The Ancient Geography of India/Taxila

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The Ancient Geography of India: I.
The Buddhist Period, Including the Campaigns of Alexander, and the Travels of Hwen-Thsang
Sir Alexander Cunningham
Trübner and Company, 1871 - India

3. Taxila or Takshasila

The position of Taxila remained unknown

[p.104]: The position of the celebrated city of Taxila has hitherto remained unknown, partly owing to the erroneous distance recorded by Pliny, and partly to the want of information regarding the vast ruins which still exist in the vicinity of Shah-dheri. All the copies of Pliny agree in stating that Taxila was only 60 Roman, or 55 English, miles from Peucolaitis, or Hashtnagar, which would fix its site somewhere on the Haro river, to the west of Hasan Abdal, or just two days' march from the Indus. But the itineraries of the Chinese pilgrims agree in placing it at three days' journey to the east of the Indus,1 or in the

1. 'Fa-Hian,' c. xi., Beal's translation, makes it seven days' journey from Peshawar, that is, four days to (he Indus plus three days to Taxila. Sung-yun (Beal's translation, p. 200) places it three days to the east of the Indus. Hiouen Thsang makes it three days' journey to the south-east of the Indus (Julien's translation, i. 263). See Maps Nos. IV., v., and VI. for the position of Shah-dheri or Taxila.

[p.105]: immediate neighbourhood of Kala-ka-sarai, which was the third halting-place of the Mogul emperors, and which is still the third stage from the Indus, both for troops and baggage. Now as Hwen Thsang, on his return to China, was accompanied by laden elephants, his three days' journey from Takhshasila to the Indus at Utakhanda, or Ohind, must necessarily have been of the same length as those of modern days, and, consequently, the site of the city must be looked for somewhere in the neighbourhood of Kala-ka-sarai. This site is found near Shah-dheri, just one mile to the north-east of Kala-ka-sarai, in the extensive ruins of a fortified city, around which I was able to trace no less than 55 stupas, of which two are as large as the great Manikyala tope, twenty-eight monasteries, and nine temples. Now the distance from Shah-dheri to Ohind is 36 miles, and from Ohind to Hashtnagar is 38 more, or altogether 74 miles, which is 19 in excess of the distance recorded by Pliny between Taxila and Peukelaotis. To reconcile these discrepant numbers I would suggest that Pliny's 60 miles, or LX., should be read as 80 miles, or LXXX., which are equivalent to 73½ English miles, or within half a mile of the actual distance between the two places.

The classical writers are unanimous in their accounts of the size and wealth of Taxila. Arrian describes it as "a large and wealthy city, and the most populous between the Indus and Hydaspes."1 Strabo also declares it to be a large city, and adds, that the

1.' Anabasis,' v. 8 : <greek>.

[p.106]: neighbouring country was " crowded with, inhabitants, and very fertile."1 Pliny calls it "a famous city, situated on a low but level plain, in a district called Amanda.2 These accounts agree exactly with the position and size of the ancient city near Shah-dheri, the ruins of which are spread over several square miles.

The people of Taxila rebelled against Bindusara

About fifty years after Alexander's visit, the people of Taxila rebelled against Bindusara, king of Magadha, who sent his eldest son Susima to besiege the place. On his failure, the siege was entrusted to his younger son, the celebrated Asoka ; but the people came out 2½ yojanas, or 17½ miles, to meet the young prince and offer their submission.3 At the time of Asoka's accession the wealth of Taxila is said to have amounted to 36 kotis or 360 millions of some unnamed coin, which, even if it was the silver tangka, or sixpence, would have amounted to nine karors of rupees, or £9,000,000. It is probable, however, that the coin intended by the Indian writer was a gold one, in which case the wealth of this city would have amounted to about 90 or 100 millions of pounds. I quote this statement as a proof of the great reputed wealth of Taxila within fifty years after Alexander's expedition. It was here that Asoka himself had resided as Viceroy of the Panjab during his father's lifetime ; and here also resided his own son Kunala, or the "fine-eyed," who is the hero of a very curious Buddhist legend, which will be described hereafter.

Just before the end of the third century B.C. the

1.Geogr. xv. i. 17 ; xv. i. 28.
2. Hist. Nat., vi. 23. " Taxillae, cum urbe selebri, jam in plana demisso tractu, cui universo nomen Amandae.
3.Burnouf, 'introduction a I'histoire du Buddhisme Indien,'p. 361.

