« السابقةمتابعة »
Kṣemendra makes this interesting reference in that curious portion of the Samayamātṛkā already alluded to, which describes the wanderings of the courtezan Kankāli.' The heroine of his story after effecting some petty thefts in Kaśmir proceeds to Surapura. There she passes herself off as the wife of a load-carrier (bhārika) engaged on the 'salt road.' By this term the Pir Pantsal route is quite correctly designated. It has remained to the present day the chief route by which the produce of the Panjab salt-mines coming via Jehlam and Bhimbhar enters Kaśmir. She keeps up the disguise which is evidently intended to help her through the clutches of the officials at the frontier watchstation, by taking next morning a load on her head and starting with it towards the pass (samkata). On the way she passes along high mountains by precipitous paths deeply covered with snow. By nightfall she reaches the PANCALADHĀRĀMATHA after having in the meantime assumed the guise of a respectable housewife and apparently disposed of her load. It being late in the season, she passes the night there shivering with cold. Thence she finds her way open to India where a career of successful adventures awaits her.
45. Kşemendra's itinerary is of particular value because it sup
The name Pañcāla.
plies us with the only mention of the old name of the pass I can trace. It is certain that with him PAÑCALADHARA designates the highest portion of the route, i.e., the Pass of the Pir Pantsal. It is equally obvious that Pañcāla is the original of the modern Ks. Pantsal which is in fact identical with the earlier form except for the regular change of Skr. c into Ks. ts. In the Pahārī dialect of the population inhabiting the valleys to the south the name is still pronounced Pañcal.
1 See Samayam. ii. 90 sqq., and above, § 25.
2 Professional load-carriers or Coolies are found to this day in numbers in Hür pōr, Paṣiāna and other places near the Pir Pantsal Pass. Of Zainu-l-'abidin it is specially reported that he settled a colony of load-carriers from Abhisāra (i.e., the country about Bhimbhar) at the customs-station of Surapura; see Sriv. i. 408. Coolies are the only means of transport on the Pir Pantsal and other passes when the snow lies to any depth.
3 Salt is a considerable article of import into Kaśmir where it is wholly wanting; see LAWRENCE, Valley, p. 393. I remember vividly the long strings of salt-laden bullocks which I used to meet daily when marching into Kasmir by the Pir Pantsal route.
♦ I am not certain of the origin of the pronunciation of the name as Pīr Panjal now accepted by Anglo-Indian usage. It is known neither on the Kasmir nor on the Panjab side of the range itself. It meets us first in Bernier's 'Pire Penjale.' Tieffenthaler, however writes more correctly Pensal; see Description de l'Ind 1786, pp. 87 sq.
The term dhārā which is added to Pañcala, represents in all probability the equivalent of our 'pass.' Skr. dhārā means generally the sharp edge of some object. According to Wilson's Dictionary, as quoted by Böthlingk-Roth, the word also carries the specific meaning of edge of a mountain.' It is probable that this meaning was taken by Wilson's Pandits from some Kośa. In any case it agrees closely with the use of the word dhār in the modern Pahārī dialects south of Kaśmir. There it is well-known as the designation of any high mountain ridge above the region of alpine pasture.
We Te are tempted to see in Pañcala a distinct local name, either of the Pass itself or of the whole mountain chain. But the use of the modern derivative Pantsāl presents difficulties in the way of a certain conclusion. The word Pantsal is applied in Kaśmir chiefly to the great mountain chain which forms the boundary of the country to the south, i.e., the range to which conventional European usage gives the name of 'Pir Pantsal.' Yet the meaning now conveyed to a Kaśmiri by the term Pantsāl, is scarcely more than that of high mountain range.'
The word is used in combination with specific names for the designation of subordinate branches of the great range towards the Panjāb. Thus the range crossed on the way from the Pir Pantsal Pass to Rajauri, is known as 'Ratan Pantsāl,' and the one crossed by the Hāji Pir Pass between Uri and Prunts (Punch) as Haji Pantsal.' Sometimes, but not so generally, the term is applied also to mountains wholly unconnected with the Pir Pantsal system.
