Shalabhanjika: The Tree Deity

The Śālabhañjikā (शालभंजिका) is a recurring sculptural motif in Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist sacred spaces. The Shalabhanjika is a stylised sculpture that usually exaggerates feminine features, of a standing woman, holding a branch of a tree.

Shalabhanjika sculptures often adorn the pillars of a temple, or are placed along the circumambulation path (pradakshina path) of the deity, or in the temple’s architecture as bracket figures. It is assumed to be a symbol of fertility and auspiciousness.

Shalabhanjika: Etymology

Literally, the word Shala-bhanjika means, “the breaking/bending of a branch of the Shala tree” (Shorea robusta).  The word has been in use in ancient Indian literature since the 5th century BCE. The earliest carvings of this sculpture form emerged during the Maurya period (4th Century BCE) and continued to appear in various places during the Sunga and Satavahana periods. (2nd Century BCE to 1st Century AD).

Origin: Shalabhanjika

Shalabhanjika: Lepakshi (Image Copyright: The Custodians)
Shalabhanjika: Lepakshi (Image Copyright: The Custodians)

A “pastime” or a “garden game” in folk tradition is suggested in the Ashtdhyayi of Panini, and is limited to the eastern parts of the country where Shala trees were in abundance. The connotation of the terms Shalabhanjika is such a game, where ladies used bend branches of the Shala tree, pluck the flowers and throw them on each other.

According to Buddhist texts, when Mayadevi, the mother of Lord Buddha, was on her way to her father’s city, she stopped on the way when she saw the Lumbini grove, full of Shala trees, in full bloom. She, with her escorts entered the grove to entertain themselves. At the time, Lord Buddha was in her womb. As the Queen gracefully stood along a Shala tree, her labour pains commenced, and Lord Buddha was born there. The Queen stood in the classical tribhanga pose, and this scene, therefore is considered auspicious by the Buddhists.

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Birth of Buddha. Mayadevi, in the Shalabhanjika pose. Via, The Freer Indian Sculptures, by Aschwin Lippe (Smithsonian Institute)

Over time, the motif took on two forms, one representing the “nativity” scene, which was essentially sacred, and the other in which a charming beauty was depicted with the branch clasped in her hands, which was secular.

Shalabhanjika: In Sculpture

A typical Shalabhanjika sculpture depicts a woman standing in a tribhanga pose (the body is ‘broken’ at two points to give three bends in the body — one at the neck and the other at the hip) holding a branch of a tree. More often than not, the sculpture is adorned with heavy jewellery and complex hairstyles. In later sculptures, other trees found their way as a part of this motif — the Ashok tree, the Mango tree also feature in some Shalabhanjika sculptures.

Shalabhanjika: Lepakshi (Image Copyright: The Custodians)
Shalabhanjika: Lepakshi (Image Copyright: The Custodians)

Shalabhanjika in Literature

The term Shalabhanjika has been used in many literary works including:

  • Harshacharita and Kadambari, by Bana
  • Viddha-shalabhanjika by Rajashekhara
  • Arya-saptashati, by Givardhanacharya
  • Naishadhiyacharita, by Sriharsha

Locations well-known for beautiful Shalabhanjika sculptures between the 2nd Century BCE to the 1st Century CE) include the art at Sanchi (see featured image), Bharhut, Kaushambi, Mehrauli, and Amravati. Mathura has a few masterpieces from the Kushana period (1st – 3rd Century CE). Later masterpieces include the 12th century Hoysala temples of Belur and Halebidu.

Featured image: Shalabhanjika at Sanchi Stupa (Image Copyright: The Custodians)

References

  1. Karnataka’s Rich Heritage – Temple Sculptures & Dancing Apsaras: An Amalgam of Hindu Mythology, Natyasastra and Silpasastra, by Lalit Chugh
  2. Salabhanjika Motif in Sanskrit Literature, by U. N. Roy
  3. Woman in Indian sculpture, by M. L. Varadpande
  4. Sacred Plants of India, by Nanditha Krishna
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The Dynasties of Maharashtra

An overview of the various dynasties that ruled the region that is now Maharashtra, from 230 BCE – 1300 CE. A very short description of all these dynasties follows.