[p.107]: descendants of the Maurya kings must have come in contact with the Bactrian Greeks under Demetrius, the son of Enthydemus, and in the early part of the following century Taxila must have formed part of the Indian dominions of Eilkratides. In 126 B.C. it was wrested from the Greeks by the Indo-Scythian Sus or Abars, with whom it remained for about three-quarters of a century, when it was conquered by the later Indo-Scythians of the Kushan tribe, under the great Kanishka. During this period Parshawar would appear to have been the capital of the Indo-Scythian dominions, while Taxila was governed by satraps. Several coins and inscriptions of these local governors have been found at Shah-dheri and Manikyala. Of these the most interesting is the copper plate obtained by Mr. Roberts, containing the name of Takhasila, the Pali form of Takshasila, from which the Greeks obtained their Taxila.1

During the reign of the Parthian Bardanes, A.D. 42 to 45, Taxila was visited by Apollonius of Tyana and his companion, the Assyrian Damis, whose narrative of the journey Philostratus professes to have followed in his life of Apollonius. His account is manifestly exaggerated in many particulars regarding the acts and sayings of the philosopher, but the descriptions of places seem to be generally moderate and truthful. If they were not found in the narrative of Damis, they must have been taken from the journals of some of Alexander's followers; and in either case they are valuable, as they supply many little points of in-

1. See translation by Professor J. Dowson in Journ. Royal Asiat. Soc, XX. 221 ; see also notes on the same inscription by the author, Journ. Asiat. Soc. Bengal, 1863, p. 139.

[p.108]: formation that are wanting in the regular histories. According to Philostratus, Taxila was "not unlike the ancient Ninus, and was walled in the manner of other Greek towns." 1 For Ninus, or Nineveh, we must read Babylon, as we have no description of the great Assyrian city, which was destroyed nearly two centuries before the time of Herodotus. Now we know from Curtius that it was the " symmetry as well as the antiquity " of Babylon that struck Alexander and all who beheld it for the first time.2 I conclude, there-fore, that Taxila must have reminded the Greeks of Babylon by its symmetry, as Philostratus goes on to say, that the city was " divided into narrow streets with great regularity." He mentions also a temple of the sun, which stood outside the walls, and a palace in which the usurper was besieged. He speaks also of a garden, one stadium in length, with a tank in the midst, which was filled by " cool and refreshing streams." All these points will be noticed in a separate work when I come to describe the existing ruins of this ancient city.

Visits of Chinese pilgrims

We now lose sight of Taxila until A.D. 400, when it was visited by the Chinese pilgrim Fa-Hian, who calls it Chu-sha-shi-lo, or the "severed head;" and adds, that " Buddha bestowed his head in alms at this place, and hence they gave this name to the country.3 The translation shows that the original Sanskrit name must have been Chuiyasira, or the "fallen head," which is a synonym of Taksha-sira, or the "severed head," the usual name by which Taxila was

1.Vita Apollon., ii. 20.

2.Vita Alex., v, 1 : " Pulchritudo no vertustas.

3.Beal's Translation, c. xi.

[p.109]: known to the Buddhists of India.

In A.D. 502, " the place where Buddha made an alms-gift of his head " was visited by Sung-yun, who describes it as being three days' journey to the east of the river Sin-tu, or Indus.1

We now come to Hwen Thsang, the last and best of the Chinese pilgrims, who first visited Ta-cha-shi-lo, or Takshasila, in A.D. 630, and again in A.D. 643, on his return to China. He describes the city as about 10 li, or 1⅔ mile, in circuit. The royal family was extinct, and the province, which had previously been subject to Kapisa, was then a dependency of Kashmir.

The land, irrigated by numbers of springs and water-courses, was famous for its fertility. The monasteries were numerous, but mostly in ruins ; and there were only a few monks who studied the Mahayana, or esoteric doctrines of Buddhism. At 12 or 13 li, or 2 miles, to the north of the city there was a stupa of King Asoka, built on the spot where Buddha in a former existence had made an alms-gift of his head ; or, as some said, of one thousand heads in as many previous existences. This was one of the four great stupas that were famous all over north-west India ;2 and accordingly on his return journey Hwen Thsang specially notes that he had paid his adorations, for the second time, to the "stupa of the alms-gift of one thousand heads.3 The present name of the district is Chach-Hazara, which I take to be a corruption of Sirsha-sahasra, or the "thousand heads." In the Taxila copper-plate of the Satrap Liako Kujuluka, the name is written Chhahara-Chukhsa, which appears

1 Beal's Translation, p. 200.

2 'Fah-Hian,' (Beal's translation) e. xi.

