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Author:Laxman Burdak, IFS (Retd.)

Map of Ancient Rigvedic geography
The remains of Pushkalavati's Bala Hisar

Pushkalavati (पुष्कलावती) is an ancient site situated in Peshawar valley in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province (formerly NWFP) of Pakistan. Pushkalavati was the capital of the Gandhara kingdom.[1] It is known by the name of Charsadda in present times.

Variants of name

Origin of name

City was founded by Rama's brother Bharata's second son Pushkara.[2][3]

Pushkalavati (पुष्कलावती) means Lotus City in Sanskrit. According to the Ramayana, it was named Pushkalavati because it was founded by Pushkala, the son of Bharata.


The ruins of Pushkalavati are located on the outskirts of the modern city of Charsadda, in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, on the banks of Swat River, near its junction with Kabul River, with the earliest archaeological remains from 1400 to 800 BCE in Bala Hisar mound.[4][5]

Mention by Panini

Pushkalavati (पुष्कलावती) is mentioned by Panini in Ashtadhyayi. [6] Gandhāra extended from Kabul Valley to Taxila. Two towns of Gandhāra mentioned are - Takshasila, its eastern capital and Pushkalavati western. The Greeks refer to it as Peucelaotes (modern Charsadda, situated near the junction of the Swat with the Kabul). Pushkala refers to people of this region. The country between the Rivers Suvastu and Gauri was known as Uḍḍiyāna. [7]


Pushkalavati was the capital of the ancient Gandhara kingdom before the 6th century BCE, when it became an Achaemenid regional capital, and it remained an important city until the 2nd century CE.

The region around ancient Pushkulavati was recorded in the Zoroastrian Zend Avesta as Vaēkərəta, or the seventh most beautiful place on earth created by Ahura Mazda. It was known as the "crown jewel" of Bactria, and held sway over nearby ancient Taxila'.[8]

The ruins of Pushkalavati consist of many stupas and sites of two old cities. Pushkalavati meaning Lotus City was the capital of ancient kingdom Gandhara from the 6th century BC, when it became an Achaemenid local capital, to 2nd century AD.

V S Agarwal [9] writes names of some important tribes in the Ganapatha, which deserve to be mentioned as being of considerable importance. We are indebted to the Greek historians of Alexander for the information that most of these were republics. These tribes include - Hāstināyana, Āśvāyana, Āśvakāyana. The first is mentioned in Sutra VI.4.174, the second in IV.1.110, and the third in Naḍadi gana (IV.1.99)

[p.454]: While describing Alexander’s campaign from Kapisa towards the Indus through Gandhara, the Greek historians mention three warlike peoples, viz., Astakenoi, with capital at Peukelaotis, the Aspasioi in the valley of Kunar or Chitral River and the Assakenoi settled between the Swat and the Panjkora rivers, with the capital at Massaga, and more especially in the mountainous regions of the Swat. The Paninian evidence throws light on these three names for the first time:

The Asvayanas and the Asvakayanas were the bravest fighters of all, being strongly entrenched in their mountainous fortresses. Alexander himself directed the operations against them. The Ashvakayana capital at Massaga or Masakavati is given in Bhashya as the name of a river (IV.2.71), that should be looked for in that portion of the Suvastu in its lower reaches where Mazaga or Massanagar is situated on it at a distance of 24 miles from Bajaur in the Yusufzai country. In times of danger the Asvakayanas withdrew into the impregnable defences of their hilly fortress which the Greeks have named Aornos. It appears to be same as Varaṇā of the Ashtadhyayi (see ante, p.69, for its identification with modern Uṇrā on the Indus). The Greeks also mention another of their towns, viz., Arigaeon, which commanded the road between the Kunar and Panjkora valleys, and is comparable with Ārjunāva of the Kashika (ṛijunāvām nivāso deshaḥ, IV.2.69).

Bala Hisar

Bala Hisar site in this area was first occupied in the 2nd millennium BCE.[10][11] The C-14 dating of early deposits in Bala Hisar, bearing "Soapy red"/red burnished ware, is 1420-1160 BCE, and this early phase lasted from 1400 to 800 BCE,[12] the second phase took place until around 500 BCE featuring bowls in typical "grooved" red burnished ware.[13]

In later 6th century BCE, Pushkalavati became the capital of the Achaemenid Gandhara satrapy.[14] The location was first excavated in 1902 by the archaeologist John Marshall. Sir Mortimer Wheeler conducted some excavations there in 1962, and identified various Achaemenid remains.

