated with the revered Bibi Nani. A local tale makes rounds in this area as to when the Zarathrustian religion was dominant all over Baluchistan, Bibi Nani and her brother arrived here with expansionist propagation of Islam. Then the brother of Bibi Nani entered the wall in the mountain. Therefore he was popularly called as ‘Pir - e - Ghaib’ [The invisible Saint]. Mr. Salman Rashid- the famous author from Pakistan has the following version of the said story. As per his version, the Cracked fissure in the wall in the rock is on account of the continuous flow of hot water with traces of sulphur, through it and has formed layers of the Greenish, blue and Brown tinges. At present the Baluchi Muslims call this place as Pire- Ghaib and Hindus here rever this spot as the place of worship for Lord Mahadev (Shiva). Many of those, who are fortunate enough, to have their vows fulfilled tie many things to a nearby tree. As compared to ‘Pir- e- Ghaib’ the mausoleum of Bibi Nani (venerated lady) has been simple and is also not associated with fables and stories full of bizarre accounts. At both the above mentioned places no stone inscriptions are found. But the sacred spot of Bibi Nani is situated at an important place, namely an ancient East-West highway. From this place, the Indian Sub continent was directly linked to Mesopotamia. From here only roads take off for Mohan- jodado; Mehergarh and other important centres of Sindhu (Indus valley) culture. So also important roads leading to trade centres on coastal areas were in existence from the 9th century B.C..
In the opinion of many erudite and archaeologists, there is no secrecy or mistcity in the history of Bibi Nani. But the roots of her legendary history lie in the sect of Goddess Nana or Nania. This Goddess Nana or nania was being worshiped in Iran and Mesopotamia in ancient times.
King Kudur Nankhundi of Elam of Southwest Iran invaded the empire of’Ur in Mesopotamia in the year 2280 B.C. and looted the city or ‘Erech’. The idol of Goddess Nana was one of those precious effects which found its their way to Susa in Iran. It was installed in one of the temples of Susa and was worshipped, After hundreds a years, when the empire of Elamite was weakened and infriled, the king of Mesopotamia Assurbanipal, invaded Susa, the capital of Iran and looted 14 cities near by and took back the icon of Goddess Nania and reinstalled the same in a temple of Erech.
The sect worshipping Goddess Nania or Nana Devi Happens to be one of the most ancient sects, having a rich tradition of about 4300 years.
The group of traders effecting trade for centuries between Indus culture and Mesopotamia have introduced this Goddess to the outside world.
The name Nana or Nania continued to prevail over here and even as on today, this name continues albeit with few changes, in Baluchistan.
Mr. Salman Rashid, through an article in the Daily Times of Pakistan poses a question for the Western erudites as to why they tried to solve many such and similar other puzzles within the frame work of Cuneiform Tablets : and as to why they have conveniently forgotten to take cognizance of the fact that this ambiguity could also have a reference to the civilization in Indus valley. Mr. Mark Kenoyer is a famous archaeologist and has done a lot of research on Indus civilization. He is of the opinion that the Indus civilization has a close and intimate relationship with Mesopotamia Viz- a - viz trade, arts and culture point of view.
The art practiced and the civilization prevailing there, was of a very high standard.
Mr. Kenoyer further states that the doubtful possibility as to whether or not prior to the king of Iran taking the idol of Goddess Nania to Iran, chances are the traders and artists in the Indus civilization could possibly have taken the sect of Goddess Nania to the west in Mesopotamia. Mr. Kenoyer
further reaffirms that he very faithfully believes that Goddess Nana or Nania must have been worshipped in her original form in cities existing in Indus civilization and that the said Bibi Nani is nothing but the changed version [For the people of Pakistan] of the Goddess worshipped in the Indus Civilization for thousands of years and the Goddess Nana or Nania for the ancient Mesopotamia. The second best sacred spot in Baluchistan could possibility be declared as a place of worship for the Goddess under the disguise of guarding and protecting the vast expanse of fresh water reserve. Some eight thousand years back, the Caravans of traders and others proceeding, resting here near the water reserves, worshipping the Goddess and proceeding further en- route and this spot was later on addressed as ‘ Pir- e- Ghaib’.
In the writings of Akkadian tablets there are stray references to some Elamite deities right from Asia Minor to Susa in Iran during the Persian era, the popular Nania sect shows some striking similarities with ‘Anahita’ mentioned in Avesta. Anahita is a water Goddess and is associated with fertility and functional genetics. The Goddess ‘Ninni’ has been depicted with the king’ Anubanimi’ of lulubi in carving on the Mountain near the entrance gate of the village ‘Saripul’ on the ancient highway connecting Baghdad with Tehran. A Picture of deity ‘ Kiririsha’ - a Goddess of fertility from Susa is shown on a plate used while celebrating the fulfillment of a vow.