3 Julien's ' Hiouen Thsang,' i. 262.

[p.110]: to me to be only another form of the same appellation.

From these accounts of the Chinese pilgrims, we see that Taxila was specially interesting to all Buddhists as the legendary scene of one of Buddha's most meritorious acts of alms-giving, when he bestowed his head in charity. The origin of this legend I think may be certainly traced to the name, which as Takshasila means simply the "cut rock;" but with a slight alteration, as Taksha-sira means the " severed head." Aut ex re nomen, aut ex vocabulo fabula1 either the name sprang from the legend, or the legend was invented to account for the name." In this case we may be almost certain that the latter was the process, as the Greeks have preserved the spelling of the original name before Buddhism had covered the land with its endless legends of Sakya's meritorious acts in previous births. It is nowhere stated to whom Buddha presented his head, but I believe that it was offered to the hungry tiger whose seven cubs were saved from starvation by a similar offering of his blood.2 I am led to this belief by the fact that the land immediately to the north of the ruined city is still called Babar Khana, or the " Tiger's House," a name which is as old as the time of Mahmud, as Abu Rihan speaks of Babarkan as being halfway between the Indus and the Jhelam,3 a description which is equally applicable to the Babarkhana of the ancient Taxila. The name is a Turki one, and is, therefore, probably as old as the

1 Pomponius Mela, iii. 7.

2 Sung-yun mentions that the head was offered " for the sake of a man ;" that is, Buddha offered his own life to save that of another man. (Beal's translation, p. 200.)

3 Reinaud's ' Fragments Arabes, etc.,' p. 116.

[p.111]:time of Kanishka. From the continued existence of this name, I infer that, in the immediate neighbourhood of the great stupa of the "head-gift," there was most probably a temple enshrining a group in which Buddha was represented offering his head to the tiger. This temple the Turks would naturally have called the Babar-Khana, or " Tigers'-house ;" and as Taxila itself decayed, the name of the temple would gradually have superseded that of the city. The remembrance of this particular act of Buddha's extreme charity is, I believe, preserved in the name of Margala, or the "beheaded," which is applied to the range of hills lying only two miles to the south of Shah-dheri. Mar-gala means literally "decollated," from gala-mārna, which is the idiomatic expression for " cutting the neck," or beheading.

Shah-dheri identified with Taxila

The ruins of the ancient city near Shah-dheri, which I propose to identify with Taxila, are scattered over a wide space extending about 3 miles from north to south, and 2 miles from east to west. The remains of many stupas and monasteries extend for several miles further on all sides, but the actual ruins of the city are confined within the limits above-mentioned. These ruins consist of several distinct portions, which are called by separate names even in the present day.1 The general direction of these different works is from south-south-west to north-north-east, in which order I will describe them. Beginning at the south, their names are : —

1. Bir or Pher.

2. Hatial.

3. Sir-Kap-ka-kot.

1 See Map No. IV.


4. Kacha-kot.

5. Babar Khana.

6. Sir-Suk-ka-kot.

The most ancient part of these ruins, according to the belief of the people, is the great mound on which stands the small village of Bir or Pher. The mound itself is 4000 feet in length from north to south, and 2600 feet in breadth, with a circuit of 10,800 feet, or rather more than two miles. On the west side towards the rock-seated village of Shah-dheri, the Bir mound a has an elevation of from 15 to 25 above the fields close by ; but as the ground continues to slop towards Shah-dheri, the general elevation is not less than from 25 to 35 feet. On the east side, immediately above the Tabra, or Tamra Nala, it rises 40 feet above the fields, and 68 feet above the bed of the stream. The remains of the walls can be traced only in a few places both on the east and west sides ; but the whole surface is covered with broken stones and fragments of bricks and pottery. Here the old coins are found in greater numbers than in any other part of the ruins ; and here, also, a single man collected for me, in about two hours, a double handful of bits of lapis lazuli, which are not to be seen elsewhere. Judging from the size of the place, I take it to be the site of the inhabited part of the city in the time of Hwen Thsang, who describes it as being only 10 li, or 1⅔ mile, in circuit. This conclusion is confirmed by the position of the great ruined stupa in the midst of the Babar-khana land, which is 8000 feet north-north-east from the near end of the Bir mound, and 10,000 feet, or just 2 miles, from the main entrance to the middle of

