صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

or history. Excavations made by me at the site in 1891 brought to light interesting sculptures, but no evidence as to its name.

The large village of Sutur (map 'Sootoor ') to the south-west of Nārastān may possibly account for the entry of Satrava in the Lokaprakāśa's list of Pargaņas. 107. The eastern boundary of Vular is marked by the high spur

which descends from the north towards the District of Dakşiņa

confluence of the Vitastā and Gambhirā. The pāra.

adjoining district to the east is one of considerable extent. It comprises besides the whole right or western side of the Lidar Valley also the low-lying tract between the Vitastā and the lower course of the Visokā. The modern name of this great Pargaņa is Dachünpõr which appears in Srivara's Chronicle as DAKŞIŅAPĀRA. This clearly means the right bank'[of the Ledari or Lider]. Another form, of the same significance, is Daksinapārsva found in the Lokaprakāśa and Mārtāṇļamāhātmya. To this designation corresponds the term Vāmapārsva, now Khôvurpõr, which as we shall see, is applied to the left side of the Lider Valley.'

The junction of the Vitastā with the Gambbirā, i.e., the united Visokā and Ramaṇyāțavi, has already been mentioned above as a Tirtha. Not far from it lies the village of Marhom, on the Vitastā, mentioned by Jonarāja under its old name of MAPAVĀŚRAMA. The first part of the name is identical with that of Madavarājya.

About two miles south-east of Marhõm and not far from the Vitastā, we find the village Vāgohom, with a sacred spring known by the name of HASTIKARŅA. This name seems to have applied formerly to the place itself which we find twice thus referred to by Kalhaņa. It is possibly the Hastikarņa, where Bhoja, Harşa's son, was treacherously murdered. About one mile to the south of Hastikarņa the Vitastā makes a

great bend. The peninsula thus formed is Temple of

occupied by a small Udar or alluvial plateau Cakradhara.

which owing to its height and isolated position is a very conspicuous object in the landscape. It was once the site of

i General Cunningham, Anc. Geogr., p. 94, assumes that Kś. dachün 'right' is now used to denote the “north,” and kāwar, (recte khôvur) or “left," to denote the “south.” This assumption, however, as well as the explanation given for the alleged change of meaning are based on some misunderstanding.

% See 8 64.
8 See Jonar. (Bo. ed.), 132.

* See Rājat. v. 23 note; also vii. 1650. Another Hastikarņa, mentioned by Srivara, i. 441, seems to have been near Srīnagar on the west.

one of the oldest and most famous shrines of the Valley, the temple of Vişņu CAKRADHARA.

The plateau is still known as Tsakodar Udar. Brahman tradition is aware of the derivation of this name from Cakradhara. It was first brought to the notice of European scholars by Prof. Bühler who had duly recognized the antiquarian importance of the site. The-shrine of Cakradhara is often mentioned as a Tirtha of great sanctity : It was also closely connected with the legends regarding the burned city of Narapura, localized as we shall see in its close vicinity. But the only detailed notice of the temple we owe to a historical incident which occurred there during the civil wars of Sussala's reign.“

The royal troops having been forced to evacuate the neighbouring town of Vijayeśvara or Vijebror, the inhabitants of the latter place and the neighbouring villages took refuge in the temple of Cakradhara. This, by its position on the high and steep Uủar, was naturally well-adapted for defence. The temple filled by the crowd of fugitives and routed soldiers, was soon besieged by the rebel troops of Bhikşācara. The temple coartyard was protected by massive wooden ramparts and gates. When these had been set on fire by the assailants a mighty conflagration ensued in which the whole mass of people inside perished. Kalbaņa vividly describes this great catastrophe which he believes to have provoked divine vengeance and thus to have brought about the downfall of the pretender.

The account here given is of topographical interest. It shows that the temple actually stood on the flat top of the Udar, and also explains the scarcity of stone-remains in this locality. The absence of conspicuous ruins had already been noticed by Prof. Bühler. When visiting in 1895 the Tsakadar Udar, I found only traces of a quadrangular enclosure, about forty yards square. They are marked by hollows at the northern end of the Uủar which is separated from the rest by a dip in the ground. These hollows may possibly be the last indications of the wooden ramparts which enclosed the shrine.

