38 ALEXANDER'S CAMPAIGN IN THE PANJAB [Chap. I
having preceded the former's siege of the fortress of Nandana A.D. 1014.2 From the elevated ground of the Ara plateau, at a height of about 2,400 feet, a steep winding road leads down over the rocky scarp of the range for close on 2 miles to where a small dip, about 200 yards across, at an average level of 1,300 feet stretches between two small valleys drained by streamlets which farther south unite below the ruined stronghold of Nandana ( see Plan 3) .
The road so far, though very stony, is perfectly practicable for laden animals, including camels, even in the neglected state into which it has fallen since most of the local traffic from this part of the Salt Range to the river has been diverted to the Grand Trunk Road in the east and to the road practicable for carts between Chakwal and Pind Dädan Khan in the west. Here and there remains of a roughly paved road, about 8 feet wide and probably old, could be traced for short distances. In a number of places the road shows distinct marks of having been cut into rock ledges, obviously to secure a better gradient. Though perhaps not so well alined, it reminded me of the ancient roads constructed in Buddhist times across the passes of Malakand, Shahkst, &c., connecting Lower Swat with the Peshawar valley.
Immediately above the dip referred to, which forms a kind of natural fosse, there rises very abruptly the bold rocky ridge of Nandana. On its top, at a height of about 1,500 feet above sea-level, it bears conspicuous ruined structures, and along the precipitous northern slopes below these, the remains of a boldly built line of wall, defended by bastions ( Fig. 11) . This fortified ridge completely bars further descent on the route, for the two small valleys above-mentioned contract on either side of it into deep and extremely narrow gorges, and descend for some distance between almost vertical rock walls, hundreds of feet high ( Figs. 2, 7 ) . These gorges are completely commanded from the ridge and would allow of no passage, even to men on foot, as long as the ridge was defended. Nor could the steep heights towering above be readily climbed, and the ridge bombarded from them with arrows or other missiles.
The wall defending the northern face of the ridge runs with projecting angles from the foot of a very massive pile at the north-eastern end of the top to a
2 'Bhimpäl entrenched himself in a strong position between two hills at the junction of which the fort [of Nandana] was situated, and closed the entrance to the pass by a strong line of elephants. . . Bhimpäl in the meantime received fresh reinforcements and leaving his entrenched position, he came out into the plain, with his rear resting on the hills and his wings protected by elephants, and attacked the Sultan, but he was beaten back.... The Sultän now delivered a furious charge on Bhimpäl which
proved irresistible. The Hindus broke and fled for refuge to the fort of Nandana. The Sultän laid siege to it. Mines were run under the walls of the fort, and the Turkomän sharpshooters poured a terrific shower of arrows on the defenders. Realizing that it would be impossible to hold out long, the garrison surrendered unconditionally. The Sultan entered the fort and captured immense booty.' Cf. Muh. Nazim, Sultan Mabmad of Gbazna, pp. 91 sqq.