[p.113]: the old city. As Hwen Thsang describes the position of the stupa of the " Head Gift " as being 12 or 13 li, or rather more than 2 miles, to the north of the city,1 I think that there can be little doubt that the city of his time was situated on the mound of Bir. I traced the remains of three small topes on the north and east sides of the mound, all of which had been opened previously by the villagers, who, however, stoutly denied the fact, and attributed the explorations to General Abbott and Major Pearse.

Hatial is a strong fortified position on the west end of a spur of the Margala range, and immediately to the north-east of the Bir mound, from which it is separated by the Tabra Nala. About half a mile from Bir the spur is divided into two nearly parallel ridges, about 1500 feet apart, which run almost clue west to the bank of the Tabra, where they are joined by a high earthen rampart. The clear space thus enclosed is not more than 2000 feet by 1000 feet, but the whole circuit of the defences, along the hill-ridges and the artificial ramparts, is about 8100 feet, or upwards of 1½ mile. At the east end the two parallel ridges are joined by stone walls, 15 feet 4 inches thick, with square towers at intervals, all of which are still in very good order. The crest of the south or main ridge is 291 feet above the general level of the fields, but the north ridge has an elevation of only 163 feet. Between these two there is a small rocky ridge, 206 feet in height, crowned by a large bastion or tower, which the people look upon as a stupa or tope. There is a similar tower on the crest of the north ridge, which I was induced to excavate by the report of a

1 Julien's ' Hiouen Thsang,' ii. 153.

[p.114]: villager named Nur, who informed me that he had found a copper coin at each of the four corners of the basement, which he considered as a certain sign that the building was a tope. I knew also that it was the custom in Barma to erect a stupa in each of the corner bastions of their square fortified cities. But my excavation, which was carried down to the bare rock, a depth of 26 feet, showed only regular courses of large rough blocks, which were extracted with much difficulty. Close to the west of this tower I traced the remains of a large enclosure, 163 feet long by 151½ feet broad, divided into rooms on all four sides, from which I at first thought that the building was a monastery. But the subsequent discovery of a large quantity of burnt clay pellets of a size well adapted for slingers led me to the conclusion that the place was most probably only a guard-house for soldiers. The two ridges fall rapidly towards the west for about 1200 feet, till they meet the general slope of the intervening ground, and at these points are the two gateways of the fort, the one being due north of the other. The north ridge then rises again, and running to the west-south-west for 2000 feet, terminates in a square-topped mound, 130 feet high. This part of the ridge is entirely covered with the remains of buildings, and near its cast end the villager Nur discovered some copper coins in a ruined tope.

Of the name of Hatial I could obtain no information whatever ; but it is probably old, as I think it may possibly be identified with Hattiar-Lank which Abul Fazl places in the Sindh-Sagar Doab. The spelling of the name would refer it to Hatti, a shop, and Hatti-ala would then be the market-place or bazaar. But the Hatial fort is so evidently

[p.115]:the stronghold or citadel of this ancient place that I look upon this derivation as very doubtful.

The fortified city of Sir-hap is situated on a large level mound immediately at the north foot of Hatial, of which it really forms a part, as its walls are joined to those of the citadel. It is half a mile in length from north to south, with a breadth of 2000 feet at the south end, but of only 1400 feet at the north end. The circuit of Sirkap is 8300 feet, or upwards of 1½ mile. The walls, which are built entirely of squared stone, are 14 feet 9 inches thick, with square towers of 30 feet face, separated by curtains of 140 feet. The east and north walls are straight, but the line of west wall is broken by a deep recess. There are two large gaps in each of these walls, all of which are said to be the sites of the ancient gates. One of these in the north face is undoubted, as it lies due north of the two gateways of the Hatial citadel, and due south of the three ruined mounds in the Babar-khana. A second in the east face is equally undoubted, as parts of the walls of the gateway still remain, with portions of paved roadway leading directly up to it. A third opening in the west face, immediately opposite the last, is almost equally certain, as all the old foundations inside the city are carefully laid out at right angles due north and south. The position of Sirkap is naturally very strong, as it is well defended on all sides, — by the lofty citadel of Hatial on the south, by the Tabra Nala on the west, and by the Gau Nala on the east and north sides. The entire circuit of the walls of the two places is 14,200 feet, or nearly 2¾ miles.

