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cause immense damage to the crops over a great portion of the cultivated area of the Valley.1
Such floods and the famines which are likely to follow, were a danger well-known in old times already and are more than once mentioned by Kalhana. Against them the villages and riverside towns have always endeavoured to protect themselves by artificially raising the banks. The allusions found in the Chronicle suffice to show that the construction of embankments (setu, now suth), with the accompanying system of floodgates closing lateral drainage channels, has existed since ancient times. One great regulation scheme which was directly designed to diminish these risks, and of which we possess a detailed historical account, will be discussed below. The equally elaborate system by which water was secured for the irrigation of the otherwise dry alluvial flats along the river, will also be specially noticed.
The navigable waters of the Vitastā have from ancient times to the present day formed the most important highway of Kasmir. The value of the river and of the numerous canals, lakes, and streams which are also accessible to boats, for the development of internal trade and traffic can hardly be overestimated. Until a couple of years ago there were nowhere in Kaśmir, not even in the flattest parts of the Valley, roads fit for wheeled traffic. Carriages were practically things unknown to the population bred in the Valley. As long as the communication with the outer world was restricted to difficult bridle-paths or tracks passable only for load-carrying Coolies, the construction of such roads would have been, in fact, of very slight advantage. The importance of river-traffic in Kasmir may be estimated from the fact that the number of boatmen engaged in it (and their families) amounted according to the census of 1891 to nearly 34,000. That boats were in old days, just as up to the present time, the ordinary means of travel in the Valley, is shown by the frequent references to river journeys in the Chronicles.5
Equally eloquent testimony to the historical importance of river navigation in Kaśmir is borne by the position of the ancient sites.
1 Compare for data as to modern floods, LAWRENCE, Valley, pp. 205 sqq.
See Rajat. vii. 1219; viii. 2449, 2786; also vii. 1624; viii. 1417, 1422; Jonar.
3 See Rajat. i. 159; iii. 483; v. 91, 103, 120; viii. 2380, etc.; Jonar. 404, 887; Sriv. iii. 191 sq., etc.
• Compare regarding the Hanzi of Kaśmir, LAWRENCE, Valley, p. 313; also Rājat. v. 101 note.
6 See Rajat. v. 84; vii. 347, 714, 1628, etc.
shall see that all the towns which from time to time were the capitals of the country, were built on the banks of the Vitasta, and that the great majority of other important places of ancient date were similarly situated. It is certain that then as now all produce of the country was brought to the great centres by water. Villages even when situated at a great distance, had, no doubt, just as at the present day, their landing places (Kś. yārabal) on the river or the nearest navigable waterway. Kalhana's description of the semi-legendary city of Narapura shows how closely the busy "coming and going of ships" was connected in the Kaśmirian mind with the splendour of a large town.1
64. After these general remarks we may now proceed to follow the Vitasta's course through the Valley noticing its tributaries in due order as we reach the confluences. Below Khanabal & the river receives in succession the several branches of the Ledari and then passes the ancient town and Tirtha of Vijayeśvara, the present Vijabrör. About a mile lower down, its course lies between high alluvial plateaus or Karēwas. One on the left bank, the Tsakadar Uḍar, will be noticed below as one of the most ancient sites of the Valley (Cakradhara). About three miles further down and not far from the village of Marhom (the old Maḍavāśrama), the Vitastā The Gambhīrā. is joined by the Veśau and Rembyāra Rivers which meet a short distance above their common confluence with the Vitastā. This river junction is known to the Māhātmyas by the name of GAMBHIRASAMGAMA ('the deep confluence') and is still visited as a Tirtha. The short united course of the Veśau and Rembyāra bears the old name of GAMBHIRA and is referred to under this designation repeatedly by Kalhaņa. The Gambhira is too deep to be forded at any time of the year, and being on the route from Vijayeśvara to Srinagar, is of military importance. It was twice the scene of decisive actions. King Sussala's army on its retreat over the Gambhirā (A.D. 1122) suffered a complete rout. Six years later Sujji, his son's general, gained an equally signal victory by forcing the passage in the face of a rebel army.
1 See Rajat. i. 201 sq.
2 According to a gloss on Nilamata 1307, Khanabal, the port, so to say, of Anatnag corresponds to the Khandapuccha Naga of that text. This Naga is elsewhere mentioned, but I have no distinct evidence for its identification.
3 See Rajat. iv. 80 note. Junctions of rivers and streams (saṁgamas) are every. where in India favourite places for Tirthas.
4 See Rajat. viii. 1063 sqq., 1497 sqq.
The Vesau, frequently mentioned by its ancient name of VISOKA in the Chronicles, the Nilamata and other texts,1 The Visokā. is a considerable river. It receives all the streams coming from the northern slope of the Pir Pantsal Range between the Sidau and Bānahal Passes. Its traditional source is placed in the Kramasaras or Kōnsar Nag Lake below the Peak of Naubandhana. The Nilamata, 271 sqq. relates a legend which identifies the Visoka with Lakṣmi and accounts for its name ('free from pain'). The fine waterfall which is formed by the stream of the Kōnsar Nag not far from the village of Sidau, is now known as Ahrbal. The Nilamata calls it Akhor bila the mousehole,' which may possibly be the origin of the modern name.2 As soon as the Viśokā emerges from the mountains, numerous irrigation canals are drawn from it which overspread the whole of the old Parganas of Karala (Aḍ vin) and Devasarasa (Divisar).