We are very grateful to Brigadier Gerard, who had first posted this as a sketch on Twitter, and gave us permission adapt it and post it here.

Dynasties of Maharashtra
Click to view large size

The Dynasties of Maharashtra

Most of the content below is sourced from Wikipedia. Apart from this, some references have been made to various books listed at the end.

A note on dates: You will notice some discrepancies in the dates in the infographic above and sources (including Wikipedia). This is primarily due to how historians interpret dates. Some take it starting from when a dynasty was established, some take it at later time. Most of the dynasties listed below were vassals or feudatories of the dynasties that preceded them. In such situations, they were semi-independent to an extent.

Sātavāhan

The Satavahana dynasty ruled the Deccan region between 230 BCE – 225 CE. They were probably vassals of the Mauryas, and established their supremacy in the Deccan after the decline of the Maurya Empire. The dynasty was established by Simuka, however, Gautamiputra Satakarni (86–110 CE) is the most well-known king of this dynasty. The Satavahanas ruled from Pratishthana (modern-day Paithan) and Amravati (Dist. Guntur, Andhra Pradesh) [Link]

Vākāṭaka

The Satavahanas were succeeded by the Vakatakas, who ruled during 250 – 525 CE, with their capital at Nandivardhana (modern-day Nandardhan, near Ramtek) and Vatsagulma (modern-day Washim). This dynasty was founded by Vindhyashakti (c. 250 – c. 270 CE). Vakatakas are known for their patronage of art & architecture. The famous Ajanta caves, were built by under the patronage of Vakataka emperor, Harishena. [Link]

Kālāchuri

The Kalachuri dynasty, ruled in Ujjayini, Vidisha, and Anandapura; and their capital was Mahishmati, which lies along the banks of the Narmada River. Not much is known about the founder of this dynasty; the earliest mentioned king was called Krishnaraja. Like the Vakatakas, the Kalachuris were also patrons of art & architecture. The Elephanta caves and the early Ellora caves were built under their patronage. [Link]

Chalukyas of Vatapi (Badami)

One of the most significant dynasties of the Deccan, the early Chalukyas, or the Chalukyas of Vatapi ruled a large area of the Deccan between 550 – 760 CE, covering the entire region between the Narmada and the Kaveri rivers. Their rule is considered to be an era of prosperity. It also saw the birth of a new architectural style called Chalukyan architecture. The Chalukyas were natives of Karnataka; this dynasty was founded by Pulakeshin I. [Link]

Rāṣṭrakūṭa

The Rashtrakuta dynasty ruled most of the Indian subcontinent, between 753 – 973 CE, with their capital at Manyakheta (Modern-day Malkhed). The Rashtrakutas were feudatories of the Chalukyas of Vatapi and at peak, the Rashtrakutas ruled from the Ganges River to Cape Comorin. This period saw the development of many literary works as well as development of architecture, which include the Kailashnath temple at Ellora and the Jain Narayana Temple at Pattadakal. [Link]

Śilāhāra

The Silahara were vassals of the Rashtrakutas and were split in three branches: North Konkan, South Konkan, and Kolhapur. Across these three branches, the Silaharas ruled between 765 – 1215 CE. The Northern branch was founded by Kapardin, and their capital was Puri (modern-day Rajapur, in the Raigad district). The Silaharas of Kolhapur originally ruled from Karad, and later shifted their capital to Kolhapur. The Panhala fort, near Kolhapur was originally built by the Silahara ruler, Bhoja II between 1178 and 1209 CE. [Link]

Chalukyas of Kalyani

The Chalukyas of Kalyani, or the Western Chalukyas, ruled the Indian subcontinent during 973 CE – 1180 CE, with their capital, earlier at Manyakheta, and later at Kalyani (modern-day Basavakalyan). Major ruling families of the Deccan, the Hoysalas, the Seuna Yadavas of Devagiri, the Kakatiya dynasty and the Southern Kalachuris of Kalyani, were subordinates of the Western Chalukyas. The Western Chalukyan architectural style is well known as the transitional style between the earlier Chalukyas and the Hoysalas. [Link]