Kacha-kot, or the " mud fort," lies to the north of

[p.116]: Sirkap, in a strong isolated position formed by the doubling round of the Tabra Nala below the junction of the Gau Nala, which together surround the place on all sides except the east. The ramparts of Kacha-kot, as the name imports, are formed entirely of earth, and rise to a height of from 30 to 50 feet above the stream. On the east side there are no traces of any defences, and inside there are no traces of any buildings. It is difficult therefore to say for what purpose it was intended ; but as the Gau Nala runs through it, I think it probable that Kacha-kot was meant as a place of safety for elephants and other cattle during a time of siege. It is 6700 feet, or upwards of 1¼ mile in circuit. The people usually called it Kot, and this name is also applied to Sir-kap, but when they wish to distinguish it from the latter they call it Kacha-kot. Now this name is found both in Baber's ' Memoirs,' and in the 'Ayin Akbari.' In the former the Haro river is called the river of Kacha-kot, which therefore must have been some large place near the banks of that stream, but I suspect that it ought rather to be looked for near Hasan Abdal, or even lower down.

Babar Khana is the name of the tract of land lying between the Lundi Nala on the north and the Tabra and Gau Nalas on the south. It includes Kacha-kot, and extends about one mile on each side of it to the cast and west, embracing the great mound of Seri-ki-Pind on the north-west, and the Gangu group of topes and other ruins on the east. In the very middle of this tract, where the Lundi and Tabra Nalas approach one another within one thousand feet, stands a lofty mound, 45 feet in height, called Jhandiala Plnd, after a small hamlet close by. To the west of the Pind, or mound.

[p.117]: there is another mass of ruins of greater breadth, but only 29 feet in height, which is evidently the remains of a large monastery. It is remarkable that the road which runs through the two gateways of the Hatial citadel, and through the north gateway of Sirkap, passes in a direct line due north between these two mounds until it meets the ruins of a large stupa, on the bank of the Lundi river, 1200 feet beyond the Jhandiala Pind. This last I believe to be the famous "Headgift Stupa", which was said to have been erected by Asoka in the third century before Christ. I have already alluded to its position as answering almost exactly to that described by Hwen Thsang ; and I may now add as a confirmation of this opinion that the main road of the city of Taxila was laid in a direct line running due north upon the Jhandiala stupa, a fact which proves incontestably the very high estimation in which this particular monument must have been held. This is further confirmed by the vicinity of another mound, 3600 feet to the north-west, called Seri-ki-pind, or Siri-ki-pind, which would appear to refer directly to the " Head Gift," as the Sirsha-danam, or Sir-dan of Buddha. Taking all these points into consideration, I think that there are very strong grounds for identifying the great ruined tope of Babar-khana with the famous stupa of the " Head Gift " of Buddha.

The large fortified enclosure called Sir-Suk is situated at the north-east corner of the Babar-khana, beyond the Lundi Nala. In shape it is very nearly square, the north and south sides being each 4500 feet in length, the west side 3300 feet, and the east side 3000 feet. The whole circuit, therefore, is 15,300

[p.118]: feet, or nearly 3 miles. The south face, which is protected by the Lundi Nala, is similar in its construction to the defences of Sir-kap. The walls are built of squared stones, smoothed on the outer face only, and are 18 feet thick, with square towers at intervals of 120 feet. The towers of this face have been very carefully built with splayed foundations, all the stones being nicely bevelled to form a smooth slope. The tower at the south-east corner, which is the highest part now standing, is 10 feet above the interior ground, and 25 feet above the low ground on the bank of the stream. Towards the west end, where the stones have been removed, the south wall is not more than 2 or 3 feet in height, about the interior ground. Of the east and west faces, about one- half of the walls can still be traced, but of the north face there is but little left except some mounds at the two corners. Inside there are three villages named Mirpur, Tupkia, and Pind, with a large ruined mound, called Pindora, which is 600 square feet at base. To the south of Pindora, and close to the village of Tupkia, there is a Khangah, or shrine of a Muhammadan saint, on a small mound. An this is built of squared stones, I presume that the Khangah represents the position of a stupa or tope which must have given its name to the village of Tupkia, and that the great Pindora mound is the remains of a very large monastery. I found two massive channelled stones, or spouts, which, from from their size, could only have been used for conveying the rain-water from a courtyard to the outside of the walls. At half a mile to the west there is an outer line of high earthen mounds running due north and south for upwards of 2000 feet, when it bends to