Later in the regions historical chronology, King Ashoka built a stupa there which was described by Xuanzang when he visited in 630 CE, which to this day remains unidentified and undiscovered.

Peucela and Shaikhan Dheri

The Bactrian Greeks built a new city (Peucela (Greek: Πευκέλα) or Peucelaitis (Greek: Πευκελαώτις)) at the mound currently known as Shaikhan Dheri, which lies one kilometre north-east from Bala Hissar on the other side of Sambor River, the branch of River Jinde.[15][16] This city was established in second century BCE until the second century CE,[17] occupied by Parthian, Sakas and Kushans.

Two early Buddhist manuscripts recently found in the region, known as avadanas, written in Gandhari language around 1st century CE (now in the British Library Collection of Gandharan Scrolls)[18] mention the name of the city as Pokhaladi.[19][20][21]

In the 2nd century CE, river changed its course and city was flooded. The town moved to the site of the modern village of Rajjar. The last reference to Pushkalavati as Po-shi-ki-lo-fa-ti [22] was recorded in the account of the Chinese pilgrim Hiuen Tsang in 7th century C.E.,[23] and subsequently, after the region was conquered by Mahmud of Ghazni in 1001 AD, the name Gandhara was not used anymore, and in all probability the following period is when Pushkalavati became known as Shaikhan Dheri, as Dheri means mound/hill in Pashto[24], which is related to Persian language.

The former city's ruins were partly excavated by Ahmad Hasan Dani in 1960s. There are still many mounds at Mir Ziarat, at Rajar and Shahr-i-Napursan which are still unexcavated.

Pushkalavati and Prang

The city of Pushkalavati was situated at the confluence of Swat and Kabul rivers. Three different branches of Kabul river meet there. That specific place is still called Prang and considered sacred. A grand graveyard is situated to the north of Prang where the local people bring their dead for burial. This graveyard is considered to be among the largest graveyards in the world.

Pushkalavati in the Ramayana

In the concluding portion of the (Ramayana) Uttarakhanda or Supplemental Book (chaps. 101, 113-41, 200), the descendants of Rama and his brothers are described as the founders of the great cities and kingdoms which flourished in Western India.[25]

Bharata the brother of Rama had two sons, Taksha and Pushkala. The former founded Taksha-sila or Taxila, to the east of the Indus, and known to Alexander and the Greeks as Taxila. The latter founded Pushkala-vati or Pushkalavati, to the west of the Indus, and known to Alexander and the Greeks as Peukelaotis. Thus the sons of Bharata are said to have founded kingdoms which flourished on either side of the Indus river. [26]


विजयेन्द्र कुमार माथुर[27] ने लेख किया है ...पुष्कलावती (AS, p.572): भारत के सीमांत प्रदेश पर स्थित अति प्राचीन नगरी जिसका अभिज्ञान जिला पेशावर (पाकिस्तान) के चारसड्डा नामक स्थान (पेशावर से 17 मील उत्तर-पूर्व) से किया गया है. कुमारस्वामी के अनुसार यह नगरी स्वात (प्राचीन सुवास्तु) और काबुल (प्राचीन कुभा) नदियों के संगम पर बसी हुई थी जहां वर्तमान मीर जियारत या बालाहिसार है (इंडियन एंड इंडोनेशियन आर्ट,पृ.55). वाल्मीकि रामायण में पुष्कलावत या पुष्कलावती का भरत के पुत्र पुष्कल के नाम पर बसाया जाना उल्लिखित है--'तक्षं तक्षशिलायां तु पुष्कलं पुष्कलावते गंधर्वदेशे रुचिरे गांधार-विषये ये च स:' बाल्मीकि उत्तरकांड 101,11. रामायण काल में गंधार-विषय के पश्चिमी भाग की राजधानी पुष्कलावती में थी. सिंधु नदी के पश्चिम में पुष्कलावती और पूर्व में तक्षशिला भरत ने अपने पुत्र पुष्कल और तक्ष के नाम पर बसाई थीं. इस काल में यहां गंधर्वों का राज्य था जिनके आक्रमण से तंग आकर भरत के मामा केकय-नरेश युधाजित् ने उनके विरुद्ध श्री रामचंद्रजी से सहायता मांगी थी. इसी प्रार्थना के फलस्वरूप उन्होंने भरत को युधाजित् की ओर से गंधर्वों से लड़ने के लिए भेजा था. गंधर्वों को हटाकर भरत ने पुष्कलावती और तक्षशिला - ये दो नगर इस प्रदेश में बसाए थे.

