صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني


It is also used, as we have seen, in the description of Kasmir given by the T'ang anuals.

Legends of Mahā. padma Nāga.

The name Ullola from which the present Volur (vulgo Woolar') seems to be derived, is found only in one passage of Jonarāja's Chronicle and in a single modern Māhātmya. Skr. ullola can be interpreted to mean 'turbulent' or '[the lake] with high-going waves. 8 Those who have experienced the sensation of crossing the lake with a strong wind, will readily allow the appropriateness of this designation. Yet it is impossible to dismiss altogether the suspicion that the name which seems wholly unknown to the older texts, may be only a clever adaptation of the Kaśmīri name Volur or its earlier representative. It is certainly curious that in modern Māhātmyas we meet with Ullola as a name for the Vulgar Pargana, the genuine ancient designation of which is Holaḍā. Jonarāja in his commentary on Srikanthacarita, iii. 9, uses Ullola as a paraphrase for Mahāpadma. 74. From an early date various legends seem to have clustered around this, the greatest of Kaśmir lakes. The Nilamata relates at length how the lake became the habitation of the Mahāpadma Nāga.5 Originally it was occupied by the wicked Naga Ṣaḍangula who used to carry off the women of the country. Nila, the lord of Kasmir Nāgas, banished Saḍangula to the land of the Darvas. The site left dry on his departure was occupied by a town called Candrapura under King Viśvagaśva. The Muni Durvāsas not receiving hospitable reception in this town, cursed it and foretold its destruction by water. When subsequently the Naga Mahāpadma sought a refuge in Kaśmir and asked Nila for the allotment of a suitable habitation, he was granted permission to occupy Candrapura. The Mahapadma Naga thereupon approached King Viśvagaśva in the disguise of an old Brahman and asked to be allowed to settle in the town with his family. When his prayer was agreed to he shewed himself in his true form and announced to the King the approaching submersion of his city. At the Nāga's direction the King with his people emigrated and founded two Yojanas further west the new town of Viśvagaśvapura. The Naga then converted the city into a lake, henceforth his and his family's dwelling place. A recollection of this legend still lives in popular tradition, and the ruins of the doomed city are supposed to be sighted occasionally in the water.

1 For detailed references see Rājat, iv. 593 note.

2 See Jonar. (Bo. ed.) 1227-30; Dhyāneśvaramāh. 30, 33.

3 See BÜHLER, Report, p. 9.

♦ See Vitastāmāh. v. 48; Haridrāgaṇeśamāh.

See Nilamata, 976-1008, and BÜHLER, Report, p. 10.

Another legend has found a lengthy record in Kalbaņa's narrative of King Jayāpiḍa's reign, iv. 592 sqq. The Naga Mahāpadma being threatened with desiccation by a Dravidian sorcerer, appeared to the King in his dream and asked for protection. As a reward he promised to show a gold mine to the King. Jayapida agreed to the Naga's prayer. Curiosity, however, induced him to let the Dravidian first try his magic on the lake. When the waters had been dried up so far that the Naga and his dependents were seen as human-faced snakes wriggling in the mud, the king interfered and caused the lake to be restored. The Naga, however, resented the insult and showed to the king only a rich copper ore instead of the gold mine.

With reference to a Purāņic legend the Mahāpadma is sometimes identified with the Naga Kaliya who was vanquished by Krṣṇa. As the foot of the god when touching the Naga's head made lotuses (padma) appear on it, Mahāpadma is treated by Kaśmirian poets as another form of Kāliya,1 75. Of the streams

Lower affluents

of Vitastā.

which fall into the Volur lake besides the Vitastā, the stream of the Baṇḍapōr Nāla is the most considerable. It drains the range between Mount Haramukh and the Tragbal Pass and forms a small Delta of its own to the north of the lake. Its ancient name is Madhumati. It is repeatedly mentioned in the Rājatarangiņi in connection with the route leading to the Dard territory, but must be distinguished from another, smaller Madhumati which flows into the Kisanganga near the Saradatirtha.