[p.119]:the east-north-east. Beyond this the line is only traceable by a broad belt of broken stones, extending for 3500 feet, when it turns to the south-east for about 1200 feet and joins the north face of Sir-Suk. These external lines would appear to be the remains of a large outwork which once rested its north-west angle on the Lundi Nala. The entire circuit of Sir-Suk and its outwork is about 20,300 feet, or nearly 5 miles.

I have now described all the different parts of this great city, the ruins of which, covering an area of six square miles, are more extensive, more interesting, and in much better preservation than those of any other ancient place in the Panjab. The city of Sirkap, with its citadel of Hatial, and its detached works of Bir and Kacha-kot, has a circuit of 4¾ miles ; and the large fort of Sir-Suk, with its outwork, is of the same size, each of them being nearly as large as Shah Jahan's imperial city of Delhi. But the number and size of the stupas, monasteries, and other religious buildings are even more wonderful than the great extent of the city. Here both coins and antiquities are found in far greater numbers than in any other place between the Indus and Jhelam. This then must be the site of Taxila, which, according to the unanimous testimony of ancient writers, was the largest city between the Indus and Hydaspes. Strabo and Hwen Thsang both speak of the fertility of its lands, and the latter specially notices the numbers of its springs and water-courses. As this description is applicable only to the rich lands lying to the north of the Tabra Nala, which are amply irrigated by numerous channels drawn from the Haro river, the proof of my identification is

[p.120]: complete. Burnes crossed this tract in 1832, when he encamped at Usman Khatar, 3 miles to the north of Shah-dheri, and about 1 mile to the south of the Haro river. He describes the village as standing " on a plain at the mouth of a valley close to the base of the outlying hills."1 This agrees most exactly with the accounts of Strabo and Pliny, who describe Taxila as situated in a level country where the hills unite with the plains. Of Usman, Burnes goes on to say that "its meadows are watered by the most beautiful and crystal rivulets that flow from the mountains." In the first part of this statement he is quite correct ; but in the latter part he is undoubtedly wrong, as every rill of water that passes through Usman is drawn by artificial means from the Haro river. Two miles to the south, towards the ruins of the old city, the irrigation is carried on by cuts from the Lundi Nala, but as the main body of water in this stream is artificially obtained from the Haro, the whole of the irrigation may be truly said to be derived from that river.

Taxila as is described by Hwen Thsang

The district of Taxila is described by Hwen Thsang as being 200 li, or 333 miles, in circuit. It was bounded by the Indus on the west, by the district of Urasa on the north, by the Jhelam or Behat river on the east, and by the district of Sinhapura on the south. As the capital of the last was in the Salt range of mountains, either at or near Ketas, the boundary of Taxila on that side was most probably defined by the Suhan river to the south-west, and by the Bakrala range of hills to the south-east. Accepting these limits as nearly correct, the frontier lines of the Indus and Jhelam will be respectively 80 miles and 50 miles

1 ' Travels,' ii. 61.

[p.121]: in length, and those of the northern and southern boundaries 60 and 120 miles, or, all together, 310 miles, which accords very nearly with the measurement given by Hwen Thsang.


The great stupa or Buddhist monument of Manikyala, was first made known by the journey of Elphinstone,1 and has since been explored by Generals Ventura and Court. The name is said to have been derived from Raja Man or Manik,2 who erected the great stupa. This tradition is probably correct, as I discovered a coin and relic deposit of the Satrap Jihoniya, or Zeionises, the son of Manigal, in a small tope to the east of the village. The old town, which is usually called Manikpur, or Maniknagar, is the scene of the curious legend of Rasalu, who expelled the Rakshasas, or Demons, and delivered the people from the tyranny of 'Sir-kap, the " decapitator," and his brothers.