According to some scholars, all the qualitative virtues of the Goddess ‘Anahita’ haye since been adopted from the Goddess ‘Annat’ of Syria.
The Goddesses ‘Inana’ and ‘Ishtar’ and the Goddesses’ Kiririsha’ and ‘Nania’ belong to the same sect and traditions, the trio of Goddesses Ahurmazda, Anahita and Mither, when seen in Akhmenian writing of Cuneiform, shows Anahita with Mither. A temple of Goddess Anahita’ still does exist since the Sassani era at Istakhar in Iran. So also her holy temples do exist at other locations in Iran. At Susa she was worshipped as Goddess’ Nania’. In olden times, there were sects which did esteem and revere the Goddess Nania in Countries outside Iran such as Lydia, Armenia and Cappadosia. In Iran, in the Sculpture showing Naqsh - e - Rustum, the King of Iran is shown as receiving the enblem of honour at the hands of Goddess Anahita. In the famous sculpture of Tak- e- Bustan, Khusru the Second is shown as receiving the Royal enblem at the hands of Anahita and Ahurmazda. Kanishka was the most eminent and superior king from the Kushan dynasty. His empire had its tentacles spread, besides India, upto the present Afghanistan and some parts of Asia minor.
His era starts from the year 78 A.D. . There is a depiction of deities belonging to several religions on the coins struck by him. The portrait of the Goddess ‘Nana’ is seen on the coins struck by King Kanishka. Nana has a half crown on her head and an aura behind her face, with the crescent a patera in her left hand and a scepter with horse head mouth in the right hand. In the legend of the coin, the Goddess is addressed as ‘Nana’ or ‘Nanashow’. Like Kanishaka, the coins struck by Huvishka also bear the portrait of Goddess’Nana’.
Every civilization worshipped Goddesses in primal form. The sect of Goddess Nana or Nania was powerful at that time. Bibi Nani of Baluchistan is one such spot establishing connection of olden era with the new one and has been considered as an important place of pilgrimage of Baluchistan as Hinglamata.
*(The author is a noted Archeologist, based in Pune)
By Sanjay Godbole
Baba Ramdev, the most venerable for the majority of Hindus in the Sindh Province of Pakistan, has relationship with the Rajputana Province in India. In the Tomar dynasty of Delhi, which is also called Tunvar’, there was a king called ‘Anangpai’. In the year 1412 A.D. at ‘Runecha’ in Rajasthan ‘Ramdev’ was born in the ancestry of this king ‘Anangpai’. The name of Ramdev’s father was Ajmal and the name of his mother was ‘Mainade’ ‘Ramdev’ had a brother named ‘Viramadev’. Once ‘Ramdev’ and ‘Viramdev’, while playing with a ball wandered and drifted forwards a place called ‘Pokhran’. After some time ‘Viramdev’ returned home but Ramdev went further and further and reached directly to the cottage of “Siddha Yogi Balaknath”. [Siddha Yogi means he who has attained or achieved Siddhi in Yogic science] Balaknath favoured Ramdev and became Ramdev’s Guru [mentor] and in that capacity gave him a wise counsel in the form of a Mantra [A codified matrix adoring a deity]. Ramdev slew a cruel and wicked person called ‘Bhairav’. Due to the atrocity and oppressive behaviour of’ Bhairav’ people addressed him as a demon. Ramdev set free the area around Pokhran from the clutches of Bhairav. Under instructions from Balyogi Ramdev and his father populated this deserted area once again, around Pokhran.
Ramdev practised ascetic exercises and successfully attained many achievements [feats]. Due to these Godsent powers achieved by Ramdev both Hindus and Muslims became his followers and devotees. Ramdev, in 1458 A.D. or around it through profound meditation achieved permanent trance [In Yogic terms, body and soul getting Separated by will power.] This was at ‘Runecha’ and Runecha therefore was known and called as ‘Ramdevada’.
At the place of the mausoleum of Ramdev (Where he entered into the state of trans, that is) a big fair is held in the month of Bhadrapada and Magha (the sixth and the eleventh month as per the Hindu calendar). Innumerable devotees flock here from Gujrat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. The priests who perform the worship and other allied rituals in the Ramdeva’s temple are called ‘Rikhiya’ or Bhagat’. Some devotees sport the Gold or Silver pendents with the image of Ramdev carved on them as pendants or necklaces. Some spiritual and religion oriented booklets, such as ‘Ramdev Leela’, ‘Ramdev Chalisa’ have been written & published for ‘Ramdev’. At the time of pilgrimage' his devotees recite the devotional Hymns praising Ramdev throughout the night and remain awake. Such devotional songs pertaining to Ramdev Baba are plenty. Ramdev whom the Hindus call Baba Ramdev is called ‘Ramsa Pir’ by the Muslims. The lines of the devotional song are on the tip of the tongue by all devotees. The above lines mean “Oh the Pir of Runecha, kindly accept our respectful greetings. You only are our master.” The reason as to why this great saint, who always spoke out against injustice and was engaged in the devastation of the wicked, was called, ‘Ramsa pir, has an interesting story always circulated. Having heard much about the name and fame of Baba Ramdev five Pirs [Muslim saints] from middle east Arabia, came down to ‘Runecha’ to have glimpses of him. When they were felicitated, they remarked that they had left the utensils at their home only, inadvertently, in which they ate. So Baba Ramdev at that very moment, brought to light those very same utensils and fed those pirs. At that time these five Pirs addressed Ramdev as‘Bado Pir’ and thus Baba Ramdev became a symbol of Hindu - Muslim unity.
