صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

60. Connected with the eastern range is a mass of mountains

Watershed range

between Sindhu

and Vitastā.

which it will be convenient to mention here though it does not form part of the mountainbarriers of Kaśmir. It fills the great triangular space which lies between the Sind Valley and the range in the east we have just noticed, the level ground along the right bank of the Vitastā forming as it were the base. This mass of mountains separates from the eastern ridge between the Kohenhār and ṣmburnāth Peaks. Trending westwards it soon culminates in the conspicuous pinnacle of Mount Gästbrar (map Kolahoi'), close on 18,000 feet in height. From this conspicuous mountain numerous spurs radiate with glaciers in their topmost hollows.

[ocr errors]

The highest of these ridges runs for about thirty miles along the Sind Valley, of which it forms the southern side. A high cross-spur, now known as Dūrün Nṛr, which descends to the north towards Sun marg, is probably identical with Mount DHUDAVANA, the scene of a siege related in the Rajatarangiņi. The extremity of this ridge in the west forms the amphitheatre of bold hills which encircle the Dal lake and Srinagar on the north. Here we have Mount MAHADEVA which is much frequented as a Tirtha.2

Facing it from the south is the rocky spur which lines the eastern shores of the Dal. It bore in old days the name of SRIDVĀRA,3 and is the site of a series of ancient pilgrimage places, such as Sureśvarī, Tripuresvara, Harşeśvara, and Jyestheśvara, which will be discussed below. The extreme offshoot of this spur is the 'Hill of Gopa' (Gopādri), the present Takht-i Sulaiman, which is so conspicuous a feature in the landscape of Srinagar. Other spurs descending into the vale further east form successively the semicircular side-valleys containing the Pargaņas of Vihi and Vular.

We now return once more to the eastern range. South of the Kohenhār Peak which is still over 17,000 feet high, its summit ridge gets gradually lower. It is crossed by the Margan Pass into Maḍivāḍvan. Of the latter valley I can find no old mention. Still further south we come to the Marbal Pass, at an elevation of 11,500 feet, which forms the usual route towards Kaṣṭavār.

This territory which is now partially inhabited by Kaśmiris, is mentioned as an independent hill-state by Kalhaṇa. The valley into

1 See Rajat. viii. 595 note and below, § 131.

2 It is mentioned in the Nilamata, 1324, and frequently in the Sarvāvatāra.

8 See Rajat. viii. 2422 note.

Compare regarding the old Kāṣṭhavāṭa note vii. 588-590, where also the references in the later Chronicles are given.

which the route descends immediately after crossing the Marbal Pass, is known now as Khaiśāl. It is once mentioned as Khaśāli by Kalhaṇa and more frequently referred to in the last Chronicle by the name of KHASALAYA. From the latter source we learn that it was inhabited by Khasas to whose occupation it may have owed also its name. So we note here once more in the east the coincidence of the ethnic boundary with the natural watershed.


country, is now known to Kaśmiris by the

61. We have now completed the circuit of the great mountainbarriers which enclose the Kasmir Valley, and can turn our attention to its interior. This is naturally divided into two great parts. One comprises the plain formed by the alluvium of the Vitastā and its main tributaries; the other consists of plateaus or Karēwas elevated above the river flats and largely caused by old lacustrine deposits. We shall first notice the alluvial plain and the river-system which has created it. The great river which is the recipient of the whole drainage of the Name of Vitastā. name of Vyath. This modern designation is the direct phonetic derivative of the ancient Sanskrit VITASTA which we meet already among the river-names of the Rigveda. The intermediary Prakrit form *Vidastā underlies the Hydaspes of the Greeks in which we note, as so frequently in Greek renderings of foreign names, the modifying action of popular etymology. In Ptolemy's Bidaspes we have another rendering which though later in date yet approaches closer to the sound of the Indian original. The name Jehlam which is

1 Compare Rajat. vii. 399 note.

The line of phonetic development may be roughly represented as Skr. Vitasta > Pr. *Vidastā>Ap. *Vi[h]ath>Kś. Vyath.

