« السابقةمتابعة »
cause immense damage to the crops over a great portion of the cultivated area of the Valley.?
Such foods and the famines which are likely to follow, were a danger well-known in old times already and are more than once mentioned by Kalhaņa. 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 Kaśmir. 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 Kaśmir 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. 6
Equally eloqnent testimony to the historical importance of river navigation in Kaśmir is borne by the position of the ancient sites. We shall see that all the towns which from time to time were the capitals of the country, were built on the banks of the Vitastā, 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. yāro bal) on the river or the nearest navigable waterway Kalhaņa'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
i 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. 403 899
3 See Rājat. i. 159 ; iii. 483 ; v. 91, 103, 120; viii. 2380, etc.; Jonar. 404, 887 ; Sriv, iji. 191 sq., eto.
4 Compare regarding the Hõnzi of Kaśmir, LAWRENCE, Valley, p. 313; also Rajat. v. 101 note.
6 See Rājat. v. 84 ; vii. 347, 714, 1628, etc.
64. After these general remarks we may now proceed to follow the Vitastā's course through the Valley noticing its tributaries in due order as we reach the confluences. Below Khana bal % 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 Karēwns. One on the left bank, the Tsakadar Udar, 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 Madavāśrama), the Vitastā The Gambhirā.
is joined by the Veśau and Rembyārą 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 GAMBHIRASAŃGAMA (“the deep confluence ') and is still visited as a Tirtha.3 The short united course of the Veśau and Rembyārą bears the old name of GAMBHIRĀ and is referred to under this designation repeatedly by Kalhaņa. The Gambhirā 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 Gambhira (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 Rājat. i. 201 sq.
& According to a gloss on Nilamata 1307, Khanabal, the port, so to say, of Anatnag corresponds to the Khaņdapuccha Nāga of that text. This Nāga is elsewhere mentioned, but I have no distinct evidence for its identification.
3 See Rájat. iv. 80 note. Junctions of rivers and streams (saṁgamas) are every• where in India favourite places for Tīrthas.
4 See Rājat. viii. 1063 899., 1497 sq9.
The Veśau, frequently mentioned by its ancient name of Visokā in
the Chronicles, the Nilamata and other texts, The Visokā.
is a considerable river. It receives all the streams coming from the northern slope of the Pir Pantrāl Range between the Sidau and Bānahāl Passes. Its traditional source is placed in the Kramasaras or Kõnsar. Nāg Lake below the Peak of Naubandhana. The Nilamata, 271 sqq. relates a legend which identifies the Visokā with Lakşmi and accounts for its name ('free from pain '). The fine waterfall which is formed by the stream of the Könsar Nāg not far from the village of Sidan, is now known as Ahrabal. The Nilamata calls it Ākhor bila the mousehole,' which may possibly be the origin of the modern name. As soon as the Visokā emerges from the mountains, numerous irrigation canals are drawn from it which overspread the whole of the old Parganas of Karāla (ĀŅA vin) and Devusarasa (Diy sar).
One of these canals is the Sun?mani Kul which is mentioned in the Rājatarangiņi by its ancient name of SUVARŅAMAŅIKULYĀ.3 If the story of its construction by King Suvarṇa, reproduced from Padmamibira, could be trusted, we should have to ascribe to this canal a bigh antiquity. It leaves the Visokā near the village shown as · Largoo' on the map and rejoins it near the village of Ādavin (map ‘Arwin'). Another old canal, called Nandi (not shown on the map), leaves the Visokā 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 Nandakı which is referred to in connection with Avantivarman's drainage operations. The Visukā is navigable up to Kaimuh.
The Rembyāro which joins the Visokā a little above Gambhira. The Ramanyāțavi.
samgama, we have met already before as the
river uniting the streams from the Pir Panttāl and Rūpri Passes. Kalbaņa mentions it by its ancient name RAMAŅYĀȚAVI when relating the legend of the burned city of Narapura.5 The Rembyāra 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
I See Rajat, iv. 5 note.
See Rüjat. v. 85 note.
the Nāgi Ramaṇyā. 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 Rembyārą leaves behind its stony bed and passes into alluvial soil. The village land for five Yojavas above that place was buried by the mighty boulders which Ramaṇyā left along her trail. Similar tales regarding the origin of stone-wastes ("Murren ") are well-known to European alpine folk-lore. 65. Below Gambhirasamgama the Vitastā receives from the right
the stream which drains the ancient district The Vitastā near Śrīnagar.
of Holadā, 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 Pämpar, is the most considerable. As we approach Srinagar we pass the site of the ancient capital, PURĀŅĀDHISTIĀNA, marked by the present village of Påndrēķhan. It lies between the right river bank and the southern foot of the ridge which encircles the Pal. 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 Vitastā 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 Vitastā by a canal which is now called Tsūņth Kul, but in ancient times bore the name of MAHĀsarit.! 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 Mahāsarit is marked on the map by the entry "Durgāgalikā.'
A small chanuel from the river-whether artificial or natural cannot
I For the identification of the Tsünth Kul and the Mār canal in the city with the Mahäsarit, my note on Rājat. iii. 339-349 should be consulted. In addition to the evidence there recorded, it should be noted that the Mahāsarit is twice mentioued by its old name also in the Sarvāvatára iii. 74; iv. 129 sq.
be ascertained now, joins the Mahāsarit at this very point and turns the ground between it and the river into an island. This is now known by the name of Māyosum, derived from the ancient MĀKŞIKASVĀMIN. We shall have to refer to it again in our account of the topography of Srinagar. From Durgāgalikā downwards the Mahāsarit or Tsūņķh 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.
The confluence of the Mahāsarit and Vitastā which is just opposite to the modern palace, the Shērgashi, 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, Mārisamgama, where Mārī is an evident adaptation from the Kś. form Mār.3 The latter name, itself a derivative of Mahāsarit, is applied at the present day to auother branch of the Dal outflow. This turning to the west passes through the marsh known as Brārinambal (Bhattāranadvalā) 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 Pal 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 qnarter of Narvor (Skr. Nadavana) into the marshes of the Anchiār. Through the latter a connection is thus secured with the Sind river delta. This extension of the Mār to the west seems, however, of later date, as Srivara attributes the construction of a navigable channel towards the Sind to Zainu-l-'ābidin.6 66. 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.
I See Rajat. viii. 733, 753, 3131.
% See Srikanthac. iii. 24, Mahäsaridvitasta yoḥ samgamaḥ. Here too former translations of the Rajatarangiņi, 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 Māhāt. myas; comp., eg., Sriv. i. 442; iv. 298; Fourth Chron. 145, etc.
4 It is this narrow canal, more picturesque than sweet-smelling, which has led to the freqnent comparisons of Srīnagar with Venice. It has not received much attention in recent years and for want of dredging seems in danger of silting up.
o See Srix. i. 110 sq.