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The Dal measures about four miles in length and two and a half in width where it is broadest. Its depth nowhere exceeds 30 feet, and in most parts it is far more shallow. At its southern end it is fringed by lagoons, and a great portion of it is covered by the famous floating gardens. Notwithstanding the superabundance of water-plants and vegetable matter, the water everywhere retains an admirable clearness and freshness. This is, no doubt, due to the ampleness of the springs which rise within the lake. Though we find no direct mention of the lake in the Rajatarangiņi, and though it does not claim any particular sanctity, there is no want around its shores of ancient and holy sites.
The earliest reference to the lake itself occurs in the Chronicle of Srivara who describes at length how King Zainu-l-'abidin diverted himself on the lake and adorned its vicinity. Srivara calls the lake DALA, while the few Mahātmyas which condescend to mention it, use the form Dala. He also mentions the two small artificial islands called Lanka, and now distinguished as Rupalank and Sun länk ('the Silver Laikā,' 'Golden Laṁkā'). Different names are given to several distinct portions of the lake. But of these only HASTAVALIKA, the present Astavõl, can be traced in the Chronicles.
The sacred sites of Gopadri, Jyeṣṭheśvara, Theda, Sureśvari, etc., with their numerous Nāgas line the eastern shores of the Dal. They will be mentioned below in the description of the vicinity of the capital. The well-known gardens of Shalimar, Nishat and Nasim are creations of the Mughal Emperors who did much to enhance the natural beauties of the lake.
Besides the springs of the lake itself the latter is fed also by a stream which comes from the Mar Sar lake, high up in the mountains to map, the east. The old name of this stream, marked ‘Arrah' on the uncertain. The Sarvāvatāra seems to extend to it the name Mahāsarit ̧3 In its lower course where it approaches the north shore of the Dal, it now bears the name of Telbal Nal (stream). An earlier form is furnished by Srivara who calls the stream at this point, by the name of TILAPRASTHA; the latter is also found in several Mahatmyas.4
67. From the junction with the Mahasarit downwards the Vitastā flows for over three miles between almost unbroken lines of houses raised high above the water on stone embankments. The latter consist now-a-days chiefly of large blocks of stone which belonged to ancient
1 Sriv. i. 418 sqq.
2 See, e.g., Vitastāmāh, xxi. 39.
3 See Sarvāv. iii. 75; iv. 129.
4 See Sriv. i. 421; Sarvāv. iv. sqq., etc.
J. 1. 14
temples and other structures of pre-Muhammadan date.
The river within the city flows first in one long reach due north.
The Kṣiptikā. it makes a great bend and turns to the southwest. A canal which leaves the left bank of the river between the Shergarhi palace and the quarter of Kāṭhül (Kāṣṭhila), and rejoins the river near the last bridge, allows boats to cut this great bend. It now bears the name Kutakul, derived from the ancient designation of KṢIPTIKAKULYA. The Kṣiptika is often mentioned in the later portions. of Kalhana's Chronicle which relate the sieges of Srinagar witnessed in his own time. It forms to this day the natural line of defence for that part of the city which occupies the left river-bank, and which could be successfully attacked only by crossing the Kṣiptikā. No information is available to us as to the origin of this canal. Judging from its position it is likely to have been a natural side-channel of the river which was subsequently maintained or improved for the convenience of navigation.
A few hundred yards lower down the Vitasta is joined on its left The Dugdhagangā. bank by a considerable river now known as the Dulganga, the milk Ganga,' or Chats kul, 'the white stream.' Its ancient name is given as Dugdhasindhu in Bilhana's description of Srinagar.3 The Mahatmyas know it by the name of Svetaganga, 'the white Ganga,' to which the alternative modern designation, Chatkul, exactly corresponds. Its waters come from the central part of the Pir Pantsal Range round Mount Taṭakūți, its chief sources being the mountain-streams marked as 'Sangsofed' (Sangsafēd) and 'Yechara' on the map. The confluence of the Vitasta and Dūdganga, opposite to the old quarter of Diddamaṭha, is still a Tirtha of some repute and is probably alluded to already by Bilbaņa.