Kadamba

The Kadamba dynasty ruled northern Karnataka and the Konkan from Banavasi. The dynasty was founded by Mayurasharma in 345 CE. Kadambas were the first rulers to use Kannada as another official administrative language. The Kadambas of Goa, first ruled from Chandor, and laters shifted their capital to Gopakapattana (Goa). The Kadambas of Goa ruled between 960 – 1310 CE and succumbed to the Seuna Yadavs. [Link]

Seuna Yadav

The Seuna Yadavs were feudatories of the Western Chalukyas, and established their independence as the Chalukyan power declined. The Yadavas of Devgiris, as they are also known, ruled from 1189 – 1310 CE, from Devgiri (modern-day Daulatabad). The name Seuna comes from Seunachandra, who originally ruled a region called Seunadesha (modern-day Khandesh), this dynasty was established by Bhillama V (1173–1192 CE). Singhana II (1200–1247 CE), however is considered the greatest ruler of this dynasty who expanded the Seuna kingdom. In 1317 CE, this kingdom was annexed by the Khilji Sultanate. [Link]

References

  1. A., N. S. (1976). A history of South India from prehistoric times to the fall of Vijayanagar. Madras: Oxford University Press.
  2. Bhāndārkar, R. G. (1957). Early History of the Dekkan. Calcutta: Gupta.
  3. Nagpur District Gazetteer. (n.d.). Retrieved January 07, 2017, from https://web.archive.org/web/20060603010304/http://www.maharashtra.gov.in/english/gazetteer/FINAL_GAZETTEE/his1.html
  4. Sharma, L. P. (1987). History of Ancient India: (pre-historic age to 1200 A.D.). New Delhi: Konark .
  5. Singh, U. (2008). A history of ancient and early medieval India: from the Stone Age to the 12th century. New Delhi: Pearson Education.

Featured Image: By Dey.sandip (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

 

Kalhana: The First Historian of India

Most literary sources of the history of ancient India are religious texts, and any historical information of use has to be extracted from them. Apart from the Vedas and the Puranas, we have available to us a host of literature from Buddhist and Jain literature. The Sangam literature is the earliest that we have for South India, among other Kannada and Telugu literature. Apart from religious texts, other texts on subjects like grammar, poetry, statecraft, philosophy etc. provide a preview of the then life and times. The purpose of these texts, however, was not history.

Very early in his book, What is History?, Edward Hallett Carr, proposes this thought, about what history is:

History consists of a corpus of ascertained facts. The facts are available to the historian in documents, inscriptions and so on, like fish on the fishmonger’s slab. The historian collects them, takes them home, and cooks and serves them in whatever style appeals to him.

In the 12th century, one man decided to write for the purpose of history, and as a historian. Kalhana (कल्हण) is regarded as the first historian of India. In 1148 CE, Kalhana started writing the history of the rulers of Kashmir, starting from legends to the kings and queens of the 12th century. It took him two years to complete the book, and in 1150 CE he had completed the Rajatarangini – the River of Kings.

Very little is known about Kalhana. He was the son of Chanpaka, a minister in the employ of King Harsha of Kashmir (1089-1101 CE). Chanpaka is referred in Rajatarangini as dvarapati or the Lord of the Gates; commander of the frontier troops. Kalhana was born in Parihaspura  now know as Paraspore in the Baramulla district of Jammu & Kashmir.

The Rajatarangini

The Rajatarangini is a Sanskrit kavya composition (poetic metre), of 7,826 verses, set in eight cantos of varying length; each a Taranga or a wave. Kalhana used multiple sources to chronicle this sequential history of the kings of Kashmir, including sculpture, architecture, coinage, and manuscripts, because of which he makes claim for an authentic representation of history.

In the preamble of the first canto of Rajatarangini, Kalhana elucidates the nature of writing a historical account. The seventh verse says:

That noble-minded [poet] is alone worthy of praise whose word, like that of a judge, keeps free from love or hatred in relating the facts of the past.

and soon after:

What is the skill required in order that men of a later time should supplement the narrative of events in the works of those who died after composing each the history of those kings whose contemporaries they were ? Hence my endeavour is to give a connected account where the narrative of past events has become fragmentary in many respects.