The temple seems to have been subsequently restored, and Jonarāja mentions the statue of Cakradhara among those chief divine images which Sikandar Butshikast destroyed. Jayadratha in his

I See Rājat. i. 38, 201 notes. % See Report, p. 18.

3 See Rājat. vii. 258, 261, 269; Jonar. (Bo. ed.), 763; Srikanthac. iii. 12; Nila. mata, 1170.

* See Rājat, viii. 971–995. The date of the burning of Cakradhara seems to have been the 12th Srāvana sudi, A.D. 1121.

b See Jonar. (Bo. ed.), 763.

Haracaritacintāmaņi devotes a separate canto, vii, to the relation of the legend which localized the disc-wielding god at the Tirtha of Cakradhara. The latter is still referred to in a general way in the old Vijayeśvaramāhātmya (No. 87, Poona MSS.). Now, however, Cakradhara is no longer visited by the pilgrims to Vijayeśvara though the Purohitas of the latter place still retain a recollection of the former sanctity of the site.

108. There can be no doubt that at the foot of the Cakradhara Legend of Narapura.

Uďar there stood once an ancient town of con.

siderable importance. From the low ground towards the river on the east and from the river-bed itself, ancient coins going back to Greek and Indo-Scythian rule are annually extracted in considerable quantities. Popular traditiou still asserts that this site was once occupied by a great town. This tradition existed already in the time of Kalhaņa who records it in the interesting legend of the burned city of Narapura.! This is told at great length in a poetic episode of the First Book.

King Nara is said to have founded a splendid capital, called after himself NÁRAPURA, on the sandy bank of the Vitastā close to the shrine of Cakradhara. “There in a grove was a pond of limpid water, the habitation of the Nāga Suśravas.” A young Brahman who had found occasion to assist the Nāga and his two daughters when in distress, was allowed to marry in reward oue of the latter. He lived in happiness at Narapura until the beauty of the Nāga lady excited the passion of the wicked king. When Nara' found his advances rejected with scorn, he endeavoured to seize the beautiful Candralekhā by force. The couple fled for protection to their father's habitation.

The Nāga then rose in fury from his pool and “burned the king with his town in a rain of fearful thunderbolts.” Thousands of people were burned before the image of Vişņu Cakradhara to which they had fled for protection. Ramaṇyā, the Nāga's sister, came down from the mountains carrying along masses of rocks and boulders. These she dropped, as we have seen, along the bed of the Ramaṇyātavi or Rembyár?, when she found that Saśravas had already wreaked his vengeance. The Nāga himself feeling remorse at the carnage he had caused, removed to a lake on a far-off mountain. There “he is to the present day seen by the people on the pilgrimage to Amareśvara." % "To this day," thus closes Kalhaņa's narration, “ that tale is remembered by the people when they behold close to Cakradhara that town destroyed by fire and that pond which has become a dry hollow."

I See Rājat, i. 201-274.

. Compare regarding the lake of the Nāga Subravas on the route to Amburnāth, above, $ 69.

Whatever the origin of the legend here told may have been, it is clear that popular tradition in Kalhaņa's time looked upon the barren ground which stretches along the river between Isakdar and the present Vijąbror as the site of an ancient city. The ruins which in the 12th century were pointed out as the remains of the burned Narapura, may have supplied the immediate starting point of the legend.

What these remains were we cannot say. As the ground referred to is subject to annual inundation it is possible that the remains meant have since disappeared under alluvial deposits. The habitation of the Suśram' Nāga was still shown to me in a hollow, generally dry, close to the south-east foot of the Uďar. The name of Narapura and its king are no longer remembered. But the main features of the legend as heard by Kalhaņa, still live in the local tradition. 109. The ancient town 'which once stood in the position indicated,

was evidently succeeded by VIJAYESVARA, the Vijayeśvara.

present Vijebror. The latter place, situated less than two miles above Cakradhara, received its name from the ancient shrine of Siva Vijayeśvara (Vijayeśa, Vijayeśāna). This deity is worshipped to the present day at Vijąbror. The site has evidently from early times been one of the most famous Tirthas of Kaśmir. It is mentioned as such in the Rājatarangiņi and many old Kasmirian texts. The tradition regarding Asoka's connection with it supplies historical proof for its antiquity. According to Kalhaņa's account which may well have been based on genuine local tradition or even inscriptional evidence, Asoka had replaced the old stuccoed enclosure of the temple by one of stone. The great king was also credited with having erected within this enclosure two temples called Asokesvara.