कालिदास ने रघुवंश में भी पुष्कल के नाम पर ही पुष्कलावती के बसाए जाने का उल्लेख किया है-- 'स तक्षपुष्कलौ पुत्रौ राजधान्योस्तदाख्ययोः । अभिषिच्याभिषेकार्हौ रामान्तिकं अगात्पुनः' (रघुवंश 15,89)

प्रकृत या पाली बौद्ध ग्रंथों में पुष्कलावती को पुक्कलाओति कहा गया है-- ग्रीक लेखक एरियन ने इसे प्युकेलाटोइस (Peucelatois) लिखा है. बौद्धकाल में गांधार-मूर्तिकला की अनेक सुंदर कृतियां पुष्कलावती में बनी थीं और यह स्थान ग्रीक-भारतीय सांस्कृतिक आदान-प्रदान का केंद्र था. गुप्तकाल में इसी स्थान पर रहते हुए वसुमित्र ने 'अभिधर्म प्रकरण' रचा था. नगर के पूर्व की ओर अशोक का बनवाया हुआ धर्मराजिक स्तूप था. पास ही इन्हीं का निर्मित पत्थर और लकड़ी का बना 60 हाथ ऊंचा दूसरा था. बौद्ध किंवदंती के अनुसार यहां से 6 कोस पर वह स्तूप था जहां भगवान तथागत ने यक्षिणी हारीति का दमन किया था. पश्चिमी नगर-द्वार के बाहर महेश्वर शिव (पशुपति) का एक विशाल मंदिर था.

प्रसिद्ध चीनी यात्री युवानच्वांग ने पुष्कलावती के बौद्ध कालीन गौरव का वर्णन किया है जिसकी पुष्टि यहां के [पृ.573]: तक खंडहरों से प्राप्त अवशेषों से होती है. पुष्कलावती नगरी के स्थान पर वर्तमान अश्तनगर या इश्तनगर कस्बा बसा हुआ है. अश्तनगर का शुद्ध रूप अस्थिनगर है. यहां के स्तूप में बुद्ध की अस्थि या भस्म धातुगर्भ के भीतर सुरक्षित थी.

पुष्कलावती परिचय

पुष्कलावती उत्तर-पश्चिम भारत के सरहदी नगरों में आता था। यहाँ से एक व्यापारिक मार्ग तक्षशिला, मथुरा, कान्यकुब्ज, कौशाम्बी, पाटलिपुत्र होते हुये बंगाल के समुद्रतट पर स्थित ताम्रलिप्ति की ओर निकल जाता था। इसी रास्ते को पाणिनि ने 'उत्तर-पथ' कहा है, जो आधुनिक "ग्रैड ट्रंक रोड" का स्मरण दिलाता है।

पुष्कलावती से पश्चिम की ओर यही मार्ग हिन्दुकुश के दर्रों से होकर बाहरी देशों को निकल जाता था। इसी रास्ते के हिन्दुकुश-पहाड़ वाले भाग को भारतवर्ष के लोग 'हैमवत-पथ' (अर्थात् वह रास्ता जो कि पर्वती क्षेत्र से होकर जाता था) कहते थे।

भारतीय परंपरा के अनुसार इस नगर का नाम भरत के पुत्र पुष्क के नाम के आधार पर पड़ा था। टॉलमी तथा एरियन आदि विदेशी लेखकों के अनुसार इस नगर का क्षेत्रफल विशाल था तथा इसकी आबादी बहुत ही घनी थी।

हुयेनसांग के अनुसार पुष्कलावती का घेरा तीन मील के लगभग था। नागरिक सुखी एवं संपन्न थे। वहाँ अशोक ने एक स्तूप बनवा रखा था, जिस पर लोग श्रद्धांजलि अर्पित करते थे।