Kalhana clearly was attempting to create the first historical account of the kings of Kashmir. Most translators and later historians however,  are of the opinion that while the intent for removal of bias was there, it was not always followed. Regardless, the purpose, structure, and method help us classify this as a valid historical account. Kalhana takes care to ensure that, while being a historical account, it is not dull. He believed that a historical text should also be a work of art. The accounts are graphic, vivid and show the love he has for the country, when he describes certain scenes.

Of the eight cantos or books, the earlier ones primarily draw from the Itihaas-Purana tradition. The middle ones are drawn from various sources; the later ones, which deal with the 8th-12th century history of Kashmir, are the most accurate.

The Rajatarangini depicts the kings and queens in equal measure. While his personal bias does seem to creep in, there is no attempt to hide or tone down the importance and relevance of women, who have ascended the throne or have been powers behind the throne. While he clearly disapproves of women rulers like Didda, he describes their role in founding and destroying royal lineages. ‘The contrast between the narrative and didactic sections of Kalhana’s text, evident in his alternate glorification and denigration of women, not only stresses their agency but also reveals the complex power equations in the royal domain.’ (Rangachari, 2012)

*

The most definitive translation of Kalhana’s Rajatarangini is that by Sir Auriel Stein [Download]. The others are by Jogesh Chandra Dutt and by Ranjit Sitaram Pandit.

Three Rajataranginis followed that of Kalhana’s Rajatarangini; by Jonaraja, Pandit Srivara, and the last is a work of two authors, Prajyabhatta and Suka.

References

  1. Singh, U. (2008). A history of ancient and early medieval India: from the Stone Age to the 12th century. New Delhi: Pearson Education.
  2. Singh, U., & Lahiri, N. (2010). Ancient India: new research. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.
  3. Sharma, T. R. (2005). Historiography: a history of historical writing. New Delhi: Concept Publishing.
  4. G. (1970). Kalhana. Retrieved December 18, 2016, from http://kalhanagvdev.blogspot.in/
  5. Kak, R. C. (n.d.). Ancient Monuments of Kashmir. Retrieved December 18, 2016, from http://ikashmir.net/monuments/doc/monuments.pdf
  6. Pandit, R. S. (1968). Rājataraṅgiṇi; The Saga of the Kings of Kaśmīr. New Delhi: Sahitya Akademi

Link | The Pillars of Ashoka

A short article describing the pillars of Ashoka

“Some pillars had edicts (proclamations) inscribed upon them.  The edicts were translated in the 1830s. Since the 17th century, 150 Ashokan edicts have been found carved into the face of rocks and cave walls as well as the pillars, all of which served to mark his kingdom, which stretched across northern India and south to below the central Deccan plateau and in areas now known as Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan. The rocks and pillars were placed along trade routes and in border cities where the edicts would be read by the largest number of people possible. They were also erected at pilgrimage sites such as at Bodh Gaya, the place of Buddha’s Enlightenment, and Sarnath, the site of his First Sermon and Sanchi, where the Mahastupa, the Great Stupa of Sanchi, is located (a stupa is a burial mound for an esteemed person. When the Buddha died, he was cremated and his ashes were divided and buried in several stupas. These stupas became pilgrimage sites for Buddhist practitioners).”

(Via The Pillars of Ashoka – Smarthistory)

Featured Image via Wikipedia: By Rajeev kumar (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

Link | Incredible Megaliths of India

The Ancient Origins site has a recently published a two-part article on megaliths in India.

“The relationship between the megalith builders and religious practices of south India is complex and one that is ripe for further interpretation. It is usually assumed that the megaliths are the work of India’s many tribal groups, who have left few or no literary records. What we might call India’s ‘great’ tradition in contrast has a very large body of written texts. Early Indian scriptures and mythological literature actually do occasionally refer to the megaliths. For example, there are several highly venerated epic poems of South India, products of the Tamil Sangam age, which takes its name from a gathering or assembly of three hundred Tamil poets and scholars, who were ‘taken by the sea’. The late Kamil Zvelebil, esteemed scholar of Tamil culture, thought the gathering did actually happen on a regular basis. The time frame for the Sangam age is usually set circa 350 BCE to 300 CE and would overlap with the final phase of megalithic construction.”

