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Aratta (आरट्ट) is an ancient tribe and janapada mentioned in Mahabharata, Mahavansha, Vedas, Ashtadhyayi of Panini etc. This is a Prakrit form of the Sanskrit Arashtra (आराष्ट्र). Aratta is a land that appears in Vedas (B.S 2.13.14) and Sumerian myths surrounding Enmerkar and Lugalbanda, two early and possibly mythical kings of Uruk also mentioned on the Sumerian king list. They fought Mahabharata War in Kaurava's side.



It is the name of one of The Mahabharata Tribes.

Jat clans


V. S. Agrawala[7] writes that Panini mentions Pura (IV.2.122) ending names of towns like Arishṭapura (Pali: Ariṭṭapura, a city in the kingdom of Shivi in Vahika.

The Harsha Charita of Bana/Chapter II mentions The Visit of Bana to the King Harshavardhana....The doorkeeper, having come up and saluted him, addressed him respectfully in a gentle voice, "Approach and enter, his highness is willing to see you." Then Bana entered, as he directed, saying, "I am indeed happy that he thinks me worthy of this honour." He next beheld a stable filled with the king's favourite horses from Vanayu, Aratta, Kamboja, Bharadvaja, Sindh, and Persia....

Ram Sarup Joon [8] writes ...Bahik, Bahi, Bahin or Bahela: Bahik Jats is found both among the Hindu and Sikhs. In Pakistan there are Muslim Bahele Jats-, Bahiks are mentioned in Mahabharat also. According to "Karna Parva", chapter of the Mahabharat) King Shalya paid l/6th part of his income to the Bahiks. According to Nandlal Dey, Bahik are a sub branch of the Madraks. Arat in district Sheikhupura was their capital. Hashak, Karmabh Kalak and Karkar were their important towns. In Daurala (District Meerut, U.P.) the Bahiyan Jats have six villages.

Arattas consider themselves the descendants of Buddha. In Greece they were known as Oreturi means arashtaka. These people came to India and settled in desert of Rajasthan. [9]

Megasthenes has described them as the Oraturae - The inhabitants on the other side of this mountain Capitalia, Whose king has only ten elephants, though he has a very strong force of infantry. (See - Jat clans as described by Megasthenes)

Thakur Deshraj writes that they were probably Jats and the Rathor Jat gotra is its local variant.It is also likely that they are Rathi Jats. There is a district in Alwar district called Rath. They had helped Chandragupta Maurya against Alexander, due to which Alexander had called them dacoits. [10]

Aratta (आर्त) - A north-western tribe; part of the forces of Krtavarma (VII.165.69).

विचेतसॊ हतॊत्साहाः कश्मलाभिहतौजसः
आर्तस्वरेण महता पुत्रं ते पर्यवारयन (VII.165.69)

The Mahabharata Tribe -Aratta (आरट्ट) may be identified with Jat Gotra - Rathor or Rathi Jats. [11]

The Mahabharata Tribe -Aratta (आर्त) may be identified with Jat Gotra - Aratt (अरट्ट) Artat (अर्टाट).

H. L. Kosare after Mahabharata informs that Arattas had their three branches Takka, Vahika and Jartika. [12][13] All the tree branches belong to Jats.

Periplus (P. 183) has written about "Arattii. This is a Prakrit form of the Sanskrit Arashtra, who were a people of the Punjab; in fact the name Aratta is often synonymous with the Panjab in Hindu literature."[14]

Susa is one of the oldest-known settlements of the region and indeed the world, possibly founded about 4200 BCE; although the first traces of an inhabited village have been dated to ca. 7000 BCE. Evidence of a painted-pottery civilization has been dated to ca. 5000 BCE. In historic times, Susa was the primary capital of the Elamite Empire. Its name in Elamite was written variously Šušan, Šušun, etc. The city appears in the very earliest Sumerian records, eg. in Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta it is described as one of the places obedient to Inanna, patron deity of Uruk. (See - Parthian Stations)

Mention by Panini

V. S. Agrawala[15] writes that Panini mentions Pura (IV.2.122) ending names of towns like Arishṭapura (Pali: Ariṭṭapura, a city in the kingdom of Shivi in Vahika.

In Mahavansha

Arittha finds mention in various chapters of Mahavansha. - Mahavansa/Chapter 11, - minister, Mahavansa/Chapter 18, - Mahavansa/Chapter 20, - mountain, Mahavansa/Chapter 10, Mahavansa/Chapter 21, - prince , Mahavansa/Chapter 19, - vihara, Mahavansa/Chapter 33

In Sumerian History

Role in Sumerian literature: Aratta is described as follows in Sumerian literature:...It is a fabulously wealthy place full of gold, silver, lapis lazuli and other precious materials, as well as the artisans to craft them.[16]....It is remote and difficult to reach....It is home to the goddess Inana, who transfers her allegiance from Aratta to Uruk....It is conquered by Enmerkar of Uruk.