विजयेन्द्र कुमार माथुर[28] ने लेख किया है ...1. गंधर्वदेश (AS, p.267) : वाल्मीकि ने रामायण [उत्तर- 101,11] में गंधर्वदेश की स्थिति गांधार विषय के अंतर्गत बताई गई है और इसे सिंधुदेश का पर्याय माना गया है. गंधर्वदेश पर अयोध्यापति रामचंद्र जी के भाई भरत ने अपने मामा केकय-नरेश युधाजित् के कहने से चढाई करके गंधर्वों को हराया और इसके पूर्वी तथा पश्चिमी भाग में तक्षशिला और पुष्कलावत या पुष्कलावती नामक नगरियों को बसाकर वहाँ का राजा क्रमश: अपने पुत्र तक्ष और पुष्कल को बनाया. 'तक्षंतक्षशिलायां तु पुष्कल पुष्कलावते, गंधर्वदेशे रुचिरे गांधारविषये य च स:' उत्तर.101,11

रघुवंश 15,87-88 में भी गंधर्वों के देश को सिंधुदेश कहा है-- 'युधाजितश्च संदेशात्सदेशं सिंधुनामकस्, ददौ दत्तप्रभावाय भरताय भृतप्रज:। भरतस्तत्र गंधर्वान्युधि निर्जित्य केवलम् आतोद्यं ग्राहयामास समत्याजयदायुधम्'.

वाल्मीकि रामायण 101, 16 में वर्णित है कि 5 वर्षों तक [p.268]: वहां ठहरकर भरत ने गंधर्वदेश की इन नगरियों को अच्छी तरह बसाया और फिर वे अयोध्या लौट आए. इन दोनों नगरियों की समृद्धि और शोभा का वर्णन उत्तर 101, 12-15 में किया गया है--'धनरत्नौध संकीर्णे काननैरूपशोभिते, अन्योन्य संघर्ष कृते स्पर्धया गुणविस्तरै:, उभे सुरुचिरप्रख्ये व्यवहारैरकिल्बिषै:, उद्यानयान संपूर्णेसुविभक्तरापणे, उभेपुरवरेरम्ये विस्तारैरूपशोभिते, गृहमुख्यै: सुरुचिरै विमानैर्बहु शोभिते'.

तक्षशिला वर्तमान तकसिला (जिला रावलपिंडी, पाकिस्तान) और पुष्कलावती वर्तमान चरसड्डा (जिला पेशावर, पाकिस्तान) है. रामायण काल में गंधर्वों के यहाँ रहने के कारण ही यह गंधर्वदेश कहलाया. गंधर्वों के उत्पात के कारण पड़ोसी देश केकय के राजा ने श्री रामचंद्र जी की सहायता से उनके देश को जीत लिया था. जान पड़ता है पाकिस्तान के उत्तर-पश्चिम में बचे हुए लड़ाकू कबीले रामायण के गंधर्वों के ही वंशज हैं.


विजयेन्द्र कुमार माथुर[29] ने लेख किया है ... इश्तनगर (AS, p.83) पाकिस्तान में स्थित था। इश्तनगर को अष्टनगर के नाम से भी जाना जाता है। प्राचीन पुष्कलावती के स्थान पर बसा हुआ वर्तमान क़स्बा है।

Peucelaotis of Greeks

Arrian[30] has mentioned Astes, the ruler of the land of Peucelaotis, effected a revolt, which both ruined himself and brought ruin also upon the city into which he had fled for refuge. For Hephaestion captured it after a siege of thirty days, and Astes himself was killed. Sangaeus, who had some time before fled from Astes and deserted to Taxiles, was appointed to take charge of the city.

Visit by Xuanzang in 630 AD

Alexander Cunningham[31] writes about Pushkalavati or Peukelaotis: The ancient capital of Gandhara was Pushkalavati, which is said to have been founded by Pushkara, the son of Bharata, and the nephew of Rama.[32] Its antiquity is undoubted, as it was the capital of the province at the time of Alexander's expedition. The Greek name of Peukelaotis, or Peucolaitis, was immediately derived from Pukkalaoti, which is the Pali, or spoken form of the Sanskrit Pushkalavati. It is also called Peukelas by Arrian, and the people are named Peukalei by Dionysius Periegetes, which are both close transcripts of the Pali Pukkala. The form of Proklais, which is found in Arrian's ' Periplus of the Erythraean Sea,' and also in Ptolemy's ' Geography,' is perhaps only an attempt to give the Hindi name of Pokhar instead of the Sanskrit Pushkara.