1 Kś. kul <Skr. kulyā is the ordinary term for small streams or canals.
2 For detailed evidence of this identification, see Rājat. viii. 732 note.
8 Vikramānkac. xviii. 7.
♦ See Vitastāmāh. xxii; Svetagangāmāh., etc. Skr. sveta becomes in Kś. by regular phonetic conversion chuth, fem. chatsa.
The Nilamata curiously enough does not mention the Dudgangā unless it is meant by Kiranadi, 1281. The latter name, meaning 'the river of milk,' is given to the Dudganga by a passage of the modern Vitastā māhātmya, xxii.
• See Vikram, xviii, 22.
SECTION VI.-LOWER COURSE OF THE VITASTĀ.
68. Immediately below Srinagar we come to marshes which stretch along both sides of the river for a considerable distance. Those on the left bank, of which the Hukhasar and Panzinōr Nambal are the nearest, are fed by mountain-streams of smaller volume. The marshes to the north of the river are more extensive and belong to the Delta of the Sind River, the greatest tributary of the Vitasta within the Valley.
Our survey of the northern range of mountains has already taken us to the true headwaters of the Sind near the The Sindhu. Zōji-La and the Amburnath Peak. Its traditional source in the sacred Ganga-lake on Mount Haramukh has also been noticed. This great river has a course of over sixty miles and drains the largest and highest portion of the mountain-chain in the north. Its ancient name, SINDHU, means simply 'the river' and is thus identical with the original designation of the Indus. The Rajatarangini mentions the river repeatedly, and it figures largely in the Nilamata, Haracaritacintāmaṇi and the Māhātmyas. Everywhere it is identified with the Ganga, as already by Albērūni's informants. The valley of the Sind forms the district of Lar, the ancient Lahara, one of the main subdivisions of Kasmir territory.
Where this valley debouches into the great Kasmir plain, near the village of Dud rhōm, the old Dugdhāśrama, the river spreads out in numerous branches. These form an extensive Delta, covered in its greatest portion by shallow marshes and known as Anchiār. Its eastern side extends along the strip of high ground which connects Srinagar with the foot of the spur at the mouth of the Sind Valley. The western
1 It is customary in Kaśmīr to distinguish the two rivers by giving the designation of the Great Sind (Bad Sind),' to the Indus. This is found as 'Bṛhatsindhu,' already in the Haracaritacintāmaņi, xii. 45.
The identity of the two river names has led to a great deal of confusion in geographical works down to the beginning of the present century. The Sind River of Kasmir was elevated to the rank of one of the chief sources of the Indus, or else represented as a branch of the great river taking its way through Kaśmir (!). This curious error is traceable, e.g., in the map of 'L'Empire du Grand Mogol' reproduced in Bernier's Travels, ed. Constable, p. 238, from the Paris Edition of 1670, and in the map of Ancient India attached to TIEFFENTHALER, Description de l' Inde, 1786, p. 60. Compare HÜGEL, Kaschmir, i. p. 330. Even WILSON, writing in 1825, says of the Kasmir Sind that "it is not improbably a branch of the Indus."
2 See Rajat, i. 57 note; also iv. 391; v. 97 sqq.; viii. 1129; Jonar. 982; Sriv. iv. 110, 227, etc.
side of the delta is marked by an alluvial plateau which continues the right or western side of the lower Sind Valley down to the river's confluence with the Vitasta. The base of the triangle is the Vitastā itself which between Srinagar and this junction flows in a bed separated by artificial banks from the marshes on either side. The waters of the Sind after spreading over this wide Delta leave it in a single channel at its western extremity, opposite to the village of Shadipur.
Confluence of Vitastā and Sindhu.