Read Part 1 and Part 2

Ancient Places: Benares

Extract from “The Geographical Dictionary of Ancient and Medieval India” by Nundo Lal Dey, Luzac & Co., London, 1927.


Bārāṇasī: Benares situated at the junction of the rivers Barṇâ and Asi, from which the name of the town has been derived (Vâmana P., ch. III). It was formerly situated at the confluence of the Ganges and the Gumti (Mbh., Anuśâsana ch. 30). It was the capital of Kâśi (Râmâyaṇa Uttara, ch. 48). At the time of Buddha, the kingdom of Kâśi formed a part of the kingdom of Kośala.

According to James Prinsep, Benares or Kâśi was founded by Kâśa or Kâśirâja, a descendant of the Pururavas, king of Pratishṭhâna. Kâśirâja’s grandson was Dhanvantari; Dhanvantari’s grandson was Divodâsa, in whose reign Buddhism superseded Śiva-worship at Benares, though it appears that the Buddhist religion was again superseded by Saivism after a short period. In 1027, Benares became part of Gauḍa, then governed by Mahîpâla, and Buddhism was again introduced in his reign or in the reign of his successors Sthirapâla and Vasantapâla. Benares was wrested from the Pâla kings by Chandra Deva (1072—1096) and annexed to the kingdom of Kanauj. Towards the close of the twelfth century, Benares was conquered by Muhammad Ghuri who defeated Jaya Chand of Kanauj (James Prinsep’s Benares Illustrated, Introduction, p. 8; Vâyu P., Uttara, ch. 80).

In the seventh century it was visited by the celebrated Chinese traveller Hiuen Tsiang. He has thus described the city and its presiding god Viśveśvara, one of the twelve Great Liṅgas of Mahâdeva:

“In the capital there are twenty Deva temples, the towers and halls of which are of sculptured stone and carved wood. The foliage of trees combines to shade (the sites), whilst pure streams of water encircle them. The statue of Deva Maheśvara, made of teou-shih (brass), is somewhat less than 100 feet high. Its appearance is grave and majestic, and appears as though really living.”

The Padma P. (Uttara, ch. 67) mentions the names of Viśveśvara, Bindumâdhava, Maṇikarṇikâ, and Jñânavâpî in Kâśi (Benares). The present Viśveśvara, which is a mere Liṅga, dates its existence since the original image of the god, described by Hiuen Tsiang, was destroyed by the iconoclast Aurangzebe and thrown into the Jñânavâpî, a well situated behind the present temple. There can be no doubt that Benares was again converted into a Buddhist city by the Pâla Râjâs of Bengal, and Śiva-worship was not restored till its annexation in the eleventh century by the kings of Kanauj, who were staunch believers in the Pauranic creed. The shrines of Âdi-Viśveśvara, Veṇimâdhava, and the Bakarya-kuṇda were built on the sites of Buddhist temples with materials taken from those temples.

The temple of Âdi-Keśava is one of the oldest temples in Benares: it is mentioned in the Prabodha-Chandrodaya Nâṭaka (Act IV) written by Krishṇa Miśhra in the eleventh century A.D. The names of Mahâdeva Tilabhâṇḍeśvara and Daśâśvamedheśvara are also mentioned in the Śiva Puraṇa (Pt. 1, ch. 39). The Maṇikarṇikâ is the most sacred of all cremation ghats in India, and it is associated with the closing scenes of the life of Raja Hariśchandra of Ayodhyâ, who became slave to a Chaṇḍâla for paying off his promised debt (Kshemeśvara’s Chaṇḍ-kauśika; Mârkaṇḍeya P. ch VIII).