Mentions in Sumerian literature:

Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta[17] - The goddess Inanna resides in Aratta, but Enmerkar of Uruk pleases her more than does the lord of Aratta, who is not named in this epic. Enmerkar wants Aratta to submit to Uruk, bring stones down from the mountain, craft gold, silver and lapis lazuli, and send them, along with "kugmea" ore to Uruk to build a temple. Inana bids him send a messenger to Aratta, who ascends and descends the "Zubi" mountains, and crosses Susa, Anshan, and "five, six, seven" mountains before approaching Aratta. Aratta in turn wants grain in exchange. However Inana transfers her allegiance to Uruk, and the grain gains the favor of Aratta's people for Uruk, so the lord of Aratta challenges Enmerkar to send a champion to fight his champion. Then the god Ishkur makes Aratta's crops grow.

Enmerkar and En-suhgir-ana [18] - The lord of Aratta, who is here named En-suhgir-ana (or Ensuhkeshdanna), challenges Enmerkar of Uruk to submit to him over the affections of Inanna, but he is rebuffed by Enmerkar. A sorcerer from the recently defeated Hamazi then arrives in Aratta, and offers to make Uruk submit. The sorcerer travels to Eresh where he bewitches Enmerkar's livestock, but a wise woman outperforms his magic and casts him into the Euphrates; En-suhgir-ana then admits the loss of Inanna, and submits his kingdom to Uruk.

Lugalbanda in the Mountain Cave [19] - is a tale of Lugalbanda, who will become Enmerkar's successor. Enmerkar's army travels through mountainous territory to wage war against rebellious Aratta. Lugalbanda falls ill and is left in a cave, but he prays to the various gods, recovers, and must find his way out of the mountains.

Lugalbanda and the Anzud Bird [20] - Lugalbanda befriends the Anzud bird, and asks it to help him find his army again. When Enmerkar's army is faced with setback, Lugalbanda volunteers to return to Uruk to ask the goddess Inana's aid. He crosses through the mountains, into the flat land, from the edge to the top of Anshan and then to Uruk, where Inana helps him. She advises Enmerkar to carry off Aratta's "worked metal and metalsmiths and worked stone and stonemasons" and all the "moulds of Aratta will be his". Then the city is described as having battlements made of green lapis lazuli and bricks made of "tinstone dug out in the mountains where the cypress grows".

Other mentions in Sumerian literature: .... Praise Poem of Shulgi (Shulgi Y)[21].... "I filled it with treasures like those of holy Aratta." Shulgi and Ninlil's barge [22].... "Aratta, full-laden with treasures" ....

Proverbs [23][24][25]: "When the authorities are wise, and the poor are loyal, it is the effect of the blessing of Aratta."

Unprovenanced Proverbs [26]: "When the authorities are wise, and the poor are passed by, it is the effect of the blessing of Aratta."

Hymn to Hendursanga (Hendursanga A)[27]: "So that Aratta will be overwhelmed (?), Lugalbanda stands by at your (Hendursanga's) behest."

Hymn to Nisaba (Nisaba A)[28]: "In Aratta he (Enki?) has placed E-zagin (the lapis lazuli temple) at her (Nisaba's) disposal."

The building of Ninngirsu's temple (Gudea cylinder)[29]: "pure like Kesh and Aratta"

Tigi to Suen (Nanna I) [30]: "the shrine of my heart which I (Nanna) have founded in joy like Aratta"

Inana and Ibeh [31]: "the inaccessible mountain range Aratta"

Gilgamesh and Huwawa (Version B)[32]: "they know the way even to Aratta"

Temple Hymns [33]: Aratta is "respected"

The Kesh Temple Hymn [34]: Aratta is "important"

Lament for Ur [35]: Aratta is "weighty (counsel)"

Location hypotheses

Early 20th century scholars initially took Aratta to be an epithet of the Sumerian city Shuruppak related to its local name for the god Enlil;[36] however that is no longer seen to be the case. Although Aratta is known only from myth,[37] some Assyriologists and archaeologists have speculated on possible locations where Aratta could have been, using criteria from the myths:[38][39]

Land travelers must pass through Susa and the mountainous Anshan region to reach it.