The confluence of the Vitasta and Sindhu has from early times enjoyed exceptional sanctity as a Tirtha. Kasmir tradition, as recorded already in the Nilamata, identifies the Vitastā and Sindhu, the largest and holiest rivers of the country, with the Yamuna and Ganga, respectively. Their junction represents, therefore, the Kaśmirian equivalent of the famous Prayaga at the confluence of the great Indian rivers. The VITASTĀSINDHUSAṀGAMA is often referred to as an important Tirtha in the Rajatarangiņi, the Nilamata and numerous other texts. It is actually known by the name of PRAYAGA to the modern tradition and the Mahatmyas. A small island built of solid masonry rises in the river-bed at the point where the waters of the two rivers mingle. It is the object of regular pilgrimages on particular Parvans throughout the year. On it stands an old Cinar tree which to the pious Kaśmirian represents the far-famed Ficus Indica tree of the real Prayäga.
Notwithstanding the accumulated holiness of this Tirtha there is most explicit evidence to show that its present position dates back only to about a thousand years. We owe the knowledge of this interesting fact to the detailed account which Kalhana has given us of the great regulation of the Vitasta carried out under King Avantivarman (A.D. 855-883). As the change in the confluence of the Vitastā and Sindhu forms one of the most striking results of this regulation, Kalhana's account of the latter may conveniently be noticed in the present place. I shall restrict myself to an indication of the main facts connected with these operations, referring for all detailed evidence to Note I (v. 97-100) of my translation.
69. Kalhana tells us in his opening notice that the produce of Kasmir had in earlier times been greatly restricted owing to disastrous floods, particularly from the Mahāpadma or Volur lake, and the general water-locked condition of the country. Drainage operations
Suyya's regulation of the Vitastā.
1 For a detailed account of the references to the Vitasta-Sindhusaṁgama and the ancient remains near it, see Note I (Rajat. v. 97-100), §§ 14, 15; also note iv. 391. See Rajat, v. 68 sqq.
under King Lalitäditya had led to an increase of agricultural produce. But these works were apparently neglected under his feeble successors, and disastrous floods, followed by famines, became again frequent. In Avantivarman's time Suyya, a man of conspicuous talents but low origin, offered to remedy these troubles. Receiving the king's assent for his scheme and the necessary means, he set about regulating the course of the Vitastā with a view to a better drainage of the whole Valley. Omitting legendary details with which evidently popular tradition has embellished Suyya's story, the course adopted was briefly the following.
The operations commenced in Kramarajya at the locality called YAKŞADARA where large "rocks which had rolled down from the mountains lining both river banks," obstructed the Vitastā.1 We have already when describing the Vitasta Valley route, referred to Yakṣadara, the present Dyāragul, as a spur projecting into the river-bed some three miles below the commencement of the Bārāmūla gorge. Its rocky foot forms the first rapid of the river. By removing the obstructing rocks the level of the river was lowered. Then a stone-dam was constructed across the bed of the river, and the latter thus blocked up completely for seven days. During this time "the river-bed was cleared at the bottom, and stone walls constructed to protect it against rocks which might roll down." The dam was then removed, and the river flowed forth with increased rapidity through the cleared passage.
I must leave it to competent engineering opinion to decide to what extent and at which point of the Bārāmūla gorge the operations so far described were practicable with the technical means of that age. What follows in Kalhana's account is so matter-of-fact and so accurate in topographical points, that a presumption is raised as to the previous statements also resting, partially at least, on historical facts.
Wherever inundation breaches were known to occur in times of flood, new beds were constructed for the river. One of these changes in the river-bed affected the confluence of the Vitasta and Sindhu, and this is specially explained to us in v. 97-100. The topographical indications here given by Kalhaṇa are so detailed and exact that they enabled me to trace with great probability what I believe to have been the main course of the Vitastā before Suyya's regulation.
70. Kalhana describes to us successively the position of the old and Change of confluence the new confluence relative to certain temples of Vitasta and situated at the village of Trigrami and other points on the river-banks. Most of these structures I have been able to identify, and a close examination of the
1 See v. 87 sqq.
2 Compare v. 92 sq.