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pilgrimages, however, of Chinese Buddhists to India continued during the next two centuries, and of one at least of these pilgrim parties it is recorded that it took the route through Kaśmir. But no detailed account bearing on Kasmir has yet come to light of these later pilgrimages.


Kasmir closed to Arab geographers.


12. After the Greeks and the Chinese the early Muhammadan writers are our next foreign informants regarding the historical geography of India. If with very remarkable exception they have nothing to tell us of Kasmir topography, the explanation is not far to seek. The first rush of Arab invasion in the Indus Valley during the eighth century had carried the Muhammadan arms at times close enough to the confines of Kaśmir. No permanent conquest, however, had been effected even in the plains of the Northern Panjab. Protected in the West by the unbroken resistance of the Sahis of Kābul and in the South by a belt of war-like Hindu hill-states, Kaśmir had never been seriously threatened. Even when Islam at last after a long struggle victoriously over-spread the whole of Northern India, Kasmir behind its mountain ramparts remained safe for centuries longer.

Conquest and trade were the factors which brought so large a part of the ancient world within the ken of the early Muhammadan travellers and geographers. Both failed them equally in the case of Kasmir. For a classical witness shows us that a system of seclusion, -ever easy to maintain in a country so well guarded by nature as Kaśmir,—hermetically sealed at that time the Valley to all foreigners without exception.

Even the well-informed Al-Mas'udi who had personally visited the Indus Valley, is unable to tell us more about Kasmir than that it is a kingdom with many towns and villages enclosed by very high and inaccessible mountains, through which leads a single passage closed by a gate. The notices we find in the works of Al-Qazwini and Al-Idrisi are practically restricted to the same brief statement. The references in other geographical works are even more succinct and vague.*

1 Compare YULE, Cathay, p. lxxi., and JULIEN, Journal asiat., 1847, p. 43.

2 See REINAUD, Mémoire sur l'Inde, pp. 195 sq.; ALBERUNI, India, i. p. 21.

See Al-Mas'udi's "Meadows of Gold," transl. Sprenger, i. p. 382.

4 The silence of the early Muhammadan geographers as regards Kasmir was duly noticed by RITTER, Asia, ii. p. 1115.-For Al-Qazwini, see GILDEMEISTER, De rebus Indicis, p 210; for Al-Idrisi, ELLIOT, History of India, i. pp. 90. sq.

For the notices of other Arab geographers, see Bibliotheca geographorum

Albērûnî's interest in Kaśmīr.

13. Notwithstanding the circumstances above indicated, Arabic literature furnishes us with a very accurate and valuable account of old Kaśmir. We owe it to the research and critical penetration of ALBERŪNĪ of whom indeed it might be said as of an early British explorer of Afghanistan,1 that he could look through the mountains. The great Muhammadan scholar had evidently utilized every opportunity during his long stay at Ghazna and in the Panjāb, (A.D. 1017–30) for collecting information on Kaśmir.

His interest in the distant alpine valley is easily understood. He, himself, tells us in the first chapter of his great work on India, how Hindu sciences when the victories of Maḥmūd had made the Hindus 'like atoms of dust scattered in all directions,' had retired far away from the conquered parts of the country. They "fled to places which our hand cannot yet reach, to Kasmir, Benares and other places." In another passage he speaks again of Benares and Kaśmir as the high schools of Hindu sciences. He repeatedly refers to Kasmirian authors, and from the notices shown below it is evident that among his infor mants, if not among his actual teachers, there were Kaśmirian scholars.1

The curious fact that Albērūni himself composed some Sanskrit treatises for circulation among the people of Kaśmir,'' proves beyond all arabicorum, ed. De Goeje, i. p. 4; ii. pp. 9, 445; v. p. 364; vi. pp. 5, 18, 68; vii. pp. 89, 687; also Abu-l-Fidā, ed. Reinaud, pp. 361, 506.

1 Mountstuart Elphinstone.

2 ALBERŪNI'S India, transl. Sachau, i. p. 22.

8 India, i. p. 173.

Albērunī, ii. 181, refers particularly to Kaśmirian informants with whom he conversed regarding the miracle of the 'Kūdaishahr,' i.e., the Kapaṭesvara Tirtha (see below § 112). The way in which the pilgrimage to this spot was described to Albērūnī, makes it quite certain that his informants were personally familiar with the Tirtha. The same must be said of his note on the pilgrimage to the temple of Sarada (i. 117; see below § 127). The details regarding a local Kasmir festival (ii. p. 178), the anecdote about the propagation of the Sisyahitāvṛtti in Kasmir (i. 135), are such as could not well have reached Albērūni otherwise but by verbal communication.

