ancient indian history



I. Definition,
The term “North-West India” is used in the present content in its wider historic sense and bears little relation to the political boundaries of present-day India. It covers almost the whole of the north-western regions of the Indian sub-continent, and thus corresponds to the Uttarapatha of the ancients (Fig. 1). But none of the ancient texts-Buddhist or Brahmanical has defined the exact limits of the Uttarapatha. According to the Kavyamimamsā it lay to the west of Prithudaka (Modern Pehova) and comprised the entire Indus Valley. “The Dharma-sūtras of Vasishtha and Baudhayana and the Dharmasastra of Manu point out that the Uttarapatha lies to the west of the place, where the river Sarasvati disappears. Bāṇabhatta, the author of the Harshacharita, seems to include within Uttarapatha the western part of the Uttara Pradesha, the Panjab and the NorthWestern Frontier Provinces of India and Pakistan.” In fact, it was supposed to
extend from near the Yamuna river right up to the Hindu-Kush or Hindu Koh, and included the whole landmass now comprising the Indian Panjab as well as the independent States of Pakistan and Afghanistan or the entire watershed of the Indus river system. The map of the region that emerges as a result of the following discussion pertains roughly to the period from 500 B. C. to the birth of Christ (Fig. 2). But it must be kept in mind that many of the ancient names identified in, these pages have remained in use for a longer period.
II. Uttarapatha-The Northern Highway
The country of Uttarapatha received its name from Uttara-patha or the Northern Highway that spanned it from end to end. This busy trade route sprang up in the famous port of Tamralipti off the Bay of Bengal, and passed through the ancient cities of Pataliputra, Saketa, Kauśämbi, Mathura, Indraprastha (Delhi), Rohitaka, Prithadaka (Pehova), Sunetra (near Ludhiana), Jalandhara, Šakala and Takshasilā. At Udbhandapura (mod. Ohir about four iles above the confluence of the Indus with the Kubha (Kabul), it crossed the former by a pontoon bridge. Thence taking a northwesterly course upstream alongside the Kubhā, it passed through the city of Pushikalavati (mod. charsadda). Leaving Cophen (Kabul) slightly to the west it touched Nikaea and reached Kapisi. The last city stood near the place where the Ghorband and the Panjshir unite their waters to become the Kabul river. The village of Begram now stands on this spot. At Kāpiśī the road forked out into two branches. One went up the Kushan Pass and the other ran upstream along the Panjshir till near the source of the river it climbed the Khawak Pass. Having crossed the Hindu Koh over these two Passes, both of them descended into the city of Vahlika or Bactra. From Kapisi yet another route branched off along the Ghorband towards Bamian, Herat and Merv.
Bactra was the junction of several trade routes. One connected this city with Turkey, Greece and Rome via Merv and Syria. Another ran in the opposite direction towards China via Kashgar, Yarkand and Khotan. Still another went north towards Caucasia and Russia.
At many important cities on the Uttarapatha, roads branched off right and left connecting this main artery with every part of the country. The economic, political and social life of the ancient world, particularly of India, flowed along this highway. It has now taken a new name, e.g., the Grand Trunk Road, and has changed its course. here and there, but to this day it continues to be the life line of India.
This highway was known to Panini, who framed a rule to dénote the merchandise transported or the people journeying, along the Uttarapatha. This was, most probably, the route along which Asoka provided for the traveller amenities like rest houses, wells, land-marks, trees etc. It continued to receive the attention of the later kings, of whom Shershah Suri is known to have renovated this road and reconstructed wells along it*.
III Mountains
The Punjab and Sindh are almost featureless plains. There are no prominent mountains. Only the Sindh Sagar Doab formed by the Indus and the Jhelum is dotted with low hills. Among them the Salt Range, situated in the districts of Jhelum, Shahpur and Mianwali, has played, since ancient times, an important role in the economic life of the community. This country was divided into the Sindhu and Kekaya Janapadas. The salt extracted from here was known as Saindhava.