Baba Ramdev lived in a town called ‘Jujal’ in Marwad [a portion of Rajasthan]. Ramdev had made his nephew alive by his supernatural power. So also his pear “Saathiya”. Baba Ramdev, was a devotee of lord, Shri Krishna and believed that Truth always prevails’. Every year many hundreds of thousand of devotees visit ‘Runecha’ [about one lakh] from different places for having Darshan [glimpses] of Baba Ramdev. As to the form of Baba Ramdev, it is believed and agreed upon that Baba Ramdev, when alive was always seen, riding a horse. All the pictures of Baba Ramdev, therefore are seen as riding a horse only. Those whose desires, have been fulfilled by the blessings of Baba Ramdev, present, while returning the commitment which they made, while making a vow, small replicas of horses made from cloth and also distribute food to the needy.
Like in Rajputana, Baba Ramdev is a symbol of faith and devotion in the minds of thousands, of devotees. There is a special temple of Baba Ramdev at a place, called Tando Allahyar’ in the province of Sindh in Pakistan. This town is always in the limelight on account of the fair for pilgrimage for Baba Ramdev. In the year 1709 A.D. One Mir Allahyar khan constructed a fort in earth and clay as a protection to his territory, such a fort is called ‘Kachho Qilo’ in Sindhi language. Due to this fort a town near this fort at a distance of three kilometers was called” Tando Allahyar”. The remains of the walls of this fort do exist even to day. The famous folk poet ‘Vatayu’ Fakir of Sindh has his sepulcher near this town only.
In the year 1933 A.D. the British constructed a canal here resulting into Tando Allahyar being an affluent town in agriculture since water of the river Indus became freely available. The special thing about this town is that prior to partition, Hindus were in majority. After creation of ‘Bangladesh’ many people from Sindh migrated to India even then as on today, Tando Allahyar’ a town of three hundred thousand head count, the Hindu community have sizable quantity of houses and other real estate.
The Hindus, here, are mostly engaged in agriculture. Some, however, profess other professions too. The famous mango grove of sindh is situated here only. Hindus, some of them here communicate in ‘Kachhi Marwadi’ language also. The town of Tando Allahyar is only thirty five kilo meters from Hyderabad (Sindh). There is a long story as to how this temple of Baba Ramdev came into being at Tando Allahyar. One Roopchaud Khatri resident of Tando Allahyar had no issues. This is one hundred fifty years back; he went to Runecha in Rajasthan and prayed in the temple of Baba Ramdev with a request for getting a son. He brought along with him a kindled lamp from Temple at Runecha. In course of time, he got an offspring. As per the directive, which Mr. Khatri received in his dream, he erected a temple of Baba Ramdev at Tando Allahyar and placed the lamp in the kindled state in the temple. From that day onwards, that lamp has been burning in the same kindled state, for almost one hundred fifty long years. The trustees of the Temple here, say “Our ancestors have never allowed this lamp to be put out.” The people of Tando Allahyar have a firm belief that’ The lamp shall continue to be lighted and kindled till the Moon and the sun do exist and this world continues to last. A replica of the letter ‘Om’ has been artistically erected above the flame of the lamp. After the incidence of Babri Masjid, at Ayodhya in India, this temple at Tando Allahyar in a retaliatory reaction in Pakistan was demolished. The lamp, however, continued to be in the kindled stale, untouched. The residents of Tando Allahyar consider this fact as heavenly miracle. The temple which occupied only twenty square meter, has now, after renovation, expanded to an area of one hundred square meter.
