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Andkhui is a district in the north-east Afghanistan.


Variants of name

Jat clan

Mention by Panini

Andhakavarta (अंधकवर्त) is a term mentioned by Panini in Ashtadhyayi. [2]

Andhakavartiyah (अंधकवर्तीया:)is a term mentioned by Panini in Ashtadhyayi. [3]


V S Agarwal [4] writes about Mountaineer Sanghas – A very important group of martial Sanghas comprised those occupying some parvata or mountainous region in north-west India.

[p.435] Evidently this parvata region must have been outside the plains of the Vahika Country, which brings us to the highlands of north-west as the homeland of the ayudhajivins. The Kashika mentions Hrdgoliyas Hridgola, probably Hi-lo of Yuan Chwang (modern Hidda south of Jalalabad); Andhakavartīyāḥ of Andhakavarta, perhaps Andkhui, a district in the north-east Afghanistan and Rohitagiriyas of Rohitagiri, which last is important as reminiscent of Roha, old name of Afghanistan. All this portion of the country is up to the present day peopled by hardy and warlike Mountaineers.The Markandeya Purana refers to mountain-dwellers of the west, including such names as Nihāras (Nigrahāra of Vayu, same as Nagarahāra or Jalalabad where Hṛidgola or Hiḍḍā is situated) and the Haṁsamārgas (modern Hunza in the north of Dardistan). Thus country of mountaineers extended from Kashmir to Afghanistan and most of the people settled in these mountains and their valleys were of the Ayudhajivin class. The Bhishmaparva specially mentions Girigahvaras (गिरिगह्वर) (VI.10.66), dwellers of mountain caves, as a people of the north-west (Bhishmaparva, 9.68, Udyogaparva, 30.24), and this epithet appropriately applies to the tribes of the north-west. They were the same as Sanghah girichāriṇaḥ and girigahvara-vasinah (Dronaparva, 93.48).

Arrian mentions these mountainous Indians as fighting in the army of Darius against Alexander at Arbela (Anabasis, III,8.3-6). It was these Parvatiya Ayudhajivin that offered stout resistance to Alexander in Bactria and Gandhara.

The approximate location of these Parvatiyas should be sought for in the region of the Hindukush on both sides of it. Roha, of medieval geographers, Rohitagiri of Panini, the ten Mandalas of Lohita (Sabhaparva, 24.16) and Rohitagiriyas of Kashika, all together point to the mountainous regions of the central and north-east Afghanistan as being the Parvata Country, which name survives in Kohistan.

The history of settlement in Faryab (a provinces of Afghanistan) is ancient and comprises layer upon layer of occupation. At times, it was a melting pot within which a host of cultures have merged into a non-conflictual whole or at least peaceable coexistence. Maymana (the small capital city of the district in Faryab) and Andkhui actually entered written history 2,500 years ago when Jews arrived and settled in 586 BC, fleeing the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar. The area was under Persian control at the time, which later gave way to Greek rule following the conquest by Alexander the Great in 326 BC. Persian dominance was restored from the 3rd to 7th century AD.[5]

City of Alexandria

H. W. Bellew[6] writes that ...Pliny's statement (Hist. Nat., vi. 18), regarding the city of Alexandria, founded in the district of Margiana by Alexander

[Page-49]: which being destroyed by the barbarians, Antiokhus, the son of Seleukus, rebuilt it on the same site as a Syrian city, and called it Antiokhia, and that it was watered by the Margus which passed through it, and was afterwards divided into a number of streams for the irrigation of the district of Zothale ; and that it was to this place that Orodes (Arsakes XIV.) conducted such of the Romans as survived the defeat of Crassus (about 54 B.C.) ; this statement of Pliny's seems to favour the idea, conveyed by the expression " as a Syrian city," that the new city was peopled with a colony of his own subjects from Syria, and that the Suri tribe of Afghanistan originates in them. The site of Antiokhia, from the description above given, we should naturally look for on the lower course of the Murgab ; whether any traces of its existence in this direction have been discovered I do not know. But the name of an existing city somewhat farther eastward, and situated upon a river which, although rising among the same range of mountains as the Murgab, drains a different watershed and flows in a separate and distinct stream away from and at some distance from the Murgab, seems to offer an indication of the true site of Antiokhia. In the modern Andkhoe or Andikhoya we have not only a close rendering of the Greek name, but other important points of agreement with the above description of Antiokhia. It is watered by a river which passes through it, and which may have been called Margus anciently ; but whether this was so or not, this river is afterwards divided into numerous streams for the irrigation of the district of Zaidan or Zadane, a name not far off from Pliny's Zothale. Andkhui, or Andhkoe, apart from the above points of conformity with Pliny's description of Antiokhia, may reasonably be taken to mark the site of Alexandria, probably one of those six cities founded by Alexander in Baktria for the defence of that province. The name of the river on which Andkhui stands is Sangalak; but it may have been called Margus by Pliny on account of its being on the extreme eastern frontier of Margiana.

However, be this as it may, the Suri of "the Syrian city " may be represented to-day by the Suri division of the Hazarah Char Aymac. It remains yet to inquire who these Syrians, or Suri, were.

Antiokhus, the son of Seleukus Nikator, was the first king of Syria of that name. His mother, Apama, daughter of Spitamenes (Arrian), the Baktrian chief, had been given by Alexander to Seleukus in 326 B.C. at Susa, when he married his generals to native ladies and Persian princesses. Seleukus, since the death of Alexander, had held the government of Eastern Persia and

[Page-50]: the conquered Indian provinces for ten years, until, by the battle at Ipsus, 301 B.C., he acquired the throne of Syria and sovereignty of Asia, and thus established the dynasty of the Seleukidae. He then gave his son the government of Upper Asia (his own former satrapy, consisting of the modem Afghanistan and Turkistan), with the title of king, which Antiokhos held until 280 B.C., when he succeeded his father on the throne of Syria. Antiokhos Soter died 261 B.C. after a reign of nineteen years.

Thus the Greako-Baktrian Antiokhos ruled over Afghanistan for about twenty years prior to his succession to the throne of Syria, and rebuilt, on the same site, the destroyed Alexandria, as a Syrian city, which he called Antiokhia (the modern Andhkui). It was, perhaps, in the very country of which his mother was a native, and adjoined the Paropamisus province, which his father had a few years previously ceded to the Indian king Sandrakottos, or Chandragupta, in exchange for the five hundred elephants by the aid of which Shleukus won the battle of Ipsus and the sovereignty of Asia. From Pliny's account it seems clear that, Antiokhos the son of Seleukus " built Antiokhia before he became king of Syria; and the expression "as a Syrian city" seems to indicate markedly that it was peopled by Syrians to preserve it from the fate of its predecessor on the same site, Alexandria, which had been destroyed by the barbarians, as well as to have a guard of trustworthy Syrians upon the frontier of the Paropamisus province, recently ceded to the Indian king.

External Links


  1. H. W. Bellew]: An Inquiry Into the Ethnography of Afghanistan, p.49
  2. V. S. Agrawala: India as Known to Panini, 1953, p.41
  3. V. S. Agrawala: India as Known to Panini, 1953, p. 435
  4. V S Agarwal, India as Known to Panini,p.434-435
  5. Dr. Liz Alden Wily, LAND RELATIONS IN FARYAB PROVINCE: Findings from a field study in 11 villages, Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit, June 2004
  6. H. W. Bellew: An Inquiry Into the Ethnography of Afghanistan, p.48-50

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