On the whole I am inclined to believe that Pañcala > Pantsāl had
originally the character of a specific local name. It may have been applied either to the whole of the great southern chain of mountains or its central portion about the Pir Pantsal Pass. Subsequent usage may then have extended the application of the term just as it has that of the name Alps' in Europe. Our materials, however, are not sufficient to enable us to trace the history of the word with certainty.1
46. In this connection it will be useful briefly to notice also the word Pir which forms the first part of the Pir, a term for pass. modern designation of the Pass. This word is now used more or less frequently for 'Pass' both in Kasmir and the hill-tracts south of it. MR. DREW who seems to have given more attention to local nomenclature in these hills than other travellers, in his explanation of the term starts from the well-known meaning of Pir in Persian, an 'old man' and thence a 'saint or Faqir.'2
1 The main facts regarding the modern use of the word Pantsal have been quite correctly recognized already by DREW, Jummoo, p. 157.
2 See Jummoo, p. 157 note.
He refers to the common practice of Faqirs establishing themselves on Passes for the sake of refreshing travellers and of receiving their alms. "When any noted holy Faqir died on a Pass, the place became sacred to his memory, and was often called after him, his title of Pir being prefixed; at last it became so common for every important Pass to have a name beginning with Pir that the word acquired the secondary meaning of Mountain Pass." MR. DREW refers to the fact that Dr. Bernier already found an aged hermit established on the Pass who had resided there since the time of Jahangir. He was supposed "to work miracles, cause strange thunders, and raise storms of wind, hail, snow and rain.” From this Pir,' Mr. Drew thinks, the Pass acquired the first part of its present name.
I agree with the above explanation as far as the use of the Persian word Pir is concerned. But I suspect that the custom of connecting mountain passes with holy personages rests on a far older foundation. Superstitious belief has at all times and in all mountainous regions peopled the solitary summits and high ridges with spirits and other supernatural beings. To this day Kaśmirian Brahmans fully believe in the presence of Devatās and 'Bhūtas' of all sorts on high mountain passes. In those parts of the Himalaya where Hinduism has survived among all classes, this superstition can, no doubt, be found still more fully developed.
On all Kasmir Passes, however rarely visited, stone-heaps are found marking the supposed graves of imaginary Pirs.' Every pious Muhammadan on passing adds his stone to them. Yet these little cairns existed there in all probability long before Islām reached the country. Exactly the same custom is observed, e.g., by the Hindu Pilgrims to Amaranatha on crossing the Vavajan Pass above the lake of Suśravonāga, 'to please the Devas' as the Mahatmya says.1
We can show that almost all famous Ziārats in Kaśmir, whether of real or imaginary Muhammadan saints, occupy sites which were sacred in earlier times to one or the other Hindu divinity. We can scarcely go far wrong in concluding by their analogy that the Pirs' of the Muhammadan wayfarers have only taken the place of the older Hindu 'Devas.'
This surmise is strikingly corroborated by the only passage of the
1 See Amaranāthamāhātmya, vii. 1 sqq. The stones placed are supposed to represent mathikās, 'shelter-huts', in which the gods can find refuge from the evil wind blowing on the pass (hence its alleged Sanskrit name Vāyuvarjana). The duty of making these Maṭhikās is enjoined in vii. 19. Matḥikām ye na kurvanti tatraiva Vayuvarjanc | dāruṇaṁ narakaṁ yānti śatakalpaṁ na saṁśayaḥ || kṛtvā tu maṭhikāṁ devi pujayed vidhipūrvakam | arpayed devaprītyarthaṁ dakṣinābhiḥ samanvitam II.
Sanskrit Chronicles which mentions the Pir Pantsal Pass by its proper name. Srivara iii. 433, when relating the return of a Kaśmir refugee ‘by the route of Surapura' in the time of Hasan Shah (circ. A.D. 1472-84), tells us of a fatal chill he caught on the top of the Pañcaladeva." It is clear that the name here used corresponds exactly to the modern Pir Pantsal, Pir' being the nearest Muhammadan equivalent for 'Deva.' Dr. Bernier's account has already shown us that popular superstition had not failed to transfer also the supernatural powers of the Deva' to the Pir who acted as his representative on the Pass.
