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0050 Archaeological Reconnaissances in North-Western India and South-Eastern Īrān : vol.1
Archaeological Reconnaissances in North-Western India and South-Eastern Īrān : vol.1 / Page 50 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000189
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[Chap. I


To the south of Rohtâs a rugged portion of the eastern branch of the Salt Range culminates in the hill of Yogi Tilla, 3,200 feet above sea-level. Its conspicuous height is sacred to Hindus as the gathering place at certain times for religious mendicants of Yogi sects all over India.' The difficult ground of the adjoining hill chain bars convenient access to the Jhelum for over 20 miles. There is no regular route leading across it, and hence Alexander's camp cannot be looked for anywhere between its foot and the river.2 For a similar distance on the opposite side of the river the proximity of the Pabbi hills and the very broken nature of the ground at their feet preclude, as already explained, the idea of the battle with Poros having been fought across there.

Very different are the topographical conditions presented by that portion of the Salt Range which continues for a considerable distance beyond the Tilla hills with a general westward trend. There the hills are crossed by a succession of routes which an invader coming from the north-west could conveniently use to reach the Jhelum and the open plain beyond the river. Apart from the route descending to Jalâlpur, the only one to which Cunningham and Vincent Smith make any reference, there are at least four routes practicable for laden animals, including camels, in regular local use for crossing that portion of the range which comes into consideration here. This extends from the wide flood bed in which the Bunhâ river, usually dry, makes its way to the Jhelum above Dârâpur (near Dilâwar) as far west as the route descending past the coal-mines of Dandot to

1 Here it may be mentioned in passing that the story told by Philostratos of the visit paid by Apollonius of Tyana to the sacred hill of the Indian gymnosophists situated east of Taxila might well have been prompted by a recollection of some notice of Yogi Tilla as derived from accounts of Alexander's Indian campaign. That Philostratos used such accounts for embellishing the story of his hero's Indian peregrination is certain.

For a supposed reference to Yogi Tilla in Plutarch, De Fluviis, cf. Cunningham, Archaeol. Survey Report, ii. p. 177; also Ancient Geography, p. 165.

2 On November 24th, when passing down the narrow but comparatively fertile belt separating the right bank of the river from the foot of the hill chain, I noticed mounds marking early occupation at two points between Jhelum town and the mouth of the Bunhâ bed. Near the village of Rariâla, about 8 miles below Jhelum and close to the west of the

road, a large mound, over 100 yards in diameter and rising to about 17 feet above the surrounding. fields, attracted attention. Among the plentiful broken pottery covering the slopes, pieces of good red ware painted with simple black or brown designs or decorated with incised geometrical patterns (see Rar. 9, 12; Pl. I) were numerous. Their type suggested occupation in early historical times, and a copper coin picked up on the surface and belonging apparently to a late Kushân issue supported this assumption.

Another large mound measuring about 120 by 90 yards and rising up to 10 feet in height was met with by the road-side close to Khurd village some 6 miles farther on. Here, too, the potsherds showed a type which in the case of corresponding decorated ware found at sites of British Baltichistân I was induced tentatively to designate as `early historical' (cf. Archaeological Tour in N. Balûchistân, pp. 8 sqq.) .