The old fort of Benares which was used by the Pâla Râjâs of Bengal and the Rathore kings of Kanauj, was situated above the Râj-ghâṭ at the confluence of the Barṇâ and the Ganges (Bholanath Chunder’s Travels of a Hindoo, vol. I). Benares is one of the Pîṭhas where Satî’s left hand is said to have fallen, and is now represented by the goddess Annapûrṇâ, but the Tantrachūḍāmaṇi mentions the name of the goddess as Viśâlâkshî.

There were two Brahmanical Universities in ancient India, one at Benares and the other at Takshaśilâ (Taxila) in the Punjab. For the observatory at Benares and the names of the instruments with sketches, see Hooker’s Himalayan Journals, Vol. 1, p. 67).

By James Prinsep (British Library [1]) [Public domain], <a href=

Benares is said to be the birth-place of Kaśyapa Buddha, but Fa Hian says that he was born at Too-wei, which has been identified by General Cunningham with Tadwa of Tandwa (Legge’s Fa Hian, ch xxi; Arch. S. Rep., XI), nine miles to the west of Śrâvasti. Kaśyapa died at Gurupâda hill. But according to Aṭṭhakathâ of Buddhaghosha, Kaśyapa (Kassapa) was born in Benares and died at Mrigadâva or modern Sarnâth (JASB., 1838, p. 796.) In the Yuvañjaya-Jâtaka (Jâtakas IV, 75), the ancient names of Benares are said to have been Surandhana, Sudarśana, Brahmavarddhana, Pushpavatî, and Ramya.

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Featured image, courtesy Harini Calamur. Reproduced with Permission.

Link | Buddhist Sculptures Discovered in Ruins of Ancient Shrine

 

Sculptures and carvings dating back more than 1,700 years have been discovered in the remains of a shrine and its courtyard in the ancient city of Bazira. The sculptures illustrate the religious life of the city, telling tales from Buddhism and other ancient religions. Also called Vajirasthana, Bazira is located the in the Swat Valley in Pakistan. It was first constructed as a small town, during the second century B.C., and eventually developed into a city located within the Kushan Empire. At its peak, this empire ruled territory extending from modern-day India to central Asia.

Source: Buddhist Sculptures Discovered in Ruins of Ancient Shrine

Link | Hemp shielding Ellora Caves from Decay

Every once in a while, when we visit ancient or medieval monuments, we cannot help but wonder, how these structures have withstood the test of time and climate, while recent structures crumble with unfailing consistency.

Here, a discovery of the mortar mix, found in Ellora:

Cannabis sativa, popularly known as ganja or bhang, was found mixed in the clay and lime plaster at Ellora. This was confirmed by technologies such as scanning of the electron microscope, Fourier transform, infra-red spectroscopy and stereo-microscopic studies. Hemp samples were collected from areas in Jalna district near Aurangabad and also from the outskirts of Delhi. These specimens were matched with the samples found in cave number 12 of Ellora.

Source: Hemp shielding Ellora caves from decay for 1,500 years: Study – Times of India

HT: @achyutha on Twitter

Ancient Places: Kannauj, Uttar Pradesh

Kannauj, for sure, has to be counted among the cities with the most names. References to this place have started from the Ramayana and have continued since. Of the many names, Kannauj was known as Kanyakubja and by far, this is the most interesting story, of the city’s various names.

According to the Valmiki Ramayan, there was once a great king by the name of Kuśa and was married to the princess of Berar (modern Vidarbha). Together, they had four sons — Kuśhanābha, Kuśāmbha, Asūrtaraja, and Vasu. Each of these sons founded their own cities and helped protect the kingdom. The cities they built were:

  1. Kuśhanābha built Kaushambī (Possibly, Kosambi, (Prayag) Allahabad)
  2. Kuśāmbha built Mahodaya (Kannauj)
  3. Asūrtaraja built Dharmāranya, (Very close to Bodh Gaya, Bihar) and
  4. Vasu built Girivraja (Rajgir, Bihar)

Of these four places, however, our story is about Mahodaya, the city built by Kuśāmbha (the second one). In this grand city, Kuśāmbha sired a hundred daughters, all of them amazingly beautiful, with the help of the celestial damsel, Ghritāchi.