The outflow of the lake's waters is at its southwest corner about two miles above the town of Sōpur. The latter is the ancient Suyyapura, founded by Suyya and commemorating his name. If we may judge from the position of the town and the words used by Kalhana in another passage, it appears probable that the operations of Avantivarman's great engineer extended also to the river's bed on this side of the lake.

About four miles below Sōpūr the Vitasta which now flows in a winding but well-defined bed, receives its last considerable tributary within Kaśmir. It is the Pohur which before its junction has collected the various streams draining the extreme northwest of the Valley.

1 Compare Srikanṭhac. iii. 9; Jonar. 933, and my note Rājat. v. 114.

2 See Rajat. vii. 1179 and note 1171; also viii. 2883; Nilamata 1259 sqq., 1398, etc.

8 See Rajat. v. 118 note.

V. 104: "Trained by him, the Vitasta starts rapidly on her way from the basin of the Mahāpadma lake, like an arrow from the bow."

This portion of the country figures but little in Kalhana's narrative; hence we find in the Rājatarangiņi no reference to the Pohur or any of its affluents. The old name of the river is uncertain. Jonarāja in a passage which is found only in the Bombay edition, calls this river Pahara; the Māhātmyas vary between Prahara and Prahāra.1 Of the side-streams the Mavar (map Maur') flowing through the Mạch1pōr Pargana is named in the Nilamata as Māhuri. The name of the Hamal stream is identical with that of the Pargana through which its course lies, the ancient Samālā.3

About 18 miles from the point where the Vitastā leaves the Volur, it reaches the entrance of the gorge of Bārāmūla. Through this defile we have already before followed the course of the river. At Bārāmūla navigation ceases. After passing with a violent current the ravine immediately below the town, the river, so placid within the Valley, turns into a large torrent rushing down in falls and rapids.


Alluvial Plateaus

76. Our survey of Kasmir rivers has taken us along that great flat of river alluvium which forms the lowest and most fertile part of the Valley. We must now turn to the higher ground of the Vale which consists of the peculiar plateaus already alluded to.


The genuine Kaśmiri term for these plateaus is uḍar, found in its Sanskrit form as uḍḍāra in the Chronicles. Another modern designation of Persian origin now often used, is karēwa. The word uḍḍāra is twice found as an ending of local names in the Rājatarangiņi, while the latter Chronicles use it frequently in designations of well-known plateaus. An earlier Sanskrit term no longer surviving in use, is suda, originally meaning 'barren waste ground.' Kallana employs it when speaking of the well-known Dāmadar Uḍar.6

The Uḍars of the Kasmir Valleys are usually considered by geologists to be due to lacustrine deposits. They appear either isolated by

1 See Jonar. (Bo. ed.) 1150, 1152; Vitastāmāh. xxvii. 2; Svayaṁbhūmāh.

2 Nilamata, 1322 sqq.

3 See Rajat. vii. 159 note.

Locanoḍḍāra and Dhyānoḍḍāra, Rājat. viii. 1427 note.

6 See Gusikōddūra, the Uḍar of Gūs near Rāmuh, Srīv. iv. 465, 592, 596; Dāmodarodḍāra, the Damadar Uḍar, Srīv. iv. 618; Laulapuroḍḍāra, Fourth Chron. 175, etc. 6 See Rajat. i, 156 note.

lower ground around them or connected by very gentle slopes with spurs descending from the mountains. Often the tops of these plateaus seem almost perfectly flat, forming table lands of varying dimensions. They rise generally from 100 to 300 feet above the level of the ravines and valleys which intersect them, and through which the streams from the mountains and their own drainage find their way to the Vitastā. Most of the Uḍars are found on the south-western side of the Valley, stretching from Supiyan to Bārāmūla. But they also occur across the river on the north-eastern side of the Valley, and at both extremities of the river-flat in the south-east and north-west.