According to Arrian, Peukelas was a very large and populous city, seated not far from the river Indus.[33] It was the capital of a chief named Astes,[34] perhaps Hasti, who was killed in the defence of one of his strongholds, after a siege of thirty days, by Hephsestion. Upon the death of Astes the city of Peukelaotis was delivered up to Alexander on his march towards the Indus. Its position is vaguely described by Strabo and Arrian as "near the Indus." But the geographer Ptolemy is more exact, as he fixes it on the eastern bank of the river of Suastene, that is, the Panjkora or Swat river, which is the very

[p.50]: locality indicated by Hwen Thsang. On leaving Parashawar the Chinese pilgrim travelled towards the north-east for 100 li, or nearly 17 miles; and, crossing a great river, reached Pu-se-kia-lo-fa-ti, or Pushkalavati. The river here mentioned is the Kophes, or river of Kabul; and the bearing and distance from Peshawar point to the two large towns of Parang and Charsada, which form part of the well-known Hasht-nagar, or "Eight Cities," that are seated close together on the eastern bank of the lower Swat river.

These towns are Tangi, Shirpao, Umrzai, Turangzai, Usmanzai, Rajur, Charsada, and Parang. They extend over a distance of fifteen miles ; but the last two are seated close together in a bend of the river, and might originally have been portions of one large town. The fort of Hisar stands on a mound above the ruins of the old town of Hashtnagar, which General Court places on an island, nearly opposite Rajur.[35] "All the suburbs," he says, " are scattered over with vast ruins."[36] The eight cities are shown in No. iv. Map. It seems to me not improbable that the modern name of Hashtnagar may be only a slight alteration of the old name of Hastinagara, or " city of Hasti," which might have been applied to the capital of Astes, the Prince of Peukelaotis. It was a common practice of the Greeks to call the Indian rulers by the names of their cities, as Taxiles, Assakanus, and others. It was also a prevailing custom amongst Indian princes to designate any additions or alterations made to their capitals by their own names. Of this last custom we have a notable instance in the famous city of Delhi ; which, besides its ancient

[p.51]: appellations of Indraprastha and Dilli, was also known by the names of its successive aggrandizers as Kot-Pithora, Kila-Alai, Tughlakabad, Firuzabad, and Shabjahanabad. It is true that the people themselves refer the name of Hashtnagar to the " eight towns " which are now seated close together along the lower course of the Swat river ; but it seems to me very probable that in this case the wish was father to the thought, and that the original name of Hastinagar, or whatever it may have been, was slightly twisted to Hashtnagar, to give it a plausible meaning amongst a Persianized Muhammadan population, to whom the Sanskrit Hastinagara was unintelligible. To the same cause I would attribute the slight change made in the name of Nagarahara, which the people now call Nang-nihar,[37] or the "Nine Streams."

In later times Pushkalavati was famous for a large stupa, or solid tower, which was erected on the spot where Buddha was said to have made an alms-offering of his eyes. In the period of Hwen Thsang's visit, it was asserted that the " eyes gift " had been made one thousand different times, in as many previous existences : but only a single gift is mentioned by the two earlier pilgrims, Fa-Hian in the fifth century, and Sung-Yun in the sixth century.