Just as Warkari’s ( Pilgrims who visit Pandharpur in Maharashtra every year without fail) from all nooks and corners of Maharashtra, flock to Pandharpur for glimpses of lord vithal, similarly Hindus of Sindh in Pakistan come to Tando Allahyar for Pilgrimage of Ramdev. People in Pakistan address Baba Ramdev as ‘Ramapir’. Since majority of people are peasants or agriculturists by profession, they conveniently leave for the above pilgrimage at Tando Allahyar in groups, after finishing their major operations such as sowing etc for their harvesting. People of various casts and communities congregate here such as Bhils, Koli, Bagdi, Sanyasi, Menghwad, Khatri Luhar, jogi for the pilgrimage. I was acquainted with Mr. Ishwardas, the head priest of the temple and trusty of the Hindu community over here. He told me that every pilgrim has to follow in all, twenty four rules. The important rule is that flags on which, symbolic foot prints in vermillion or Red lead are made and such flags are dedicated to the temple. Such flags are erected in a room near the acme and displayed there. All pilgrims come to the temple barefooted. Such white flags, in Sindhi language are called “Dhajja”. After dedicating and erecting the flag, certain religious rituals are required to be performed . After that some people give copious donations as per their capacity. The festival begins on the tenth day of the Shukla Paksha of the month of Bhadrapada [the sixth month as per the Hindu calendar]. In the temple of Ramdeva, there is an equestrian idol of Ramdev. This idol has been newly established in the temple. There are pictures of Goddess, lord Shiva, lord Vishnu and even Sai Baba displayed the devotees break coconuts and give it to the temple when worshipping, Sweets are also distributed. Incense is burnt before the Idol. Every evening ‘Pooja Aarati’ - a worship where devotional songs are recited in front of the deity, with many participating in this Aarti. People reaching Tando Auahyar from all corners of Pakistani cities have the glimpses of this sacred lamp with faith and utmost belief. There is a very big fair, organised under the banner of the festival of Ramdev, during which an open market for clothes, toys & various articles is held.
Some times ursine shows of bears and animal circuses are also arranged here. Mr Haji Ali Bakhshi, the leader and the head of Magsi Baloch community, from Tando Auahyar has kindly given permission to make free use of his fifty acres of land at the time of this festival. At the time of festival under the auspices of District collector (Nazim) services are provided and security is arranged. Many devotees come saying devotional songs and praising the deity to the temple and stay in the empty space overnight. All the pilgrims are given food free of any charges from the community kitchen. Shri Ishwardas informed me that during the fair of Ramdev in the year 2009, about 50000 devotees attended the fair of Ramdev. This fair and the pilgrimage of Baba Ramdev or Rama pir is a living example of Hindu Unity, religious fervour and cultural tradition of Hindus in Pakistan. Many Hindus in Pakistan are not aware of the history of Baba Ramdev. For them, Ramdev is a divine and supernatural personality. All people have deep love for Ramdev. As the date of festival approaches near and near, all Hindus are full of Joy and enthusiasm, and they flock the temple at Tando Auahyar in Multitudes. The devotional songs rhymed in India and Pakistan are almost similar. All the traditions and cultural practices are identical. Hence one could easily surmise, that Mela (fair) Ramdevda and the Pilgrimage of Ramdev in Pakistan are the two facets or dimensions of the same cultural tradition.
*(The author is a noted Archeologist, based in Pune)
By Sanjay Godbole
'Karad' is one of the important cities and centers in the district of 'Satara* in Maharashtra. 'Karad' is situated 17° 17' N. Latitude and 74° 13' Longitude and lies in the valley of rivers Krishna and Koyna. Karad has been assuming importance centuries after centuries on account of several unique features and specialties. We also get stray references from the chronicles of ancient history as to how this place got to acquire it's present name "karad'. There is a place called 'Bharuth' near 'Jabalpur'. In the inscription surfacing at the stupa at Bharuth [ 2n Century B.C.] a mention has been made, of the donations given by the ' Bhikku sangham' [Confederation of Bhikkhus] of Karad. This mention refers to "karad' as 'Karahakat'. There are rock cut caves at "kuda' near "Alibaug'. At' Kuda' Karad has since been referred to as 'Karhakad'. The oldest available remains in the precincts of Karad are the Buddhist rock cut caves at "Agashiva'. These rock cut caves belong to Hinayana sect. There is an inscription in these rock cut caves stating that these caves were donated to the Bhikkhu Sangham by 'sanghamitra'. Some archaeological experts are of the opinion that looking to the style of the rock cut cave and the Sculpture and the monasaries in them this rock cut cave belonging to Hinayana Sect must belong to the second century.
In the area surrounding Karad many remains frequently surface. These remains are mostly in the form of terracotta's, ancient coins, beads and potsherds. The Royal Asiatic society has taken a due congnizance of the remains surfacing in this area. In the rainy season, all rivers are in spate. After the spate water is over, numerous ancient coins are found. Previously, all such coins were deposited with the District collectorate at Satara.