It is a source of, or has access to valuable gems and minerals, in particular lapis lazuli, that are crafted on site.

It is accessible to Uruk by watercourse, yet remote from Uruk.

It is close enough to march a 27th-century BC Sumerian army there.

In 1963, Samuel Noah Kramer thought that a "Mount Hurum" in a Lugalbanda myth (which he titled "Lugalbanda on Mount Hurrum" at the time) might have referred to the Hurrians, and hence speculated Aratta to be near Lake Urmia.[40] However, "Mount Hurum", "hur-ru-um kur-ra-ka", in what is now called Lugalbanda in the Mountain Cave,] is today read "mountain cave",[41] and Kramer subsequently introduced the title "Lugalbanda, the Wandering Hero" for this story.[42]

Other speculations referred to the early gem trade route, the "Great Khorasan Road" from the Himalayan Mountains[43] to Mesopotamia, which ran through northern Iran.[44][45][46] Anshan, which had not yet been located then, was assumed to be in the central Zagros mountain range.[47] However, when Anshan[48] was identified as Tall-i Malyan in 1973,[49] it was found to be 600 km south-east of Uruk, far removed from any northerly routes or watercourses from Uruk, and posing the logistical improbability of getting a 27th-century BC Sumerian army through 550 km of Elamite territory to wage war with Aratta.[50]Nevertheless, there have been speculations referring to eastern Iran as well.[51][52] Dr. Yousef Majidzadeh believes the Jiroft Civilization could be Aratta.

By 1973, archaeologists were noting that there was no archaeological record of Aratta's existence outside of myth,[53] and in 1978 Hansman cautions against over-speculation.[54]

Writers in other fields have continued to hypothesize Aratta locations. A "possible reflex" has been suggested in Sanskrit Āraṭṭa or Arāṭṭa mentioned in the Mahabharata and other texts;[55][56]

Alternatively, the name is compared with the toponym Ararat or Urartu.[57]

आरट्ठ - आरट्ट

विजयेन्द्र कुमार माथुर[58] ने लेख किया है ...आरट्ठ (AS, p.68): हिमालय के बाहर उस प्रदेश का नाम है, जहाँ पाँच नदियाँ बहती हैं। ये नदियाँ हैं- शतद्रु, विपाशा, इरावती, चन्द्रभागा, और वितस्ता। छठी नदी सिंधु भी यहाँ बहती है। यहाँ पर पीलू वृक्षों के सघन वन हैं-- 'पंचनद्यो वहन्त्यैता यत्र पीलुवनान्युत, शतद्रुश्च विपाशा च तृतीयैरावती तथा। चन्द्रभागा वितस्ता च सिंध षष्ठा बहिर्गिरै:, आरट्ठा नाम ते देशा नष्टधर्मा न तानू ब्रजेत' (कर्ण पर्व महाभारत 44, 31-32-33)

हिमालय की सीमा के बाहर यह प्रदेश 'आरट्ठ' नाम से विख्यात हैं। इन धर्मरहित प्रदेशों में कभी न जाए। इसी के आगे फिर कहा गया है- 'पंचनद्यो वहन्येता यत्र नि:सृत्य पर्वतात् आरट्ठा नाम वाहीका न तेष्वार्यो द्वयहं वसेत्' (कर्ण पर्व महाभारत 44,40-41) अर्थात् जहाँ पर्वत से निकल कर पाँच नदियाँ बहती हैं, वह आरट्ठ नाम से प्रसिद्ध वाहीक प्रदेश है। उनमें श्रेष्ठ पुरुष दो दिन भी निवास न करे।

महाभारत काल में आरट्ठ, या वाहीक प्रदेश पश्चिमी पंजाब के ही नाम थे। मद्र इसी प्रदेश का एक भाग था। यहाँ का राजा शल्य था, जिसके देशवासियों के दोष कर्ण ने उपर्युक्त उद्धरण में बताए हैं। इस वर्णन के अनुसार यहाँ के निवासी आर्य संस्कृति से बहिष्कृत व भ्रष्ट-आचरण वाले थे। आरट्ठ गणराज्य लगभग 327 ई.पू. में अलक्षेंद्र के भारत [p.69]: पर आक्रमण के समय पंजाब में स्थित था। इसका उल्लेख ग्रीक लेखकों ने किया है।

महाकवि माघ ने शिशुपाल वध-5, 10 में आरट्ठ देश के घोड़ों का उल्लेख इस प्रकार किया है- 'तेजोनिरोधसमताबहितेन यंत्र: सम्यक्कशात्रयविचारवता नियुक्त:, आरट्ठजश्चटुलनिष्ठुरपातमुच्चैश्चित्रं चकार पदमर्धपुलायितेन'