The entire north of the Panjab is lined with the Himalayan ranges. This Himalayan country was divided into small states of which Kashmira and Kuluta were the most important.
Afghanistan, throughout it’s length and breadth, is a hilly country. The highest range, namely, the Hindu Kush or Hindu Koh, runs along its northern border. “The average height of the mountains in this range is 15,000 ft. and the peaks, which are always snow-covered, exceed 18,000 ft. The passes of Nuksan and Khawak afford communication with Badakshan, and the passes of Ak-Robat and Dendan-Shikan are used by the routes between Kabul and Mazar-i-Sharif”. This high range formed the political as well as the cultural boundary of ancient India, and divided this country from Vahlika or Bactria. From the historical view point this is the most important mountain in the Indian subcontinent. Throughout history it served as our outer defence line. Whenever it was breached the invading armies overran the whole of the North-Western India. Dr.
V.S. Agrawal has identified this mountain with the Lohita-giri or Rohita-giri of the ancient Indian literature. The Mahabharata speaks of ten districts of the Lohifa country. The people of these were called Rohita giriya. The medieval name, Rob, of Afghanistan and Rohilla of Afghans was derived from Rohita. The Sanskrit name of the lower and western spurs of Koh-i-Baba was Upari-Syena (i.e., Eagle’s Perch) from which the Greek name Paropamisus is derived. Paropamisus is, however now loosely used by historians for the Hindu. Kush range as a whole. Panini designated the Upari-Syena as Kukhuta-giri. To the south along these spurs Hill, flows the Hari-rud. The ancient name of this stream was Sarayu, which corrupted by Iranians into Hariyu, ultimately became Hari-rud.
South of the Hindu Koh runs the Koh-i-Baba direction. Lying in the centre of Afghanistan, it acts as a water-divide. It was probably known as Bhañjanagiri”.
The south of Afghanistan is flanked by the Sulaiman range. It runs along the western bank of the Indus in a north southerly direction through the erstwhile North-West Frontier Province. According to Prof. Jaya Chandra Vidyalankara”, this mountain with its three sub-ranges, namely Shinagar, Toba and Kakar, was known as Trikakut (the three-humped) in Paninian times. The three ranges run parallel to each other. Shinagar is in the centre. It is situated to the east of the Zob (Vedic Yavhavati) river. The age-old produce of these ranges is collyrium. According to the Mahabharata this collyrium, known as Traikakut añjana, was very popular among the fair Panjabi ladies. To this day it has maintained its popularity in the Panjab and Sindh. Because of its collyrium Panini has given this mountain the alternative name, Anjanägiri². Besides Anjanā-giri, Phanjaña-giri, Lohitagiri and Kukkuţa-giri, the Kimśula kādigana mentions two more mountains namely Kimsulakā-giri and Salvaka-giri. The latter is identified on philological grounds with the Hala mountain (Salvaka Hallaa Hala). This range runs in a north-southerly direction dividing Sindh from Balochistan. Kimśulaka-giri should be located on the same grounds in the neighbourhood of Hingula river and the country now known as Hingulaj.. Hingulaj was known in those times as Parada and the people as Pārdāyana or Pardayani which the Greeks corrupted into Pardene. This country was the home of red vermilion called Hingula or Parada in Sanskrit. There was a famous temple here of the Saka goddess, Nana, to whom, under the name Hingula or Nani, Muslims of the region even now continue to pay homage. Panini describes the local tribes as Ayudhajivins¹.
IV. Rivers
The Uttarapatha is drained by the rivers of the Indus system. The Haryana region, comprising the districts of Ambala, Karnal, Rohtak and Hissar, has its own independent river system consisting of the Sarasvati (or Ghaggar), the Drishadvatī, and the Markanda.