Ch.22: Alexander reaches the River Cabul, and Receives the Homage of Taxiles

Arrian[38] After performing this exploit, Alexander himself went to Bactra; but sent Craterus with 600 of the cavalry Gompanions and his own brigade of infantry as well those of Polysperchon, Attalus, and Alcetas, against Catanes and Austanes, who were the only rebels still remaining in the land of the Paraetacenians.[1] A sharp battle was fought with them in which Craterus was victorious; Catanes being killed there while fighting, and Austanes being captured and brought to Alexander. Of the barbarians with them 120 horsemen and about 1,500 foot soldiers were killed. When Craterus had done this, he also went to Bactra, where the tragedy in reference to Callisthenes and the pages befell Alexander. As the spring was now over, he took the army and advanced from Bactra towards India,[2] leaving Amyntas in the land of the Bactrians with 3,500 horses and 10,000 foot. He crossed the Caucasus[3] in ten days and arrived at the city of Alexandria, which had been founded in the land of the Parapamisadae when he made his first expedition to Bactra. He dismissed from office the governor whom he had then placed over the city, because he thought he was not ruling well. He also settled in Alexandria others from the neighbouring tribes and the soldiers who were now unfit for service in addition to the first settlers, and commanded Nicanor, one of the Companions, to regulate the affairs of the city itself. Moreover he appointed Tyriaspes viceroy of the land of the Parapamisadae and of the rest of the country as far as the river Cophen.[4] Arriving at the city of Nicaea, he offered sacrifice to Athena and then advanced towards the Cophen, sending a herald forward to Taxiles[5] and the otter chiefs on this side the river Indus, to bid them come and meet him as each might find it convenient. Taxiles and the other chiefs accordingly did come to meet him, bringing the gifts which are reckoned of most value among the Indians. They said that they would also present to him the elephants which they had with them, twenty-five in number. There he divided his army, and sent Hephaestion and Perdiccas away into the land of Peucelaotis,[6] towards the river Indus, with the brigades of Gorgias, Clitus,[7] and Meleager, half of the Companion cavalry, and all the cavalry of the Grecian mercenaries. He gave them instructions either to capture the places on their route by force, or to bring them over on terms of capitulation; and when they reached the river Indus, to make the necessary preparations for the passage of the army. With them Taxiles and the other chiefs also marched. When they reached the river Indus they carried out all Alexander's orders. But Astes, the ruler of the land of Peucelaotis, effected a revolt, which both ruined himself and brought ruin also upon the city into which he had fled for refuge. For Hephaestion captured it after a siege of thirty days, and Astes himself was killed. Sangaeus, who had some time before fled from Astes and deserted to Taxiles, was appointed to take charge of the city. This desertion was a pledge to Alexander of his fidelity.

1. This term is a Persian word meaning mountaineers. The tribe mentioned here lived between the rivers Oxus and Jaxartes, on the borders of Bactria and Sogdiana.

2. Curtius (viii. 17) says Alexander took with him 30,000 select troops from all the conquered provinces, and that the army which he led against the Indians numbered 120,000 men.

3. This is the Indian Caucasus, or mount Parapamisus, now called Hindu-Koosh.

4. The Cophen is now called Cabul. Nicaea was probably on the same site as the city of Cabul. Others say it is Beghram. The Greek word Satrapes denotes a Persian viceroy. It is a corruption of a word meaning court-guardian, in the Behistun Inscriptions written Khshatrapa. See Rawlinson's Herod., i. 192.

5. Curtius (viii. 43) says that Taxiles was the title which the king of this district received. His name was Omphis.

6. A district between the rivers Indus and Attock. Its capital, Peucela, is the modern Pekheli.

7. The brigade of Clitus still bore the name of its commander after his death. Cf. Arrian, vii. 14 infra.


Ch.28: Capture of Oazira by Alexander.— advance to the rock of Aornus.

