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0055 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 55 (Color Image)

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Sec. iii] NANDANA AND THE CROSSING BELOW JALALPUR   27

this oldest of historically attested routes across the outer Salt Range affords as regards the location of Alexander's camp on the Hydaspes and the place of his crossing the river. The Skeleton Map 1 shows that the road from the pass and fort of Nandana descends first to the pleasant village of Bâghânwâla with its abundant orchards, and thence, if continued south-south-west across the gently sloping alluvial plain below, brings us after about 9 miles to the large village of Haranpur close to the bank of the river. It is just here that the river, flowing in a single channel within a well-defined bed about half a mile wide, offers a very convenient crossing-place, now marked by the bridge of the Sindsagar line of the North-Western Railway. On the opposite side of the river, at a distance of about 5 miles, lies the old town of Miâni, once a place of distinct importance.

Now, if we go from Haranpur up the river, but at some distance from it, along the main road towards Jhelum town, we come, at a distance of about 17 miles, to the small town of Jalâlpur ( Fig. 3 ) occupying a position that corresponds in a very striking fashion to Arrian's and Curtius's description of Alexander's crossing-place. Jalâlpur, counting some three thousand inhabitants, is built on rising ground at the foot of a great projecting spur of the Salt Range. Close behind the town this rises in the hill of Mangal Dey to a triangulated height of 1,833 feet, or a little over 1,100 feet above the river bed. Immediately to the east of the town there lies the wide winding mouth of the Kandar Kas ( Fig. 4), a torrent bed with sandy bottom descending from the spur and joining the river. On the east it is overlooked by steep heights marking the point where the face of that spur turns from a west-south-west direction to north-west. Within less than a mile of the town there passes a northern branch of the Jhelum, carrying much water at the time of the summer floods and known as the Halkiwâni Nâlâ. Jalâlpur lies at the south-western corner of that projecting spur of the Salt Range which, as mentioned before, is washed at its foot by the river for a distance of about 8 miles between Dilâwar and Jalâlpur. Nowhere else along its course after debouching from the mountains does the Jhelum touch ground which could possibly be described as a headland or promontory (écxpa) .

The spur all along falls off very steeply towards the river and is broken by many deep-cut ravines. Only at the mouth of the latter is there room for scanty fields cultivated by three small hamlets. The road to Jhelum town, which used to run along the very foot of the spur and is still marked in Survey maps down to 1921, has been so badly broken in places by recent floods that for the sake of motor traffic it had to be re-alined with no small trouble across the difficult ridges and ravines farther up. From the appearance of the cliffs above the river it is clear that its course in historical times must have always set against the foot of the spur.