47. We may now return to the description of the old route where we left it at 'Aliābād Sarai and resume our Pass of Pir Pantsāl. journey towards the Pass. From the Mughal hospice the road ascends in a gently sloping valley westwards until at at a distance of about 4 miles the height of the Pass is reached. Close to the point where the descent towards the Panjab begins, stands the hut of a Faqir. He has inherited the post of Bernier's Pir, but little of his spiritual powers and his emoluments. An octagonal watch-tower close by, occupied by a Sepoy post till a few years ago, may mark the site of an earlier outpost.
The descent is here as on all Passes of the range far steeper on the Panjab side than towards Kaśmir. Puṣiāna, the next stage, which is reached by zigzag paths along the rocky slope of the mountain, lies already more than 3000 feet below the Pass. The little village is an ancient place. It is undoubtedly the PUSYAṆANADA of Kalhana who mentions it repeatedly in connection with the civil wars of his own time. Pusyaṇanāḍa served often as a refuge for rebel leaders for whom Kasmir had become too hot. They could thence conveniently resume their inroads. We see here again clearly that the Kaśmir frontier ran on the watershed of the range; for of Pusyaṇanāḍa it is distinctly said that it belonged already to the territory of Rajapuri.
From Pusiana the road descends in a westerly direction along the bed of a stream which belongs to the headwaters of the Tauși (Tohi) of Prants. The next stage is the hill-village of Bahramgala, a considerable place which is mentioned already by Srivara under the name of BHAIRAVAGALA. From Bahramgala the route turns to the south and crosses, by the Pass known as Ratan Pir (8200 feet), the range which has already been mentioned as a branch from the Pir Pantsal chain. There the route enters the region of the middle mountains and descends in an open valley to Rajauri, the ancient Rajapuri, where we may leave it.
1 Compared Rajat. viii. 959 note. The ending nada is identical with nala, Anglo-Indicè 'Nullah,' i.e., 'valley, ravine.'
2 See Sriv. iv. 529, 589.
48. Beyond the Pir Pantsal Pass the summit-line of the main range rises again considerably. The Tang
Central part of Pir
tala Pass which is about five miles due north of the Pir Pantsal Pass and is mentioned by Abu-l-Fazl, is already far higher. The track crossing it is scarcely practicable for animals.
The same is the case, as personal experience showed me, with the next two Passes, known by the Pahārī names of Cittapānī and Coți Gali; they are both over 14,000 feet high. The first one was probably used on occasion of the inroad related by Srivara, iv. 589 sqq. We are told there of a rebel force which coming from Rajauri evaded the troops of Sultan Muḥammad Shah posted at Surapura, by crossing the mountains in the direction of KACAGALA. This place, as shown on the map, corresponds undoubtedly to the alpine plateau or 'Marg' of Kacagul on the northern slope of the Pir Pantsal range.
A short distance to the northwest of the Coți Gali Pass the range culminates in its greatest snowy peak, Mount Taṭakūṭī, which rises to a height of 15,524 feet. Owing to its bold shape and central position this peak is the most conspicuous object in the panorama of the whole range, whether seen from the Kaśmir Valley or from the Panjáb plains. To the north it presents a precipitous face of unscaleable rocks. On the south it is surrounded by snowfields which on the occasion of an ascent made late in the season I found still of considerable extent. We have already seen that it is this peak which Albērūni describes under the name of Kulārjak.? For an observer from the Panjāb plain about Gujrat the appearance of the peak, with its glittering dome of snow, is very striking, notwithstanding the great distance (about 87 miles as the crow flies). I have sighted it on very clear days even from Lahore Minārs.
From Taṭakūti the chain continues at a great elevation for a considerable distance, the summit ridge keeping an average height between 14,000 and 15,000 feet. We find it crossed first by the Passes of Sangsafed, Nurpur and Cōrgali, all difficult routes leading down into the valley of Loharin, the ancient Lohara. It is only at the Tōsmaidān Pass that we meet again with an important and ancient line of communica
49. This Pass being on the most direct route between the Kasmir capital and Lohara, was of special importance Tōsa maidān Route. during the reigns of the later Kaśmirian kings whose original home and safest stronghold was in Lohara. We
1 See Ain-i Akb., ii. p. 348.
• Compare above, § 14.