It is not possible to trace the exact courses of these rivers in a particular century. Whatever literary evidence we have shows that they were not materially different from what they are today. We, therefore, do not attempt to discuss the old river-beds in these pages.
(i) The Indus System: The Indus river System includes six great and numerous small rivers. Most of them are fed by the Himalayan snows and consequently are perennial. The Indus-the Sindhu of the ancients and the Sindh of today is the biggest and longest river of the group. Rising near Mount Kailash it flows for a long distance in a north-westerly direction. Then taking a sharp turn southwords below the Karakoram range it enters Dardistan or Gilgit-Chilas region, the ancient Darda, where it was known as Daradi Sindhu. Near Amb in Hazra district it enters the plains. In its course south-westwards it, divided the ancient Gandhara into its eastern and western parts. For about 30 miles the river flows in a markedly western direction till near Attock, probably the Ataka. takaa of the Negama coins, it is joined by the Kabul river, the ancient Kubhā, carrying the waters of Swat (ancient Suvāstu), Kunar, Alishang, Panjshir, Ghorband and a few other Afghan rivers. Above the confluence was situated Salatura, the birth place of Panini. It is identified with the existing village of Lahur. Four miles upstream was situated the famous bridgehead of Udbandapura. The place is marked by the modern town of Ohind. The river again takes a southerly course. Numerous streams, mostly seasonal, join it from the west. Among these the Krumu (mod. Kurram) and Gomati (mod. Gomal) are mentioned in ancient literature. Finally near the 29th parallel it receives the combined waters of the Punjab rivers and enters the province of Sindh. In British times the Indus as far as the last confluence formed the boundary of the Panjab and North-Western Frontier Province. On the eastern bank within the lower Sindh Sagar Doab lay the ancient Sindhu Janapada. Passing through the heart of Sindh it enters the Arabian Sea after splitting up into a number of streams. The delta region was known as the Sindhu-Vaktra. The ancient city of Patala stood on the delta. Another coastal city, Dattāmitri, was also located nearby.
The Kabul
Among the western tributaries of the Indus, Kabul is the most important. It is identical with the Kubhã of the Rigveda, the Kuhu of the Puranas, the Kophes of Arrian, the Kophen of Pliny and the Kon of Ptolemy. At Prang it receives the joint flow of Savastu or Swat (Soastos of Arrian) and its western tributary the Gauri (Guraeus of Arrian), identified with modern Panjkora”. Suvāstu is mentioned by Panini”. It is probably identical with the Suvāsā of the Rigveda³. Between this river and the Gauri lay Uddiyana, which was regarded a part of Gandhāra. White blankets or Pandu Kambalas, the traditional product of the Swat valley, are mentioned by Panini”. The valleys of the Suvāstu and Gauri were inhabited by a brave tribe called Aśvakayana by Panini and Assakenai by the Greeks. Their capital was Massaga, the Maśakāvati of Kasika. Near this town Swat got the alternative name Maśakāvati.The region south of
the Swat river was Janapada. Its (Peucolaotis of the
known as Pushkala capital Pushkalāvatī of the Greeks) stood near the existing city of Charsadda. Suvāstu in its lower reaches was, probably, also known as Pushkalāvati.
The Krumu-Krumu (mod. Kurram) in its lower reaches was called Varnu Nada. Even today the upper hill region is known as Kurram, while the lower Kurram plains are referred to as Bannu.
The Archosian Sarasvati-Argandab river on whose bank the city of Kandahar stands was known as the Sarasvati. The country round it was known as Sarasvata, corrupted by the Greeks into Arachosia.
Tha Sarayu-The river Sarayu of Papini and Harayu of the ancient Iranians is the same as the Harirud of today. Darius in his inscription refers to the inhabitants of these parts as Haraiva, which corresponds to the Paninian adjective särava, derived from Saraya. This stream does not belong to the Indus system. The flourishing town of Herat now stands on its banks.