The Asiatic society has made a special mention that majority of these and such coins belong to the western Kshatraps. The Bharat Itihas Sanshodhak Mandal of Pune has a Lion's share in surfacing the various remains found near Karad. The Bharat Itihas Sanshodhak Mandal, Pune, has brought to light a very ancient Jain idol. Bharat Itihas Sanshodhak Mandal, Pune initiated an excavation project at an ancient hillock near the ramparts (of a fort) called (pant Kot) in the year 1948 at Karad. During this excavation, the following articles surfaced, belonging to Satavahana period Ring-wells, dishes, utensils, earthen pots, Roman styled potsherds and Chinese Celedon type wares & utensils. In addition to these, Satavahana period pedestals, ivory sticks for eye make-up i.e. application of Lamp black (Kajal), terracottas & coins were also surfaced. The research scholars of Bharat Itihas Sanshodhak Mandal and Shri. Y.R. Gupte, the Assistant director Epigraphy Karad also has published a detailed report as to the history of Karad. Shri. B.M. Purandare, has found a Roman bullae from the area surrounding Karad, Mr. G.H. Khare Praised Shri. Purandare on this count.
Even as on today, the area around Karad abounds in ancient coins. Majority of these coins are struck in Lead. On obverse of these coins, an image of a Lion and on the reverse a symbol of an arrow and a bow are depicted. These coins invariably make a reference to the 'Kumara' dynasty, and have been brought to light from this area. It is from this very area an important coin from numismatic point of view has been brought to light. This coin weighed 3.200 gms, was oblong in shape and was made of Lead. On the obverse side, there is a motif of a Lion; and on the reverse side there are letters reading as 'Maha Senapati Kumaras' in the Brahmi Script around the Swastika symbol. While studying the pattern and the type of this coin one is sure to remember the Swastika type coins struck by Mahasenapati Manamahisha of Kondapur in Andhra Pradesh. I published an exhaustive note of that coin in the newsletter (May 1997) of the Oriental Numismatic Society. It was at this site only that the famous oriental scholar, Shri Bhandarkar came across a copper-plate belonging to 'King Krishna' the third of (he Rashtrakuta Dynasty. This copper plate refers to Karad as 'Karhat'. At Karad, one comes across many remains belonging to the Muhamedian regimes of medieval times. A majority of those remains belong to the Adilshahi period or times. The deputy chief of the Bijapur court was stationed at Karad at that time. Those, desirous of undertaking the Haj pilgrimage traditionally went to Dabhol harbour via karad in those times. An entry gate situated in the north of Karad was called the 'Dabhol' gate. There is also a large sized well, in the west of Karad, said to belong to Adilshahi period. In the surrounding area one sees the remains of the embankments of an old water storage tank.
There are two Dargas built in 1350 AD & 1391 A.D. in Guruwar peth at Karad. [Peth is an area identified in the name of a week day.] One of these Dargahs is having considerable height. There is also an old monument in Shaniwar peth in karad, known as Khwaja Khizar Dargah'. Most of the Dargahs do have sanctioned annual gifts or gratuities since the times of Adilshahi regimes. The most picturesque and attractive Building in Karad happens to be the mosque built by Ibrahim khan between the year 1557 A.D. & 1580 A.D. during the regime of Ali Adilshah the first. There are imposingly magnificent minarets 106 ft. high by the side of this mosque. A legend is making rounds in 1659, here that fazal Khan, the son of Afzal Khan after he [ Afzal Khan] was slain, went into hiding in these minarets. Rooms and baths are built in the precincts of this mosque for convenience of the pilgrims. There is a specific reference in the stone inscription that the above work of construction, was completed in the year 1580 A.D. [Year 983 as per Hijari calender]
One can obtain a sight of these Minarets from at a distance. With a view to make an indepth study of this structure, I went inside the minarets, after obtaining the necessary permission from the authorities. The steps inside the Minaret were built instone and the tread and rise were abnormally wide & high. The diameter ( inner one) of the minar was like a room, according to my estimate. 1 could also have a close look at the stone inscription detailing the establishment of the foundation of this mosque. The inscription of this Adilshahi mosque was in Persian. During the tenure of my mission of exploration at Karad, I tried very extensively, to know whether any Persian documents or manuscripts could be made available to me. I learned that some gentleman at Karad was in possession of a collection of Persian verses. I however, could not contact him at that time. All the same, I could see an incomplete manuscript of ' Sheikh Saadi's' poems of Mughal period called 'Gulistan'.
There is an ancient 'Eid gah' meeting ground during 'Eid' at Karad [Eid- gah a meeting ground for offering Namaz prayers for a large congregation] It is 250 feet long and it's construction was completed during the year 1577 A.D. [ Year 980 as per Hijari Calender]
Between the years 1992 - 1995, A.D. I myself and one of my friends (late) Shri Shrikant Sahastrabuddhe went to Karad, in search of ancient remains. There was one Mr. Gharge, a local resident of Karad who was a collector and compiler of such old and rare and historically precious items and had made a sizable collection of sculptures. We saw Mr. Gharge's entire collection preserved in a local school. Had some one cared to take out a small handbook or brochure giving informative details of all the antiquities, it would have gone a long way to help the students of ancient hisotory & art in systematically studying the same.