Arrian[39] writes.... WHEN the men in Bazira heard this news, despairing of their own affairs, they abandoned the city about the middle of the night, and fled to the rock as the other barbarians were doing. For all the inhabitants deserted the cities and began to flee to the rock which is in their land, and is called Aornus1. For stupendous is this rock in this land, about which the current report is, that it was found impregnable even by Heracles, the son of Zeus. I cannot affirm with confidence either way, whether the Theban, Tyrian, or Egyptian Heracles2 penetrated into India or not; but I am rather inclined to think that he did not penetrate so far for men are wont to magnify the difficulty of all difficult enterprises to such a degree as to assert that they would have been impracticable even to Heracles. Therefore, I am inclined to think, that in regard to this rock the name of Heracles was mentioned simply to add to the marvellous-ness of the tale. The circuit of the rock is said to be about 200 stades (i.e., about twenty-three miles), and its height where it is lowest, eleven stades (i.e., about a mile and a quarter). There was only one ascent, which was artificial and difficult; on the summit of the rock there was abundance of pure water, a spring issuing from the ground, from which the water flowed; and there was also timber, and sufficient good arable land for 1,000 men to till3. When Alexander heard this, he was seized with a vehement desire to capture this mountain also, especially on account of the legend which was current about Heracles. He then made Ora and Massaga fortresses to keep the land in subjection, and fortified the city of Bazira. Hephaestion and Perdiccas also fortified for him another city, named Orobatis, and leaving a garrison in it marched towards the river Indus. When they reached that river they at once began to carry out Alexander’s instructions in regard to bridging it. Alexander then appointed Nicanor, one of the Companions, viceroy of the land on this side the river Indus; and in the first place leading his army towards that river, he brought over on terms of capitulation the city of Peucelaotis, which was situated not far from it. In this city he placed a garrison of Macedonians, under the command of Philip, and then reduced to subjection some other small towns situated near the same river, being accompanied by Cophaeus and Assagetes, the chieftains of the land. Arriving at the city of Embolima4, which was situated near the rock Aornus, he left Craterus there with a part of the army, to gather as much corn as possible into the city, as well as all the other things requisite for a long stay, so that making this their base of operations, the Macedonians might be able by a long siege to wear out the men who were holding the rock, supposing it were not captured at the first assault. He then took the bowmen, the Agrianians, and the brigade of Coenus, and selecting the lightest as well as the best-armed men from the rest of the phalanx, with 200 of the Companion cavalry and zoo horse-bowmen, he advanced to the rock. This day he encamped where it appeared to him convenient; but on the morrow he approached a little nearer to the rock, and encamped again.

1. This seems to be the Greek translation of the native name, meaning the place to which no bird can rise on account of its height. Cf. Strabo, xv. 1. This mountain was identified by Major Abbot, in 1854, as Mount Mahabunn, near the right bank of the Indus, about 60 miles above its confluence with the Cabul.

2. Cf. Arrian, ii. 16 supra.

3. Curtius (viii. 39) says that the river Indus washed the base of the rock, and that its shape resembled the meta or goal in a race-course, which was a stone shaped like a sugar-loaf. Arrian's description is more likely to be correct as he took it from Ptolemy, one of Alexander's generals.

4.Near mount Mahabunn are two places called Umb and Balimah, the one in the valley of the river and the other on the mountain above it. See Major Abbot's Gradus ad Aornon.


Bala Hisar

Bala Hisar site in this area was first occupied in the 2nd millennium BC.[40][41]

In later 6th century BC, Pushkalavati became the capital of the Achaemenid Gandhara satrapy.[42] The location was first excavated in 1902 by Marshall. Sir Mortimer Wheeler conducted some excavations there in 1962, and identified various Achaemenid remains.

Later, King Ashoka built a stupa there which was described by Xuan Zang when he visited in 630 AD, which is still not found.