The most important tributaries of the Indus belong to the Panjab. From west to east, they are the Jhelum, the Chenab, the Ravi, the Beas and the Satluj. The Jhelum is the Vitasta of the Rigveda and the classical Sanskrit literature. Chenab is the Asikni of the Rigveda,
Acesines of Arrian, chandrabhāgā of Panini and classical Sanskrit, and Sandabaga or Sandabal of Potolemy.” The Ravi was known to the Rigveda as Parushni, to classical Sanskrit literature as the Iravatī and to the Greeks as Hydraotis. The Beas was called Vipas or Vipäsa by the ancient Indians and Hyphasis by the Greeks. The Sutlej is the Satadru or Sutudri of the Veda and classical Sanskrit, Zaradros of Ptolemy and Hesydrus of Pliny. These perennial rivers rise in the snow-clad peaks of the Himalayas and irrigate the fertile plains of the Panjab.
Panini distinguishes the wells situated. to the north of the Vipaś from those situated along its southern bank. The reason is apparent. The low lands of the south are flooded every year, necessitating each time the sinking of Kachcha wells afresh. But the northern bank rises abruptly from the river-bed to a considerable height. It is completely free from floods. The wells on this side are, therefore, lined with baked. bricks, Since they endure many life-times, they carry the names of their builders. Panini recognised this fact when making a rule for pronouncing the names of the northern wells.
(Panini IV,2.74.
उदक च विपाश: The kasika cites two examples of the Sutra e.g दत्तेंन निर्वित्तो गौप्त: कूप: and गुप्तेन निर्वित्तो गौप्त: कूप:
This is perhaps the earliest reference of Datta subcaste of the war like Mohyal tribe, who continued to supply considerable talent to the Army)
Dr. V.S. Agrawal has called interesting
information from Panini about some minor tributaries of the Ravi. These are Uddhya, its banks. This fragrant rice retains fame Bhidya and Devika Panini calls the first to this day. two as rivers (nada). Kalidasa speaks of their restless activity during the rainy season,³ The Käsikä gives Uddbyelavati and Ganga-sonam as examples of Dvandva compound of river names of different genders. On the analogy of Ganga Sonam we can conjecture that Uddhya was a tributary of the Iravati or Ravi, and can identify it with the Ujjh. It rises the Jasrautā district of Jammu and flows through the Sialkot district, till it joins its perennial neighbour. the Ravi in the south-east. The Ujjha is a seasonal rivulet, springing to activity during the rains, exactly as Kalidasa found it. Bhidya can be identified with Bai, flowing west of the Ujjh. Bai also joins the Ravi a little downstream.
The Devika referred to by Panini” can be located on the evidence of the Vishnudharmottara Purana in the Madra country, i e., Sialkot district. According to the Vamana Purana’ it was a tributary of the Iravati. On this evidence we can safely identify it with Deg which flows further west of the Bai through Sialkot and Sheikhupura
districts. It is also a seasonal rivulet. The Mahabhäshya refers to the rice produced on its banks. This fragrant rice retains its fame till today.
(ii The Sarasvati-Drishadvati Group : This group lies between the Indus and the Ganga system, but is independent of either. The Group drains the Ambala division. The Sarasvli is identified with Ghaggar. Rising in the Simla hills it flows down past Patiala Rajasthan. In Vedic times it was a mighty Sirsa to lose itself in the northern desert of river. But by the time the Manu-smriti and the Mahabharata came to be written it had already developed its present character. Manu calls the place where it disappears as Vinaśana. The Mahabharata states that after disappearing the river reappeared at three places. The situation is much the same now. It disappears in sand near the village of Chalaur and reappears at Bhavani pur. At Balchapar it again disappears, but reappears again at Barakhera. At Urnai joined by the Markanda stream. At Sirsa it near Pehova, ancient Prithudaka, it is receives the Drishadvati or Chittang. At a short distance from this point the combined streams finally dry up. But the river-bed takes the direction towards the Indus and enters upper Sindh. After disappearing the the dry bed reappears south of Rohri and runs parallel to the Indus into the Arabian
sea. The Drishadvati rises in the hills of Sirmur and flows near to the Yamunā through the Ambala district. The country between the Sarasvati and the Drishadvati was known as Brahmavarta and was considered to be very sacred”.