The name Vitastā is still well-known to Kaśmir Brahmans from the Māhātmyas and similar texts, and is currently used by them. The form 'Vedasta' which Drew and other writers indicate as the old name of the river "still used by those who follow Sanskrit literature," is due to some error of hearing. It is curious to meet a similar form *Vidastā in the transcription of the Chinese Annals of the 8th century; see my Notes on Ou-k'ong, p. 31.

8 The ending in the form Hydaspes is undoubtedly due to the influence of the numerous Persian names known to the Greeks which end in -aσrns (Old Persian aspa). For the rendering of initial Vi- by 'Y compare Hystaspes: Vishtāspa.

• Ptolemy's Bi (for Vi) is the most exact phonetic reproduction possible in Greek characters. It is evident from Ptolemy's Panjab river names that he did not take

now borne by the Vitasta in its course through the Panjab, is wholly unknown to the genuine usage of Kaśmir. It is apparently of Muhammadan origin and has been brought to Kasmir only by Europeans and other foreigners.1

The river to which the name Vitasta or Vyath is properly applied, is first formed by the meeting of the several streams which drain the south-eastern portion of the Valley. This meeting takes place in the plain close to the present town of Anatnag or Islāmābād. But sacred tradition has not failed to trace the holiest of Kasmir rivers to a more specific source.


An ancient legend, related at length in the Nilamata and reproduced by the author of the Haracaritacintāmaņi,2 Legendary source of represents the Vitastā as a manifestation of Siva's consort Pārvati. After Kasmir had been created, Siva at the request of Kasyapa, prevailed upon the goddess to show herself in the land in the shape of a river, in order to purify its inhabitants from the sinful contact with the Pisacas. The goddess thereupon assumed the form of a river in the underworld, and asked her consort to make an opening by which she might come to the surface. This he did by striking the ground near the habitation of the Nilanaga with the point of his trident (sula). Through the fissure thus made which measured one vitasti or span, the river gushed forth, receiving on account of this origin the name Vitasta. The spring-basin where the goddess first appeared was known by the several designations of Nilakunda, Sulaghata ('spear-thrust') or simply Vitasta. It is clear that the spring meant is the famous Nilanaga, near the village of Vērnag in the Shāhābād Pargana. It is a magnificent fountain which amply deserves the honour of being thus represented as the traditional source of the great river.

The legend makes Pārvati-Vitasta subsequently disappear again from fear of defilement by the touch of sinful men. When brought to light a second time by Kasyapa's prayer the goddess issued from the Naga of Pañcahasta. In this locality we easily recognize the present

his nomenclature directly or indirectly from the historians of Alexander, but from independent sources. Bidaspes, Zaradros, Bibasis, Sandabal, these all represent unsophisticated attempts to reproduce in sound the genuine Indian forms. The same cannot be said of the names given by Arrian, Pliny, etc.

1 Albērūni already knows the name Jailam; see above, § 14. Srivara when relating an expedition of Sultan Haidar Shah into the Panjab, sanskritizes this name into Jyalami; see ii. 152.

2 See Nilamata, 238 sqq.; Haracar. xii. 2–34.

3 See Nilamata, 1290; Haracar. xii. 17.

4 Compare for the Nilanaga and its round spring-basin (kuṇḍa), Rājat, i. 28 note J. I. 13

village of Panzath, situated in the Divesar Pargana and boasting of a fine spring which is still visited by the pious of the neighbourhood.1 After another disappearance for a reason similar to the above, the goddess came forth a third time at Narasimhāśrama. This place I am unable to trace with certainty. Finally the goddess was induced to abide permanently in the land when Kasyapa had secured for her the company of other goddesses, who also embodied themselves in Kasmir streams, like Laksmi in the Viśokā, Gangā in the Sindhu, etc.