Much later, as these hundred young ladies were out in the garden one day, Vāyu, the Wind-God was besotted by them and offered to marry them all, and even offered them eternal life. The girls, notwithstanding that he was, well, God — made haughty remarks and scornfully rejected the proposal outright, invoking their father’s eminence.

Needless to say, Vāyu was enraged and entered their bodies (प्रविश्य सर्व गात्राणि) and disfigured them, turning them all into hunchbacks.

This city, then, came to be called Kanyā-Kubja — “the city of the hunchbacked maidens.”

As Rama Shankar Tripathi has mentioned in his book, History of Kanauj: To the Moslem Conquest, this story has little use from a historical point of view, except that this place has found mention in ancient times.

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Kannauj has had many other names.

Gadhipura or Gadhinagaram, was another name, after the a legendary ruler, named Gadhi.

It has been called Kuśasthala, named — either after the kuśa grass (sacred for sacrificial needs), or after the name of the father of the founder of this city, Kuśāmbha.

The renowned geographer, Ptolemy mentions Kannauj as Kangora or Kanogiza (C.140 A.D.)

In the documents of Huen Tsang who traveled to this place in 636AD, gives the original name of this place as Kusumapura (Keu-su-mo-pu-lo)— city of flowers, before it came to be called Kanyā-Kubja. Fa-Hien, who visited Kannauj before Huen Tsang during the fifth century, refers to the city as Kannauj (Ka-nao-yi), which was probably in use by the natives. Harshavardhan or Śilāditya II reigned when Huen Tsang visited Kannauj.

Around 836CE, Mahodaya became the name of the city, while Kanyā-Kubja, was used to refer to the province.

Finally, the British spelled it as Connodge, and post-independence, it reverted to Kannauj, which is the name of the city as well as of the district.


Featured Image: By w:user:Planemad [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

References

  1. Dey, Nundo Lal. The Geographical Dictionary of Ancient and Mediaeval India. New Delhi: Oriental Reprint; Exclusively Distributed by Munshiram Manoharlal, 1971. Print.
  2. Tripathi, Rama Shankar. History of Kanauj: To the Moslem Conquest. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1964. Print.
  3. Valmiki Ramayana – Baala Kanda – Sarga 32 .” Valmiki Ramayana – Baala Kanda – Sarga 32 . Desiraju Hanumanta Rao, K.M.K.Murthy. Web. 21 Feb. 2016. .
  4. Watters, Thomas. On Yuang Chwan’s Travels in India. Vol. XIV. London: Royal Asiatic Society, 1904. Print.
  5. Faxian.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Web. 22 Feb. 2016. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faxian&gt;.
  6. Xuanzang.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Web. 22 Feb. 2016. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xuanzang&gt;.

Ancient Places: Jalandhar, Punjab

Extract from “The Geographical Dictionary of Ancient and Medieval India” by Nundo Lal Dey, Luzac & Co., London, 1927.


 

Jālandhara

Jalandhar, a town near the western bank of the Sutlej in the Punjab; same as Trigartta (Hemakosha). The name is derived from its founder, the Asura Jālandhara, the son of the Ganges by the Ocean (Padma P. Uttara, ch 51). It is the headquarters of the district called Jalandhara Doab or Jālandharapītha lying between the Bias and the Sutlej. It is Kulindrina of Ptolemy; but see Kulinda-deśa.

Kulinda-deśa

Garwal including the district of Shaharanpur, north of Delhi (Mahābhārata, Sabhā, ch 26). The entire tract of land lying between the upper portion of the Ganges and the Sutlej was called Kulinda, the Kulindrini of Ptolemy. Cunningham places Kulinda-deśa between the Bias and the tons, including Kilu, the Kuninda of the coins (Cunningham’s Arch. S. Rep., vol XIV). Same as Kalinda-deśa. Accordingl to McCrindle, the region of lofty Mountains, wherein the Vipāśā, the Satadru, the Yamunā, and the Ganges have their sources, was the Kylindrine of Ptolemy (p. 109). The Kulindas lived on the southern slope of the Himalaya from Kulu eastward to Nepal (JRAS., 1908, p. 326)


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