V. Geographical Divisions of the Uttarapatha
N. W. India can be divided into three. major geographical regions, namely, the Panjab, Sindh and Afghanistan. The rich and fertile plains of the Panjab, watered by the major rivers of the Indus system, have attracted many a greedy invaders from across the Hindu Koh. Afghanistan also suffered, because of its intermediate position. The spill-overs of these invasions reached the Sindh because of its easy accessibility. Numerous divisions and sub-divisions of the Uttarapatha are referred to in Sanskrit literature. Confusion is created by the ancient custom of using for one and the same region alternative names-one purely geographical and the other conferred by the tribe by virtue of occupation. In the following pages only the first category is undertaken for study. The tribal designation shifted from place to place with the movement of the tribe. Hence they have been ignored. Exception is made only where such a name stuck to a country even after the tribe had left it.
(i) The Ancient Punjab -The six rivers of the Indus system together with Sarasvati divide the Panjab plains into seven parts. These were known as the Sapta-Dvīpas.” The whole area was alternatively called Vähika and Arutta. The inhabitants of this country were condemned as uncivilised by Karna in his verbal dual with Salya in the Mahābhārata. The word Panchanada in another context in the same work designates probably a smaller area comprising the plains of the five Panjab rivers. It is equally probable that the terms denoted merely the district round the Punjab, as the united waters of the five Punjab rivers are now known.
The people of all the districts of the Vähika country were, and still are, fond of Lassi, that is churned curd. There were regular shops catering in this drink. The keepers of these shops were called Mathitikas.
At the south-eastern end of the Panjab lay the Bahudhãnyaka country referred to in the Mahabhārata”, It comprised the area now included in the Rohtak and Hisar districts. The capital city, Rohitaka, is now represented by the town of Rohtak. Kuru-Jangala and Kurukshetra, In the immediate north, extending as far as the river Drishadvatī, was the wilderness of Kuru-Jängala, which, as one moved north, gradually developed into the populated land of Kurukshetra. The latter area, it appears, was colonised after the Mahabharata war, which was fought on its plains. It coincided with the existing district of Karnal. Panchala comprising the Ganga-Yamuna Doab was its eastern neighbour. Chief cities were, Kapishthala (mod. Kaithal), Sthänvisvara (mod. Thanesar) and probably Panipat. The antiquity of the last city cannot be doubted, though it does not find mention in literature. The pat ending puts it among the prastha group of cities, e.g., Indraprastha, Vrikaprastha (modern Baghpat) and Sonaprashta, (modern Sonepat). The ancient name, probably, was Pani-prastha or Panya-prastha, “the city of Merchants or Merchandise”.
Between the Drishadvati and the Sirasvati rivers lay the sacred land of Brahmävarta, the home of Vedic Rishis. The chief city was Sairishaka (mod-Sirsa),
The entire area south-east of the Sutlej river upto the Yamuna and including the Bahudhãnyaka country, was about the 2nd century B.C, in the possession of the powerful Yaudheya tribe. Dr. Birbal Sahni has discovered their mint-sites, one at Rohtak and the other at Sunet near Ludhiana”. About 1st century B. C. the migrating Malavas occupied the extensive land lying between the Sutlej and Sarasvati rivers and gave it their name. The country even now bears the name Malava, though the tribe shifted towards Rajasthan during the early centuries of the Christian era. The older name of the region is not known.
North of Kurukshetra, extending into the Simla hills and the Dehradun valley, lay the Kalakūta Janapada of Panini and Kalakata of the Mahabharata. Ptolemy calls it Kulindrene after the Kulinda or Kuninda people, who occupied it. They were probably the same as the Kulunas of Pāņini.