Another version of the legend which, however, seems of less ancient date, seeks the place of the Vitasta's second appearance in the spring of the modern Vithavutur, a small village situated about one mile to the N. W. of Vērnāg. The place is known by the name of Vitastātra to Kalhaṇa who mentions Stūpas erected there by King Aśoka. This notice certainly seems to indicate some sacred character attaching to the spot. Yet Kalhana's direct mention of the Nilakunda as the birthplace of the Vitastā leaves no doubt as to where the tradition prevalent in his own time placed the source of the sacred river.

Headwaters of


62. The streams which unite close to Anatnag and there form the true Vitastā river, are the Sandrạn, the Bring, Arapath and Lider. Of these the first and southernmost drains the Shāhābād (or Vēr) Pargana and receives the water of the sacred springs mentioned in the preceding paragraph. Its old name I am unable to trace with any certainty. The next affluent, the Bring, comes from the side-valley which forms the Pargana of the same name. The ancient name of the stream is unknown, the modern Vitastāmāhātmya which gives it as Bhrigi, being but a doubtful authority. The Bring too is fed by the water of some well-known Nagas, among which the famous Trisaṁdhyā fountain and the springs of Ardhanariśvara (Nar") may be specially mentioned.

The Arapath which comes repeatedly in the Nilamata by its

1 Compare Rajat. v. 24 note.

from the north-east, is mentioned ancient name of Harṣapatha. The

2 This version is found in the Vitastāmāhātmya, ii. 37, sqq., which calls the place Vitastāvartikā; see also VIGNE, i. p. 335.

8 See Rajat. i. 102 note.

4 Rajāt. i. 28. I am unable to account for the mention made in the Mahabh. iii. lxxxii. 90 of the Takṣaka Naga in Kasmir as the Vitastā, ie., its source. No such distinction is claimed for the well-known Takṣaka spring near Zevan (Jayavana); see Rajat. i. 220. The author of the Tirthayātrā in the Mahabh. shows no accurate knowledge of Kasmir and seems to have made a mistake here.

5 See Nilamata, 232, 1299, etc.

valley it drains is known as the Kōther Pargana and takes its name from the sacred tank of Kapaṭeśvara. At the western end of the spur on the slope of which this Tirtha is situated, issue the magnificient springs of Achabal (Akṣavāla). They form a small stream by themselves, which flows into the Harṣapatha. A short distance below the village of Khanabal (map 'Kanbal') where the three streams hitherto mentioned unite, their waters are joined from the north by those of the Lidar.

This river, the ancient Ledari, receives a number of glacier-fed streams which drain the high range towards the Upper Sind Valley. It is hence in volume more considerable than any of the previously named affluents. The Ledari spreads in several branches through the wide valley forming the Parganas of Dachünpōr and Khōvurpōr which take their names, Right Bank' and 'Left Bank,' respectively, from their position relative to this river. In old days a canal constructed on the hillside to the east carried the water of the Ledari, and with it fertility, to the barren plateau of Martāṇḍa or Maṭan.2


Vitasta's course in alluvial plain.

63. At Khanabal the Vitastā becomes navigable and continues so on its whole course through the valley. There too the great flat plain begins which stretches on both sides of the river down to Bārāmāla in the north-west. In its course to the Volur lake, a direct distance of about 54 miles, the river falls only some 220 feet. The slope in the general level of the plain is equally gentle. The bed of the river lies every where in the alluvial soil, the result of the deposition of sediment at flood times when the river overflows its banks. Down to Srinagar the river keeps in a single bed and its islands are but small, in fact mere temporary sandbanks. The course is in parts very winding. But as far we can judge from the position of the old sites along the river, no great changes are likely to have taken place in historical times in this portion of the river's course

When the river is low as during the winter, the banks rise on an average about 15 feet above the water. But in the spring when the snow melts, the great volume of water brought down from the mountains rises to the top of the banks and often overflows it. Dangerous floods may also follow long and heavy summer-rains, and sometimes

1 See Rajat. i. 87.

2 The construction of this canal by Zainu-l-'abidin is described at length by Jonar. (Bo. ed.) 1232-60. It is probable that there existed earlier irrigation works on the same plateau. See below, § 111.

3 See DREW, Jummoo, p. 163.

« السابقةمتابعة »