  1. Sagar, Krishna Chandra (1992). Foreign Influence on Ancient India. Northern Book Centre. ISBN 9788172110284.
  2. Alexander Cunningham: The Ancient Geography of India/Gandhara, p. 49-51
  3. Wilson's 'Vishnu Purana,' edited by Hall, b. iv. c. 4.
  4. Petrie, Cameron, 2013. "Charsadda", in D.K. Chakrabarti and M. Lal (eds.), History of Ancient India III: The Texts, Political History and Administration til c. 200 BC, Vivekananda International Foundation, Aryan Books International, Delhi, p. 515.
  5. Coningham, R.A.E. and C. Batt, 2007. "Dating the Sequence", in R.A.E. Coningham and I. Ali (eds.), Charsadda: The British-Pakistani Excavations at the Bala Hisar, Society for South Asian Studies Monograph No. 5, BAR International Series 1709, Archaeopress, Oxford, pp. 93-98
  6. V. S. Agrawala: India as Known to Panini, 1953, p.49
  7. V. S. Agrawala: India as Known to Panini, 1953, p.49
  8. http://concise.britannica.com/ebc/article-9035986/Gandhara
  9. V S Agarwal, India as Known to Panini,p.453-454
  10. Investigating ancient Pushkalavati Pushkalavati Archaeological Research Project
  11. Ali et al. 1998: 6–14; Young 2003: 37–40; Coningham 2004: 9.
  12. Petrie, Cameron, 2013. "Charsadda", in D.K. Chakrabarti and M. Lal (eds.), History of Ancient India III: The Texts, Political History and Administration til c. 200 BC, Vivekananda International Foundation, Aryan Books International, Delhi, p. 515.
  13. Petrie, Cameron, 2013. "Charsadda", in D.K. Chakrabarti and M. Lal (eds.), History of Ancient India III: The Texts, Political History and Administration til c. 200 BC, Vivekananda International Foundation, Aryan Books International, Delhi, p. 516.
  14. Rafi U. Samad, The Grandeur of Gandhara: The Ancient Buddhist Civilization of the Swat, Peshawar, Kabul and Indus Valleys. Algora Publishing, 2011, p. 32 ISBN 0875868592
  15. Dani, Ahmad Hasan, 1963. Pushkalavati: The Lotus City, Archaeological Guide Series No. 1, Peshawar University, Peshawar, p. 5.
  16. Khan, M. Nasim, 2005. "Terracotta Seal-Impressions from Bala Hisar, Charsadda", in Ancient Pakistan, Vol XVI, p. 13.
  17. Litvinsky, B.A., 1999. "Cities and Urban Life in the Kushan Kingdom", in (eds.) Janos Harmatta, B.N. Puri, and G.F. Etemadi, History of Civilizations of Central Asia Vol. II. The development of sedentary and nomadic civilizations: 700 B.C. to A.D. 250, Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi, p. 292.
  18. British Library Collection of Gandharan Scrolls
  19. Baums, Stefan, (2019). "A survey of place names in Gandhari inscriptions and a new oil lamp from Malakand", in (eds.) Wannaporn Rienjang and Peter Stewart, The Geography of Gandharan Art: Proceedings of the Second International Workshop of the Gandhara Connections Project, University of Oxford, 22nd - 23rd March 2018, Archaeopress, Archaeopress, Oxford, p. 169.
  20. Manuscript CKM 2 British Library Collection
  21. Manuscript CKM 14 British Library Collection
  22. Beal, Samuel, (ed. & trans.), 1884. Si-yu-ki: Buddhist Records of the Western World, Volume 2, Author: Hiuen Tsang, London.
  23. Dani, Ahmad Hasan, 1963. "Pushkalavati: The Lotus City", Archaeological Guide Series No. 1, Peshawar University, Peshawar, p. 1.
  24. https://glosbe.com/ps/en/%D8%BA%D9%88%D9%86%DA%89%DB%8D
  25. Gandhara and Its Art Tradition, Ajit Ghose, Mahua Publishing Company, 1978, p. 14
  26. Dwaraka Prasad Sharma. "Shrimad Valmiki Ramayan - Sanskrit Text with Hindi Translation- DP Sharma 10 volumes"
  27. Aitihasik Sthanavali by Vijayendra Kumar Mathur, p.572-573
  28. Aitihasik Sthanavali by Vijayendra Kumar Mathur, p.267-268
  29. Aitihasik Sthanavali by Vijayendra Kumar Mathur, p.83
  30. The Anabasis of Alexander/4b, Ch.22
  31. The Ancient Geography of India/Gandhara, p. 49-51
  32. Wilson's ' Vishnu Purana,' edited by Hall, b. iv. c. 4.
  33. Arrian, - 'Indica,' i.
  34. Arrian, ' Anabasis,' Ch. 22.
  35. Journ. Asiat. Soc. Bengal, 1836, p. 479.
  36. ibid 1836, p. 394.
  37. Baber's ' Memoirs,' p. 141. — Wood's ' Journey to the Source of the Oxus,' p. 167. — Macgregor's 'Greography of Jalalabad,' in Journ. Asiat. Soc. Bengal, xi. 117, and xiii. 867.
  38. Arrian:The Anabasis of Alexander/4b, Ch.22
  39. Arrian Anabasis Book/4b, Ch.28
  40. Bala Hisar Pakistan
  41. Ali et al. 1998: 6–14; Young 2003: 37–40; Coningham 2004: 9.
  42. Rafi U. Samad, The Grandeur of Gandhara: The Ancient Buddhist Civilization of the Swat, Peshawar, Kabul and Indus Valleys. Algora Publishing, 2011, p. 32 ISBN 0875868592