अर्थात् वेग को रोकने वाली लगाम को थामने में सावधान और तीनों प्रकार के चाबुकों का प्रयोग जानने वाले घुड़सवारों से भली-भांति हाँका गया आरट्ट देश में उत्पन्न घोड़ा अपने विचित्र पादप्रक्षेप द्वारा कभी चंचल और कभी कठोर भाव से मंडलाकार गति-विशेष से चल रहा था।

आराष्ट्र: ठाकुर देशराज

ठाकुर देशराज[59] ने लिखा है.... बलहारा - आजकल के बलाहरिया 857 ई. में मानकिर में राज्य करते थे। अरबी यात्री सुलेमान ने लिखा है कि बल्हारा राज्य संसार के 4 बड़े राज्यों में था। सुलेमान ने यह भी लिखा है कि बल्हारा लोगों के राज्य में अरबों का आदर था। इनकी सेना में हाथी-घोड़ों की बड़ी-बड़ी पलटने थी। इनका जुर्ज (गुजर) साथ सदैव मनोमालिन्य रहता था। संभव है भीनमाल के गूजरों उनका झगड़ा रहता हो। सीवी वैद्य इन की राजधानी मानकिर को बल्लभीरायका मान्यखेट बतलाते हैं। इससे वे राष्ट्रकूटों की राजधानी मानते हैं। किंतु इस बात को भूल जाते हैं कि वह राष्ट्रकूट कन्नौज के गाहडवाल व राठौरों से भिन्न थे। ये तो जस्टीन के समय के आराष्ट्र (जाट राठौड़)

[पृ.127]: हैं और जिनको किसी समय एडस्ट्राई ने रावी के किनारे 10 हाथी और हजारों पदाति सेना के साथ देखा था।

In Mahabharata

Aratta (आरट्ट) Mahabharata (VII.165.69),(VIII.30.36),(VIII.30.40),(VIII.30.43),(VIII.30.47),(VIII.30.58),(VIII.30.74),

Karna Parva/Mahabharata Book VIII Chapter 30 mentions about Aratta at various places. They have been obnoxiously painted as fallen and degenerated as depicted in the great epic to denounce the ancestors of the present Jats for adopting Buddhism and for not submitting to the yoke of Brahmanism which after its revival sought to impose on them in ancient period. A clever play has been made to conceal the truth, which cannot be easily understood by common man. [60]. For the general reader we we quote the parts of Karna Parva where Arattas have been mentioned first in English and then in Sanskrit:

Where forests of Pilus stand, and those five rivers flow, viz., the Satadru, the Vipasa, the Iravati, the Candrabhaga, and the Vitasa and which have the Sindhu for their sixth, there in those regions removed from the Himavat, are the countries called by the name of the Arattas. Those regions are without virtue and religion. No one should go thither. (VIII.30.36)

आरट्टा नाम ते थेशा नष्टधर्मान न तान वरजेत
वरात्यानां थासमीयानां विथेहानाम अयज्वनाम (VIII.30.36)

The Aratta-Vahikas that are steeped in ignorance, should be avoided. (VIII.30.40)

पुत्र संकरिणॊ जाल्माः सर्वान नक्षीर भॊजनाः
आरट्टा नाम बाह्लीका वर्जनीया विपश्चिता (VIII.30.40)

There where the five rivers flow just after issuing from the mountains, there among the Aratta-Vahikas, no respectable person should dwell even for two days. (VIII.30.43)

पञ्च नथ्यॊ वहन्त्य एता यत्र निःसृत्य पर्वतात
आरट्टा नाम बाह्लीका न तेष्व आर्यॊ थव्यहं वसेत (VIII.30.43)

The regions are called by the name of Arattas. The people residing there are called the Vahikas. (VIII.30.47)

आरट्टा नाम ते थेशा बाह्लीका नाम ते जनाः
वसाति सिन्धुसौवीरा इति परायॊ विकुत्सिताः (VIII.30.47)

The Prasthalas, the Madras, the Gandharas, the Arattas, those called Khasas, the Vasatis, the Sindhus and the Sauviras are almost as blamable in their practices. (VIII.30.74)

कृतघ्नता परवित्तापहारः; सुरा पानं गुरु थारावमर्शः
येषां धर्मस तान परति नास्त्य अधर्म; आरट्टकान पाञ्चनथान धिग अस्तु (VIII.30.74)