During our study tour of Karad we frequently visited the scrap dealers and goldsmiths & jewelers and many times we could discover ancient coins or old brass wares or copperwares. Majority of coins surfaced at Karad belonged to medieval sultans [Such as from, Adilshahi, Bahmani & Nizamshahi sultans]. In some of the instances, the coin chronology dated back straight to Satavahana Period. At Karad, numerous coins have surfaced belonging to 'Ashmak'. At Karad mainly the coins belonging to "kumara Dynasty' who were tributory to "Satavahana have surfaced. One such coin has since been described earlier. At Karad many 'Lead' coins were available which were mostly associated with or pertinently related to Satavahana and / or Kumara dynesties . On some of these coins, more importantly, we found that a symbol consisting of a 'Bow and Arrow' was depicted, a fact which indicated that these coins belonged to "Kura' Dynesty.
At Karad, many a time, terracotta Roman Bullaes are reported during explorations. Since Roman coins were famous in the world for their excellent craftsmanship and artistic form, these Bullaes were made from the impressions of these coins as a die - cast- mould. These Bullaes surfacing at Karade are 2:-- cm in diameter and have two small apertures pieced in these so that these could be sported as necklaces.
Numerous ancient remains such as Roman styled red polished ware, glass bangles, Terracotta earrings, potsherds, Roman wares with decorative motiffs, earthen beads with motif, Bangles made out of Conch -shells, have surfaced in Karad. All these must have reached Karad due to international trading activities.
Gold coins of later chalukyas in the shape of a horse - shoe very frequently surfaced in karad, meaning thereby, that these were in vogue or in circulation, in those periods.
In addition, Medieval period earthenware pots and utensils also are found in the precincts of Karad, though sporadically. On account of these ancient remains surfaced at Karad, it is evident that Karad was a prominent trade centre during ' Satavahana Period'. The caves belonging to "Hinayana' sect and the remains of jain idols clearly establish the significant rapport of people practising jain & Buddhist faith with the city of "karad". like the ancient period, the importance of Karad has not been belittled in any way during Medieval periods. This Fact is borne out by the presence of the structures existing and other related remains surfaced at Karad.
*(The author is a noted Archeologist, based in Pune)
By Sanjay Godbole
Kashmir is the most picturesque (full of scenic beauty) valley in the whole of the world. This province is situated on the West side of the Himalaya mountain range.Though the Southern part of Kashmir is relatively plain and even, in the Northern part of Kashmir, there are high mountain ranges, scaling heights, upto 2460 meters above mean sea level. On the North West side of Kashmir is Gligit and Hindu kush mountain ranges are extensively spread in the nearby region. The highest peak in Kashmir is in the Karakorum mountain range.The Meru Parbat, as referred to in Hindu Scriptures is situated in Karakorum pass. Since ancient and Historical times, this province had trade links with other provinces by the “Silken route”.
Afghanistan, the neighbouring country of Kashmir, has been exporting gems and other precious stones for last several centuries. There is a “Lepis” figure, crafted in the year 1500 B.C. in Egypt. The idol presently is in Vienna Art Museum of Austria. This “Lepis” stone had been exported from Afghanistan. During several excavations, beads of various colours have been reported in Pakistan. This fact throws light,as to how the gems and the precious and semi precious stones were functionally put to use,since times immemorial,as a tradition in vogue. Pakistan occupied Kashmir is a hot topic of discussion in the International Political forum . This part of Kashmir however, is now being critically studied for the gems and the precious stones found here and all the aspects of these treasures are being studied and analysed from geological survey & research angle. These discoveries of the precious stones in Kashmir are of relatively recent origin. It is also conclusively observed that the rock formations in the region of Kashmir have not been geologically studied to that degree of details, as those in Afghan region.
A few years back, in the Northern part of Pakistan, some shephards accidently came across some stones with greenish tinge; being unaware of the identification as to the value and importance of those stones, these were utilised for some other odd ends. Afterwards, these stones proved to be real emeralds. In 1999, the geological survey of France carried out in this region an extensive explorative exercise, to prospect the possibility of mining for emeralds.Some legendary stories of emeralds from Peshawar in Pakistan are also popularly famous.
That part and parcel of land, which is under control of Pakistan, has since been divided into two sectors 1) "Azad Kashmir", and 2) Northern areas, by Pakistan authorities. The maximum quantity of minerals mined in Pakistan have been discovered from this area only. The famous gemological journal of the United states - Lepis international in its illustrated catalogue, has furnished detailed information about the potential stocks of the precious stones and gems, lying hidden in Pakistan occupied Kashmir.