Trigarta or Jalandharāyaṇa

The hills and the sub-mountain region of the valleys of the Ravi, Beas and Sutlej rivers was known as Trigarta. According to Dr. V. S. Agrawal, Jalandharāyaṇa of the Ganapatha was its alternative name derived from the name of its chief city. But Jalandharayana appears to have been only a sub-division of Trigarta, comprising the Jalandhar district. Trigarta included the existing districts of Jullundur, Hoshiarpur, Gurdaspur, Chamba, Kangra, Mandi and Suketa. The Kulu Sub-division lay outside Trigarta, and was known as Kuluta.
Trigarta was sub-divided into smaller units. Jalandharāyaṇa (ie. Jullundur distt.) was one. Gurdaspur-Pathankot-Hoshiarpur region, then called Udumbara, was another. It constituted the tribal republic of the Audumbaras, whose coins are found in this region. In the southern parts of the Gurdaspur district, i.e., in Batala tehsil, probably
lived the Kathas and the Kapishthalas who have made significant contribution to the Vedic literature. The Tilakhala of Panini and Tilabhara of the Mahabharata may have been the name of Hoshiarpur district, one of whose chief products continues to be sesamum, the oilseed known as Tila, Champa (mod. Chamba) in the upper Ravi valley, Maṇḍamatī (mod. Mandi) and Sukuṭṭa (mod. Suketa) were probably other units.”
Trigarta was an extensive country. It was the home of many republication tribes. Pāṇini gives the number as six, which are named in Kāśikā, as Kauņndoparatha, Dandaki, Kraushtaki, Jalamäni, Brahmagupta and Jalaki’. The Mahabharata speaks of the Sam-saptaka ganas, i.e. a confederation of seven republics, of Trigarta. They are said to have taken an active part in the Mahābhārata war.
Madhyamika or Madhyiya
The central Punjab, comprising Lahore and Amritsar districts, was called Madhyamika or Madhyîya”. A rule of Panini makes it clear that the word Madhyiyah was to denote a country”.
Majha, the present name of the region, is apparently derived from it.
Madra was situated south of the existing province of Jammu. The river Ravi formed its eastern boundary and the Jhelum the western one. The river Chenab cut it into two halves. The eastern half comprising Sialkot district was described as Purva-Madra. It was also called Sakala Dvipa because of the fact that Sakala, the capital of Madra was located here. The city stood on the seasonal stream, Apagā (mod. Ayak), which carries rain-water into the Chenab. The western half was referred to as the Apara-Madra. It almost coincided with the present district of Gujrat.
The people of Madra, particularly women, were very fond of Sauvira or Kanji, a spicy drink prepared from carrots. According to the Arthasastra, brownish sandal was produced in Šakala”,
The lower Rachana Doab, comprising Jhang-Maghiana district, was the Usinara country. It was and still is famous for milch-cows. Milk was favourite food of the people.
Usinara, was the home of the Sibi tribe The capital was Sibipura, identified
with the existing city of Shorkat (Sibipura-Śiviura-Shor), where the remains of the ancient town are found. The tribe later migrated to Madhyamika (modern Nagari) near Chittor, where, too, they have left their coins. The Kašika mentions two cities of Usinara, namely, Sundarśana and Ahvajala. And Pänini speaks of Usinara cities whose names ended in kantha, such as Sausami-kantha and Ahvara-kantha. *Kantha” was a Saka word connoting ‘a city’.