Writing himself in A.D. 1030 he refers to a statement contained in the almanac for the Saka year 951 (A.D. 1029-30) 'which had came from Kashmir' (i. p. 391), He could scarcely have secured such an almanac except through Kaśmīrian Pandits who even at the present day, wherever they may be, make it a point to provide themselves from home with their local nakṣatrapatṭrikā.

For references to Kaśmirian authors or texts specially connected with Kasmir, see i. pp. 126, 157, 298, 334, i. p. 54 (Viṣṇudharma), etc. Compare also the very detailed account of the calendar reckoning current in Kasmir and the conterminous territories, ii. p. 8.

6 See India, Prof. Sachan's preface, p. xxiv., and the introduction to his edition of the text, p. xx.

doubt the existence of special relations between the great Mleccha scholar and that jealously guarded country. These relations seem strange considering what Alberūni himself tells us so graphically about the rigid isolation of Kaśmir. We can scarcely explain them otherwise than by personal intercourse with Kaśmirian Pandits.

In view of these indications we can hardly go wrong in attributing a great portion of Albērūni's detailed knowledge of Kaśmir topography to these learned informants. But we also know that the chances of war had given him an opportunity of supplementing this knowledge in part by personal observation. Albērūni refers in two places to his personal acquaintance with the fortress Lauhur (or Lahur) on the confines of Kaśmir. In an extract from my commentary on the Rajatarangiņī already published, I have proved that Alberūni's Lauhūr is identical with the castle of Lohara, so frequently mentioned in the Chronicle. Its position is marked by the present Loharin on the southern slope of the Pir Pantsal range.

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Loharakoṭṭa' is undoubtedly the same as the Fort of Lōh-kōt which according to the uniform report of the Muhammadan historians brought Maḥmūd's attempt at an invasion of Kasmir to a standstill. It is hence certain that Albērūni had accompanied this unsuccessful expedition. It probably took place in A.D. 1021. Though it failed to reach Kaśmir, it must have given Albērūni ample opportunity to collect local information and to acquaint himself with the topography of those mountain regions which formed Kasmir's strongest bulwark to the south. The result is yet clearly traceable in the accuracy with which he describes the relative position of the most prominent points of this territory.

Is it too much to suppose that Albērūnī had at one time or the other Kaśmīrian Pandits in his employ? We know that in preparing the vast materials digested in his book he worked largely with the help of indigenous scholars. Judging from his own description of the state of Hindu sciences in the conquered territories and the bitter enmity prevailing there against the dominant Mlecchas, it is doubtful whether he could have secured there such assistance as he required.

Albērūni himself, when describing the difficulties in the way of his Indian studies, tells us (i. p. 24): "I do not spare either trouble or money in collecting Sanskrit books from places where I supposed they were likely to be found, and in procuring for myself, even from very remote places, Hindu scholars who understand them and are able to teach me."

Kasmir has always been distinguished by an over-production of learning. Its Pandits have been as ready in old days as at present to leave their homes for distant places wherever their learning secured for them a livelihood (compare ВÜHLER, Introd. to the Vikramānkadevacarita, p. xvii; also Indische Palæographie, p. 56).

1 See my note on the Castle of Lohara,' Indian Antiquary, 1897, pp. 225 899., or Note E, on Rajat. iv. 177, §§ 12, 13.

Albērūnī's account of Kasmir.

14. Albērūni's main account of Kasmir is contained in Chapter xviii. which gives 'various notes on the countries of the Hindus, their rivers and their ocean.' Compared with the description of the rest of India, it is disproportionately detailed. Alberaui first sketches in broad but correct outlines the political division of the mountain region which lies between the great Central Asian watershed and the Panjāb plain. He then refers to the pedestrian habits of the Kaśmirians and notes the use by the nobles of palankins carried on the shoulders of men, a custom fully illustrated by the Chronicle and accounted for by the nature of the communications in the mountains.2

What follows deserves full quotation. "They are particularly anxious about the natural strength of their country, and therefore take always much care to keep a strong hold upon the entrances and roads leading into it. In consequence it is very difficult to have any commerce with them. In former times they used to allow one or two foreigners to enter their country, particularly Jews, but at present they do not allow any Hindu whom they do not know personally to enter, much less other people."

