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0053 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 53 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000189
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Pind Dadan Khan. The last-named route was undoubtedly followed by a later great invader of India, the Emperor Babur, when he made his first successful inroad into the Panjab across the Salt Range. Coming from the Peshawar side, he crossed the Indus on February 17th, 1519, as we are told in his famous Memoirs. Having by three long marches reached the lake of Kallar-kahar, he thence crossed the pass of Dandôt and descended to the Jhélum, east of Old Bhéra, on February 2 ist.3

The four routes above referred to are, in order from east to west, those leading past the villages of Baghanwala, Chanuwala, and Kusuk, and the one descending to the salt-mine of Khewra. It is not necessary to concern ourselves with each of these routes, though I took occasion to visit all of them; for fortunately there is one among them, the first, to which historical records of an invasion far older than that of Babur were bound to attract my special attention.

Muhammadan chronicles of India repeatedly mention the fort of Nandana and the pass in the Salt Range guarded by it in connexion with the campaigns by which Mahmtld of Ghazna carried the sway of Islam into north-western India, and also with later events down to the thirteenth century. The merit of having first correctly located this place, examined its surviving remains, and recognized the importance of the route passing it, belongs to my friend, the late Mr. W. S. Talbot, C.S.I., of the Indian Civil Service. While holding charge of the Jhélum District and in course of the Settlement conducted by him there, he took a close interest in its antiquities and historical past. He found the name Nandana still attaching at the present time to a remarkable hill stronghold ( see Figs. 2, 7, 11) which completely closes a route leading down steeply from a plateau of the eastern branch of the Salt Range to the village of Baghanwala and the open riverine plain of the Jhelum beyond it.

Before I discuss the early historical references to Nandana and the bearing of its position upon the question of Alexander's route to the Hydaspes and his subsequent passage of the river, I may appropriately quote the brief but very apt description of the position from Mr. Talbot's Gazetteer of the Jhelum District (p. 46) : `About fourteen miles due east of Choa Saidan Shah, between the villages of Baghanwala and Ara above, the outer Salt Range makes a remarkable dip; the road over the hills winds up the face of a steep rocky hill, with perpendicular precipices at the sides: so that in former times the holder of this hill had the absolute command of what is one of the most obvious routes across the range.'

3 See Memoirs of Bâbur, transi. by Mrs. Beve- points of this rapid march leaves no doubt that by ridge, pp. 381 sqq. The mention of Kalda-kahâr, the Hamtâlu pass the Dandôt pass is meant, the i.e. Kallar-kahâr, and Bhéra as the two terminal initial Arabic letter d being easily misread into h.


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