Gandhāra -The Gandhāra or Gandharva” country lay on either side of the Indus. On the south-east it touched the Jhelum district, i.e. the ancient Kekaya, and on the north-west the Kunar or Kashkar river. It comprised the districts of Takshashia (Rawalpindi), Pushkarāvatī (Peshawar) Atakataka (Attack) Urasa (Hazara) and
Uddiyana or Aurdayani, as Pänini calls it. Uddiyana was the hilly district lying. between the Suvästu (Swat) and the Gauri (Goruaea of the Greeks, modern Panjkora) rivers with Masakävati (Messaga of the Greeks) as the capital. The Indus divided the country into Pūrva and Apara Gandhära. The two were connected by the Uttarapatha (the Northern Highway) which crossed the Indus by a Pontoon bridge at Udbhändapura (modern Ohind) about four miles above its confluence with the Kabul river.
Udbbändapura must have been an important city. Takshaśilā, sixty miles east of Udbhändapura was the capital of the eastern or Pürva Gandhära and Pushkalavati as far west that of the western. or Apara Gandhāra. Modern Charsadda near the confluence of Kabul and Swat rivers marks the site where Pushkalavati stood. The village of Lahur on the confluence of the Kabul and the Indus, represents Salatura, the birthplace of Panini (Salatura-Halaur-Lahur). The identification of Atakataka of the Negamã coins with the city of Attock is suggested on the basis of similarity in names. According to Dr. V. S. Agrawal, the Attock district was known in Panini’s times as Ashtaka Dhanva, and the Pothohara country, i.e., the Rawalpindi district, as Pritha Janapada. Western Gandhära was the home of several war-like tribes. To the south of the Kabul rivers and west of the Indus lived the ancient Aprita (modern Afridi) tribe.” This tribe continues to occupy their ancient homeland, which is now known as Afridi-Tira. The Madhumant (modern Mohamand) tribe’ has been in unbroken possession of the northern bank of the Kabul river. Their country, demarcated by Swat and Kunada rivers, is now known as Bajaur Dir. Dir is probably corrupted form of Dviravatīka, as also Tira in Afridi Tira is that of Trīrāvatīka. The boundaries of Trīrāvatīka were formed by the Kubha (Kabul), the Sindhu and the Varā rivers. The last river is stated to have been the producer of brave men.”
(i) Sindhu Janapad :-South of the eastern Gandhara, the Sindh Sagar Doab was divided into the Janapadas of Sindhu and Kakaya. The former stretched along the Indus as far as its confluence with the Panjab rivers. The Sindhu Janapada was more closely associated with Sauvīra, with which it is always paired in literature, than with Gandhāra or Kekaya. Because of the food habits of the people the country was divided into two parts, namely, the Saktu Sindhu and the Pana Sindhu. The northern part, comprising the existing district Mianwali, is even now the home of Sattus. The southern Sindh Sagar Doab was better known for its superior breed of cows. The people were excessively fond of milk. Hence the name Pana Sindhu. In fact, all the country round Pañchanada, including ancient Usinara, Kekaya, Sindhu and nor thern Sauvīra have throughout history been the home of milk and fine cows. Charaka refers to the fondness of the Sindhu people for milk. The Mahabharata describes the Sindhu-Sauvīra king, Jayadratha, as milkand corn eater. The Sindhu Janapada produced one of the best breeds of war horses.
The Apakara of Pagini’ was most probably the country round Bhakkhar in Mianwali district. The place where the ancient route from Ghazni via Gomal pass crossed the Indus and entered the Sindhu Janapada was located within Apakara. This route had a great commercial and strategic importance.
The Kekaya Janapada sprawled along the western bank of the Jhelum, from the southern boundary of Gandbāra to the point where the Chenab meets Jhelum. It comprised the modern districts of Jhelum and Shahpur and the trans-Jhelum area of Jhang”. The salt Range lay within this Janapada. Kekaya, too, was famous for its milch cows.