Notable persons


  1. Dr Ompal Singh Tugania: Jat Samuday ke Pramukh Adhar Bindu, p.27,sn-23.
  2. Jat History Dalip Singh Ahlawat/Parishisht-I, s.n. अ-49
  3. Dr Ompal Singh Tugania: Jat Samuday ke Pramukh Adhar Bindu, p.27,sn-23.
  4. Dr Pema Ram:‎Rajasthan Ke Jaton Ka Itihas, p..295
  5. Dr Naval Viyogi: Nagas – The Ancient Rulers of India, p. 406
  6. Dr Naval Viyogi: Nagas – The Ancient Rulers of India, p. 350
  7. V. S. Agrawala: India as Known to Panini, 1953, p.64
  8. Ram Sarup Joon: History of the Jats/Chapter V, p.71-72
  9. Mahendra Singh Arya et al: Adhunik Jat Itihas, p.219,s.n. 2
  10. Jat History Thakur Deshraj/Chapter V: p.165
  11. Jat History Thakur Deshraj/Chapter V: p.165
  12. H. L. Kosare P-253
  13. Dr Naval Viyogi: Nagas – The Ancient Rulers of India, p.144
  14. Quoted from Schoff, The Periplus of the Erythræan Sea, p. 183
  15. V. S. Agrawala: India as Known to Panini, 1953, p.64
  16. Cohen (1973) p. 55 notes: "Aratta became a epithet for "abundance" and "glory"."
  17. "The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature".
  18. "The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature".
  19. "The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature".
  20. "The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature".
  21. "The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature".
  22. "The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature".
  23. "The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature".
  24. "The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature".
  25. "The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature".
  26. "The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature".
  27. "The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature".
  28. "The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature".
  29. "The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature".
  30. "The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature".
  31. "The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature".
  32. "The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature".
  33. "The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature".
  34. "The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature".
  35. "The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature".
  36. Langdom, Stephen H. "Early Babylonia and its Cities." Cambridge Ancient History.
  37. Cohen (1973) p. 61.
  38. Kramer (1963), Gordon (1967) and Cohen (1973)
  39. Herrmann (1968), Hansman (1972, 1978) and Majidzadeh (1976)
  40. Kramer (1963) p. 275.
  41. see e.g. Lugalbanda in the Mountain Cave, ETCSL (2006) line 102, etc.; Reallexikon der Assyriologie und Vorderasiatischen Archäologie (1990) vol. 7, p. 121; Black (1998) p. 136; Vanstiphout (2003) p.110-111, etc.
  42. Reallexikon der Assyriologie und Vorderasiatischen Archäologie (1990) vol. 7, p. 121
  43. The only source of lapis lazuli for the ancient world was Badakhshan, Afghanistan (see Clark (1986) p. 67).
  44. Gordon (1967) p. 72, note 9. The Sanandaj area.
  45. Herrmann (1968) p. 54. South or southeast of the Caspian Sea (cited in Majidzadeh (1976)).
  46. Cohen (1973) p. 60. The Hamadan area.
  47. e.g. Gordon (1967) p. 72 note 9. Kermanshah; Mallowan (1969) p. 256. Bakhtiari territory (cited in Mallowan (1985) p. 401, note 1).
  48. In contrast to Aratta, Anshan is well documented beyond literary texts (c.f. Hansman (1985) pp. 25-35).
  49. Reiner, Erica (1973) "The Location of Anšan", Revue d'Assyriologie 67, pp. 57-62 (cited in Majidzadeh (1976), Hansman (1985)).
  50. Cohen (1973) p. 59. Cohen also notes that the farthest east that any Assyrian king ever went was Hamadan.
  51. Hansman, John F. (1972, 1978). Shahr-i Sokhta.
  52. Majidzadeh (1976) Shahdad; (2004) Jiroft.
  53. Cohen (1973) p. 61.
  54. Hansman (1978):
  55. Michael Witzel (Aryan and non-Aryan Names in Vedic India 1999, p. 8
  56. "Autochthonous Aryans? The Evidence from Old Indian and Iranian Texts" EJVS 2001, p. 18-19
  57. David Rohl Legend: The Genesis of Civilisation, Century Publishing, 1998 ISBN 0-7126-8017-9
  58. Aitihasik Sthanavali by Vijayendra Kumar Mathur, p.68-69
  59. Thakur Deshraj: Jat Itihas (Utpatti Aur Gaurav Khand)/Shashtham Parichhed, p.126-127
  60. Hukum Singh Pawar : The Jats - Their Origin, Antiquity and Migration (1993), pp. 60-61

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