The name of Manikyala is not mentioned by any of the Chinese pilgrims, although every one of them has described the situation of the place. Fa-Hian merely states that at two days' journey to the east of Taxila is the spot where Buddha " gave his body to feed a starving tiger."3 But Sung-yun fixes the scene

1 ' Cabul,' i. 106. Stupa is the Sanskrit term for a mound or barrow, either of masonry or of earth ; see Colebroke, ' Amara Kosha,' in voce. The Pali form is Thupo ; see Turnour ' Mahawanso,' and also Thupa, or Thuva, in the early Arian inscriptions from the Punjab. The term now used is Thup for a tolerably perfect building, and Thupi for a ruined mound. It is, therefore, very much to be regretted that we should have adopted the word Tope, which preserves neither the spelling nor the pronunciation of the native word.

2 Moorcroft, 'Travels,' ii. 311.

3 Beal's translation of ' Fa-Hian,' c. xi. p. 32.

[p.122]: of this exploit at eight days' journey to the south-east of the capital of Gandhara,1 which is a very exact description of the bearing and distance of Manikyala, either from Peshawar or from Hashtnagar. Lastly, Hwen Thsang places the site of the " Body-offering " at 200 li, or nearly 34 miles, to the south-east of Taxila,2 which are the exact bearing and distance of Manikyala from Shah-dheri ; but his statement that he crossed the Sin-tu, or Indus, is a simple mistake for the Suhan or Suan river, which flows between the two places.3

The great stupa of the "Body-offering" I have identified with the monument that was opened by General Court,4 which, according to the inscription found inside, was built in the year 20, during the reign of the great Indo-Scythian prince Kanishka, shortly before the beginning of the Christian era. Manikyala was, therefore, one of the most famous places in the Panjab at a very early period ; but I think that it must have been the site of a number of large religious establishments rather than that of a great city. General Abbott, when he examined the ruins around the Manikyala tope in 1853, could "not see any evidence of the existence of a city. The area occupied by submerged ruins would not have comprised a very considerable village, while the comparatively large number of wrought stones denotes some costly structure which might have occupied the entire site. "5 In 1834, General Court described "the ruins

1 Beal's translation of 'Sung-yun," p. 193.

2 Julien's ' Hiouen Tbsang;,' ii. 164.

3 See Maps Nos. V. and VI..

4 Journ. Asiat. Soc. Bengal, 1834, p. 562.

5 Ibid.,1853, p. 570.

[p.123]: of the town itself as of very considerable extent, massive walls of stone and lime being met with every-where, besides a great number of wells." After a careful examination of the site, I have come to the same conclusion as General Abbott, that there are no traces of a large city ; and I am quite satisfied that all the massive walls of cut stone, which General Court truly describes as being met with everywhere, must have belonged to costly monasteries and other large religious edifices. Doubtless, a few private houses might be built of squared stones even in a village, but these massive edifices, with their thickly gilded roofs, which still repay the labour of disinterment, are, I think, too numerous, too large, and too scattered to be the remains of private buildings even of a great city. The people point to the high ground immediately to the west of the great tope, as the site of the Raja Man's palace, because pieces of plaster are found there only, and not in other parts of the ruins. Here it is probable that the satraps of Taxila may have taken up their residence when they came to pay their respects at the famous shrine of the " Body-gift " of Buddha. Here, also, there may have been a small town of about 1500 or 2000 houses, which extended to the northward, and occupied the whole of the rising ground on which the village of Manikyala now stands. I estimate the entire circuit of the space that may have been occupied by the town as about one mile and a half, which, at 500 square feet per man, would give a population of 12,500 persons, or just six persons to each house.

The people are unanimous in their statements that the city was destroyed by fire ; and this belief, whether

[p.124]: based on tradition or conviction, is corroborated by the quantities of charcoal and ashes which are found amongst all the ruined buildings. It was also amply confirmed by the excavations which I made in the great monastery to the north of General Court's Tope. I found the plaster of the walls blackened by fire, and the wrought blocks of kankar limestone turned into quicklime. The pine timbers of the roofs also were easily recognized by their charred fragments and ashes. Unfortunately, I discovered nothing during my researches that offered any clue to the probable period of the destruction of these buildings, but as this part of the country had fallen into the power of the Kashmirian kings, even before the time of Hwen Thsang, I am inclined to attribute their destruction rather to Brahmanical malignity than to Muhammadan intolerance.

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