We have here a full and clear statement of that system of guarding all frontier-passes which we have found alluded to already in the Chinese records. It explains the great part which is played in the Kasmir Chronicles by the frontier watch-stations, the Dvaras and Drangas. It is of all the more interest as the last traces of the system, in the form of rāhdārī, have disappeared in Kaśmir only within quite recent memory.3

Albērūni then proceeds to describe the 'best known entrance to Kashmir.' Though the starting point of his itinerary cannot be identi fied with absolute certainty, it is clear that he means the route which ascends the Jehlam Valley. From "the town Babrahan, half way between the rivers Sindh (Indus) and Jailam, 8 farsakh are counted to the bridge over the river where the water of the Kusnārī is joined by that of the Mahwi, both of which come from the mountains of Shamīlān and fall into the Jailam." Though there seems to be here some slight confusion, I have little doubt that the point meant by the bridge over the river' corresponds to the present Muzaffarābād, at the confluence. 1 See India, i. pp 206 899.


Compare e.g. Rājat iv. 407; v. 33, 219; vii. 478; viii. 2298, 2636, 2674, 3165,

The word katt which Albērūnī gives as the indigenous term of the palankin, is perhaps a corrupted Apabhraṁsa form of karṇīratha, often named in the Rājat.

8 Compare my Notes on the Ancient Topography of the Pir Pantsil Route, J. A. S. B., 1895, pp. 382 8qq; also below § 40.

of the Jellam and Kiṣanganga. The easiest route to Kasmir from the west leads through the open central portion of Hazara (Uraśā) to Mansahra; hence across the Kunhār and Kiṣanganga rivers to Muzaffarābād, and then up by the right side of the Jehlam Valley to Bārāmūla. In Kusnārī it is easy to recognize with Prof. Sachau the present Kunhār River which falls into the Jehlam a few miles below its great bend at Muzaffarabad. The Mahwi is evidently meant to designate the Kisanganga. If thus interpreted the only error in Albōrūni's description is that it makes the Kunhār join the Kisanganga whereas in reality it falls into the Jehlam after the latter's junction with the Kisanganga.

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I have shown in my note on Rājat. v. 215 that the route here indicated, which was a favorite one until the modern "Jehlam Valley Tonga Road" was constructed, is distinctly referred to already in Kalhana's account of Samkaravarman's march to and from Uraśā. The distance of 8 farsakh corresponds according to Albērūni's reckoning to about 39 English miles. Referring to the map and the modern route measurements this distance carries us to a point between Mansahra and the next stage Abbottabad, i.e., exactly into the neighbourhood where according to the evidence given in the above-quoted note the old capital of Uraśā must be located. Babrahan' which cannot be identified at present, is perhaps intended to represent the name of this old town which could fairly be described as situated midway between the Indus and Jeblam.

From Muzaffarābād onwards,—where there is still a bridge over the Kisangangā just as at the time (1783) when Forster crossed here on his way from Kasmir to Attock, and as, if our explanation is right, in the time of Albērūni,—we can follow the route quite plainly. Albērūni counts five days of march" to the beginning of the ravine whence the

1 This route is described, e.g., by DREW, Jummoo, p. 528, ‘as the easiest route from the Panjab to Kaśmir.'

$ Kunhar represents the regular phonetic derivative of a Skr. Kuśnāri, medial becoming always h under a phonetic law common to Kaśmiri and the related dialects; for the change hn > nh compare GRIERSON, Phonology of Indo-Aryan Vernaculars, Z. D. M. G., 1896, p. 33.

8 I am unable to account for the name Mahui. Could it be the corruption of an Apabhraṁśa derivative of Madhumati ? This name, though properly applied to an affluent of the Kisangaǹgā, is used in a Mahatmya also for the latter river itself; see Note B, Rājat. i. 37, § 16.

♦ Compare Prof. Sachau's note, India, ii. p. 316.

Albērūni values his farsakh

at 4 Arabian miles or approximately 4 × 2186 yards. Hence 1 farsakh =41788 English miles.

6 See DREW, loc. cit.

See G. FORSTER, Journey from Bengal to England, 1808, ii. p. 46.

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