This old temple which is often mentioned by Kalhaņa and was the scene of many a historical incident, has now completely disappeared. According to the tradition of the local Purohitas it stood at a site close the river-bank and nearly opposite to the bridge over the Vitastā. When I first visited Vijąbror in 1889 I still found some ancient slabs and fragments at this spot. It was then some 15 feet below the level of the surrounding ground, 3 and has since been partly built over. Stone materials are said to have been removed from here for the new temple

1 Compare for detailed references, Rajat. i. 38, 105 notes.

% The legend of the Tīrtha is given at length in the x. Prakāśa of the Haracari. tacintamani.

8 General Cunningham who saw these remains in 1847, rightly attributes" them to the temple of Vijayeśa, but calls the place · Vijayapăra.' He justly points to the of Vijayeśvara which was built by Mahārāja Raņbir Singh some thirty years ago higher up on the river-bank.

difference of level as an indication of the antiquity of the structure ; see Anc. Geogr., p. 98.

It is probable that a temple so much frequented bad undergone more than one restoration in the course of the fifteen centuries which lie between the time of Asoka and the end of Hindu reign in Kaśmir. Some time before A.D. 1081, while King Ananta was residing at the Tirtha of Vijayeśvara, the temple was burned down in a general con. flagration, caused by his son Kalasa. The latter, however, subsequently restored the shrine. The old Linga of Siva Vijayeśvara seems to have fallen a victim to the iconoclasm of Sikandar Butshikast.'

The towu of Vijayeśvara is ascribed by Kalhaņa to King Vijaya. 3 But nothing else is recorded of this ruler, aud this may cause a doubt as to his historical existence. It is significant that the town is designated either simply Vijayeśvara or as Vijayakşetra, which is abbreviated from Vijayeśvarakşetra. The modern name Vijąbror is the Ké. equivalent of Vijayeśvara, -bror (from Skr. bhatļāraka 'god ') having replaced the more specific -īśvara, the usual designation of Siva. 3

That the town had acquired importance at a comparatively early date, is indicated by the mention of a thousand Agrahāras said to have been granted here by King Mihirakula to a settlement of Gandhāra Brahmavs. It was large enough to accommodate the whole court and army of King Ananta when the latter removed his residence to Vijayeśvara. The narrative of the civil wars which fills the last Book of Kalhaņa's Chronicle shows the importance of the town by frequent references to the military operations of which it was the object. One of these passages proves that there was a bridge over the Vitastā here already in the twelfth century, just as there is one still.

Vijmbror has remained a town of some importance and still boasts of a considerable number of Brahmans, mostly Purohitas of the Tirtha. The latter being conveniently situated on the pilgrims' way to Mārtāņda

I See Jonar. (Bo. ed.), 762; for an earlier mention of this emblem see ib., 127. % Rajat. ii, 62.

3 Compare Rājat, i. 38 note; also ii. 134. In the same way 1f9bror represents féesvara; with the feminine-brar for bhațțărikā we have Sundobrąr for Samdhyadevi, Budobrąr for Bhedādevī, etc.

The forms ' Bijbiāra,''Bijbihara,'' Bijbehara,' etc., under which the local name figures in European books, are all based on a faulty Panjābi pronunciation. A fanciful etymology of the name which sees in the first part of the word vidya ' learning' and in the second 'Vihära,' has found favour in the guide books and may be mentioned here for cariosity's sake.

• See Rajat. i. 317.
b Seo Räjat. vii. 336 899.
6 Räjat. viii. 746 899., 969 899., 1140, 1509 sqq., eto.

« السابقةمتابعة »