(ii) The Sindh or Ancient Sauvira. Sauvira was the general name for the entire Sindh province. Roruka was the capital. It is represented by the city of Rohri, where the archaeological remains of the ancient city are found. To the west on the opposite bank of the Indus stood another great city named Särkara. Now calles Sakkhar, it continues to be a flourishing city. The Indo Greek king Demetrius is said to have founded the city of Demetrius on the Indus delta in the 2nd century B. C The Kašikā refers to it as Dattāmitri. Its existence is confirmed by the Nasik cave inscription No. 19, where the donor calls himself Dätämitiyaka. Nearby stood the great seaport of Patala, a much older city. Its location again is given somewhere on the broad indus data. It is also possible that Demetrius was merely patala renamed.
The coastal region of Sauvira around the Indus delta was called Sauvīra-kūla¹ or Sindhu-vaktra. Brahmanaka Janapada Named by Pagini and Patañjah the Brāhmaṇaka Janapada is identified with the Brachmanoi of Arrian” and Plutarch and with modern Brahmanabad Rajasekhara in his Kävyamīmämsä calls it Brāhmaṇāvoha. The people of this Janapada fought bravely against Alexander.
Paraskara Paraskara is mentioned by Papini and Patañjali. The latter describes it as a country. It is to be identified with the district of Thar Parkar, occupying the desert lands-north of the Rann of Cutch. Kaccha is also mentioned by Panini.
The Sauvira breed belonged to the second best category of war horses. They ranked below the breeds of Kamboja, Sindhu, Aratta and Vanāyu (Arabia)”.
(iii) Balochistan-The Makran coastal region was known as Indravaktra. The Greeks called it Gedrosia. Between this country and Seistan lay Drangiana. The
valley of the Hingula river on the Arabian Sea coast was the ancient Parada. Balochistan was the home of numerous small tribes, named in the Mahabharata as Vairāmas, Pāradas, Abhīras, and Kitavas.” Barbara was possibly their collective name, which the ancient port of Barbarikam carried.
(iv) Afghanisthan
Modern Seistan, i.e., the Helmand valley was the ancient Śakasthāna.
Sarasvata or Arachosia
To the east the country of the Argandab and upper Helmand valleys was the Arachosia of the Greeks. They had corrupted the Sanskrit name Sarasvata, i. e., the country of the river Sarasvati. Sarasvati was the ancient name of the Argandab river. Alexandria, (modern Kandahara), south of the Argandab, was the chief city.
The Ghorband and Panjshir valleys, i. e. the country round the existing cities of
Charikar, Begram and Koratas, were called Kapisa. It was flanked in the south by Arachosia and in the north by the Hindu Kush range. The Greek writers designated it as Paropamisade, i.e. the country of Paropamisus. Kāpiśī (modern Charikar) was the capital. The city had great political and strategic importance. Routes branched off from here to Kabul, Herat, Arachosia and Bactria. Two different routes entered the last country, one across the Khawak Pass and the other across the Kushan Pass Alexander is said to have established one of his Alexandrias in this region. Most probably it was merely an abortive attempt to rename Kāpisi. Eukratides on certain coins. names Kāpiśi, not Alexandria, an indication that even the Greeks did not accept the new name. The Herat district in the neighbourhood was politically associated with the Merv kingdom.
Vallika and Kamboja-Vählika and Kamboja were situated north of the Hind Kush range. Vahlika is the same as The capital city was Bactria or Bactria of the Europeans. Vahlika. The horses of this country belonged to the
second best category.

Kamboja has been identified with the amirand Badakshan region lying to the north-east of the Hindu Kush. Close to kambojais the region of Darwaz, which Dr. Moti Chandra has identified with ancient väraka. He has also identified Badakshan the ancient Dvyaksha, Dvyakshāyaṇa Panini. According to Dr. V. S. Agrawal, Tryakshayana, mentioned by Paiņini alongside Dvyakshāyaṇa, must be recognised in the current name Tar Khan. The Mahabharata lists three Janapadas together, namely Dvyaksha, Tryaksha and lalataksha. The last should be Ladakh.
Hunza-Gilgit region was known Darada. It’s present name is Daradistan,
VI. Cities and Towns. The most important cities have been dealt with.

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Dr M V Mohan


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