One of these canals is the Sunṛmạn Kul which is mentioned in the Rājatarangiņi by its ancient name of SUVARNAMANIKULYA. If the story of its construction by King Suvarna, reproduced from Padmamihira, could be trusted, we should have to ascribe to this canal a high antiquity. It leaves the Visokā near the village shown as 'Largoo' on the map and rejoins it near the village of Advin (map Arwin'). Another old canal, called Nändi (not shown on the map), leaves the Viśokā near Kaimuh, the ancient Katimușa, and irrigates the land between the lower course of this river and the Vitastā. Its name is connected perhaps with that of the village Nandaku which is referred to in connection with Avantivarman's drainage operations. The Visoka is navigable up to Kaimuh.
The Rembyar which joins the Visoka a little above Gambhirasaṁgama, we have met already before as the The Ramanyāṭavī. river uniting the streams from the Pir Panteal and Rūpri Passes. Kalhana mentions it by its ancient name RAMANYATAVI when relating the legend of the burned city of Narapura.5 The Rembyar after leaving the mountains below Hür por flows divided in many channels within a wide and mostly dry bed of rubble and boulders. This strip of stony waste along the river attains a width of over two miles near the village of Tsüran (map Charran').
The local legend referred to attributes the creation of this waste to
the Nagi Ramanya. She had come down from the mountains carrying masses of stone to assist her brother, the Suśravas Nāga, in the destruction of Narapura. When she learnt that he had already completed his task, she dropped the stones 'more than a Yojana' from the site of the doomed city. The distance indicated corresponds exactly to that of the village of Litar where the Rembyara leaves behind its stony bed and passes into alluvial soil. The village land for five Yojanas above that place was buried by the mighty boulders which Ramanya left along her trail. Similar tales regarding the origin of stone-wastes ("Murren ") are well-known to European alpine folk-lore.
The Vitastā near
65. Below Gambhirasamgama the Vitasta receives from the right the stream which drains the ancient district of Holaḍā, the present Vular. It then passes close to the foot of the Vastarvan spur, near the old town of Avantipura. No important stream joins the river from the right until we reach Srinagar. The affluents on the left like the Ramuşa are also of small volume. Some do not reach the river direct but end in low marshes, communicating with the latter only by gates made in the river embankments. Of the ancient sites situated along the river, the town of PADMAPURA, the present Pampar, is the most considerable. As we approach Srinagar we pass the site of the ancient capital, PURANADHIṢTHANA, marked by the present village of Pandrethan. It lies between the right river bank and the southern foot of the ridge which encircles the Dal. For the streams we have next to notice, a reference to the special map of Ancient Srinagara is necessary.
Just before we reach the area of the city proper, the Vitasta is joined by a stream which drains the lake to the east of the city. This lake, known as Dal (Skr. Dala), is fed by plentiful springs and by streams which reach it from the north. Its surplus waters flow out towards the Vitasta by a canal which is now called Tsūņth Kul, but in ancient times bore the name of MAHASARIT. This canal passes through an ancient embankment (setu) which protects the city as well as the low shores of the Dal from floods of the river, and already figures in the traditional account of the foundation of Srinagar. The position of the gate which closes the outflow of the Mahasarit is marked on the map by the entry Durgāgalikā.'
A small chanuel from the river-whether artificial or natural cannot
1 For the identification of the Tsunth Kul and the Mar canal in the city with the Mahasarit, my note on Rajat. iii. 339-349 should be consulted. In addition to the evidence there recorded, it should be noted that the Mahasarit is twice mentioned by its old name also in the Sarvāvatāra iii. 74; iv. 129 sq.
be ascertained now-joins the Mahasarit at this very point and turns the ground between it and the river into an island. This is now known by the name of May sum, derived from the ancient MĀKṢIKASVĀMIN. We shall have to refer to it again in our account of the topography of Srinagar. From Durgāgalikā downwards the Mahāsarit or Tsūṇṭh Kul was in old times the south-eastern boundary for that part of Srinagar which lies on the right bank of the Vitastā. Being a natural line of defence it is frequently referred to in the narrative of the various sieges of the capital.1
The confluence of the Mahasarit and Vitasta which is just opposite to the modern palace, the Shergarhi, has been a Tirtha from early times and is mentioned by its correct name in Mankha's description of Kaśmir." Srivara refers to it by a more modern name, Mārisaṁgama, where Māri is an evident adaptation from the Kś. form Mār.3 The latter name, itself a derivative of Mahasarit, is applied at the present day to another branch of the Dal outflow. This turning to the west passes through the marsh known as Brarinambal (Bhattāranaḍvalā) and then enters the city.
This canal is of considerable importance for the internal traffic of the city as it opens a convenient waterway to the Dal and greatly facilitates the transport of its manifold produce. After passing behind the whole of the city quarters on the right river-bank the Mār issues near the quarter of Narvor (Skr. Naḍavana) into the marshes of the Anchiar. Through the latter a connection is thus secured with the Sind river delta. This extension of the Mar to the west seems, however, of later date, as Srivara attributes the construction of a navigable channel towards the Sind to Zainu-l-'abidin."
The lake which supplies the water of the Mahāsarit, is in some respects one of the most favoured spots of The Dal lake. the whole Valley. Its limpid water, the imposing aspect of the mountain amphitheatre which encloses it on three sides, and the charming gardens and orchards around it have made the Dal justly famous.
1 See Rajat. viii. 733, 753, 3131.
2 See Srikanthac. iii. 24, Mahāsaridvitastayoḥ
samgamaḥ. Here too as in
former translations of the Rājatarangiņi, Mahāsarit has been wrongly taken as an common nonn and explained as 'great river.'
3 The term Māri is also elsewhere used in the later Chronicles and the Māhātmyas; comp., e.g., Srīv. i. 442; iv. 298; Fourth Chron. 145, etc.
4 It is this narrow canal, more picturesque than sweet-smelling, which has led to the frequent comparisons of Srinagar with Venice. It has not received much attention in recent years and for want of dredging seems in danger of silting up.
See Sriv. i. 440 sq.