Owing to the inferiority of the soil and the difficulty of irrigation, the Uḍars show a marked difference in point of fertility from other parts of the Valley. Those which slope down from the foot of the mountains have been brought under cultivation with the help of watercourses conducted over them from the higher ground behind. Most of these irrigation-channels are, no doubt, of ancient date, and some are specially mentioned in the Chronicles. To other Uḍars, particularly those which are entirely isolated, water could not be brought. These are either barren wastes covered with low jungle or if cultivated, yield only precarious crops owing to the uncertainty of the rainfall.

Some of the Uḍars, owing to their position near the Vitastā or for other reasons, are sites of importance in the ancient topography of Kaśmir. Such are the plateaus of Märtaṇḍa, Cakradhara, Padmapura, Parihasapura. Another, the Uḍar of Damodara,' plays an interesting part in the legendary lore of the country. All these will be duly noticed in the next chapter.

77. Climatic conditions are so closely connected with a country's topography that the few old notices and Kasmir climate. references which we have regarding those of

Kaśmir, may fitly find mention here.

The only distinct account of the Kasmir climate is given by Albērūni. He clearly indicates the reason why Kaśmir is exempt from the heavy Monsoon rains of India proper. When the heavy clouds, he explains, reach the mountains which enclose Kasmir on the south, “the mountain-sides strike against them, and the clouds are pressed like olives or grapes." In consequence "the rain pours down and the rains never pass beyond the mountains. Therefore Kaśmir has no varṣakāla, but continual snowfall during two and a half months, beginning with Magha, and shortly after the middle of Caitra continual rain sets in for a few days, melting the snow and cleansing the earth. This rule has seldom an exception; however, a certain amount of extraordinary meteorological occurrences is peculiar to every province in India."

1 See India, i, p. 211.

That this description is on the whole as accurate as Albērūni's other data regarding Kaśmir, will be easily seen by a reference to the detailed statements of Mr. LAWRENCE and Mr. ELIOT.1 What chiefly characterizes the climate of Kasmir as against that of the Indian plains, is the absence of a rainy season and the equally marked absence of excessive heat. The moderate temperature of the Kaśmir summer is ensured by the high elevation of the Valley, and has at all times been duly appreciated by its inhabitants as well as its visitors.


Kalhana already proudly claims this exemption from the torments of a fierce sun as one of the favours accorded to his country by the gods. His enthusiastic description of a Kasmir summer passed "in the regions above the forests" shows that he was no stranger to the charms of that season in the alpine parts of the country. More than once he refers to the sufferings which the heat of an Indian summer outside the Valley inflicts on Kaśmirian exiles. Even in the hill regions immediately to the south of Pir Pantsal the hot season with its accompanying fevers has often proved disastrous to the Kaśmirian troops employed there.

On the other hand we find also the rigours of a Kaśmir winter duly illustrated by the Chronicle's narrative. We may refer to the description of the heavy and continued snowfall which followed Sussala's murder in Phalguna of 1128 A.D., the freezing of the Vitastā in the winter of 1087-8 A.D., etc. The graphic account of Bhoja's flight to the Upper Kişanganga Valley shows us in full detail the difficulties which attend a winter-march over the snow-covered mountains to the north of the Valley. Nor do we fail to be reminded otherwise of the great differences in climate which are implied by the varying altitudes of Kasmir localities."

Exceptionally early snowfall in the autumn such as saved the garrison of the frontier fort on the Dugdhaghāta Pass, has always been known and dreaded even low down in the Valley. The danger it represents for the rice crops is illustrated by Kalhana's account of the famines resulting from such premature snowfalls.8

1 See LAWRENCE, p. 24 sqq.

2 See i. 41.

8 ii. 138.

4 Compare vii. 970; viii. 1634, 1830, 1836, 1865; regarding the fever-season of Rajapuri and neighbouring districts, my note viii. 1873.

6 Rajat. viii. 1376 sqq.; 1434 sqq.; vii. 592.

6 See viii. 2710 sqq. It must be remembered that as much as forty to sixty feet of snow falls in a severe winter on the higher ranges around Kaśmir; see also viii. 411.

7 Compare vii. 916; viii. 2511; ii. 138.

8 See ii. 18 sqq.; viii. 2449.

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