In Kashmir, the Krishnaganga river valley and Sharada Temple are indicative of the ancient culture existing there once upon a time. This day a gem called Neelam (Blue sapphire) is found in the mountains near Krishnaganga valley. About a century ago, a Delhi Bound traveller from Kabul had accidently found some specimen of Neelam (Saffire) due to falling of crags (Land slide). The (sapphire) of Kashmir is adjudged as the best and of Supreme quality in the whole of the world. There is a verse, which describes the qualities of the Neelam of Kashmir. Nihal Bhi Kar De Aur Sataye Bhi Buri Tarah Purnima ki Khili Chandani Mein Nilam Ki Tarif. The mountains near “Shonthar” and “Colejandar the two villages in (P.O.K.) have the reserves of Neelam. It is on account of the occurance of Neelam, the “Krishnganga” river valley is newly christened as “Neelam Valley”.
“Hunza” is an important city in (P.O.K.). Though the presence of “Ruby” was discovered here during the British regime, the mining operation did not commence then. From 1997 the mining operations, under the expert guidance of a British Scientist, “Richard Hughes” were begun. The ruby from “Hunza” occurs in the faults in the white calcite rock, and some times the ruby crystals get cracks in them. These rubies are used for making ornaments and for carvings of small size in Pakistan.
Second reserve of Ruby Stones is struck at “Nangimali” in (POK). “Nangimali” village is in the north side of Muzaffarabad and can be reached after travelling for three consecutive days. This a small village, mostly populated by peasants. Here there are mountain ranges scaling heights of 4400 meters. In these mountains there is a “Ruby Belt” which measure 1.8 K.M.long. Nangmali Ruby shows similar characteristics as those found in Burma,Myanmar. The Nangmali Ruby is having a dark red colouration and specimens upto 5 Carrats by weight have been met with here.
Apart from Rubies, an orange coloured crystal is also found here. This crystal has unique and distinctive characteristics and is found in Kashmir alone and no where else in the world. So it was christend as “Kashmirin” by experts from the West.
The gemological laboratories of the United States have made analytical tests of all the precious stones and semi precious stones of Kashmir. An illustrated catalogue of all the precious stones of Pakistan was duly published at“Tuscon” in the United States of America, These precious stones, Gems and Jewels of Kashmir were duly exhibited in American International exhibition and also in Europe and these are grabbing attention of all admirers of gems and jewels.
*(The author is a noted Archeologist based in Pune.)
By Sanjay Godbole
MUZAFFERABAD, the historically important city, is presently the Capital of Pakistan occupied Kashmir. Here several age old and ancient relics and remains have been unearthed and brought to light. The classification exercise of these remains into Hindu and Buddhist categories, is presently in the offing. Here, there is an ancient whitish knoll, where broken pieces of terracottas, pot sherds, ancient objects and beads of numerous shapes and designs frequently surface during explorations and expiditions. It is here only that many age old and ancient sculpture have been reported and the work of erreting a small museum of these precious items is in progress, in Muzafferabad.
Dr. Sabir Afaqi, an erudite professor was the Head of Department, of Urdu, Persian and Arabic studies, at the University of Kashmir Muzaffarabad. He has translated into Persian, a book depicting the ancient history of Kashmir, titled “Rajtarangini”. Sabir Sahib, was also the President of Kashmir Gujar Association. I Ie provided me from Muzafferabad a photograph of
Kashmiri Sculpture, for my persual and for studying the same.Dr. Sabir is of the opinion that many ancient remains and antiquities of historically and archaeogically importance do exist in the near viscinity of Muzafferbad and even these old remains are possibly connected with many events and occurances thereof since the Mahabharata era.
Dr. G.B. Deglurkar, an eminent authority on Iconography, has opined that the Sculpture which was found at Muzafferabad recently, belongs to the class of sculpture categorized as “Hero Worship” type. The sculpture can be described as under :-
Under the decorative arch, there is a Warriar in a fighting and Combatant stance. He holds in his hand a Sword like weapon. In the front of the Sculpture, there is a niche in the wall for illuminating the Sculpture with the help of a Lamp. Below the nich, mere is an ornamental decoration of the temple. On. account of the aureaole behind the sculpture, it could be surmised that unless the sculpture is that of a deity, could possibly be of a noble soul or a majestic personality like a “Virgal” type Sculpture of Southern India. The sculpture can be assigned to eighteenth century.
(The author is a noted archaeologist, based in Pune).
By Sanjay Godbole
Prior to the partition of India, the ‘Siraiki’ language was mainly spoken in undivided Punjab. After the partition, many’ Siraiki’ speaking people migrated to India, but in Pakistan this Siraiki language was developed to a great extent.
