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0054 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 54 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000189
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Nandana figures repeatedly in the accounts of the successive campaigns which carried the great conqueror Sultan Mahmûd of Ghazna from eastern Afghanistan into the plains of the Panjab. Its position is clearly indicated by the events in connexion with which it is mentioned. These leave no doubt about its having been an important stronghold of the last rulers of the Hindu Shahiya dynasty, after it had been forced to retreat to the extreme north-west of the Panjâb from its former possessions west of the Indus.4 Without going into such references to Nandana as occur in the often confused accounts of Mahmûd of Ghazna's campaigns given by later Muhammadan chronicles,5 I may confine myself here to those notices which at present can be checked in critically made extracts from contemporary sources as presented by Dr. Muhammad Nazim in his Mahmûd of Ghazna.

Thus we are told of Sultan Mahmûd that, intending to crush the power of the Shahi ruler Trilocanapala in the Salt Range, he set out in March, A.D. 1014, `and marched to Nandana which, situated on the southern spur of the Salt Range, commanded the main route into the Ganges Doab'.s I shall have occasion farther on, when describing the ruins of Nandana, to discuss the details recorded as to the brave defence offered' by Bhimapala Shahi, the king's son, in the `strong position between two hills at the junction of which the fort was situated'. The account tells us how, after prolonged fighting beyond the upper entrance of the pass, the Hindu defenders were driven back into the fort, and this was besieged and ultimately taken by the Sultan. The importance attaching to the route thus opened is attested by the special mention made of the Muhammadan commander to whom Mahmûd entrusted Nandana when he returned to Ghazna after having pursued the fugitive Hindu king into the mountains south of Kashmir.' An earlier notice, relating to an attempted invasion made A.D. 991 from the east by the ruler of Lahore, gives Nandana as the name of a whole district adjacent to Jhelum, and thus helps to bring out the importance of the place and of the route past it.8

In the following section I shall describe the interesting observations, archaeological and topographical, which our survey of the Nandana fort and its surroundings yielded. Here I may turn at once to the very useful indications which

4 I have discussed the interesting historical notices concerning the `Hindu Shahiya dynasty' to be gathered from Albérûni's Târikh-al-Hind and Kalhana's Kashmir Chronicle in my paper 'Zur Geschichte der Çahis von Kabul', contributed to the Festgruss an Rudolf von Roth ( Stuttgart, 1893), pp. 198 sqq. Cf. also Rajataraingini, transi., my notes on v. 152-5; vii. 47-69.

5 See, for such accounts, Elliot, The History of

India, as told by its own Historians, ii. pp. 434 sqq.

6 Cf. Mahmûd of Gbazna, p. 91.

7 See ibid., p. 93.

8 Cf. ibid., p. 195. References to Nandana in connexion with events of the thirteenth century are quoted by Mr. W. S. Talbot, Gazetteer of the Jhelum District, p. 47, from Duff, Chronology of India, i. p. 536, and Raverty's Tabagât-i-Nrrsirz, p. 539.