In India, too, programmes are arranged under the auspices of Siraiki Sahitya Sangam’ of Delhi, for the development of Siraiki. In this connection a gathering of poets of Siraiki was being arranged on 12th of March 2006 at Delhi.
I had an opportunity to talk to Dr. Jagdishchandra Batra, the president of Siraiki Sahitya Sammelan’, and to know his views about the history of Siraiki language.
Dr. Batra explained me that Siraiki is like Sanskrit and other Indian languages, having an ancient history and tradition. This language was spoken principally at Multan, hence it is also called as ‘Multani’. At present where there are centres of Siraiki’ there are centres of Indus Valley culture also.
The great formulator of ‘ Yogic Sciences Patanjali and the famous grammarian ‘Panini’ were experts of the Siraiki language. Today the prominent centres where Siraiki language is spoken in Pakistan are ‘ Muzaffergarh, Dera Gazi Khan, Dera Ismail Khan, Zang, Miyanwali, Kohat, Bahawalpur, Rahimyar Khan, Jacobabad, Sarvar and Larkhana’.
The number of people who have settled India after partition and those who speak Siraiki is 20 million or even more.
Even as on today, the Siraiki speaking people during their various festivals, Sing Multani songs, folklores, and special music in the forms called ‘Dohade, Tappe, Mahiye & Dhalle; this way they have retained the Siraiki culture. The Christian missionaries, who arrived in India, translated the Holy Bible, first in Siraiki language only.
In the 19th century, Mr. Oberine, the then British commissioner of Multan, was highly impressed by the Siraiki Language as spoken in Multan and he published a book elaborating the richness of that language. Mr. Pearson, a British scholar has mentioned that the Siraiki language was spoken on both the banks of river Sindhu in the North side.
This language is also known as ‘Sindhavi’ and Lehenda’. Originally, the Siraiki language had its own script. It was also known as ‘Lehenda Script. In Pakistan, the ‘Siraiki’ ‘Language is written in Persian script only, in India, however, many senior citizens can read and write the ‘Lehenda’ script.
The famous linguist. Dr. Vazir Aga, opines that the language, the gypsies of Europe speak is originated from Siraiki. Perhaps, these Gypsies have migrated to Europe in the 11th century from the province, where Siraiki was spoken and this could be the result of it. The chasht-e-Punjabi as spoken these days is a dialect of Siraiki only.
An expert and an authority on the ‘Siraiki’ language, Dr. Shaukat Mughal of Pakistan is of the opinion that the language, referred to; by Abul Fazal in ‘ Ain-e-Akabari’ and which was spoken in the valley of River Sindhu in Multan is none other than Siraiki. According to Dr. Batra, the Siraiki spoken around Lahore has a great influence of Sanskrit and the Punjabi, spoken there has influence of Persian. The rules of grammar of Siraiki are similar to that of Sanskrit. But now that in Pakistan, Siraiki is only spoken, but not written, the school textbooks are not in Siraiki.
In India, about 20 million people speak Siraiki. The no of Siraiki speaking people is even more beyond the borders.
All these Siraiki speaking people have forged an United Front and have put forward a demand for independent ‘ Siraikistan’. They have also proposed that the National language of Pakistan must be ‘Siraiki’. In India, tlie programmes in Siraiki are regularly broadcast from Jalandhar and Suratgarh centres of all India Radio.
Some Baloch from Baluchistan speak Siraiki. Similarly in the North West of Sindh also, Siraiki. is widely-spoken. Dr. Jagdishchandra Batra hails originally from Muzaffergarh in Pakistan. He mentions mat ‘Basant Panchami’ was the festival of Siraiki speaking people. Today ‘Basant Panchami’ has become the National Festival of Pakistan. Some of the prominent Sirnames of Siraiki speaking people are ‘ Bhatiya, Aroda, Narang, Batra, Chawla, Nagpal etc.
Siraiki language has a rich tradition of literature, says Dr. Batra. He further mentions that Damodar authored an epic ‘Heer Ranza’ in Siraiki in the 12th century. Siraiki boasts of a long tradition of talented and gifted literateurs Baba Farid and Shah Hussein have given some beautiful compositions in Siraiki. Following is an excellent specimen of the poetry of Shah Hussein.
Even as on today also, in, Pakistan, a lot is being written in ‘ Siryaki’ many new compositions and poems are being creatively generated for example, please look at the ode of Uinmid Multani. Like in India, there are also patrons of’ Siraiki’ language and culture in Pakistan. Numerous journals, periodicals are published in ‘Siraiki’ language and interactions between literary circles are being promoted. The Sindhi Academy is also doing constructive work for the promotion of’ Siraiki’ language. Mr. Batra is confident, when he asserts that the Siraiki language will be a major contributory factor as far as the mutual intimacy and a close rapport between India and Pakistan, in near future, is desirably woven.
(The author is a noted archaeologist, based in Pune).
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